By: Ally Yager
My family has never really been super big on cooking and homemade dishes. Of course, we’re all still able to navigate a kitchen, and I will say my dad’s skills are above average when it comes to his kimchi fried rice. But, when given the choice, we’ve always enjoyed going out to eat or utilizing Blue Apron, a meal kit service that saves my busy parents a lot of trips to the grocery store. When restaurants started shutting down around March due to the pandemic, we took it as almost a blessing in disguise when it came to convenience and delicious takeout food. Although restaurants are gradually beginning to reopen for in-person dining, here are a few of my favorite restaurants to order takeout from. All located around or relatively close to East and all reasonably priced. I hope you’ll enjoy these places as much as my family and I do.
Pho OK – 890 S Monaco Pkwy
I’ve always been a huge fan of Vietnamese cuisine, and while this restaurant does specialize in Pho, a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup with broth, rice noodles, herbs and meat, this wouldn’t be the dish I suggest if you want to do takeout. The Pho travels alright and doesn’t get soggy because the broth is separate from the noodles, herbs and meat until you get home, so of course it’s still delectable, but I’m absolutely obsessed with the restaurant’s Vermicelli bowl, a rice noodle bowl with herbs, cucumber, bean sprouts, chopped peanuts, fish sauce and any variety of meats. Pho OK is my favorite restaurant out of all my recommendations by far.
The Garlic Knot – 6217 E 14th Ave
The Garlic Knot is a casual, family-style Italian restaurant that specializes in Neapolitan, Sicilian and New York style pizzas, in addition to a variety of pasta dishes and calzones. Although it’s not really what you’d consider authentic Italian, it’s incredible comfort food that’s all reasonably priced. My go-to item is Penne Blanco, a pasta dish with creamy basil Alfredo sauce and two garlic knots on the side. regardless of whether you’re a pasta enthusiast or a pizza lover, this is a good restaurant to try out!
Kassai Sushi – 731 Quebec St
This is likely my favorite sushi place in Denver under normal circumstances, but it’s also proved to be fantastic during quarantine as well. Although the sushi is on the more expensive side, it travels very well and is sprawled out on a tray in a way where you can tell the presentation is highly valued. The fish tastes fresh, and there is a wide variety of rolls. My mom and I, being the sushi fans in our family, love the spicy tuna roll, the unagi roll and the salmon and mango roll.
Annie’s Café – 3100 E Colfax Ave
It’s unfortunate that my family has been making the decision not to actually go and eat out since the start of the pandemic, because Annie’s wins when it comes to an aesthetically pleasing interior and fun 50s theme. It offers a great number of all-American comfort food items, with both a breakfast and dinner menu largely consisting of burritos, burgers, sandwiches and the like. My favorite menu item is the Denver omelette with a side of sourdough toast.
7 Leguas Mexican Grille – 4550 E Colfax Ave
7 Leguas is a great restaurant all around when it comes to dining in. The salsa and chips are delicious, the food is always hot and the staff is friendly. I still think it’s been good for takeout during the pandemic because everything is still so flavorful and rich, but if you live more than 10-15 minutes away I would caution that not all of the dishes (especially the cheesy or smothered items) travel the best, becoming either lukewarm or soggy in the process of transport. Nonetheless, it’s close to perfect if you live close by. The shrimp quesadilla is great, but recently I’ve been super into the #5 Combination, which consists of a cheese enchilada, a smothered beef burrito and a smothered (crispy) chile relleno.