The Local’s Guide to Denver, According to a Food Editor

5280 Magazine food editor Denise Mickelsen gives her local guide to Denver, Colorado’s best places to dine, drink, stay, and play.

7 p.m. – A Food Editor’s Happy Places

My happy place is the lounge at Tavernetta, the stylish-yet-casual Italian sister restaurant to Boulder’s fine-dining bastion Frasca Food and Wine, located on the platform behind the Union Station terminal. Any seat in the house will afford you a luxe, hospitality-driven dining experience, but the lounge, reserved for walk-ins only, is a fun, buzzy place to dine. Grab a seat near the fireplace if you can, and revel in gracious service, perfect cocktails, an award-winning wine list, and Tavernetta’s crave-able cooking. (The gnocchi with lamb ragu and tiramisu are two must-orders on a menu filled with them.)

Should you not be able to score a seat at Tavernetta, head across the alley to Sunday Vinyl, the third sibling restaurant from the same restaurant group. There you’ll be treated to a sexy, low-lit, European-style wine bar vibe; snacks and small plates across a low-high spectrum (Low: Cheez Its-inspired crackers, deviled eggs, sausage burgers. High: lobster toast, rack of lamb, cream puffs); and entertainment via the vinyl-only sound system and people-watching on the train platform.

Daughter Thai is another favorite that has brought upscale Thai food to downtown. I dream about chef-owner Ounjit Hardacre’s frog leg larb salad and blue crab kai kem curry, and the restaurant space is lively and colorful.

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