10 Newest & Hottest Restaurants in Denver in 2024

There’s always something new opening in Denver — which can be super exciting, but also difficult to stay on top of. For those of you that like trying the latest and hottest spots, I’ve done the research and tried them first — so I can give an honest recommendation on what’s worth checking out. Here are all my favorites of the hot new spots from 2023 and 2024!

1. Alma Fonda Fina

2556 15th St, Denver

Alma opened in Denver at the end of 2023, and it has quickly become one of my favorite local restaurants. I truly believe this is the kind of place the local food scene needs more of. Alma is a charming, elegant spot in the heart of LoHi — with phenomenal service, spectacular cocktails, fantastic wine (yes, even Mexican wine!), and just the most flavorful, authentic, well-sourced, upscale Mexican cuisine. Chef Johnny Curiel creates unique, creative dishes that will both surprise and delight you. Perfect for a date night — or to show off the Denver food scene to out-of-town visitors.

2. Kawa Ni

1900 W 32nd Ave, Denver

Kawa Ni is a new cozy favorite of mine — a Japanese-style Izakaya that opened in November of 2023 in a small corner spot in LoHi at the end of the same block that houses Postino, Bamboo, and Recess. The word Izakaya in Japanese means “stay-drink-place” — so a local spot to get comfortable with a drink and some friends — and the vibe here is definitely that of a happening, hip, neighborhood spot. While they serve raw fish dishes, it’s not a “sushi” restaurant — but a mix of sashimi, dumplings, noodle bowls, rice bowls, and much more. And prices here are totally affordable. They not only have a happy hour, but all the dishes normally range about $15-20. Pro move: get a side of red curry broth for anything you can pour it on!

3. Sap Sua

2550 E Colfax Ave, Denver

Sap Sua is a modern Vietnamese restaurant that opened by City Park in Summer of 2023, and it has been recognized by everyone from the James Beard Foundation to Esquire for their creative re-interpretations of traditional Vietnamese dishes. Must-try dishes include charred cabbage, shrimp cakes, and the best pork shoulder I’ve ever had. My only criticism of this spot is that the vibe is a little blah — from the bland decor to the difficult acoustics. The wine and cocktail options have some room to grow, as well — but the food is definitely worth coming here for!

4. Ukiyo Omakase

1317 14th St, Denver

Ukiyo Omakase is a hidden new Japanese 12-seat chef’s table in downtown Denver that opened in February 2024 in the basement below Bao Brewhouse on 14th Street between Larimer and Market (accessible via a door right down the alley). I came for a sneak peak and tried 18 unique and tasty courses — from mushrooms, to chawanmushi, to wagyu, to fatty toro, to smoked fish, to Jamaican chicken skewers, to tiramisu. Not every dish will be everyone’s favorite here, but the creativity is fantastic. It seemed pretty reasonable for the $175 cost per person, but be aware it’s extra for their great selection of Japanese cocktails, as well as sake and wine.

5. Call Me Pearl

1600 20th St, Denver

The opening of Call Me Pearl was more of a re-opening and re-branding of the Rally Bar (at the Rally Hotel in McGregor Square) — and I’m so glad they did this! The space was always gorgeous, highlighted by an enormous chandelier that reminds me of the top of a champagne bottle right after it’s opened and you can see the bubbles. With the re-opening, the drinks and food now match that beautiful atmosphere. It’s the perfect spot for some caviar and champagne, a classic martini, delicate seafood bites, etc. (Not to be missed is the Cafe de Tacuba cocktail — which is like a spicy, tequila-based version of an espresso martini.)

6. Major Tom

2845 Larimer St, Denver

Opened in March of 2023, Major Tom is a fantastic alternative to the famous (and now Michelin-star) Beckon. The latter can run you $500+ per person these days, if you add premium pairings to your pre-fixe tasting menu. Major Tom comes from the same renowned Chef Duncan Holmes (and it’s literally next door) — but it has a more casual vibe, an a la carte menu (albeit a little short/limited), and much more affordable prices. We had a very enjoyable date night here and splurged on some fun dessert drinks (like a Victory Vintage 1945 Madeira) — the benefit of being next door to Beckon. Note: this would not be a good spot for larger parties.

8. Corsica

2801 Walnut St, Denver

New in Spring of 2024! From the team behind the insanely popular Barcelona Wine Bar comes another fantastic concept in RiNo: Corsica Wine Bar on Walnut & 28th Street. Set in an artsy, rustic warehouse space divided into 3 distinct rooms — Corsica brings together the beautiful flavors of France, Italy, and the Mediterranean — and pairs them with an inspired menu of wines, aperitifs, spritzes, and cocktails. Standout dishes for us: the warm olives, the nduja stuffed dates, the meatballs, the scallop crudo, the mussels with white fish, and the almond cake. Plus, their kitchen is open until midnight Sun-Wed, and until 1am Thu-Sat!

8. Nana’s Dim Sum & Dumplings

3316 Tejon St, Denver

This spot is one of my favorite places to have opened in the last few years in Denver. It’s unique, it’s fun, it’s delicious, and it’s in a great location in the Highlands (although they now have one in Aurora and Boulder as well). The decor is a fantastic mix between the modern and the creative: dark wood, clean lines, red lanterns, LED signs, dragon chandelier, and more. There’s both a dining room and a bar — and even a window where you can see the expert dumpling makers at work. Some of my favorite dishes here are the chicken feet, the mini pork thumblings, the soup dumplings, and the duck.

9. MAKfam

39 W 1st Ave, Denver

This is a definite must-try spot — and I recommend coming for lunch. MAKfam touts itself as an elevated, fast-casual spot serving modern Chinese dishes like dumplings and noodles using fresh ingredients and unique recipes inspired by the owners’ Chinese family heritage. It started as a New York City-area pop-up, was part of a Denver food hall for a bit, and finally has its own location on S Broadway. And the chef already has a 2024 James Beard nomination! My favorite dishes are the Fancy Wun Tung Tong (dumplings swimming in the most flavorful broth) — and surprisingly, my new favorite wings in town (the spicy Mala wings).

10. Jacques

3200 Tejon St, Denver

Jacques is a French bistro that opened at the end of 2023 in the heart of the hip LoHi neighborhood — and the vibe fits the location. It’s trendy, it’s buzzing, it’s fun, it’s friendly. At first, I wasn’t too sold beyond the happy hour cocktails and bites — but I think it’s getting better every day. There were almost no gluten-free apps on the menu when we first came here, but I see that part of the menu changing and growing. The shared bouillabaisse we tried when the restaurant had first opened wasn’t a real bouillabaisse — but that seems to have left the menu. Individual plates like mussels, half chicken, and steaks look like much better options that I’m excited to go back and try again.

Honorable Mention:

  • Samosa Shop is now selling their amazing (and gluten-free) samosas at Honor Farm downtown. I would buy these all the time at the Pearl Street Farmer’s Market, so I’m glad they found a more permanent location.
  • Kike’s Red Tacos opened a brick-and-mortar permanent spot in Highlands, where they used to just have a food truck. Best birria in town.
  • Yuan Wonton, which would have lines down the street at its pop-ups, found a permanent home in Park Hill this last year.
  • Masas & Agaves is in Boulder, not Denver, but it’s serving up some amazing Mexican fine dining with fresh, authentic Oaxacan flavors, and I can’t not mention it.

Opening Soon (and I’m excited):

  • Church & Union (a Top Chef is bringing this South Carolina spot to Union Station in 2024)
  • Uchiko Cherry Creek (my favorite sushi spot in — Uchi — is opening this sister restaurant in Cherry Creek in 2024)