South Federal is Denver's best restaurant neighborhood

final-street-sixteen-bracket-2012.jpg
Click for a larger version.
street-16-logo-220.jpg
South Federal Boulevard is Denver's best restaurant neighborhood, according to votes cast by the readers of Cafe Society.

In a poll that pitted South Federal vs. Lower Highland, South Federal came away with 53.48 percent of the vote when polls closed at 11:59 p.m. Sunday night. The weekend-long voting was the culmination of Cafe Society's Street 16 neighborhood tournament, which began with a bracket of sixteen neighborhoods.

South Federal may not have the trendy restaurants of other Denver-metro 'hoods (Larimer Square, Boulder, Upper Larimer; all knocked out in earlier rounds), but the food in those restaurants and the support they received in the championship round pushed it to the top spot.

Below is the Cafe Society skinny on South Federal:

So pho, so good! The pho restaurants -- like Pho Duy and Pho 95 -- of South Federal Boulevard are just the start of the culinary pot-stirring along that stretch of road. You'll also find Vietnamese restaurants like New Saigon and Saigon Bowl that boast more expansive menus; Asian markets and bakeries that sell all matter of exotic ingredients (as well as some of those ingredients already rolled up into sandwiches); Chinese restaurants like Super Star Asian and Hong Kong Barbecue that have special, secret menus; other Chinese restaurants like Star Kitchen that roll out dim sum all day. And, of course, there's an endless array of Mexican options, from La Villa Real, a streetside taco truck, to mole-slinging Tarasco's to stands selling shrimp so fresh you'd swear you were on the coast.

Here are the final results:


Thank you for voting (!!!) and be sure to read our list of "Denver's ten best new restaurants," because it could shake-up next year's tourney.


My Voice Nation Help
14 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
AndyPudding
AndyPudding

If you don't like the results, blame your neighbors. Because those votes for South Federal came from outside our neighborhood. I've lived ten blocks off SoFed for three years, and I have yet to see an ironic mustache, BOB stroller, Audi, or a Westword box. As a place to live, it could easily be considered the least hip area in the city of Denver.

That said, I'm delighted to see Federal on top. When my out-of-town friends from the coasts plan a trip to Denver, you will not see Bistro Vendome or Root Down on their dining schedule. But they'll obsess about "Pho Row" on SoFed for days before they get here.

Guest
Guest

Yep, the Tennyson mommies showed up to take out Larimer Square and Upper Larimer. Apparently places like Euclid Hall and Trillium are inferior to Parisi because they can't walk to them with a stroller from their gentrified bungalows.

Scott
Scott

You don't think upper Larimer is becoming gentrified?

Julianamharrison
Julianamharrison

South Federal WINS!  And they deserve it!  Good challenge for sure aside from the community member bashing.  Oh well us Highland mommies gotta stick together...  that is if I knew one other than myself.guest, really?  Get over it. 

David
David

I'm still shocked that Larimer Square lost in the first round, let alone losing the whole competition! I'd like to see this voting put in the hands of employees of the Colorado restaurant community and see how it turns out.  I have a suspicion that this voting might be a little skewed based on who showed up to vote.

Denver Native
Denver Native

 So the people that like south federal are more connected?  Were the tragically hip required to vote against their own areas because to want it would be unhip? Are people getting tired of pretentious food at pretentious prices?  Is any one area "the best"? 

I'm good with where the final landed.  S.Fed has a great variety of quality places to eat from mild to wild and downright cheap to pocket busting.  Something for anyone, all you have to do is look.......

monopod
monopod

Sadly, I just heard that Lao Wang Noodle House - one of the highlights on South Fed - has closed.  I hope this isn't true, but given that it's run solely by an elderly couple (as far as I can tell), it could be the case.  Anyone have confirmation?

Guest
Guest

Wahwah what about the Lohi? We have Linger, it's really hip right? Linger has yummy small plates with a mortuary theme! Come on guys, I moved to Lohi from Wash Park to be trendy and I need my decision to feel justified...

Steveo65
Steveo65

I live in Highlands and love S Federal so all is good. But Acerancho does have a point...

Aceranchero
Aceranchero

Yeah, SoFed! So when my folks come to town for the holidays? Bowl of soup! When I need to impress a client? Tacos! When my wife and I want to have a Big Date? Truck food! 

Why? Because it's the best!

Hijole…somos apenas una ciudad de la vaca.

Mantonat
Mantonat

Most neighborhoods can't possibly be all things to all people. There are restaurants that are good for dates, clients, and holidays, but there are also restaurants that are great for exploring the cuisines of cultures we may not be very familiar with. A district with as much diversity as South Federal actually separates Denver from the traditional notion of a cow town.  If the food of South Federal lends to the cow-town image of Denver, then moooooo!

My family happens to love Chinese cuisine and they'd probably love it if I took them for dim sum brunch. My girlfriend actually bought a house in the S. Fed area and we're now married. Part of the reason things ever went beyond a first date was because we both had so much fun exploring amazing food and not worrying so much about candle-lit dinners and overpriced bottles of wine. Business lunches with my co-workers often involve ethnic restaurants near the office and would certainly include places like New Saigon or Viet's if they were closer.

I'm not sure when it became cool to denigrate the businesses of this city's immigrants because they happen to value traditional cuisine and affordable prices over trendy decorations and expensive rents. I love Linger, Duo, Lola, Highland Tap, Masterpiece Deli, Patzcuaro's, Little Man, Los Carboncitos, and many of the other great bars and restaurants of the Lower Highland neighborhood and I certainly wouldn't have complained if  LoHi had won this contest, but to base your criticism of the winner on something as shallow as whether the restaurant will impress someone else seems a little snobby. (My apologies if I misinterpreted your sarcasm or the comment in Spanish.)

Aceranchero
Aceranchero

No, you got it right. Except for the denigration part. There is nothing in my remark that is unfair. Ironic? Of course.

I would simply redirect that there is, in fact, a fair amount of (reverse?) food snobbery that comes with trolling the ethic. In DC it's all about the Ethiopian; LA? West Side Thai or Monterey Park Chinese. My broader (but perhaps ham-fished) point is that it's just so obvious to make a play, as post-collegiate-diner, in the ethnic camp. 

I was hoping that the bracket exercise would highlight some of the developments in Denver dining that would finally get us over the perception that we don't offer much beyond expense account steak salons with, sorry, meat-market bars. Offerings that are fresh, contemporary, creative, and worthy of attention at a national level. They are many, not just in LoHi but all over the city and reaching into the suburbs. If the locals don't come out for it, who will?

Mantonat
Mantonat

I used the word "denigration" because you implied that families, business clients, and dates are somehow above being treated to some really good food simply because the restaurants do not live up to the design standards set by the trendier locations in LoHi. I'd imagine (and gave examples) that the level of delight would depend on the person being introduced to something other than the flashiest new place in town.

I agree that Denver as a whole deserves attention for some of the top new "concepts" in the country, but I think Denver also deserves attention for being much more culinarily diverse than the majority of potential visitors would give us credit for. South Federal is as much as a shining gem as LoHi and I would proudly guide any visitor through meals consisting of something as unique as Vietnamese/Cajun fusion, as traditional as some of the best mole I've had anywhere (including Mexico), as soul-satisfying as savory and mouth-watering Hong Kong BBQ, or as representational of Colorado-style food as thick green chile with a giant margarita.

I think it's awesome that these two neighborhoods were the finalists and it says a lot about Westword readers  - at least - that we are willing to support such a variety.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...