Denver's five best seafood restaurants

Categories: Best of Denver

Charcoal-020.jpg
Mark Manger
The seafood at Charcoal is stunning.
Anyone who says you can only find good seafood on the coasts is just plain wrong. A number of restaurants in Denver are helmed by chefs who really know their way around fish. They bring in the best specimens they can find, and they turn out some truly exceptional ocean-focused dishes.

Some spots do it better than others, though, offering up long lists of innovative creations featuring creatures from the sea. Here, in no particular order, are Denver's five best seafood restaurants.

TAG-ceviche.jpg
Mark Manger
TAG|RAW BAR, 1430 Larimer Street
When Troy Guard opened TAG|RAW BAR in a Larimer Square basement address, he didn't even have a kitchen at his disposal. Instead, he got creative, building a menu from things he didn't have to heat -- or could heat sufficiently with a blowtorch. His resulting list -- which includes creative takes on sushi rolls, ahi poke matched with hearts of palm, bruleed avocado filled with crab meat and a ceviche shot that changes every day -- is one of the most inventive in Denver, each dish proof positive of the innovation that comes with limitations.

Charcoal-017.jpg
Mark Manger
Charcoal, 43 West Ninth Avenue
Patrik Landberg built the menu at Charcoal, which I review this week, from his Scandinavian roots -- which means his list is riddled with fish. That's good, because the chef's seafood dishes are like a fun, fast joyride. His pickled herring, imbued with mustard and sided with fingerling potatoes, makes an ideal appetizer. So does his aquavit-brushed gravlax; he cures his own silky salmon in-house. For dinner, there's skin-on trout that's crackly, supple and infused with the char of the grill. But the scallop and prawn fricassee may be the best example of his talent of all: supple scallops pair with fat shrimp in a saffron-scented foam; a thin square of pistachio baklava adds an excellent finishing touch.

Location Info

The Diner

9670 W. Coal Mine Ave., Littleton, CO

Category: Restaurant

Charcoal

43 W. 9th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Cafe Brazil

4408 Lowell Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Land of Sushi

2412 E. Arapahoe Road, Centennial, CO

Category: Restaurant

Jax Fish House

1539 17th St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


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25 comments
StevenGregory
StevenGregory

Glad to see Land Of Sushi, it's an unassuming little place and absolutely a pleasure. I hate crowds, but most often visit on Fridays for fresh LIVE scallop. Amazing preparation.

Guest
Guest

Of the five, Cafe Brazil appears (to me) to be the most interesting and most likely one I'll try first.

"prawns and chicken or sea scallops in a dende oil-infused broth made with coconut milk and tomatoes?"yup

Rome541
Rome541

I've had some of the best seafood dishes at Cherry Crest that place is hard to beat

GFTW
GFTW

Jenn told me Joe's Crab Shack is teh best!

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Wealthybuddies

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mike
mike

New England Style Seafood is much needed. I really really miss Fried Clams Strips and great Clam Chowder. Please make it happen someone!

Uncledave8
Uncledave8

I can totally back this list.  Refreshing change from most Denver diners' choices like The Fresh Fish Company, Pappadeaux, Oceanaire and Ocean Prime.

Guest
Guest

I had the absoute worst seafood poisoning from Jax.  Never again.

Mantonat
Mantonat

Seems like a well-thought-out list. I guess there's no real shame in not having a wider variety of good seafood, when you consider how far away we are from any coastal waters. Still, it would be awesome to have a real east-coast style raw bar in this city and a place with excellent clam chowder. I'll just have to shelve those cravings until I can get back to Boston or thereabouts.

NewEnglandisPretty
NewEnglandisPretty

@GFTW  Joe's Crab Shack?!  I don't mean this personally, but, puh-lease! I foolishly tried JCS once and the seafood was horrendous.  For your own sake, visit Boston or Portsmouth NH or Portland Maine and you'll then know what fresh seafood and proper cooking are all about.  I do like this blog because it's great to get tips about good seafood restaurants in the Denver area.  I'm sure there are good ones locally.  But ... not JCS!

Newschaser
Newschaser

Fried clam "strips" are not real New England seafood ... you'd want full belly clams and steamers with necks ... strips are garbage deep-water shellfish cut up and breaded commercially, not real clams plucked out of the sand. Think Essex clams. And a can of Moxie. 

Stan Ubeki
Stan Ubeki

Fresh Fish Company, yurk, yick yuck

Mantonat
Mantonat

Slamming 27 oyster shooters and then losing it on the bus ride home doesn't count as seafood poisoning.

Laura Shunk
Laura Shunk

Excellent clam chowder would be an awesome addition.

StevenGregory
StevenGregory

@Stan Ubeki I strongly agree: I have no clue why the place is open. It's dilapidated, the food is sub par and often inedible.

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