Charming and quaint are adjectives frequently used to describe Café Marmotte, nestled comfortably in the Washington Park suburb of Denver. This French bistro is cozy with only 13 linen-covered tables, colorful paintings adorning the walls, and soft music — all evoking thoughts of dining along one of the rues in Paris.
Owned by chef Mark Reggianni and his wife Mairen Regan, Café Marmotte is a sister property to La Marmotte, the iconic family restaurant in Telluride. Using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible, chef Reggianni creates approachable French cuisine with his own urban spin.
The French onion soup, for instance, is cream-based, and the coq au vin doesn’t overwhelm the taste buds with burgundy. The chicken is fork tender and accompanied with bacon mashed potatoes and some rather unexpected but delicious melted red cabbage and pearl onions.
But why get ahead of ourselves? Start with one of their glasses of wine, cheerfully curated by manager Rachel McQueeney, whose love for this restaurant, its food and customers is obvious and infectious. Or go for an eclectic libation such as their honey thyme Bee’s Knees, expertly made with Vermont Barr Hill gin distilled with raw honey.
Next, try one of the appetizers like the red and gold beet salad with EVOO, balsamic vinegar and goat cheese wontons. The menu changes every couple of days and Washington Park residents have made dishes like coq au vin, braised beef cheeks and Colorado lamb shanks local favorites.
For dessert, choose from classics like crème brûlée, warm molten chocolate cake, or its homemade ice cream or sorbet trio, the latter of which features vibrant flavors like pineapple mango and white peach with pistachio crumbles.
Finding good French cuisine can be a difficult chore in many cities. Fortunately, Café Marmotte makes it an easy task and satisfies on many levels.
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