These 9 “Bib Gourmand” restaurants in Denver, Boulder offer a good meal at a good value

They’re not Michelin stars, but nine restaurants in Denver and Boulder will be recognized as “Bib Gourmand” restaurants. They will be recognized next month at Colorado’s MICHELIN Guide Ceremony on Sept. 12. 

The Bib Gourmand restaurants “offer a meal of good quality at a good value.”

“The famously anonymous MICHELIN Guide inspectors are excited to reveal these very first Colorado Bib Gourmand as an appetizer to whet the state’s appetite for the full-selection smorgasbord,” said Gwendal Poullennec, the International Director of the MICHELIN Guides in a statement. “At these Bib Gourmand restaurants, food lovers can enjoy a variety of cuisines at a great value. Bon appetite!”

Hop Alley

Adam Bove

Additional Information from MICHELIN Guide Colorado:

AJ’s Pit Bar-B-Q (Denver; Barbecue)
Owners Amanda and Jared Leonard and pitmaster Patrick Klaiber have a hit with AJ’s Pit Bar-B-Q. From the white-washed facade and neon sign to the picnic tables and white metal chairs inside, this place smacks of a classic mom-and-pop BBQ spot. The menu is equally traditional, offering a feast of properly smoked meat. Cornbread leans inventive, and trust us when we say that you want the custard-stuffed version.

Ash’Kara (Denver; Israeli cuisine)
Chef Reggie Dotson offers up an exploration of contemporary Israeli cuisine, pulling in influences from the Mediterranean, North Africa and Middle East. The cooking is vegetable-forward and takes pains to accommodate all dietary restrictions (there’s even a gluten-free pita option), but there are no gimmicks here, just thoughtful, full-flavored dishes made with high quality ingredients and a bit of extra style.

AJ’s Pit Bar-B-Q

Jared Leonard

Basta (Boulder; Contemporary cuisine)
Concrete floors, cream walls and an open kitchen with a wood-burning oven set an industrial-chic tone at Basta, where family-style, contemporary Italian-American cooking is the name of the game. Start things off right with a shareable starter like burrata or the silky chicken liver mousse with peach mostarda that is sided by crusty bread from next-door sister bakery, Dry Storage. From there, entrees are satisfying, especially the half chicken.

The Ginger Pig (Denver; Chinese cuisine)
The story here begins with Chef Natascha Hess’ time as an exchange student in Beijing, where her host family taught her the fundamentals of Chinese home cooking, lessons that sparked a full-bore culinary passion. It’s clear that Chef Hess’ time abroad was well-spent: from hearty boiled pork and cabbage dumplings dressed with chili oil to stir-fried cabbage with Thai chili jam, the cooking bursts with flavor, including a healthy dose of heat.

Glo Noodle House (Denver; Ramen)
The location in a run-of-the-mill strip mall belies the cool interior at this spot named for Chef/owner Chris Teigland’s mother. The kitchen delivers serious flavor on the noodle/ramen-based menu. Kick off with a sweet-and-savory skewer of marinated tofu served with a miso peach jam and an almond-and-sesame candy crumble. Ramen options run the gamut from miso bacon and brothless versions to the death wish designed for spice hounds who want the heat without sacrificing flavor.


Colleen O’Toole

Hop Alley (Denver; Chinese cuisine)
Hop Alley refers to the original name for Denver’s Chinatown, but there’s nothing historic about this sleek restaurant. In keeping with the contemporary look, the Chinese menu with Sichuan leanings features modern adaptations of classics. There’s plenty of originality and bold flavors, as seen in dishes like gai lan, a dynamic plate of grilled Chinese broccoli with schmaltz and oyster sauce finished with house-made duck salt and crispy shallots.

La Diabla Pozole y Mezcal (Denver; Mexican cuisine)
This Larimer Street spot from Chef Jose Avila is no fuss and no frills but all heart. In case the name didn’t give it away, pozole is the star of the show. They feature the typical rojo and verde broths as well as white, black (with a smoky char from roasted chilies) and vegetarian — eschewing pork for mushroom and chayote. It’s an impressive take on a Mexican staple. Customize the protein and opt for the tender and flavorful pork, and order a mezcal from their extensive selection.

Mister Oso (Denver; Latin American cuisine)
It’s laid-back and lively at Mister Oso, a small but stylish spot with a creative menu and clever cooking. Chef/owner Blake Edmunds has a hit on his hands, with a second location opening in recent years. While tacos may be the main event, this isn’t your typical taqueria menu. Instead, discover ceviches, salads and dishes bearing Latin American and international influences. Everything is served family style.

Tavernetta (Denver; Italian cuisine)
Tavernetta is an absolute stunner. Every detail has been considered and designed to encourage lingering and relaxing in this unique and beautiful space. The Italian menu nods to more well-known dishes from multiple regions, and the plates are refreshingly uncluttered. The classics are prepared with obvious care, as in a crostini primavera with a sourdough base layered with creamy stracciatella, heritage English peas and lovely spring greens. Crisp and fresh, it’s simple but spot on.

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