Have you been looking for a new way to explore your palate? Check out this list of eight excellent Spanish restaurants in Denver and start indulging! The modern eater is well versed in cuisines from around the globe, as nowhere is untouchable. The late Anthony Bourdain guided us through Parts Unknown and showed us all that our world travels bestow personal knowledge and that access to information in food is a nourishing luxury. While we tend to simplify an entire country to our favorite dishes, some dining rooms are exclusively dedicated to a wider variety of Spanish foods.
Spain boasts over 440 miles of Atlantic and Mediterranean shore and a luscious inland between Portugal and culinary school leader France. Because of this, Spanish cuisine is full of infusions. One of the most incredible and influential players in their cuisine, in fact, comes from the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Spain from Morocco by just 8.8 miles. The Strait served as a trading passage that allowed for trade between Spain and Africa and worldwide.
Naturally, the commonly-known tapas and paella will appear in this list, but we want to highlight certain dishes you can enjoy while expanding your experience with Spanish food. So, grab your favorite food-loving friends, and head to these local restaurants to share some inspired plates.
The 9th Door in the Capitol Hill neighborhood is Denver’s longest-standing Spanish Tapas Bar. This restaurant, which will be celebrating ten years in service this year, offers a variety of tapas, charcuterie, and desserts. We recommend trying their traditional Spanish omelet, aka Spanish tortilla, Nuestra Tortilla Espanola, served with harissa (a spice from the Morocco region) and garlic aioli.
Last September, Botellón, which literally means “big bottle,” like one that friends all pitch in for, moved from their Governor’s Park location to LoDo. This Basque region-focused restaurant serves a popular dish from northern Spain, Tentaculo de Pulpo: braised octopus, creamy white bean puree, capers, shaved fennel, long bean salad, fresh charred lemon, and espelette.
This Spanish restaurant chain cannot be skipped, as every dish is a must-have. You may not be familiar with Spain’s large cheese and wine presence; consider that its border is adjacent to South West France. We recommend sipping on the Grenache (On the Rocks) Wine Flight which samples three Spanish wines whose grapes were harvested in different soils of either limestone, clay, or granite.
With fascinating views of the Flatirons, Corrida’s Spanish-inspired menu sits at the perch of Boulder’s dining scene. This chophouse highlights the delicious “carne” red meat and serving tapas. One of the most famous traditional vegetarian items on this menu that are missing from most others is La Guilda, a Basque skewer with Gordal olive, anchovy, and pickled pepper.
Less than a year ago, Derecho moved into Cherry Creek as your neighborhood tapas bar with a strong cocktail program. Please take the opportunity to grab a drink and sample the Spanish cheeses and meats we’ve been mentioning featured in their Charcuteria composed of jamón serrano, chorizo, manchego, goat cheese, house jam, almonds, and olives. Manchego cheese is from the central region of La Mancha and is made from the Manchego breed of sheep’s milk.
From the Edible Beats team and hosting one of the best-unobstructed skyline views of Denver from the fifth floor is El Five. This tapas bar is a chic and intimate restaurant serving a variety of flavor infusions as they feature small plates from Spain, North Africa, and the Middle East. Traditional paella from the Valencia region is prepared with small game meat, and the seafood-rich version came about decades later. We recommend sampling the Seafood Paella with crabs, mussels, clams, rockfish, bomba rice, sofrito, aioli, and saffron. There are three others on the menu to satisfy any dietary preferences.
While the menu stays aligned with more popular Spanish foods, we wanted to ensure we mention Lucina on our list, which offers dishes from the Spanish coast, Latin American, and Latin Caribbean regions. One of our favorites is the Albondigas made from Wagyu Beef simmered in Pimentòn Tomato & Herbs. Please pay them a visit in the expanding 2200 block of Kearny Street in Park Hill.
Crafted Concepts’ pintxos and tapas restaurant, Ultreia, offers dishes from Portugal and Spain’s Southern Mediterranean Sea borders. We seem to globally agree that deep fried food is comforting and delicious. Croquetas are dough balls, and Ultreia makes them with the traditional jamón inside. Next time you’re around Union Station, we recommend you grab a cocktail and an order of the tapas to be enjoyed with your “manos desnudas”.
Now that you’ve read through our list of eight Spanish restaurants to enjoy new and old favorite dishes paired with a glass of wine or cocktail. We reserve a special ninth mention for your sweet tooth; in Spain, it can be satisfied during any meal or snack.
Located inside Stanley Marketplace and open at 11 a.m. on Mondays, and 9 a.m. the remainder of the week (for you early churro eaters), is Churrería de Madrid. They offer single sweet dough sticks and various ways to dress them up like an accompanying thick chocolate to dip into. They also offer a small selection of tapas to fill your cravings, should your palate desire something savory. Take the family and enjoy a decadent order of churros.