The 9th Door
Let’s start by saying, this Capitol Hill taperia promises easy satisfaction via its wallet-pleasing tapas menu and happy hour cocktail specials. Dishes tend to be traditional Spanish crowd pleasers, such as croquetas, tortilla and escalivada but with a few Denverite riffs, such as salsa verde, thrown in.
Must-try: Pollo con Chorizo y Garbanzo and the cheese selection.
Ultreia, which means “onward”, is a passion-project of sorts at the historic Union Station location; a Spanish eatery that grabbed the local spotlight for its “thousand-dollar ham”. It continues to impress locals with award-winning chef Jasinski’s pintxos menu and paella parties on the patio.
Must-try: Crispy fried anchovy stuffed olives and the Trout Escabeche.
Meet up again with the same management dream team from Ultreia; Jasinski and Gruitch also founded Rioja, located in Larimer Square. With consistent accolades from the James Beard Foundation Awards and mention by the likes of Conde Nast - you get the idea. Rioja stands for cozy simplicity coupled with nuanced flavors from the Med.
Must-try: Rioja “picnic”.
You can’t get much higher in the Mile High City than El Five - Nestled on the 5th floor, this very confident tapas joint boasts views of the downtown Denver skyline to the mountain peaks. Inspired by the culinary hub of Gibraltar, you can expect an extremely modern twist on what it is to tapear, with some interesting Spanish wine choices to match.
Must-try: Coliflor Paella and the Goat Cheese Croquette.