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Bife a la parrilla
Bife a la parrilla at Señor Bear.
Kayla Jones

A Complete Guide to Dining in LoHi

Go from Italy to Israel, Mexico to Spain, and Hawaii to Japan in a few short blocks

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Bife a la parrilla at Señor Bear.
| Kayla Jones

Talk about an outsized impact. Bounded by 38th Avenue to the north, Zuni Street to the west, and I-25 to the south and east, the Lower Highlands, or LoHi, isn’t a huge neighborhood, but it’s a thriving one within the Denver dining scene as a whole. It’s home to some of the city’s best bars, including Williams & Graham and The Family Jones. It’s home to legendary bakeries like Wooden Spoon and a landmark ice-cream parlor, Little Man, to satisfy any sweet tooth. And it’s home to these 23 restaurants, which span the globe in a matter of blocks.

Note: Restaurants are not ranked but rather ordered geographically from north to south. Have another go-to LoHi spot? Send us a tip, or leave a note in the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Wildflower

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This hidden gem in the Life House hotel lives up to its name with a beverage program that highlights not only flower-infused cocktails but mead made locally with, say, chamomile or alfalfa honey; the sophisticated, intricately conceived menu similarly weaves in Colorado influences and ingredients, be it striped bass crudo with juniper granita, pomegranate, and gooseberry; hickory-smoked endive with goat cheese and mead-poached cranberries; or lamb tart with an ancho-chile crust.

Charcuterie with accoutrements
A seasonal approach to charcuterie at Wildflower.
Wildflower

Chicken Rebel

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The URL for this joint is chickenhellyeah.com, which tells you all you need to know about its exuberant approach to towering fried-chicken sandwiches (not to mention its lively vibe) — but the tater tots have been known to steal the show, whether loaded with cheese sauce and caramelized onions or honey hot sauce and Sriracha mayo.

Chicken sandwich with bacon, ranch, and avocado
Chicken Rebel’s The Rancher.
Chicken Rebel/Facebook

Tamales By La Casita

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Keeping it old school, this LoHi longtimer has likely not changed its menu in decades, nor should it: After all, the vast majority of its customers are here for the namesake specialty, filled with red chile and pork or green chile and cheese and topped, of course, with more chile. (There’s also an outpost at the airport.)

Tamales in pork green chile
The namesake item smothered in pork green chile.
Ruth Tobias

The Fifth String

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Old Major’s tagline was “Seafood, Swine, & Wine”; Corrida in Boulder is a swanky steakhouse. Having served as chef at both, Amos Watts brings those experiences to bear on his contemporary American debut venture in the former Old Major space. Go all out with the three-course prix fixe or do a la carte nibbles at the bar; either way, indulgences abound, from the tallow candle bread service to Wagyu tartare with truffles to blue crab–and–sea urchin spaghetti.

Scallop crudo
Scallop crudo at The Fifth String.
Ruth Tobias

Ash'Kara

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The Culinary Creative restaurant group has such a corner on LoHi that a few of its concepts appear on this map, including this modern Israeli kitchen, which has earned itself regulars based on its hummus and pita alone. But there’s much more to the menu, thanks to seasonal items like wood-roasted carrots with herbed labneh and pistachio dukkah, za’atar chicken tagine for two, and the showstopping pastrami-egg sandwich at brunch.

Hummus with pita bread
Ash’Kara’s hummus with whole wheat pita.
Lucy Beaugard/Eater Denver

Señor Bear

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What with aguachile and escabeche, lomo de cerdo and chorizo parrillero, churros and congelados (frozen cocktails) making the rounds, it’s a pan-Latin fiesta in here every night — and beyond: The party starts at 3 p.m. with one of the city’s liveliest happy hours and continues through Sunday brunch, when avocado toast gets a twist from cactus salsa and fries come topped with chicharrones.

Chilaquiles
Brunchtime chilaquiles at Señor Bear.
Kayla Jones

Root Down

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More than a decade ago, Justin Cucci launched what is now a mini-empire under the Edible Beats umbrella with this early exemplar of farm-to-table fare in an old service station; it’s as popular as ever today thanks to funky retro decor and an equally vibrant menu, whose signatures include rockfish tom kha and paneer-inspired fried tofu with red rice, curried cauliflower, and tomato chutney. (There’s also an outpost at the airport.)

Arepas with poblano-pistachio pesto
Cheese-stuffed arepas with poblano-pistachio pesto and achiote crema are a Root Down signature.
Adam Larkey Photography

Avanti F&B, a collective eatery

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With seven stalls under one roof, this food hall covers just about every craving under the entire sun, from pizza and burgers to Venezuelan and Chinese cuisine to Tex Mex, seafood, and bistro-style fare. Beef–and–black bean arepas, steak-and-egg jian bing, and Frito pie await — not to mention two bars slinging a full slate of craft cocktails, beer, and wine.

Three bao buns
Bao buns at Meta Asian Kitchen inside Avanti.
Ruth Tobias

Bar Dough

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Handmade pasta and pizza with panache: That’s the gist of this stylish Italian neighborhood fixture, whose sleek bar is prime happy hour real estate. Start with meatballs and a lighthearted cocktail like the bergamot- and fennel-laced Italicus Spritz, then split the Il Sovrano pizza with mortadella, ricotta, and spring onions or the mafaldine with fava beans, peas, pistachios, and pesto. (Note that, right next door, Bar Dough sibling Tap & Burger is equally worth a visit, what with Top Chef’s Carrie Baird now at the helm.)

Bucatini amatriciana
Bar Dough’s bucatini amatriciana.
Kayla Jones

Tommy Lee’s flagship not only helped put LoHi on the map when it opened in 2012, it all but single-handedly started the local craze for ramen — and it’s still going strong. While noodle soup’s the centerpiece, small plates like soft-shell crab buns and kimchi butter–fried potatoes make it a meal alongside saké aplenty.

Uncle

Spuntino

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Thanks to chef Cindhura Reddy’s inspired, intelligent cooking; her partner Elliot Strathmann’s equally thoughtful beverage program; and the staff’s passion for hospitality, this intimate contemporary Italian spot is among Denver’s most reliable bets for date night. Must-tries include the ever-changing frutti di mare appetizer, seasonal pastas featuring goat, and any dish that weaves in Indian influences.

Agnolotti with sausage and shrimp Ruth Tobias

Bamboo Sushi

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The Green Machine is the name of one of this Portland-based purveyor of certified sustainable sushi’s most popular rolls; it also applies to the restaurant itself, clean and serene from the vibe to the menu. Nigiri and sashimi handsomely prepared with yakumi, or toppings, include red crab with garlic butter and kanpachi with yuzu and truffle salt, while various maki get the gourmet treatment from ingredients like tempura-fried shishitos and shiso leaf, watercress and pickled mustard seed. For the seafood-averse, there’s also a banger of a wagyu cheeseburger.

Sushi roll with tuna and avocado
A signature roll at Bamboo Sushi.
Lucy Beaugard/Eater Denver

The Bindery

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Casual by day, elegant by night, this combination cafe, bakery, market, and contemporary restaurant is a showcase for the tireless creativity of chef-owner Linda Hampsten Fox. Come in the morning for chai-spiced, stone-cut oatmeal with baked apples and whiskey butter or egg, potato, and Swiss burritos with mushrooms and spinach; return at lunch for seasonal soups, salads, and sandwiches on fresh-baked bread; then make a night of it over such intriguing stuff as vegetarian charcuterie platters (think pumpkin pâté and beet pastrami) and smoked rabbit pie with cheddar, pecans, and mustard gelato. Don’t forget brunch, which is always filled with locals digging into rum-pineapple Dutch Babies and omelettes like the Phili with rib-eye, provolone, and green chile.

Savory rabbit pie with mustard gelato
Rabbit pie with mustard gelato is a recurring feature at The Bindery.
Lucy Beaugard

Cart Driver Lo-Hi

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Though fabulous pizza is what it’s known for, pizza is far from all this occupant of the beautiful old Z Cuisine space does well: Oysters, seafood conservas with wood-baked breads, seasonal specials like green garlic gnocchi, and smart cocktails round out the list of hits that keep coming from its kitchen and bar.

Tinned sardines and piada bread
Tinned sardines and piada at Cart-Driver.
Ruth Tobias

The Post Chicken & Beer - LoHi

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Though the loss of neighborhood pioneer Lola was a blow, its replacement by this chicken shack is no mere consolation prize: It does right by the bird from the appetizer section of the menu, starring “thigh fries” and chicharrones, onward — on salads, in sandwiches, on waffles, and in buckets. Cheddar biscuits and whoopie pies make for a balanced meal.

Fried chicken with salad and beer
The main event at The Post.
The Post Chicken & Beer

El Five

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The 2017 winner of the Eater Award for Design of the Year is still one of the sexiest haunts in town — and the substance matches the style: elaborate mezze platters, tapas both traditional and modern, luscious paellas, and colorful cocktails are built for sharing with an equally eye-catching crowd. (Equally dazzling decor awaits at sibling Linger around the corner, set in a former mortuary, where the small plates are more global in scope.)

EL FIVE - DENVER Adam Larkey

Maci Cafe

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The Italian owner of this cute little European-style cafe knows from panini, so count on the real deal layered with the likes of prosciutto crudo, goat cheese, and fig jam or coppa, fontina, giardiniera spread, and arugula. (He also makes breakfast sandwiches, deli items like pasta salad and quiche, and, ma certo, excellent coffee.)

Turkey and prosciutto panini
Panini are the specialty at Maci Cafe.
Ruth Tobias

Dimestore Delibar

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Right next door to Maci is a whole different kind of neighborhood sandwich shop — specifically an eclectic hangout with a top-notch bar and a rooftop deck. Come for the focaccia wraps called dimerolls and the fava bean hummus with puffy pita fresh from the oven; stay for the excellent, not to mention extremely well-priced, cocktails laced with homemade liqueurs and shrubs.

Chicken salad focaccia wrap Ruth Tobias

Sushi Ronin Denver - Sushi and Sake Bar

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Hear out the specials before ordering a thing at this handsome Japanese haunt; they’re often, well, special enough to deviate from the standard rounds of tempura, sashimi, and maki. That said, don’t sleep on the Colorado roll, combining striped bass and green chile with avocado and jalapeños, or the Nice ‘n’ Easy, featuring hamachi tartare and pickled wasabi.

Mizu Izakaya

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Though the sushi and ramen are solid, it’s the small plates that really shine at this sultry Japanese spot, from grilled squid and yellowtail collar to karaage and the signature cream pork kimchi. They’re built, of course, for pairing with saké — but for a change of pace, try a cocktail featuring ingredients like dragon fruit, ume, or oolong tea.

Cream pork kimchi
Mizu’s cream pork kimchi.
Ruth Tobias

Cantina Loca

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One of Denver’s most celebrated chefs, Dana Rodriguez, also happens to operate her own tequila and mezcal brand, Doña Loca; this funky-chic LoHi newcomer is a showcase for those and other agave spirits, like sotol and raicilla, as well as for the Mexican fare that pairs with them so well. Don’t miss the cactus tempura and the fried fish tacos; look too for frequent specials such as chicken mole rojo and lamb birria.

Queso fundido
Cantina Loca’s queso fundido.
Hi-Rez Photography

Ohana Island Kitchen

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Though Denver’s first poke purveyor is still one of its best, there’s more to this sunny counter joint than its seafood signature: Kalua pork, Spam musubi, curry rice, mac salad, and more round out the menu for a whirlwind trip to the islands.

Poke and Spam musubi Ruth Tobias

The Truffle Table

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Artsy and intimate, this wine and cheese bar is a sure bet for date night, when an uncommon bottle — think a white blend of Müller-Thurgau, Gewürztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Gris from Oregon’s Willamette Valley or a Pinot Noir from Germany’s Pfalz region — contributes to good conversation over an order of baked Brie or fondue for two. (Need to keep it cheap? Truffle Table’s extremely well-priced happy hour runs from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.)

Truffle Table/Facebook

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Wildflower

Charcuterie with accoutrements
A seasonal approach to charcuterie at Wildflower.
Wildflower

This hidden gem in the Life House hotel lives up to its name with a beverage program that highlights not only flower-infused cocktails but mead made locally with, say, chamomile or alfalfa honey; the sophisticated, intricately conceived menu similarly weaves in Colorado influences and ingredients, be it striped bass crudo with juniper granita, pomegranate, and gooseberry; hickory-smoked endive with goat cheese and mead-poached cranberries; or lamb tart with an ancho-chile crust.

Charcuterie with accoutrements
A seasonal approach to charcuterie at Wildflower.
Wildflower

Chicken Rebel

Chicken sandwich with bacon, ranch, and avocado
Chicken Rebel’s The Rancher.
Chicken Rebel/Facebook

The URL for this joint is chickenhellyeah.com, which tells you all you need to know about its exuberant approach to towering fried-chicken sandwiches (not to mention its lively vibe) — but the tater tots have been known to steal the show, whether loaded with cheese sauce and caramelized onions or honey hot sauce and Sriracha mayo.

Chicken sandwich with bacon, ranch, and avocado
Chicken Rebel’s The Rancher.
Chicken Rebel/Facebook

Tamales By La Casita

Tamales in pork green chile
The namesake item smothered in pork green chile.
Ruth Tobias

Keeping it old school, this LoHi longtimer has likely not changed its menu in decades, nor should it: After all, the vast majority of its customers are here for the namesake specialty, filled with red chile and pork or green chile and cheese and topped, of course, with more chile. (There’s also an outpost at the airport.)

Tamales in pork green chile
The namesake item smothered in pork green chile.
Ruth Tobias

The Fifth String

Scallop crudo
Scallop crudo at The Fifth String.
Ruth Tobias

Old Major’s tagline was “Seafood, Swine, & Wine”; Corrida in Boulder is a swanky steakhouse. Having served as chef at both, Amos Watts brings those experiences to bear on his contemporary American debut venture in the former Old Major space. Go all out with the three-course prix fixe or do a la carte nibbles at the bar; either way, indulgences abound, from the tallow candle bread service to Wagyu tartare with truffles to blue crab–and–sea urchin spaghetti.

Scallop crudo
Scallop crudo at The Fifth String.
Ruth Tobias

Ash'Kara

Hummus with pita bread
Ash’Kara’s hummus with whole wheat pita.
Lucy Beaugard/Eater Denver

The Culinary Creative restaurant group has such a corner on LoHi that a few of its concepts appear on this map, including this modern Israeli kitchen, which has earned itself regulars based on its hummus and pita alone. But there’s much more to the menu, thanks to seasonal items like wood-roasted carrots with herbed labneh and pistachio dukkah, za’atar chicken tagine for two, and the showstopping pastrami-egg sandwich at brunch.

Hummus with pita bread
Ash’Kara’s hummus with whole wheat pita.
Lucy Beaugard/Eater Denver

Señor Bear

Chilaquiles
Brunchtime chilaquiles at Señor Bear.
Kayla Jones

What with aguachile and escabeche, lomo de cerdo and chorizo parrillero, churros and congelados (frozen cocktails) making the rounds, it’s a pan-Latin fiesta in here every night — and beyond: The party starts at 3 p.m. with one of the city’s liveliest happy hours and continues through Sunday brunch, when avocado toast gets a twist from cactus salsa and fries come topped with chicharrones.

Chilaquiles
Brunchtime chilaquiles at Señor Bear.
Kayla Jones

Root Down

Arepas with poblano-pistachio pesto
Cheese-stuffed arepas with poblano-pistachio pesto and achiote crema are a Root Down signature.
Adam Larkey Photography

More than a decade ago, Justin Cucci launched what is now a mini-empire under the Edible Beats umbrella with this early exemplar of farm-to-table fare in an old service station; it’s as popular as ever today thanks to funky retro decor and an equally vibrant menu, whose signatures include rockfish tom kha and paneer-inspired fried tofu with red rice, curried cauliflower, and tomato chutney. (There’s also an outpost at the airport.)

Arepas with poblano-pistachio pesto
Cheese-stuffed arepas with poblano-pistachio pesto and achiote crema are a Root Down signature.
Adam Larkey Photography

Avanti F&B, a collective eatery

Three bao buns
Bao buns at Meta Asian Kitchen inside Avanti.
Ruth Tobias

With seven stalls under one roof, this food hall covers just about every craving under the entire sun, from pizza and burgers to Venezuelan and Chinese cuisine to Tex Mex, seafood, and bistro-style fare. Beef–and–black bean arepas, steak-and-egg jian bing, and Frito pie await — not to mention two bars slinging a full slate of craft cocktails, beer, and wine.

Three bao buns
Bao buns at Meta Asian Kitchen inside Avanti.
Ruth Tobias

Bar Dough

Bucatini amatriciana
Bar Dough’s bucatini amatriciana.
Kayla Jones

Handmade pasta and pizza with panache: That’s the gist of this stylish Italian neighborhood fixture, whose sleek bar is prime happy hour real estate. Start with meatballs and a lighthearted cocktail like the bergamot- and fennel-laced Italicus Spritz, then split the Il Sovrano pizza with mortadella, ricotta, and spring onions or the mafaldine with fava beans, peas, pistachios, and pesto. (Note that, right next door, Bar Dough sibling Tap & Burger is equally worth a visit, what with Top Chef’s Carrie Baird now at the helm.)

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