Downtown Denver restaurants are a little hard to predict because they either change names or go out of business with some regularity..I’m sure there are numbers I could give you to prove my point but that isn’t necessary…
There are some areas that are convenient to downtown that have enjoyed some success and stability by giving people what they want…I have eaten great food at lots of places in Denver..and go back a second time (or whatever) and discover they are closed…yet..at the time they looked very busy and the location promised they would be easy to find and word of mouth would make them a huge success…
I don’t go to trendy restaurants..I think that is the reason why...you get hooked on a place but they can’t stay in business.
In Denver there is a pretty substantial Vietnamese community.. well over 10,000 people the last I read..The community has many restaurants too and there are many ways to describe them..but first I want to classify 2 types right off the bat..and then some other categories Vietnamese restaurants:
1)The all things to all people restaurant…example:
mixing multiple cuisines Chinese-Vietnamese… Vietnamese-Chinese or .. Thai-Vietnamese.. or any variation of two cuisines…
2)The Pho restaurant
3)The Vietnamese restaurants with full menu
4)Banh Mi (sandwich)
The reason why this is important (I think) is because when people talk about their experience with Vietnamese food you should try to determine how they reached their opinion…or..more to the point..if they say they tried Vietnamese food before.. didn’t like it and don’t want to try it again in the future..then you can see what their experience was..
I normally try not to name names unless it is positive..but I may have to in order to compare..so here is my experience.
If you never had any Vietnamese food before you should start small…try something that is a small portion..get used to the look and smell of the food..see what looks visually familiar and don’t just dive in..LOL, they will not give you points for bravery or discount your order for fearlessness.
My advice is to try a bakery..there you can either get a pastry or a sandwich..and possibly a dessert…you may also get coffee.. but this is not coffee that you have had before…either hot or cold..you can get it with sweet condensed cream at the bottom.
It is rich tasting and very potent!
Be careful...seriously...no joke…
It will keep you up all night if you have more than one.
If you get a sandwich you can start out with a mild flavor like chicken..
Then once you have fallen in love like everyone does..you can move on to a lunch menu at a restaurant..
You can get a noodle bowl that will remind you of vermicelli noodles..with meat.
So far so good..right?
Then on your next trip you can get pho…
There is a process to eating pho..it is a noodle soup with garnish of jalapeno, lime, basil and bean sprouts..you are not obligated to use each and every ingredient so it is served on the side.
Try beef..whether well done or rare.
Downtown Denver restaurants will not have these places..so go to federal Boulevard and begin by going to Far East Center on Alameda…go to the bakery at the south west corner of the plaza…get something sweet.
Next go to Mississippi and Federal..park the car..you will be there for awhile..Go to the east side of Federal and first go to Ba Le bakery..get your sandwich or whatever..maybe an iced coffee….if you are still hungry go to 95 at the north end of the plaza.
Actually…you simply will not find a bad Vietnamese restaurants on Federal..I tried to find one as an experiment..and I failed!