Ten Best Tiny Restaurants in Denver

Categories: The List

mayan-manjar-exterior.jpg
Mayan Manjar Yucateco's tiny cabin houses big flavors.
3) Mayan Manjar Yucateco
5209 West Mississippi Avenue, Lakewood
303-936-5562
24 seats
"Once you've tasted Mayan Manjar's food, you'll believe in the power of the underdog," writes Gretchen Kurtz in her recent review of this tiny, Yucatan-flavored joint. With the appeal of a fur trapper's lodge on the outside and not much more than a typical cinder-block taqueria on the inside, Mayan Manjar may not be located in one of the city's trendy neighborhoods, but it's a trendsetter in focusing on hyper-regional cuisine rather than offering bland stand-ins or dumbed-down fare.

empanada_express_arepas.jpg
Amber Taufen
Cheesy arepas at Empanada Express grill.
2) Empanada Express Grill
4301 West 44th Avenue
303-955-8362
22 seats
This cozy corner of Venezuelan cuisine features the namesake empanadas, plus fat arepas made from white corn flour and a few hard-to-find appetizers like tequeños (fried dough sticks), cachapas (corn flour pancakes) and mashed yucca. Additional treats include South American soft drinks and fried plantain -- both the sweet, ripe slices and the starchier chips made from the green fruit. Service is relaxed but friendly, so don't go if you're in a hurry -- but if you don't mind the slow pace, the food is worth the wait.

to-the-wind-interior.jpg
Danielle Lirette
This is most of To the Wind Bistro's dining room.
1) To the Wind Bistro
3333 East Colfax Avenue
303-316-3333
19 seats
Another miniature marvel that garnered positive print from our critic, To the Wind is run by chef Royce Oliveira and his wife and pastry chef, Leanne Adamson. Oliveira focuses on beer-friendly foods that are far from typical bar fare. Surprising escargot empanadas or lamb sweetbreads and pastrami with sauerkraut give way to Adamson's desserts -- like chocolate stout cake and seasonal fruit tarts. With seven local brews on tap and more by the bottle than there are seats in the place, To the Wind might be the state you leave in as well as the name of the restaurant.


Location Info

Bistro Barbes

5021 East 28th Avenue, Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Uncle

2215 W. 32nd Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Glaze by Sasa

1160 Madison Street, Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Gaia Bistro

1551 S. Pearl St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Bones

701 Grant St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Z Cuisine

2239 W. 30th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

DiFranco's

955 Lincoln St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Mayan Manjar Yucateco

5209 West Mississippi Avenue, Lakewood, CO

Category: Restaurant

To the Wind Bistro

3333 East Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Empanada Express Grill

4301 W. 44th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


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30 comments
Naomi Wolinsky
Naomi Wolinsky

If I tell you it will just grow and it won't be tiny anymore.

Renee Ortiz
Renee Ortiz

Anywhere that makes it easier to drill people with bread and or peas.

TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

Jamaican Grill and Los Pastes would be two others.

Anita Gaydosh Bouffard
Anita Gaydosh Bouffard

That's the kind of place I always wanted to open. Unfortunately, if it is your sole source of income, it's tough. Plus the hours will kill you!

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