Crepes with orange and cream on brunch plates

Top 15 Brunch Spots Around Denver in 2022

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The Top 12 Places for Brunch Around Denver

I like to tell people that aren’t from Denver that on Sundays, people here are religiously devoted to one of 3 things: church, football, or brunch. I definitely fall into the last 2 categories — so it’s a delicate juggle between my 49ers and my mimosas in the Fall. Having been all over town for that sacred weekend meal, I want to share my top 12 favorites with you all!

Marcella’s Kicks Off Sunday Brunch Italian Style in LoHi

My favorite Italian place in town is now doing Sunday brunch 10am to 3pm! Marcella’s (right on Central Street in LoHi) has always had fantastic Italian food, a fun atmosphere, and one of the best happy hours I’ve ever seen (50% off almost everything but the entrees, and that includes pizza). Well, they’ve finally launched a brunch menu! I had a chance to try it at a tasting event the other week — and I’ve got to tell you — it’s a must-try.

In Italy, eggs and waffles and all that are less of a thing for breakfast. Instead, you’ve got melon, prosciutto (and other meats), and cheeses. I absolutely did not complain about that when I was in Italy. Or the enormous pitchers of Sangria. (The red and white Sangria are both really good at Marcella’s, by the way. And they go fantastically with meat and cheese.)

Meats, meats, and more meats. Yes, yes, and yes. This also exists on the regular menu (and the 50% off happy hour).

You may be amazed to hear that I loved a vegan dish, but I did. The “Sicilian Caponata” with roasted eggplant and other veggies. This is an app that also exists on the regular menu (and the 50% off happy hour).

Truffle Eggs: poached eggs, toasted ciabatta, taleggio cheese. A fantastic, creamy, flavorful vegetarian breakfast dish.

As the main photo on the post might suggest, this was actually my favorite dish. Ricotta crepes with macerated strawberries and almonds. It’s all just so perfectly paired and fluffy and delicate and just sweet enough. And it reminds me of childhood breakfasts at home in Ukraine where my grandpa would make huge piles of perfectly-thin, perfectly-round crepes with a side of blended fresh strawberries (just picked from our farm) and fresh cottage cheese from the neighbor’s cow.

No brunch is complete without a Nutella option. I don’t know what it is about Nutella. Our neighbors pointed out that apparently my face looks like I’m experiencing some sort of nirvana-like moment when I eat Nutella. I am. Can you blame me?

Yes, it’s an omelette. It not may be particularly unique, other than the caprese salad on the side, but it’s delicious. And I’ve had a lot of mediocre omelettes that weren’t delicious.

Apparently, breakfast pizza is a thing. (I guess I’ve simply never discovered breakfast pizza before.) That’s burrata on there by the way — which goes so well with sunny eggs. And before you dismiss it because you don’t see meat: just know it has N’duja (a slightly spicy spreadable pork). You’re welcome.

More meat! This time, it’s the Short Rib Hash. I’ve yet to be disappointed by any slow-cooked meat at Marcella’s, and this was no exception.

I have no idea how it was possible to fit anything else into our stomachs, but we managed. Because these:

And once we walked out of this brunch, we decided to buy one of the condos in the new condo building going up a block away — so you know it was good 😉

El Five Starts Serving Brunch — Accompanied by Beautiful Rooftop Views and Amazing Mediterranean Bites

Whenever anyone asks me what new restaurant they have to visit while in Denver — or what restaurant is perfect for a date — these days, I say El Five. The views of Denver are just incomparable, the service is always top notch, and the Mediterranean-inspired food and drinks are creative and mouthwatering. So I was so excited when I found out that they have recently started doing brunch! Yes, it’s not cheap — and El Five is generally not cheap. But is it worth it? Absolutely. For $47, you get a cocktail, access to the buffet, and one main entree dish. And before you scoff, read on.

BRUNCH: SUNDAYS 10-2PM (reservations recommended)

You can see the view of downtown in the background below. You just don’t get this good of a view anymore. Not unless you’re at Linger or El Five. And the cocktail is also exceptional, — a mix of rosé, apricot purée, champagne, vodka — if I remember correctly. I could easily drink 10 of these with a smile on my face.

So when I say it’s no ordinary buffet — I mean it. This is an assortment of items from the buffet, which includes spicy mediterranean shrimp, Jamon Iberico on toasted bread, bacon-wrapped dates, tuna-stuffed peppadews, madeleines, beignets, croissants, some sort of cauliflower-in-pastry triangle of wonder, and more. Just the buffet alone would have been worth the price considering how many times I went back. And yes, I’m slightly embarrassed about that.

For my main, I had latkes topped with crab, pickles beats, and dill, eggs — and a bunch of other things I can’r remember. It was tender and flavorful and amazing — and it kind of reminded me of home in Eastern Europe. Maybe the Israeli influence?

All in all, a fantastic experience. Even if you can’t afford to do it every weekend, it’s worth checking out at least once. You’ll probably see me there 😉

Beautiful Views & Delicious Dishes for Date Night at El Five

This post is long overdue, but it’s been a very busy holiday season for me since Thanksgiving. I got a chance to finally visit El Five right before Thanksgiving, though, and it was absolutely Ah-Mazing. El Five opened in LoHi (right next to Linger) earlier this year, and it’s been a really cool addition to the Denver dining scene. It’s a Mediterranean tapas restaurant from Justin Cucci, featuring both traditional and modern plates inspired by all the different Mediterranean countries — from Spain, to Gibraltar, to Morocco. I rarely love every single dish I try at a restaurant, but this was exceptional. There were 6 of us here, and no one could find fault with anything — drinks and service included.

The rooftop views here also make it the perfect spot for a romantic date night. It’s right across the highway from downtown, so you get a straight shot of the downtown skyline.

As far as cocktails go, there are some really fun, creative options here. Such as the Zombie (amber, dark and overproof rums, lime, falernum, passionfruit, absinthe) — and the Pineapple Mint Collins (vodka, sekanjabin, lime, pineapple, mint, soda). The wine list is also amazing, and I highly recommend chatting with their wonderful sommelier (Kelley Pottle Graham) to find the perfect pairing, or even get something that’s not on the menu.

As a starter, we loved the Mediterranean Sea plate — I believe what’s on it changes, but we had oysters, sardines, lobster, shrimp, mussels, and seaweed salad. It’s a great variety of light seafood to get started with.

The Grilled Mackerel and the Shrimp & Calamari a La Plancha were great seafood follow-ups with bold Mediterranean flavor. And they were perfectly charred/fried on the outside, while still being incredibly tender on the inside.

The Ash Roasted Carrots look pretty much like a masterpiece. As far as vegetarian dishes go, this one was pretty fantastic — and very thoughtful about combining the right flavors and textures (as is every dish here, to be honest).

The Charred Baba Ghanoush (Eggplant) — rich and filling and awesome:

The chicken skewer dish was one of my favorites, but sadly I don’t think on the menu right now. I rarely find chicken this packed full of flavor and this juicy on the inside — which is why you don’t see me praising chicken very often.

The Shawarma Spiced Lamb Ribs pack quite a flavor punch, too. I’m not the biggest fan of lamb — and these are pretty lamb-y — but those at the table who like lamb, loved these:

A little less lamb-y, and perhaps even more delicious, is the Moroccan Lamb Sausage. My husband practically refused to share this after he got his hands on it (he’s a huge lamb fan).

The last of my favorites was the Grilled Hanger Steak. I mean just look at it. There’s clearly a trend with every single dish here: thoughtful, creative combinations; bold Mediterranean flavors; and skillful veggie and meat preparation. All in a fun atmosphere with great service. I’ll definitely be back.

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The Best Fried Chicken & Southern Food in Denver at LOW Country Kitchen

LOW Country Kitchen opened earlier this year in the LoHi neighborhood (in the former Vita space) — and it brought some much-needed Southern food to the neighborhood. Owners Katy and Brian Vaughn are from the South, and their first LOW location was a hit in Steamboat, so I was pretty excited for them to open another one right here in Denver.

LOW describes its food and beverage menu as a combination of “time-honored Southern cuisine using only the highest quality of ingredients” — resulting in “genuine hospitality, serious drinks, and the best fried chicken you have ever sunk your teeth into.” Now that I’ve finally made my way here and stuffed my face, I have to agree. Not only is the food amazing, but the staff really tries to make you feel welcome.

(Full disclosure: the photo of the fried chicken above is from the LOW website, since my photo of the fried chicken isn’t as awesome, as you can see below.)

Pro tip: there is free valet for Mizu, Lola, and LOW right on the corner of Boulder and 16th Streets — which is a life-saver in this busy neighborhood.


THE HAPPY HOUR

LoHi is a hot neighborhood for a good happy hour, and LOW is no exception — especially if you like a good cocktail. For a refreshing option, I highly recommend the $5 Bumblebee (pictured on the left below). Although the $7 LOW Old Fashioned (pictured right) was a delicious classic. They also have a $6 Deep South Limeade, an $8 Classic Sazerac, $3-4 beers, and $5 wines. And food too: $2–7 Southern snacks such as deviled eggs and dry rub wings.


MUST-TRY FOOD

Now I’m normally not a huge dessert person, but you HAVE to leave room for dessert here. This is the most amazing pecan pie I’ve ever had. I still dream about it sometimes. It really is the perfect ending to a Southern meal.

 

My Favorite Hidden Caribbean Gem in Denver: Jamaican Grill

I’m that person who loves all kinds of restaurants and all kinds of food. So just as much as I enjoy going to a swanky, upscale steakhouse (STK is definitely going to be one of my next posts) — I also love me a little hole in the wall Caribbean place. And Jamaican Grill has been one of my top 3 favorite restaurants in Denver for a long time. I have no idea why I haven’t written about it until now.

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Denver’s Best Crab & Crawfish Boil: Crawling Crab on South Federal

I face an internal dilemma, because Crawling Crab (781 South Federal Boulevard) is one of my favorite restaurants ever that I go to all the time, and I would really like for it to stay the secret gem it is — but I feel like I must share my discovery. Hopefully, by the time that thousands of you regularly read this blog, this post will be long buried 😉

Crawling Crab has some of the most amazing crab and crawfish I’ve ever tasted — at inexplicably cheap prices. I don’t know how they do it, but I’m glad they do. If it was a little closer to me, I’d be here every day.

Crawling Crab isn’t a fancy place. It’s tucked into a little alcove off South Federal next door to Pho 79, and inside it looks like what you’d expect a restaurant in a strip mall to look like: a few simple tables and booths, some themed decorations, and flat-screen TVs everywhere (the photo below was taken from their Facebook). So I didn’t really expect much when a friend of mine first recommended it to me. In fact, I was a little skeptical. Man am I glad I came though.

Crawling Crab has some of the most delicious crab and crawfish ever — smothered in a house sauce that’s exploding with spices and huge pieces of garlic — all for about $8-$9/pound (that’s cheaper than most grocery stores!). I would even venture to say it’s better than some of the crawfish boils I’ve had in New Orleans, just because the sauce is so good. I’ve come here with 4 people and stuffed our faces until we couldn’t eat another bite, and left with a $100 tab (beer included).

Note: they only serve a few basic kinds of beer when it comes to alcohol, but that’s honestly what goes best with the food.


What To Get

The menu is pretty simple. I don’t even need to look at it to order. Having tried everything, here’s what I suggest getting (just trust me and go with it).

  • 1-2 orders of the dungeness crab clusters, in the all-in sauce (I recommend the mild version even if you like spicy food, because it will still be garlicy and spicy, but without beating out the flavor of the crab)
  • 1-2 orders of the crawfish, also in the all-in sauce, and throw in a side of sausage and enough baked potatoes and corn-on-the-cob to go around
  • 1 order of the clams, in the garlic butter sauce
  • Beer (duh)
  • NOTE: Don’t get the king crab. At about $24/pound, it’s 3x as expensive as the dungeness, but not 3x more delicious.

How It Works

Everything comes in clear plastic bags, filled with whatever you ordered and smothered with your choice of sauce. No fancy plates here, and that’s how I like it. Just make sure to put on your bib and tie your hair back — it’s about to get ugly.

You take all those bags and just dump them out on your table (now all that wax paper “tablecloth” makes sense). If you don’t eat fast, you may want to only dump 1/2 a bag out at a time to keep it hot (but I wouldn’t know anything about that).

And this is what your table should look like when you’re done: a shellfish wasteland.

Enough said.