What: Lola Mexican Fish House
Where: 1575 Boulder St, Denver, Colorado 80211 in the Lower Highlands.
When: Seasonal drinks and dishes run for the Summer season. Happy Hour: All night Monday, Tuesday – Friday 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Dinner: Nightly at 5:00 p.m. Brunch: Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Pros: The masterful drink combination of flavors in the Blood Orange Sunrise and the Paloma prepared by bar manager Andy Owens, as well as the to-die-for Ceviche presented by Chef Kevin Grossi. Plus, Lola has long been in the forefront of the Lower Highlands restaurant renaissance.
Cons: The super spicy rim on the La Sandia is not for the faint of heart. Plus, this particular area of the Lower Highlands is so popular, parking may be tricky.
Lola Mexican Fish House is the crown gem of LoHi. Standing for over eight years, long before the new establishments and high rise apartments took shape, Lola’s has evolved into a unique and truly rich dining experience. Many consider Lola the spark that started the culinary and residential fire in LoHi, one that burns brighter every year.
The Denver restaurant is now a staple in the community. Lola’s menu is as dynamic as the neighborhood itself, moving with the ebb and flow of seasonal ingredients and concepts. The brand new summer cocktails and dishes at this favorite LoHi spot boast a creative and absolutely disruptive menu of flavors.
Summer offers many new drinks worth trying, such as the Bebida Morada mixed with vida mezcal, crème de violette, blueberries, lime and ginger beer ($10). The drink initially looks sweet, but the balance of mezcal and acidity in the blueberries makes for a surprisingly tart and dry cocktail. Plus, bar manager Andy Owens perfectly masks the mezcal without making the drink overly sweet.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the aromatic Q Coin made with muddled cucumber, agave nectar, fresh lime, el Tesoro platinum, squeeze of orange, and topped with a delicate cucumber twist ($10). The Q Coin is meant to be smelled initially, as the cucumber and lemon topping prepare your palette. A fun and flavorful balance of cucumber and citrus, the Q Coin is a delicious drink for the senses.
I have to rave about the mad-scientist worthy concoction: The Blood Orange Sunrise. This eye-catching, star drink is made with casa noble blanco, lime, agave, blood orange soda, and topped with prickly pear pearls ($9). The pearls are made with xanthium, seasonal juice, and some culinary, Bill Nye-esque science innovation. Lola experiments in the bar and in the kitchen. The delicious, fruity pearls were the idea of Lola bartender Kerrie Allen. Truly unique, and truly worth trying.
My runner up to the Blood Orange Sunrise as far as taste is the Paloma. This top selling drink is comprised of el charro silver tequila, fresh grapefruit, fresca, fresh lime, ($8). The Paloma is a chameleon and blends well with all types of tequilas. According to Owens, and depending on which tequila from the extensive Lola tequila library you choose, this Paloma might change your life.
This new menu boasts much more than drinks. Lola’s food draws the crowd all year long with the best ceviche in Denver, plus fresh ingredients and a farm-to-table ideology. I most enjoyed Chef Kevin Grossi’s Bay Scallops Ceviche made with avocado, watermelon, heirloom tomato, and roasted avocado seed ($11). This ceviche is paired with crunchy, homemade potato chips. It is where casual and high class meet. The watermelon adds a sweet and welcomed texture in contrast to the moderately soft yet fresh bay scallops.
We were also treated to the Fried Fish Taco made with house slaw, jalapeño aioli, cotija, habanero-avocado salsa ($3). The dish began with beer-battered Tilapia and is then served on a local corn tortilla from local Ponchito’s Tortilla Factory located just up the street. It’s all about attention to detail; even down to the Ponchitos’s tortilla, Lola stays local.
Chef Grossi exemplifies a subtle mastery of seafood and its preparation. I can’t express how refreshing it is to find a fish house head chef in Denver who understands the process, gets excited about the flavors, and allows this excitement to rub off on the diners and entire staff. Lola absolutely nailed their new, innovative techniques in their cocktails and Summer culinary dishes. I was lucky enough to sit down with GM Patrick Kneese, and asked him why he loves Lola:
“I love Lola because we are so many different things to so many different people. We have roots in the community, I love being a fixture in the neighborhood and seeing kids grow up.”
While people come for the food, they stay for the atmosphere. One that stands on it’s own in a sea of cantinas. Their dynamic menu combines the casual with the super high-class, another trend in Denver that Lola arrived at ahead of the curve. Be sure to follow Lola on Instagram and check out their popular Happy Hour or the lively, musical, and delicious Lola brunch on the weekends!