As the temperature drops, we’re craving all things slurpable — from soups and stews to noodles, dumplings and more. This guide to Denver-area winter takeout is just a sampling, of course. But it covers a number of cuisines (see Chinese, Korean, Mexican, Jewish, French, Southwestern) and a range of price points. And it’s all warming to the stomach and soul.
Here are 15 dishes to try, and where to start ordering them around town, this winter.
This hearty Mexican goat stew is the rare dish that combines the comfort of a soup with the convenience of a taco, and once you start to look, you’ll find it on the menu at food trucks and at street-side stands around Denver. But to try it first, head to La Calle at 1565 W. Alameda Ave. For $12.99, you’ll get a heaping bowl of stewed meat with a side of fresh tortillas, cilantro, onions and lime to squeeze on top.
For a nutrient-rich and comforting cold-day meal, try out the “broth bar” offerings from Nest Cafe at Nurture, 2949 Federal Blvd. The Umami Veggie ($7) and Chicken Bone ($9) broths are made with root vegetables, fresh turmeric, ginger root, garlic and herbs. A seasonal bowl of soup ($7) changes weekly.
Cacio e pepe
Two pasta-filled, date-night specials at Denver Italian spots have us hungry for a snowed-in evening at home. At Dio Mio, 3264 Larimer St., diners who order directly from the restaurant can take advantage of a $50 dinner for two that comes with a simple salad, spaghetti, cacio e pepe and bottle of house red wine. And at Restaurant Olivia, 290 S. Downing St., $50 will get you and your date a simple salad, chitarra al limone, mafaldine with meatballs, one slice of cheesecake with seasonal fruit to share and your choice of a house cocktail poured for two.
The Cantonese rice noodles at Q House, 3401 E. Colfax Ave., are wok-fried and rolled in XO sauce, Chinese chives, eggs and bean sprouts ($15). While not at all soup, they’re certainly slurpable and season-appropriate alongside either of Q House’s fried rice options, Chong Qing chicken or Shacha bbq spareribs.
Leven Deli, 123 W. 12th Ave. by the Denver Art Museum, is a lovely stop this season after the Frida Kahlo exhibit. You can walk right up to its takeout window to place a to-go order. Try the pastrami chili ($7), made with the restaurant’s signature 12-day pastrami and a traditional chili base, plus sour cream and cilantro on top and toasted bread on the side.
It’s the season for French cuisine, and Brasserie Brixton, 3701 N. Williams St., has you covered with warm gougères, crispy duck and a French onion soup ($8) topped in melted gruyere. Take it home with a loaf of housemade sourdough and some apple cake with sweet cream for dessert.
With a location each in North and South Denver, Tocabe (8181 E. Arapahoe Road and 3536 W. 44th Ave.) is a convenient stop for a hot bowl or two. The posu bowls combine grains like quinoa, wheatberries and wild rice with bison and other meats, hominy, sweet corn, roasted green chiles and more. Make sure to order a cup ($3.75) or bowl ($6.95) of Iko’s green chili stew with fry bread on the side.
Hot and sour
A Chinese restaurant staple revisited at Hop Alley, 3500 Larimer St., the hot and sour soup here is made with pork loin, tofu, mushrooms and lily flower. Make it a full meal with grilled gai lan, or Chinese broccoli with schmaltz and oyster sauce, duck rolls and bone marrow fried rice.
For $29.99-$41.99, the Korean restaurant Funny Plus in Aurora (2779 S. Parker Road) will make you and two or more hungry friends a simmering pot with your choice of tofu, beef bulgogi, seafood, beef intestine and tripe, or the specialty “army soup” featuring ham, sausage and beef.
Khao soi kai
Perhaps the most talked-about dish at one of Denver’s newest Thai restaurants, Daughter Thai’s khao soi kai combines Northern-style curry sauce poured over a combination of egg noodles, shredded chicken, hard-boiled egg, bean sprouts and fresh green onion ($17). Also try the mae sai version with slow-braised bone-in short rib. (1700 Platte St.)
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One of the more creative matzo ball soups in town comes from Hoja, 1284 S. Pearl St. It’s made with egg noodles and matzo balls and spicy miso mixed into the traditional chicken broth ($7 individual to $19 for family size). For a more traditional but still delicious version, try Safta‘s, 3330 Brighton Blvd.), which will make its debut around the holidays.
Rich broths, slurpable noodles — what more could you ask for on a snow day? Of all the pho spots around town, Pho Duy — at 925 S. Federal Blvd. and 6600 W. 120th Ave., Broomfield — is still our go-to. You’ll get a platter of separate ingredients when you order to-go, so plan on boiling your broth and pouring it over the noodles, meat and vegetables at home. Choose from a couple of dozen protein combinations for $9.95-$11.95.
For the vegetarian diner, or anybody looking for more veggies in their life, Somebody People at 1165 S. Broadway has just the cure. A four-course dinner for $25 comes with your choice of grains (see farinata, risotto or mulitple pastas); vegetables (soup or salad); house focaccia; and a chocolate chip cookie for dessert. Pair your main course with a Tuscan veggie and bread soup, or ribollita, and call it a night.
You’ll find this one at a number of Indian, Tibetan and Nepalese restaurants around town. And while there are also dal soups and mulligatawny soups to enjoy, this sherpa stew is especially cold-weather friendly with its sticky dumplings, stewed vegetables and thick curry sauce. At Himchuli, 3489 W. 32nd Ave., you can customize it with vegetables, lamb, chicken or shrimp ($12-$17), various heat levels and basmati or brown rice on the side.
Xiao long bao
If you haven’t tried the new Chinese soup dumpling spot in town, now is a good time. At Mason’s Dumpling Shop in Aurora, 9655 E. Montview Blvd., you’ll get eight steamed and soup-filled dumplings for $12. Combine them with noodle and rice bowls and sticky buns, or order 25 dumplings frozen to make at home ($22-$30).
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