Nile Ethiopian Restaurant-Ethiopian Yellow Pages
Some Ethiopian restaurants in Denver are intimate and cozy — great for getting to know a cuisine without distraction. Then there’s the Nile Ethiopian Restaurant(Ethiopian Yellow Pages), which is so raucous on weekends, you almost feel like you stumbled into a family wedding. But with big sampler platters that arrive as a mosaic of colorful stews atop spongy injera bread (the deep color is a sign that Ethiopian teff flour is the main ingredient), you can explore the vegetarian choices made with lentils or soft-cooked vegetables while still getting your fill of beef, lamb and chicken dishes like spicy, buttery kitfo (similar to tartare); complex, brick-red doro wot complete with hard-boiled eggs; and fiery lamb awaze, with tender cubes of meat in chili-like sauce. The Nile is a celebration of Ethiopia you won’t want to miss.
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Chef/restaurateur Lon Symensma picked the right person to oversee Cho77 when he opened this mailbox-sized Asian eatery on South Broadway three years ago. Right-hand man Ryan Gorby keeps turning out winners, whether they’re dead-on renditions of such classic street food as chicken coconut curry styled after northern Thai khow soi (served in a metal lunchbox), tempting fusion snacks like bacon-cheeseburger shu mai, or one of his house inventions, such as wok-seared duck leg with fragrant jasmine rice. A seat at the bar gives you a view of the kitchen, where the flames roar beneath hot woks, dumplings steam in bamboo baskets, and knives gleam and flash in the dim light. You may be on trendy Broadway surrounded by bars, bistros and bands, but this is as close to a Southeast Asian night market as you’ll get without leaving Denver.
With so many wonderful restaurants lining West 32nd Avenue, it could be hard to pick a favorite. But we’re particularly high on Spuntino, a charming Italian restaurant in Highland. When they purchased Spuntino from the original owners, employees Elliot Strathmann and Cindhura Reddy gave the place new life, something to be celebrated…and Spuntino’s fans do. Tables and seats at the bar fill up quickly with diners enjoying chef Reddy’s superb porchetta, expertly made pastas, a seasonal burrata spread or the arancini with Hatch chiles and smoked white cheddar. The wine and cocktail lists sing with elegant and enjoyable options, creating the perfect pairings for a lovely evening. Strathmann also makes his own amaro, which you should definitely sample at the end of a meal here. Whether you’re looking for a special night out or just strolling along 32nd, Spuntino is a must-stop.
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