Chefs at Little India's four locations infuse authentic Indian dishes with fresh and exotic ingredients, earning Top of the Town awards from 5280 magazine for "a decade running." The culinary creatives concoct a taste-bud-tempting lot of specialty dishes, from the butter chicken to the super-hot lamb madras, which makes taste buds sweat with scantily clad seasonings. Vegetarians can spoon a kaleidoscope of meat-free dishes, including the dahl makhani, lentils cooked with tomato and savory spices. Guests sip mood-enhancing beverages from the bar, and the friendly wait staff places plated Indian delicacies and unplated charades suggestions at their fingertips.:m]]
Diners leave their passports and carry-ons at home and embark on culinary odysseys to Tajine Alami, enjoying four- or six-course meals of traditional Moroccan cuisine. After leaving their shoes at the door, guests tuck into six-part dinner travelogues ($32/person; $27 vegetarian) starting with their choice of lamb-lentil or vegetarian soup followed by second and third rounds of homemade honey wheat khobz bread and a platter of Moroccan salad. Tables share the flaky fourth-course bastella, mining the phyllo-dough crust to uncover a subterranean civilization ruled by chicken, spiced eggs, almonds, and an austere oligarchy. Individual tastes take the front seat as eaters select one of the chicken, lamb, seafood, or veggie entrees simmering in the kitchen, all slow-cooked with a few friends in a traditional clay tajine or served over a pile of couscous. Baklava and hot mint tea close out the evening with a sweet curtain call and politely turn down requests to play "Where the Streets Have No Name.” Visitors afraid of overstuffing can select the slimmed down four-course experience and forego the salad and bastella ($24/person, $21 vegetarian) while youths peruse selections from the children's menu ($10.99).
Mexican culture permeates every aspect of 3 Margaritas, from its namesake cocktail and south-of-the-border fare to a colorful interior packed with festive touches. Scarlet hues smolder on walls like fire-engulfed strawberry orchards, working in aesthetic harmony with vibrant wooden chairs, each carved with an intricate bird or flower. Servers weave between these chairs to dole out menu items prepared with just as much exotic flair, including pizza mexicana—an entree that swaps crusts for flour tortillas packed with shrimp, chicken, and steak—and signature fruity margaritas.
Stationed inside the Marriott Denver South at Park Meadows, Sonoma'z Wine Bar & Grill pairs contemporary American eats with wines by the glass or bottle. Sonoma’z incorporates fresh, wholesome ingredients into its dishes from morning till night, mixing avocado into the egg-white frittata at breakfast, sandwiching fresh mozzarella into paninis at lunch, and nestling Colorado lamb chops atop apricot-pine-nut couscous during dinner. Suggested wine pairings help patrons match their meals with sips of a Sonoma pinot noir or a New Zealand sauvignon blanc, and wine flights streamline the tasting process by serving three 2-ounce portions of vino. When the weather warms up, Sonoma’z opens its outdoor patio where musicians swing by every Thursday and Friday night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. to serenade diners and drown out the sound of children asking too many questions about where babies come from.
Executive chef Jose Manuel sharpened his skills and spatulas as the executive chef on the Leigh, an Ibiza luxury yacht where he served Bono, dignitaries, and the entertainment industry's top whale impersonators. Like Tapas D'Jerez's owners—a pair of brothers named Francisco and Augusto—Manuel is a Colorado dweller but a Spain native, and like them, he's passionate about bringing the Iberian Peninsula's flavors to Colorado. Tapas D'Jerez is named for the town in southern Spain where sherry—jerez in Spanish—was first created, a nod to the authentic culinary traditions that tie the restaurant to its menu's place of origin. When it comes time to ordering, diners can flex their culinary creativity by curating their own tapas plates, designing custom combinations grouped by ingredient or overall popularity. They can also choose from a variety of rice, meat, and seafood entrees, such as paella, salmon with fried bread sauce, and chicken breast cooked in sherry wine.
The menu at Angel's Share WinePub invites one deceptively simple, decidedly delicious question: what to order? The pub’s drink menu alone lists more than 100 wines available by the glass and bottle, not to mention eight regional microbrews on tap. Bartenders also craft classic and specialty cocktails using regional produce, house-made syrups, and good old fashioned gumption.
Once patrons have settled on a libation, they can find their perfect pairing in small plates made with local and seasonal ingredients. Said shareable dishes range from chicken drumettes with mint cucumber tzatziki to flatbreads crowned with roasted duck and dark cherry balsamic. And food and drinks aren't the only offerings at Angel's Share—the cozy dining room hosts events such as cooking classes and holiday feasts.