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Colorado Restaurant Gems
Highly Recommended Personal Choices... emphasizing unique and original places,
beyond the chains, hotels or fad spots for the rich and famous.

Non commercial reviews

CO Map  |  CO Mt. Map    Updates 5/30/2011

Colorado is a unique, sometimes spectacular place to visit and live.  The Rocky Mountains are dramatic, fun and challenging and attract tourist and hikers worldwide. Colorado has approximately 550 mountain peaks that exceed 13,000 feet elevation.  The fast-growing "Front Range" is home to four million people, most of whom came here from another state or region.  Denver's state-of-the-art "DIA" international airport is a literal hub with 52,000,000 passengers passing through the airport in 2010.

The question "where should we eat" also can be fun and a challenge.  Many tourist guides, commercial web sites and media outlets include restaurants lists, some based on paid content or tourist popularity.

This web report brings you consumer-written reviews of several real restaurant "finds in Colorado.  We've skipped the big hotels and the predictable chains, although you may find a good meal there.  Our choices here may not be in AAA or the tourist guides, but based on personal experience, we think you will find interesting, original food, friendly, knowledgeable local staff and fair prices.

Our review team: Colorado Restaurant Gems is a project of two residents of Wheat Ridge, Colorado, ten miles west of Denver.  One is a Denver native, who also spent years in Boston. One spent most of his life in New York, Connecticut and Boston before moving to Colorado a dozen years ago. In Boston he co-directed the "Boston Restaurant Project" which compiled consumer evaluations of more than 800 eating establishments in that city.  They also have traveled and sampled numerous restaurants in Albuquerque, Annapolis, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Mexico City, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland (Maine & Oregon), San Antonio, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Seattle, Tucson, Washington and others.


Art Gatherings Cafe      | 9110 Ralston Road, Arvada, CO  | 303-424-6543  | star.gif (561 bytes)star.gif (561 bytes)star.gif (561 bytes)

An unusual blend of neighborhood cafe and sophisticated dining experience in an out-of-the-way converted residence.  Opened in 2006, it specializes in practical, affordable gourmet breakfasts (Salmon Benedict Florentine for $10; "artistico Burrito" with choice of chorizo or country sausage, cheese scrambled egg, potato and fresh fruit smothered in Chef's Green Chili for $7.50). Dinner early bird specials (5-6 pm) vary, but recently included authentic, tasty "Lump Blue Crab Cakes" w/ veg. and herbed rice for $11; Roasted pork tenderloin w/ pepper sauce and blue cheese for $10. Regular dinners include: "Rabbit en sauce Peccant" w/ traditional Louisiana Red sauce for $18; Northwest "Salmon Beurre Blanc" for $18. and "Duck Two Ways" of tender breast and crispy leg for $19.  One of the only places to allow you to bring your own wine or beer (as of Oct 2007) while they apply for a license.

Menu, no | Other reviews | Hours: 8-11; lunch: 11-2; dinner 5-9 Tue-Sat, closed Mon.  | Directions: About one mile west of Wadsworth Blvd.


Luke's - A Steak Place | 3300 Youngfield St , Unit 7A Wheat Ridge, CO 80033  |  303 238-8866| star.gif (561 bytes)star.gif (561 bytes)star.gif (561 bytes)

Steak restaurants are a predictable feature of many cities, certainly including Colorado with its numerous cattle herds.  Luke's competes well enough with the big tourist spots - but the real appeal is that it is an authentic local place with no pretensions or themes, and some of the fairest prices for superior quality beef in any city.  The steaks are great, generous, with many portions priced by size, and cooked exactly to order by knowledgeable staff.  Tucked in a corner of a unassuming strip mall one block north of I-70.  This place is in our home town but we would go out of our way if we wanted steak.

Menu [no] | Other reviews | Hours:  | Directions: Just off I-70 at the Kipling Exit, 8 miles west of Denver and directly enroute to the mountains. | map


Thai Green and Sushi  | 4990 Kipling St., Wheat Ridge, CO 80033 | 303 422-3300 | star.gif (561 bytes)star.gif (561 bytes)star.gif (561 bytes)star.gif (561 bytes)

This brand new Thai restaurant is a welcome creative addition to the Denver-West area, strategically located at I-70 as it heads into the Rocky Mountains.  A visit on their 3rd day led to 3 out of 3 successes.  The Green Dragon Roll (spicy tuna roll w/ avocado, Tabasco and masago (roe) ($10.25) had 9 generous pieces- colorful, authentic  and gourmet.  Panang Curry ($6.50 lunch until 4 pm; $9.95 dinner)  with chicken was a large portion, very flavorful, mostly meat plus just-right onion, green pepper and bits of  lotus root and potato.  Chicken Coconut Soup ($2.50 small; $5.95 lg.) was well spiced, creative and promptly served.  Other interesting features: Seafood Satay (shrimp, fish & scallops on skewer, $12.95), Crispy Duck half ($10.50) and Grilled Lime Pepper Shrimp ($11.50).  Don't be put off by the strip mall setting, next to King Sooper- this is the real thing.

Menu [no] | Other reviews | Hours:  Sun.-Thurs.: 11:00 am - 9:30 pm; Fri-Sat.: 11:00 am -10:00 pm | Directions: Just off I-70 at the Youngfield exit, 10 miles west of Denver and directly enroute to the mountains. | map


Vincenza's Italian Bakery & Deli | 8000 W. 44th Ave. Wheat Ridge, CO, 80033 | 303-420-8400 | star.gif (561 bytes)star.gif (561 bytes)star.gif (561 bytes)star.gif (561 bytes)

If you like authentic, home-cooked Southern Italian food, you won't go wrong at Vincenza's. Despite the "bakery/deli" name this is a real sit-down, family style restaurant. open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.   Founded by Sicilians, the menu features home-made pasta and generous portions of some favorites: Chicken cacciatore, Lasagna. Recently "discovered" by city reviewers.   Almost all dinner entrees are under $16; less a lunch.  Also offers a breakfast buffet.
The bakery counter serves up fresh desserts and fabulous Sicilian breads.

Menu, no | Other reviews | Hours: | Directions: Located three blocks west of Wadsworth Boulevard, eight blocks south of I-70 exit.


Vinárna U Maltézských rytíru (At Knights of Malta)| Prokopská 10, Malá Strana, Prague, Czech Republic | 257-533-666 | star.gif (561 bytes)star.gif (561 bytes)star.gif (561 bytes)star.gif (561 bytes)

For a unique historical and culinary experience, try this tiny restaurant on the ground floor and in the cellar of a 16th-century burgher's house on a narrow Knights of Malta Restaurant-PragueMalá Strana side street in Prague, near the 13th century Castle.  They offer one of the friendliest, elegant and most reasonable home-cooked Czech meals in central Prague. The atmosphere makes you feel as if you've been invited into the family's home for a cozy candlelit dinner. The menu offers a fine and affordable chateaubriand for two, a thick filet of pikeperch in wine leaf, and a Duck breast served with walnut sauce, apple stuffed with red cabbage and potato gnocchi for 370KC. Veal medallions are served with guacamole creme, marinated sweet capsicum and fettuccine is 350,KC. Save room for the flaky strudel served with egg cognac for 110KC; owner Nadia Cerníková's apple strudel keeps the regulars coming back.
  Main courses 230KC-770KC ($9.55-$32).   Information based on a family visit Jan. 5, 2008.

Menu | Other reviews | Hours: daily 13:00-23:00, may be shorter in winter |  Directions: 3 blocks west of the famous Charles Bridge.    Note: this is a 22-hour trip from Denver, so it is best combined with other travel in Central Europe!