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Stoic & Genuine

Where to Catch Whole Fish in Denver

Make no bones about it – It's all the rage

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Though you're far from a coastline here in Colorado, there are still some seafood purists among us. For that select bunch, a delicately plated sliver of fish or basket of fried to a crisp filets just will not do.

So long as you don't mind working around the bones, whole fish dishes are all the rage these days, featuring varieties from snapper and grouper to sea bream and Alamosa bass – roasted, steamed or charcoal grilled. This meal requires some patience, but the experience is worth the time. Some are prepared simple, with herbs and a grill, while others are more intricate. If you find yourself at a restaurant with Asian cuisine, you might end up eating from lip to tip, including but not limited to the cheeks and eyes.

So if you find yourself out on the town, indulge at one of these eight metro area restaurants with their whole-fish plates.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. El Jefe

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2450 W 44th Ave
Denver, CO 80211
(720) 389-7615
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New to the Sunnyside scene, the no-frills menu at El Jefe is inspired by coastal Mexican regions, including the Yucatán, Oaxaca and Veracruz. The eatery serves gourmet seafood, tacos, margaritas, plus the pescado, fried with citrus slaw, radish and chipotle lime mayo.
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2. Fish N Beer

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3510 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205
(303) 248-3497
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The crispy whole bass at Fish N Beer is all the rage. Grilled over a smoky oak fire, the local fish is sourced in Alamosa, is finished with the restaurant's signature devil butter – grilled onions, salt and pepper, olive oil, roasted chile de arbol, garlic, and apple cider vinegar – left to ooze and melt into the fish.
Rachel Greiman

3. Departure

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249 Columbine St
Denver, CO 80206
(720) 772-5020
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Departure embraces its cultural influences in a space that is both daring and harmonious. Take flight as the Halcyon Hotel's signature restaurant from the masterful chef Gregory Gourdet as he presents an inspiring pan-Asian menu. Not to be missed: the crispy whole fried bass with green mango, chili-lime and cashews.
Departure

4. Hop Alley

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3500 Larimer St.
Denver, CO
(720) 379-8340
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Tommy Lee's kitchen aims for authenticity and modern Chinese cuisine. By installing a wood-fired grill, hints of smoke and char enrich several dishes, including a charred Alamosa bass, served fully boned out, deep fried, with steamed Chinese broccoli and a hot and sour refogado.
Hop Alley

5. Stoic & Genuine

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1701 Wynkoop St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 640-3474
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Union Station's multi-coastal seafood house and oyster bar is committed to impeccably-sourced, sustainable, creative seafood preparations, and the whole haddock is a great example of that. Swimming in ponzu sauce and served with the body completely intact, chef Jorel Pierce's preparation comes dressed with thai chili butter, fresh herbs, orange and micro cilantro.
Stoic & Genuine

6. LOLA

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1575 Boulder St
Denver, CO 80211
(720) 570-8686
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Though you're far from a coastline, for coastal Mexican cuisine in Boulder, try the Whole Red Snapper, either baja style – crispy fried with garlic carrot mojo, pickled tomatillo and tartar sauce spiked with red hot chiles – or zarandeado style: chimichurri grilled, chayote, with a radish and watercress salad, sweet potato-cactus hash and warm tortillas.
Courtesy of the Big Red F

7. Annette

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2501 Dallas St
Aurora, CO 80010
(720) 710-9975
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The whole wood-fired fish at this new spot in the Stanley comes with Calabrian chili, parsley, and cauliflower. CALABRIAN CHILI, PARSLEY + CAULIFLOWER
Annette

8. Ototo

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1501 S Pearl St
Denver, CO 80210
(303) 733-2503
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At this sister spot to the iconic Sushi Den on Old South Pearl, the chefs allow guests to choose whether your fish comes steamed or fried. This week, the special offering ls the branzino. The steamed version comes topped with ginger, cilantro, garlic and served new-style with a soy yuzu sauce. If you go the fried route, expect it dusted with cornstarch before being fried and served with ponzu sauce and a lemon wedge.
Sushi Den

9. Basta

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3601 Arapahoe Ave
Boulder, CO 80303
(303) 997-8775
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This wood-fired Boulder restaurant helmed by chef Kelly Whitaker offers a whole fish served with crushed potatoes and lemon.
Basta

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1. El Jefe

2450 W 44th Ave, Denver, CO 80211
Facebook
New to the Sunnyside scene, the no-frills menu at El Jefe is inspired by coastal Mexican regions, including the Yucatán, Oaxaca and Veracruz. The eatery serves gourmet seafood, tacos, margaritas, plus the pescado, fried with citrus slaw, radish and chipotle lime mayo.
2450 W 44th Ave
Denver, CO 80211

2. Fish N Beer

3510 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205
Rachel Greiman
The crispy whole bass at Fish N Beer is all the rage. Grilled over a smoky oak fire, the local fish is sourced in Alamosa, is finished with the restaurant's signature devil butter – grilled onions, salt and pepper, olive oil, roasted chile de arbol, garlic, and apple cider vinegar – left to ooze and melt into the fish.
3510 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205

3. Departure

249 Columbine St, Denver, CO 80206
Departure
Departure embraces its cultural influences in a space that is both daring and harmonious. Take flight as the Halcyon Hotel's signature restaurant from the masterful chef Gregory Gourdet as he presents an inspiring pan-Asian menu. Not to be missed: the crispy whole fried bass with green mango, chili-lime and cashews.
249 Columbine St
Denver, CO 80206

4. Hop Alley

3500 Larimer St., Denver, CO
Hop Alley
Tommy Lee's kitchen aims for authenticity and modern Chinese cuisine. By installing a wood-fired grill, hints of smoke and char enrich several dishes, including a charred Alamosa bass, served fully boned out, deep fried, with steamed Chinese broccoli and a hot and sour refogado.
3500 Larimer St.
Denver, CO

5. Stoic & Genuine

1701 Wynkoop St, Denver, CO 80202
Stoic & Genuine
Union Station's multi-coastal seafood house and oyster bar is committed to impeccably-sourced, sustainable, creative seafood preparations, and the whole haddock is a great example of that. Swimming in ponzu sauce and served with the body completely intact, chef Jorel Pierce's preparation comes dressed with thai chili butter, fresh herbs, orange and micro cilantro.
1701 Wynkoop St
Denver, CO 80202

6. LOLA

1575 Boulder St, Denver, CO 80211
Courtesy of the Big Red F
Though you're far from a coastline, for coastal Mexican cuisine in Boulder, try the Whole Red Snapper, either baja style – crispy fried with garlic carrot mojo, pickled tomatillo and tartar sauce spiked with red hot chiles – or zarandeado style: chimichurri grilled, chayote, with a radish and watercress salad, sweet potato-cactus hash and warm tortillas.
1575 Boulder St
Denver, CO 80211

7. Annette

2501 Dallas St, Aurora, CO 80010
Annette
The whole wood-fired fish at this new spot in the Stanley comes with Calabrian chili, parsley, and cauliflower. CALABRIAN CHILI, PARSLEY + CAULIFLOWER
2501 Dallas St
Aurora, CO 80010

8. Ototo

1501 S Pearl St, Denver, CO 80210
Sushi Den
At this sister spot to the iconic Sushi Den on Old South Pearl, the chefs allow guests to choose whether your fish comes steamed or fried. This week, the special offering ls the branzino. The steamed version comes topped with ginger, cilantro, garlic and served new-style with a soy yuzu sauce. If you go the fried route, expect it dusted with cornstarch before being fried and served with ponzu sauce and a lemon wedge.
1501 S Pearl St
Denver, CO 80210

9. Basta

3601 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80303
Basta
This wood-fired Boulder restaurant helmed by chef Kelly Whitaker offers a whole fish served with crushed potatoes and lemon.
3601 Arapahoe Ave
Boulder, CO 80303

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