The menu explores Central and South America as well as the Caribbean with small plates such as slow-roasted pork tamales and shrimp ceviche with cucumber, radish, onions, and fresh lime juice. Dark-chocolate ice cream and a moist banana tres leches cake end meals on a sweet note, following sips of a modified mojito made with house-infused pineapple rum.
When most people go on vacation, they return with souvenirs for friends. But when Chef Alex Gurevich traveled to Latin America, he came back with a plan. Inspired by the rich cultural traditions in the eclectic cuisine he sampled, Gurevich decided to create a space that embraced the spirit of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. The result: Limón, and the fresh, cultural-blending novoandino style of cooking that fills its menu. And it hasn't gone unnoticed. Shortly after opening, 5280 magazine praised the eatery’s devotion to bold, yet accessible flavors, placing Limón on its list of Denver’s Best New Restaurants in 2006.
The menu’s shareable small plates are divided into three sections, each featuring classic dishes as well as refined interpretations of staples from a specific region. Grilled skirt steak with chimichurri sauce and empanadas stuffed with corn and black beans evoke the flavors of Argentina while the ropa vieja’s slow-roasted shredded beef stamps diners' passports and pushes them on a plane to Cuba. Even the drink menu transcends borders, with its caipirinhas—Brazil’s famously simple cocktail of cachaça, muddled lime, and cane sugar—alongside more familiar margaritas with house-made sweet-and-sour mix.
The exposed brickwork and mocha-brown walls of Limón’s dining area create the same sense of warmth and coziness as the menu. Dark wooden tables nestle against high-backed, terracotta-red booths or an avocado-green half wall, while other seats border the front wall’s picturesque windows. At night, the sconces, teardrop-shaped pendant lamps, and burning piles of unnecessary travel guides light the space, lending a soft glow to the entire room.
A neon sign ringed with a decorative trim of rusted metal hangs on the façade of Mezal, evoking the look of a friendly, working-class cantina or the faded elegance of an old movie palace. Inside, the warm glow of Moroccan-style lamps and the sunny colors of floral tablecloths complement the aromas of sizzling skirt steak, vegetarian tamales, and posole soup. Creating pairings for these traditional morsels, manager Danielle Scott personally selects more than 275 tequilas and mescals to appear on the eatery's extensive beverage list.
A good-natured irreverence pervades Mezcal, where the walls are plastered with Mexican comics, retro movie posters, and photographs of luchador wrestlers flexing their muscles.
The lively neighborhood of Curtis Park bustles around them, but the diners on La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant's patio move leisurely, taking their time to savor the flavors of red and green chilies and sip margaritas beneath the sun. The scene at this local-loved restaurant has been very much the same since founder Michael W. Herrera and his family first opened the restaurant's doors 50 years and 12 generations of typewriter ago. Since then, the family and their kitchen crew have earned praise and admiration from numerous media publications—including Denver Westword's award for Best Colorado-Style Mexican Restaurant—for their tangy green chili, plump chili rellenos, and hearty pork chili Caribe. Flush with neon lights, the expansive dining room abounds with cushy orange booths and a large number of tables, making it an ideal venue for friends to gather but a frustrating venue for learning to ride a bike without training wheels.
In addition to classic Mexican food staples like sizzling fajitas and tacos al carbon, chefs at Lime incorporate international influences into their Central American cuisine. Steamed edamame and chipotle crema dipping sauce, as well as the scorpion plate’s shrimp flash-fried in a wonton wrapper, mingle Mexican cooking methods and ingredients from Asian traditions. And American fair makes its mark with the Lime's Mexican burger which wraps a flour tortilla around a beef burger patty, served with fries. The restaurant creates a festive atmosphere with margaritas, mojitos, and board games that double as giant maracas.
Pablo's friendly team of proficient percolators spend each demitasse-laden day roasting their own beans, creating unique signature blends, and directly importing the best single-origin coffee from around the globe. Trade in today's Groupon for two 16 oz. bags of any of Pablo's fresh grinds such as the best-selling Danger Monkey, a full-bodied house blend of African and Indonesian coffees that instills drinkers with the pep of an early rising orangutan. Or, take a caffeinated jaunt around the globe with pound bags of coffee sourced directly from Sumatra, Kenya, Guatemala, and other international locations. For java junkies unable to wait until they get home to soak up a fresh roasted cup, today's deal also scores buyers a small drip coffee, which can be enjoyed during the ride home, or in Pablo's cozy neighborhood storefront, complete with a checkerboard ceiling and hundred-year-old wooden floors.
Showcasing Zocalo Restaurant & Bar’s laid-back atmosphere, yellow-brick walls play off the vibrant red, yellow, and green banners hanging from the ceilings. The restaurant’s owners, Rafael and Mario Vargas, use recipes gathered from Mexico City, their birthplace, for the eatery's dishes, such as the specialty tampiqueña, chili con queso, and crispy rellenos. Their bartenders pair the tasty plates with draft or bottled beers or specialty margaritas. With two locations, Zocalo Restaurant & Bar helps Mexican-cuisine lovers replace pub-crawls with back-and-forth trips for nachos.