The list: Top ten Larimer Square restaurants

Categories: Sheehan (RIP)

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Jason Sheehan just reviewed TAG and found lots to love at Troy Atherton Guard's eponymous restaurant, including -- but not limited to -- the rice.

Here are nine more Larimer Square restaurants we think deserve some props:

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Bistro Vendome 1420 Larimer St., 303-825-3232. This French restaurant is now firmly in the hands of chef Jennifer Jasinski and manager Beth Gruitch-Verucchi (the same team that operates Rioja across the street), and it's already a Larimer Square landmark. The space is beautiful, the service casually professional and the solidly French bistro fare very impressive. And while dinner is wonderful here, brunch is a thing of beauty.

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The Capital Grille 1450 Larimer St., 303-539-2500. The Capital Grille has done the impossible and found customers to fill another steakhouse in a town already overrun with steakhouses. And all it had to do was be better than everyone else in every possible way. From the wonderful dry-aged steaks and clubby decor to excellent sides and service, this steakhouse has everything the discerning carnivore dreams of.

Lime 1424 Larimer St., Unit C, 303-893-5463. Look below street level for this Larimer Square treasure, which serves the town's best margaritas in an equally praiseworthy bar. Lime's food also commands attention: This is reasonably priced but inventive Mexican-American cuisine, from deep-fried flour tortillas that start each meal to excellent desserts. And be sure to say yes to the complimentary shot of tequila that comes in a lime.

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Corridor 44, 1433 Larimer St., 303-893-0044. Corridor 44 might be best known for its extensive champagne selection, but the kitchen is no slouch with the food, either. The strong, solid dishes complement the sparkling beverages perfectly without overpowering them, so your tasting experience should be as bubbly as the champagne.

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The Market 1445 Larimer St., 303-534-5140. After three decades, the Market qualifies as a Denver institution -- but it's still a hundred years younger than the buildings that surround it along Larimer Square. That means the scenery -- both permanent and pedestrian -- can't be beat, which is why this is the town's top stop for people-watching. Grab a quick cup of coffee and a croissant or sandwich, park yourself in a seat by the window or on the sidewalk patio and prepare to stay the day.

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Osteria Marco 1453 Larimer St., 303-534-5855. Hanging above the entrance to Osteria Marco is a brass pig. You could miss it if you weren't looking for it; as a matter of fact, you could easily miss the entire restaurant -- which is mostly below ground. But in that warm, welcoming basement space you'll find a gourmet wonderland of artisan cured meats, handmade cheeses, beautiful wood-fired pizzas and paninis and salads with roasted meats -- all displaying a remarkable attention to culinary detail.

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Rioja 1431 Larimer St., 303-820-2282. Rioja opened in late 2004 to unprecedented fanfare -- fawned over by the press, loved up on the foodie message boards, packed from the start almost every night of the week. And it's just gotten better from there. The fare coming out of chef/owner Jennifer Jasinski's open kitchen is a jumble of Mediterranean, Italian and loose, fusion-y concepts with handmade pastas and excellent sauces. The room is comfortable, casual and perfectly geared for the skittish Larimer Square foot traffic, full of folks who might stop in for a quick drink but wind up lingering over dinner.

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Tamayo 1400 Larimer St., 720-946-1433. Tamayo's owner, nationally renowned restaurateur Richard Sandoval, grew up working in his family's Acapulco restaurants, and in this richly decorated space, he marries traditional foods with more contemporary techniques and ingredients for what he bills as "Modern Mexican." But innovation is what keeps restaurants fresh, and though Tamayo's design is still stunning and the kitchen continues to make some nice moves, its Modern Mexican act is starting to look -- and taste -- a little stale.

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Ted's Montana Grill 1401 Larimer St., 303-893-0654. Big sky, big portions, big spaces, big plans - that should be the motto of the Ted's Montana Grill chain. All the locations are large, steakhouse-fancy and comfortable, whether you're dining alone or with twenty of your closest friends. The menu is as expansive as the portions, covering a lot of comfort-food territory while managing to consistently pimp the (surprisingly good) breed of Buffalo that owner and namesake Ted Turner has raised specifically for his bison temples.


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