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Oct 10, 2012 07:38 AM

One dinner in/near downtown Denver?

Fruition, Rioja, Squeaky Bean or Frasca?

Or some other place?


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  1. Are you aware that Frasca is in Boulder? Boulder's not that far away - about 30 miles - but since the only thing you've mentioned is that you're looking for a place that's in or near downtown Denver, the others might meet your needs better.

    14 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Yeah, I did.

      We'll be at UC for part of the time, but staying primarily in downtown. So Frasca works.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        Weekday or weekend? If weekday, time your travel around what are brutal LA quality rush hours along 36.

        You should also consider The Fort in Morrison, the Buckhorn Exchange in Denver, and the Flagstaff House in Boulder. All are compatible with how I read your tastes and eccentricities. The Penrose Room at the Broadmoor is an easy 1 hour drive south, and is elegantly 5 star.

        1. re: Veggo

          I do not think those restaurants are at all similar to Frasca, Fruition, Rioja or Squeaky Bean.

          I also completely disagree with the "brutal LA quality rush hours along 36." I don't commute on 36 anymore, but used to regularly and still occasionally drive it, and I think the 36 commute is pretty tame compared to most large cities. What is a typically 30 minute drive at non-rush hour times (ie at 60mph) varies from 30-45 minutes on most days during rush hour. Every rare now and then, it can take up to an hour. And once or twice a year, usually during a big snowstorm, it can take hours or "can't get there from here".

          1. re: LurkerDan

            Thanks. I recommended 4 alternative restaurants precisely because they are distinctively dissimilar from the 4 being considered, and the OP invited additional options.

            1. re: Veggo

              Okay, let's all play nice. :)

              I don't live in Denver, but I visited recently. I didn't go to any of the four in the original query. But I went to Penrose Room and Flagstaff House (additional recommendations posted in the replies above), and Euclid Hall (sister restaurant to Rioja) so I can tell you about those. I thought Penrose Room and Flagstaff House were both world-class, for food, service, decor, etc. If I were visiting Denver and Boulder and had to choose just one, it would be Flagstaff House, for its gorgeous view overlooking Boulder as well as the shorter distance to get there.

              I really loved Euclid Hall, although it's very much a casual place with a beer hall atmosphere. In particular, I had the best dessert I've had in a loooong time, their "s'mores pot de creme".

              I'll add one note. Before my trip, I knew I wanted to try the Penrose Room, and I needed to choose a second place, a really nice place with great food. Four places in Denver and Boulder seemed to get the most praise around here: Fruition, Frasca, Kevin Taylor, and Flagstaff House. I went to their websites and took a look at their menus to help me decide, and the Flagstaff House menu really won me over. And oh, that magnificent view!

              1. re: nsxtasy

                @Veggo and nsxtasy

                We already have reservations at Flagstaff House.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Report back ...

                        Squeaky Bean. If the food wasn't so good, it would be a tragic case of style over function. And sometimes it is. Loud loud space.

                        Flagstaff House. A rare instance of when the food rivals the view. And the service.

                        Kelly Liken. If this is best of Vail then visitors need to get used to the idea that McDonalds is ok for dinner.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Ipse, you didn't tell us that Vail was in the loop. I know it's popular to bash a restaurant with a nice vibe, but Sweet Basil is consistent, professional, and good, and has been for many years, and it has an off-menu foie gras for you left-coasters.

                          Glad you enjoyed the Flagstaff House.

                          1. re: Veggo

                            We had one meal at Vail, it was already predetermined. Thanks though ...

                          2. re: ipsedixit

                            What did you not like about your meal at Kelly Liken? Comparing it to McDonalds seems kind of harsh.

                            1. re: rlm

                              The salad of mixed greens was too sweet, as was my pork cheeks which was so sweet it reminded me of a cherry Tootsie Roll. My trout was as dry as a cardboard.

                              I had a taste of my companion's shrimp n grits and it was gummy, and tasted it bit like Elmer's Glue. The duck breast was also overcooked.

                              I did, however, like our scotch flight. Probably the highlight of the meal.

        2. Frasca. Without question. If I ever moved, it is the one place I would fly back for.