According to 5280, the top 5 restaurants in Denver in 2015 are as follows:
1. Acorn – Housed in a former 1800s foundry, Acorn perfectly blends the old with the new and the casual with the refined. The brick walls may be storied, but Steven Redzikowski’s food is as current and creative as it comes. Servers fill the tables with dishes as diverse as razor clam ceviche enhanced with refreshing cucumber and tarragon; avocado toast and cilantro-jalapeño vinaigrette; and oak-smoked bone marrow dabbed with golden raisin jam—and the ensuing meals are cohesive, well-paced, and full of fun. Bryan Dayton’s bar follows suit; it’s stocked with spirits such as sip-it-straight Matthiasson vermouth, and night after night the team turns out the kinds of balanced, innovative cocktails that foster loyalty. Take a good look, Denver, because Acorn is the future of dining. 3350 Brighton Blvd.
2. Frasca Food and Wine – This Boulder stalwart continues to be the shining example of fine dining in Colorado. What Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson and Bobby Stuckey have created is special—and not just because you spend birthdays, anniversaries, and notable occasions at the linen-draped tables. There’s a grace to Frasca Food and Wine, and it transcends the seamless service, the microregional food inspired by Friuli, Italy, and the intimate space. No other restaurant in the state creates the same spell that washes over you when you sit down at the table. 1738 Pearl St.
3. Mercantile Dining and Provision – To say that chef Alex Seidel is patient is an understatement. When he opened Fruition Restaurant in 2007, it was met with immediate acclaim. Next Seidel bought a farm and started a dairy, and then…he waited, all the while growing as a chef and restaurateur (and farmer and craftsman) and crystallizing his vision for restaurant number two. Mercantile Dining & Provision is that second venture, and it sings. Mercantile is significantly larger than Fruition (it’s also open all day), and it radiates urban elegance and confidence. Go during dinner for the most exquisite of dishes—don’t miss the Spanish octopus or the green garlic budino—but don’t write off lunch, as that’s when you’ll find casual fare. Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop St.
4. Cholon – Lon Symensma, ChoLon’s executive chef and co-owner, doesn’t want to color within the lines. His food is fragrant with the exotic spices of Southeast Asia, and you’ll detect influences from Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and even China. Symensma channels the region’s robust cuisines to dream up dishes all his own. Recent menus, though, indicate a subtle nod to the West: a heavenly green curry béarnaise sauce drapes Colorado wagyu beef; Chinese black vinegar offsets a salad of strawberries, mizuna, and futuristic goat cheese spheres. Even if Symensma is tweaking the ChoLon formula slightly, there’s no doubt he continues to be a whiz at bringing texture, color, and dazzling, exotic flavors to his diners. 1555 Blake St., Suite 101
5. The Populist – The word “restaurant” comes from the French verb meaning “to restore”—and this is the very essence of the Populist. The RiNo spot was built around the ideas of sharing, of coming together, and of sinking into the moment. Three years on, the restaurant—sustained by Jonathan Power’s exquisite seasonal dishes—does this perfectly. The menu (dishes are identified with minimal description: “grilled leek pesto bucatini” and “rockfish donburi”) encourages interaction with your server and masks the complexity and beauty coming out of the kitchen. This is a place that quietly pulls people through the door and, even after the check has been paid, continues to entice. 3163 Larimer St.
To read more of the list, including the rest of the 20 of the top 25, check out http://www.5280.com/best-restaurants-2015/