New Denver Restaurants You’ll Want to Try This Summer


Mojo pork chops marinated in whole citrus fruits and garlic, congri rice and beans, plus sweet and savory fried plantains and pollo a la brasa made with Peruvian black mint huacatay.

Here are some of the Latin American and Caribbean dishes from the all-new menu at Lucina, which opened this month in Park Hill.

Diego Coconati, Michelle Nguyen and Erasmo Casiano, business partners of Create Cooking School, said they had no plans to open a restaurant celebrating the culinary traditions of the Americas.

“For us, it’s just the food we grew up on,” Casiano said. “But our culture, in terms of Latin America and the Caribbean, has much more to offer than lime juice, tortillas and cumin. We kind of wanted to explore Latin America and show people how these dishes were derived.

  • Hosted by Lucine

    The owners of Lucina, a new Park Hill restaurant, from left: Diego Coconati; Michelle Nguyen; and Erasmo (Ras) Casiano. (Provided by Lucia)

  • Prince Edward Island Mussels from Lucina with ...

    Hosted by Lucine

    Lucina’s Prince Edward Island Mussels with Iberian Chorizo ​​and Tomato Sofrito is a popular menu item for $17.

At their Create cooking school at the Stanley Marketplace, the team focuses more on continental European dishes. In fact, they originally thought Lucina would open as an Italian restaurant.

But Spanish tapas are the only signs of Europe on Lucina’s menu: “We wanted to make sure we put these dishes front and center in an accessible way,” Casiano said.

Equally accessible are the cocktails and “dulces,” which already attract happy hour regulars and keep them lingering until dessert. Pico Tinto is a concoction of red wine with ginger, honey, sherry and lime. Abuelita’s Xocolatl is a cinnamon chocolate cake with vanilla custard.

“We wanted a space that was great from start to finish,” Casiano said.

From the Park Hill neighborhood to the entertainment district of Greenwood Village, here are four other spots we recommend checking out throughout the summer, each with their own story to share.

If you are going to Lucina: 2245 Kearney St.,

Cocktails at the new Sky Bar...

From hip photo courtesy of Sky Bar

Cocktails at the new Sky Bar inside Stanley Marketplace follow the bar’s aviation theme. Some are named after destinations, like Tokyo, with whiskey, ginger, amaretto, lemon, sesame, egg white and furikake. (From Hip photo, courtesy of Sky Bar)

Sky Bar (Stanley Market – Aurora)

A tendril poses for a portrait...

From hip photo courtesy of Sky Bra

A tendril poses for a portrait in front of one of the aviation-themed walls at Stanley Marketplace’s new Sky Bar.

You’ll have to search to find it, but this upstairs bar at Stanley Marketplace in Aurora is a hidden gem of a cocktail bar. The ambience is that of the golden age of air travel, which nods to the market hall’s past as a Stanley Aviation factory.

After taking the elevator (by Sweet Cow) you’ll arrive at this retro airport lounge, where you can order from a list of destination-themed cocktails and refined classics, from martinis to daiquiris and tendrils. Try the Tokyo with whiskey, amaretto, lemon, ginger, sesame, egg white mousse and furikake spices in the glass.

There’s no dinner service to speak of, unless you count the martini olives, but downstairs at the market you’ll find everything you need in that regard. Remember: children are allowed everywhere in the market, but adults are only allowed in the salon.

2501 Dallas Street,

  • The new Carrera's Tacos in Greenwood...

    Josie Sexton, The Denver Post

    New Carrera’s Tacos in Greenwood Village specializes in “West Coast” Mexican street food. Find Baja fish tacos, birria and elote on the menu.

  • The new Carrera's Tacos in Greenwood...

    Josie Sexton, The Denver Post

    New Carrera’s Tacos in Greenwood Village specializes in “West Coast” Mexican street food. Find Baja fish tacos, birria and elote on the menu.

Carrera Tacos (Greenwood Village)

Brothers Josh and Ryan Carrera worked their way through San Diego’s restaurant scene before moving to Denver and starting their food truck, which they just transformed into a brick-and-mortar restaurant. The premise is the Mexican west coast, the likes of which they couldn’t find anywhere else in Colorado, they said.

“Cali” burritos stuffed to the brim with steak, cream, salsa, cheese and fried potatoes are a house specialty, as are birria tacos with grilled cheese and consommé for dipping . For something a little lighter, order the tempura-breaded fish tacos or opt for the shrimp aguachile with tostadas.

The little taquería is located on the same stretch of Arapahoe Road as Pindustry and Grange Hall, and a stone’s throw from Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater. As this Arapahoe entertainment district takes shape, Carrera’s is already positioned to be one of the best local dining options in the neighborhood.

7939 E. Arapahoe Road,

Among its other culinary specialties "mash-ups," Street ...

Josie Sexton, The Denver Post

Among its other culinary “mashups,” Street Feud features four different types of fries with cooking-specific topics. On the left, K-Pop comes with crispy pork belly, kimchi, sour cream and green onions. On the right, the Luk Thung includes peanut sauce, long beans, bean sprouts and a hard-boiled egg.

Street Quarrel (East Colfax/Hale)

Chef Merlin Verrier’s Street Feud has grown from a food stand at Avanti F&B to multiple counters at number 38 and now a stand-alone restaurant in the Colfax space once occupied by the Solera Wine Bar. With his new large-scale restaurant, the former Kitchen Next Door chef mixes the traditions of street food from South Korea to Mexico.

Its loaded fries — most similar to poutine — come in combinations like K-Pop, with crispy pork belly and kimchi, or Mariachi, with pickled jalapeños and salsa verde. Wraps, bowls, bao rolls and tacos round out the menu, with toppings inspired by Thai, Indonesian and Indian cuisines.

The restaurant is eye candy, with street art on the walls and Mod-Podge posters on the ceiling. A terrace has just opened for the season and a liquor license should not be long in coming; for now, you can order sodas, Thai iced teas, and Vietnamese iced coffees on a hot summer day.

5410 E. Colfax Avenue,

  • Milk Tea People in downtown Denver...

    Josie Sexton, The Denver Post

    Milk Tea People, at the new Basecamp at Market Station complex in downtown Denver, is a modern Japanese-style teahouse serving fun iced and hot tea drinks like Jasmine Cream Cheese and Matcha Cream at the strawberry.

  • The Milk Tea People team, ...

    Josie Sexton, The Denver Post

    The Milk Tea People team, left to right: Jon Hinh, Jason Hinh, Tim Gardner and Kevin Ung.

The Milk Tea People (Downtown)

You probably didn’t know you needed a cheese tea, ube jasmine latte, strawberry matcha or watermelon teaki in your life. But these fun drinks are the essence of summer. Business partners Tim Gardner and Kevin Ung scoured Asia and the United States for tea shops before opening Milk Tea People in downtown Denver. They want to share the modern tea culture they’ve come to love in other cities with locals and visitors to Colorado.

“We couldn’t really find a place where they made drinks like these with real ingredients,” Ung said, describing Milk Tea’s gourmet approach to caffeinated beverages. Take Strawberry Matcha, for example, which combines organic strawberry puree with ceremonial (high-quality) matcha from Kyoto and grass-fed milk.

Cane sugar is the only ingredient used to sweeten the drinks, but their combinations of fruit, cream and tea create a decadent effect. You’ll want to try one on the next hot day and you might just be hooked enough to come back, one drink at a time, and sample the rest of the menu.

1641 market street,

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