Eight Great Mexican Breakfasts
in Denver

Coffee and brioche are good and all, but there’s no wakeup call like the bracing spice and rib-sticking sustenance of a Mexican breakfast. Denver has some of the best in the country. Here are eight, enough for a baker’s week’s worth.

The exterior of Lola’s (left); The Desayuno Fuerte at Zaidy’s (right).

El Taco de Mexico

El Taco, a centrally located taco counter which may have Denver’s only all-female kitchen, sets the local gold standard in green chile, that ubiquitous salsa-cum-stew made from green chile peppers and garlic that, if you’ve ordered correctly, bathes your egg-and-bacon burrito in a piquant smother. Also on the menu: layered chilaquiles, like a tortilla-structured lasagna, stuffed with beans, cheese, and vegetables. Wash it down with hot coffee or an icy agua fresca. 714 Santa Fe Dr. (303-623-3926)


Find a table on the shady patio next to the giant green-chile roaster, which spins all day releasing sensual, savory aromas into the air. Sip your coffee slowly, and breathe deeply as you fill up on fresh eggs tossed with salty-sweet Mexican chorizo (which comes crumbled, not in a sausage) and topped with freshly roasted green chiles. Fresh, warm tortillas on the side. Pick up a bushel of those chiles on the way out; you’ll be stirring up your own stew at home later, and green chiles freeze beautifully. 2524 N. Federal Blvd. (303-964-9544; jackngrill.com)


Save Lola for a see-and-be-seen weekend breakfast and wear your cute shoes, because the atmosphere here is pure Sex en la Ciudad. Sip a bloody Maria (tomato juice and tequila) or Mexican mimosa (Tecate beer, orange juice, and lime) while you nibble on your Veracruz-inspired Lola Bowl, a lovely toss of rice, vegetables, pork belly, and shrimp. Sweet tooths will find the stuffed toast—a mess of blueberries, cream cheese, French toast, and syrup—irresistible. 1575 Boulder St. (720-570-8686; loladenver.com)

Los Carboncitos

Heading west for a day in the hills? You’ll need breakfast. A big one. Take the Sheridan exit off of US-6 (the main drag out of town) and head north one block. Don’t be put off by the grungy strip Los Carboncitos sits in, as this friendly hole-in-the-mall boasts fresh, bracingly spicy egg dishes and strong coffee. For those mas macho, a steaming bowl of menudo (tripe stew) is always bubbling on the back burner. Talk about your breakfast of champions. 722 Sheridan Blvd. (303-458-0880)

Rosa Linda

Denver is a city of neighborhoods, and Highland, punctuated by Victorian houses, modest bungalows, and beautiful mountain views, is one of its prettiest. But the folks here would likely starve without Rosa Linda, a sweet café that serves a full range of Mexican breakfasts, including huevos con nopalitos (eggs with cactus), chilaquiles, and, best of all, fresh tamales, all day long. Good thing, too, because this hipster haunt isn’t known for serving early risers. 2005 W. 33rd Ave. (303-455-0608; rosalindasmexicancafe.com)


You know your breakfast is going to be good when you’re standing in line behind mostly construction workers. Santiago’s, with several locations, is known for its $2 breakfast burrito, stuffed with sweet, earthy beans, potatoes, scrambled eggs, and plenty of cheese. And, naturally, an inspiringly spicy jalapeño sauce. The miracle is in the way they wrap it, which makes it behind-the-wheel scarfable—very important when you’re sitting in slow-moving Denver traffic. 571 Santa Fe Dr. (303-534-5004; eatatsantiagos.com)

Tia Maria

If you’re headed to Boulder Canyon for a hike, detour off Route 36 for a sit-down plate of classic huevos rancheros served with fresh, warm, soulful tortillas and a chunky salsa fresca. Friendly servers weave their way through the plastic-flower-strewn dining room, delivering warm tortilla chips to every booth even at breakfast, all while keeping a close eye on the telenovellas playing on the flat screen. Also on the morning menu: crispy, cheese-filled poblano chiles rellenos. 7260 Pecos St. (303-427-2572)


A Mexican breakfast in a Jewish deli? Nothing could be more Denver. Order your Desayuno Fuerte (a potato latke with eggs, spinach, onions, and a surprisingly spicy salsa) with a bagel on the side and a bottomless cup of coffee. The fact that the place is Kosher-style, not Kosher proper, means you can still get a side of bacon. Bring your paper to linger and, what the heck, grab a handful of rugelach to carry around for the rest of the day. Who knew? 121 Adams St. (303-333-5336; Zaidysdeli.com)

Tucker Shaw is the editor of the Food and Dining section of The Denver Post. You can read his blog here.

Subscribe to Gourmet