Denver’s culinary scene is nothing short of buzzing right now with new restaurants popping up all over the city. At newly opened Asian-inspired eatery in Cherry Creek, Departure Restaurant + Lounge, mingle with neighborhood locals in a sleek setting. Headed up by former Top Chef alum Culinary Director Gregory Gourdet and Executive Chef Khamla Vongsakoun (whose worked at restaurants including Metropolitan Café in Atlantic City), the restaurant serves up carefully crafted cocktails and an impressive menu of “no proof” mocktails such as the Tarutao Fizz with turmeric drinking vinegar, orange, and cream soda. For dinner, order the chili prawns with candied walnuts, hearts of palms, and scallion, crispy whole sea bass with green mango and chili lime, or the black pepper chicken with tamarind and red chili.
Down the street, try newcomer Sol Cocina, a resort-like Baja and Mexican restaurant with locations in Newport Beach and Scottsdale. Grab a seat in partially open-air lounge area by a fire table, or dine in the main dining room dotted with artwork by local artists Nicole Gonzalez and Michel Velazquez. Menu items span guacamole Sol with goat cheese, mango, and tequila paired with housemade fried tortillas, T.J grilled shrimp and avocado salad with cotixa cheese, green olives, and topped with grilled shrimp and sliced avocado, and a large selection of tacos and tortas including the sloppy Jose with pork carnitas, onion, and chicharrón.
For a late-night nightcap, B&GC (or Boys & Girls Club) is a new, exclusive hangout for locals. Hidden behind an inconspicuous door with a solely a doorbell, the sleek speakeasy with caramel-hued banquettes and a glam vibe, is located beneath the Halycon Hotel. But, be prepared for a treasure hunt: the secret spot is tough to find.