Denver’s Top Plant-Based Dishes
We’re two weeks into 2022, and maybe your resolutions included eating more vegan or vegetarian meals. Whether it’s for personal reasons, to be more sustainable, or just for fun, you can hardly ask for better guides than Tricia and Sam Maher.
The Mahers opened Denver’s Somebody People, a vegan restaurant specializing in rustic Mediterranean cuisine, in 2019. They aim to keep the atmosphere light, let the vegetables shine, and put sustainability first. The pair have been vegan for around six or seven years now, and as restaurateurs and connoisseurs, they’re often sampling dishes across the metro area. “We tend to go to places with tasty food, talented chefs, and fun atmospheres,” Tricia says.
We spoke to them about their favorite vegan dishes and where to find them. Here’s a list of their top ten:
The Port Side Burrito (Port Side, Denver)
“The walnut burrito is the perfect size for a snack in the morning. It’s really tasty. Nice and warming for the winter months.” —S.M.
Eggplant & Halloumi Sami (Stowaway Kitchen, Denver)
“[The vegan option is] another really good breakfast. They put a creamy tahini dressing on that taps into that Middle Eastern flavor profile and classic marinated roasted vegetables.” —S.M.
Drunken Noodles and Tea Leaf Salad (Taw Win, Aurora)
“It’s a Thai and Burmese place. Their drunken noodle dish is a really good Thai dish, and the tea leaf salad is a really good Burmese dish.” —T.M.
“It’s family owned, and it’s always super fresh….You can tell it’s authentic by the way that they produce it, and it seems like you’re eating street food in Thailand.” —S.M.
Grilled Napa Cabbage with XO Sauce (Hop Alley, Denver)
“They just have a really creative take on using XO sauce, making it vegan, making it with some beautiful grilled cabbage. It hits the highlights of Asian cooking. It’s sweet, sour, spicy, and really good.” —S.M.
Broccolini With House Hoisin, Pickled Chilis, Rice Crisp (Brasserie Brixton, Denver)
“I think the chef that’s there at the moment trained in Melbourne [Australia]. So the house hoisin reminds me of some of the cooking done in Melbourne. It’s classic broccolini with bitter and smoky flavors. The hoisin sauce adds sweetness and the spicy pickled chilis add the acid and spice to cut through.” —S.M.
Veggie Bowl (Hoja, Denver)
“A great spot for a light lunch with great coffee. The veggie bowl is packed full of vegetables, Israeli couscous, and a spicy hot dressing. It’s always really lovely.” —S.M.
Sichuan Eggplant Dumplings (Yuan Wonton food truck)
“I think they’re the best dumplings in town. When you need that dumpling fix, this is the only place to go. Her Sichuan eggplant dumplings are super moist and packed full of flavor. And her dipping sauces are amazing.” —S.M.
Full Omakase (Brutø, Denver)
“It’s an incredible vegan version of an omakase [a traditional Japanese dining style comparable to a Western tasting menu].” —T.M.
“Amazing experience. Amazing flavor. Amazing creativity. A really good night out.” —S.M.
#21 with Veggie Broth (Pho Duy, Denver)
“I literally could eat this two or three times a week. It’s always a go-to. It’s a rich broth with fresh veggies. It’s always served piping hot. The noodles are always really well cooked. It’s always a really lovely meal.” —S.M.
And if you want to continue exploring vegetarian and vegan meals around town, the Mahers offer this tip: “We will put that we are vegan in our reservation notes, and if it’s a place with few options on the menu, we just ask the chef to feed us dishes of their choosing, on or off menu.”
Talk to us! Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to firstname.lastname@example.org.