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Jul 9, 2010 08:33 AM

Just moved near City Park...Anything good around??

Hi Denver hounds-

I moved from NJ/NYC to Boulder last year and now I'm in Denver (as of last weekend). I've only seen the usual chains (chiptotle, heidi's, chili's) around my area. Are there any hidden gems that you guys can recommend? I'm desperate for any suggestions. I know I can get good Korean in Aurora which is way closer than when i was in Boulder, and pho along Federal. Sushi (sushi sasa or den)....
Mexican, Thai, anything? bueller?

Thanks - look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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    1. re: mmmcqueen

      Yes, "near" is a relative term - taking City Park itself as a point from which to venture in any direction, there's a _lot_ more than the usual chains. Not sure how wide a net you'd like to cast, but......Let's consider Colfax as the southern border of the City Park neighborhood. Between York & Colo. Blvd, there's Annie's Cafe (diner/comfort food, not out of this world but great for families), Mezcal (hipster Mexican, great bar), Atomic Cowboy (decent pizza, and now biscuits for breakfast), two cupcake shops, Goosetown (not bad bar food), Tommy's Thai (nothing amazing, but not a chain), Stella (trattoria, not as good as its former incarnation, Cafe Star, but still an asset to the neighborhood), Bastien's (steakhouse worth a visit for the time-capsule atmosphere, and pretty good to boot).
      Venturing farther east on Colfax, Mataam Fez (Moroccan), Solera (one of the best Mediterranean-inspired places in the city), Phoenician Kabob (Lebanese), and right next door, Habesha (great Ethiopian), Deluxe Burger (just as it sounds), the Elm (bar food), two or three other Ethiopian places, Tacos El Chorizo (haven't actually been but on the list and I've heard good things), Oinks BBQ (new, quick-service style, pretty good but I've only tried it at Feast on the Fax).
      Venturing South on Colorado Blvd. from the park takes you to Snooze for breakfasts (though good luck getting in unless you arrive at 6am), Erawan Cafe (Thai - actually just off Colo at 8th. Family-run place that's been there forever).
      Northeast of the park in Park Hill is Spinelli's Market on 23rd (small family place, good sandwiches), Tables, Cake Crumbs bakery, Satchel's Market (heard good things), more that I'm not remembering.
      17th Avenue west of the Park has pretty much anything you could want between the park and downtown. D-Bar Desserts, Vine Street Pub (brewery), Steuben's (really fun menu), Watercourse Foods (Vegetarian), St. Mark's Coffee (an institution), The Thin Man (great bar), Il Posto (Italian, though can't vouch for it personally), Limon (Peruvian), Parallel 17 (upscale Vietnamese).

      A lot of this is walking distance from the park, depending of course on where you're starting from and your personal definition of "walking distance." While most of the "best of the best of Denver" restaurants are farther afield, there is no shortage of ways to eat and avoid chains.
      And, yes, these are my stomping grounds!

      Cafe Star
      3201 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206

      3230 E. Colfax, Denver, CO 80206

      Il Posto
      2011 E. 17th St, Denver, CO 80206

      Parallel 17
      1600 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80218

      Thin Man
      2015 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80206

      Spinelli's Market
      4621 E 23rd Ave, Denver, CO 80207

      Tacos El Chorizo
      4550 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80220

      Erawan Cafe
      3919 E 8th Ave, Denver, CO 80206

      Limon Restaurant
      1618 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80218

      Tommy's Thai
      3410 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206

      1. re: ShinyObjects

        wow thanks for the post!

        to be more specific 12th and colorado... thanks!!

        1. re: liveloveat34

          Also in that neighborhood....just west on 12th is Chef Zorba's (classic greek greasy spoon), Shells & Sauce (great rooftop patio), The Daily Scoop (frozen custard) and a new wine bar opening soon, I think.
          It's a great place to live. Enjoy!

          Daily Scoop
          3506 E 12th Ave, Denver, CO 80206

          1. re: ShinyObjects

            awesome! yeah i've been wandering around and i love it so far- thanks for all the great recs! really appreciate it :-)

          2. re: liveloveat34

            12th and Colorado puts you a nice 12 minute walk from Steve's Snappin Dogs!

            Steve's Snappin Dogs
            3525 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206

      2. Print out ShinyObjects list as it is pretty impressive and comprehensive. They really know their Denver joints. Among those they couldn't vouch for were Il Posto and Satchels, both of which I can personally attest to being great. There is also a decent Indian food place on Colorado around 7th (look for the Moose Deli strip mall). Weird decorations hint that it was once an Italian joint. Food is solid, though.

        I'm going to venture away from pure restaurants and offer a few other gems in that hood, as it is both my own and my favorite...

        The Daily Scoops ice cream is just a few blocks away from there. They offer chocolate, vanilla and one or two flavors of the day (Cheeburger, cheeburger, Pepsi... No Coke, just Pepsi!). [just noticed this was already mentioned above]

        Recently opened up is Sienna Wine bar. Amateur owner/operators but but they are putting real heart into it and it has some really nice wines. The atmosphere is warm and if they can make it through the learning phase it's going to be great. Eat before going, though.

        Under the Umbrella is on the same strip (few blocks west of you on 12 Ave). It's a coffee shop with some great baked goods.

        In the coffee vein, Daz Bog at 12th and Clayton has one of the best patios in Denver and the staff is awesome. Great place to work, read or escape.

        Depending on when you get to town, try to see a concert in the Botanical Gardens.

        Finally, I just want to mention an event which helped me fall in love with Denver. Jazz in the Park takes place every Sunday evening at 6 in the middle of City Park. Various qualities of music, but great atmosphere. Families and couples of every background bring out blankets and picnics, set up in the grass and celebrate the event's open bottle policy. It will hint back to some of those magic concerts you stumbled upon in Central Park. Get some charcuterie and cheese from Truffle on the nearby 6th Ave. and make your picnic. This season the wood fired pizza at the event has been fine and the Cake Crumbs van has delicious cupcakes. Favor the flavor of the day, especially if it is the Chocolate Chili flavor.

        Il Posto
        2011 E. 17th St, Denver, CO 80206

        Central Park
        1815 S State St, Orem, UT 84097

        3 Replies
        1. re: mmmcqueen

          thank you! i actually tried out the indian place for lunch and was very pleasantly surprised! it was really good- we were trying to go to Snooze but the wait was too long so decided to try it out. i will def be back soon.

          1. re: liveloveat34

            As an add on, Encore is worth a stop during happy hour. Its food was once really great, but that has become inconsistent. The happy hour, however, is solid with good drink prices and a nice fig and prosciutto (the Fig and Pig) for five bucks.

            1. re: liveloveat34

              Ooh, good to hear the Indian place is decent. I've been wanting to try it, but was really hoping to hear a firsthand review from someone first. It's much closer to me than Little India, and I think cheaper, too!

          2. Cherry Tomato is a nice neighborhood Italian place.

            Cherry Tomato
            4645 E 23rd Ave, Denver, CO 80207

            1. Welcome to the neighborhood! I'm in the middle of Congress Park, just a few blocks west. The post has covered almost everything (Solera and Phoenician Kabob top my list). I am embarrassed to say I've never even considered the Indian place across from Snooze, I'll be sure to check it out.

              Some additional places that haven't been mentioned, but I still consider close....Table 6, Barolo, and Fruition for nice meals (Potager has potential but can be hit or miss. I usually wind up at Table 6 instead). Cherry Cricket, while also inconsistent on the food side, is a fun dive bar and capable of serving the best burger you've ever had. Plus they have a great selection of beers. Also in Cherry Creek are Piatti for good Italian that's cheaper than Barolo, and Ondo's a fairly new tapas bar. While the food at Ondo's didn't blow me away, they had great happy hour specials,a nice space, and good service. Oh and for breakfast in Cherry Creek, Crepes & Crepes is always fun. And Elway's for brunch...surprisingly affordable hearty portions of quality food.

              If you find good Mexican, let me know. I almost cried when they closed down 3 Potrillos at the corner of Colorado & I-70, best darn carne asada ever. 2 years later, still seeking a suitable replacement. We're covered on burritos and tacos, plenty of those joints around. But no carne asada.

              Table 6
              609 Corona St., Denver, CO 80218

              Crepes & Crepes
              2816 E 3rd Ave, Denver, CO 80206

              Elway's Restaurant
              2500 E 1st Ave Ste B101, Denver, CO 80206