New & Hot Places

Hottest Restaurants in Denver

What's on Denver's shortlist of hot spots right now? Glad you asked. The buzz is strong with these 10 places, all opened within the past six months.

Sweet Cooie's Ice Cream and Confectionery

NewIce Cream ShopCongress Park
Though not housed in a giant milk jug like its sibling Little Man, this Congress Park soda fountain exudes charm all its own with old-fashioned, eggshell-blue decor and a full line of treats from ice cream scoops, shakes and sundaes to housemade chocolates. It's also committed to donating a portion of its proceeds to charity.

Must-order: An ice cream sandwich or a cotton-candy waffle cone

Insider tip: Now through February 28, creative kiddos are invited to submit valentines in a parent's honor that explain what ice cream flavor mom or dad would be and why. Not only will the winning flavor be added to the lineup, but its inventor will receive an ice cream social for the whole family. Get the full details at the shop.

Annette

NewAurora
Snug yet light and airy, this polished New American haunt in Aurora's Stanley Marketplace marks the debut of former Acorn sous chef Caroline Glover, who turns out farm-centric menus of wood-fired, globally influenced fare for brunch, lunch and dinner. The equally well-curated beverage list consists of a handful of craft cocktails and beers as well as about 20 boutique wines by the bottle.

Must-order: Charred endive, whole roasted bass, grilled cheese sandwich (lunch or brunch only)

Insider tip: Fun fact for fans of RiNo Yacht Club: Co-owner (and 30 Under 30 alum) McLain Hedges designed the cocktail list.   

Hearth & Dram

NewAmericanLoDo
Suave, au courant wood-fired cuisine from chef Jeffrey Wall complements cocktails from a bar boasting more than 300 whiskeys at this New American destination in LoDo. It's all served against the wood, steel and glass backdrop of the dramatic dining room, which overlooks Union Station.

Must-order: Crispy sunchokes, fried crab, hen of the woods with celeriac, gnocchi with uni cream (pictured), grilled branzino — or a preordered Whole Beast Feast

Insider tip: If this doesn’t look like the kind of place where you could catch the game, guess again — those gilt-framed mirrors behind the bar (pictured top) are elaborate covers for TVs.  

Il Posto

NewSeafoodRiver North Art District
Contemporary piatti "prepared with ingenuity" and "genuine flair" by an "engaging" Milanese chef-owner and served by a crew that's "happy to explain" the "complex daily menu" has earned this "cosmopolitan" RiNo Italian spot a "devoted following"; relocated from City Park West, its much larger space boasts a mezzanine, sculptural booths, dramatic lighting, an exhibition kitchen and a full bar, and while tabs aren't especially cheap, lunch will be less of a "pinch on the wallet."

Must-order: Beef-fat candle, riccio di mare, linguine nere with calamari, short-rib risotto, scallops in lobster bisque

Insider tip: If it’s a special evening, book a table on the mezzanine in advance for an intimate perch with a view.    

STK Denver

NewSteakhouseLoDo
LoDo adds another steakhouse to its stable with this flashy outpost of a national chain, where global influences put a contemporary gloss on the standard roster of chops and shellfish with all the trimmings – while kicky cocktails and a convivial lounge atmosphere lure the nightlife crowd.

Must-order: Besides steak, Colorado lamb (pictured) and bison

Insider tip: In a town as casual as Denver, feeling underdressed is rare. But trust us — if you put a little extra effort into looking sharp before coming here, you'll be glad you did.

1550 Market St.; 720-597-8010

12@MADISON

NewCongress Park
Low-key refinement defines Jeff Osaka's Congress Park bistro, where California-influenced New American small plates (from ricotta gnudi to lamb tagine) and large-format daily specials meet a varied wine list plus a well-edited selection of craft beer and cocktails. Art gallery-like in its crisp simplicity, the narrow, L-shaped space boasts a chef's counter, a back bar and a small patio.

Must-order: Portuguese sardines (pictured), veal sweetbreads, the Bee’s Knees cocktail

Insider tip: Happy hour isn't just for grown-ups anymore: from 4 to 6 PM, 12 offers a three-course kids' menu to ease your little ones into fine dining.

1160 Madison St.; 720-216-0190

Mizu Izakaya

NewSushiLoHi
Funky art, dramatic woodwork and other chic details distinguish this date night–worthy LoHi izakaya, where a diverse menu of Japanese plates – including yakitori, ramen, sushi and more – awaits alongside an equally varied list of beverages from the bar.

Must-order: Frog's legs karaage (pictured), cream pork kimchi, Mizu roll

Insider tip: Don't overlook the list of daily specials, featuring such surprises as insalata caprese with Fernet dressing. 

1560 Boulder St.; 720-372-7100

Dio Mio - Handmade Pasta

NewRiver North Art District
Chefs Alex Figura and Spencer White (both formerly of Lower48) turn out the traditional and original fresh pastas that star at this RiNo counter serve, also offering smart Italian small plates and drinks from the full bar in a minimalist white-on-white setting.

Must-order: The veggie sandwich (lunch only), braised short ribs, mint fazzoletti, sunchoke mezzaluna

Insider tip: Rowdy kids in tow? Sit in back — the video screening on the wall will mesmerize them. 

3264 Larimer St.; 303-562-1965

Fish N Beer

NewSeafoodRiver North Art District
Along with Kevin Morrison of Tacos Tequila Whiskey, chef/co-owner Aniedra Nichols (ex Elway's) brings a bit of the coastline to RiNo via this sardine can–sized dinner spot with the charm of a classic raw bar enhanced by a seasonal seafood menu that skews contemporary. A roster of craft beers and cocktails, plus a handful of fish-friendly wines by the glass, are also offered inside the warm space or out on the back patio.

Must-order: Fish charcuterie board, grilled oysters with devil butter (pictured), mushroom steak, FNB French saison (an exclusive from Ratio Beerworks)

Insider tip: Oyster lovers and workweek haters, this one's for you: Happy hour runs from open to close on Mondays.

3510 Larimer St.; 303-248-3497

The Denver Central Market

Food CourtRiver North Art District
In a beautifully restored old building, this RiNo food hall has it all: a butcher, fishmonger, greengrocer, salumeria, rotisserie, bakery, pizzeria, creamery, chocolatier and coffee counter – many of which are run by well-known chefs. A full bar dispenses drinks you can take with you as you shop, or pair with a meal while perched at any of the central communal tables.

Must-order: To name just a few of a wide array: egg-challah scramble with pork belly at Izzio, the salumi cone and grilled cheese sandwich at Culture Meat and Cheese, oysters at Silva's Market, the Massimeno pizza at Vero (pictured), SK Provisions' porchetta and a five-scoop flight at High Point Creamery

Insider tip: Though the market closes at 8 PM, rest assured that its house bar, Curio, keeps the party going until 10 PM on weeknights and midnight on weekends. 

2669 Larimer St.

You’re missing out

The Zagat app helps you find the best places, faster.

No thanksInstall