The Mediterranean-focused fifth act from restaurateur Justin Cucci and team seems to sit on top of the world. 360 views, killer decor, and a creative food and drink menu draw in the crowds.
Nestled high above LoHi on the fifth floor of 2930 Umatilla, El Five boasts spectacular, unobstructed city views of the downtown Denver skyline, and a wide frame of sprawling highlands for an unrivaled sunset view. The Large open-air patio sits adjacent to its big sister: Edible Beat’s concept Linger.
The Mediterranean Sea has a rich export culture, all connected by one region : The Strait of Gibraltar. Like the port, El Five is a melting pot of all the Mediterranean regions, creating dishes without a home country, that taste like favorites from each one : Tapas De Gibraltar.
The tapas menu features meat-centric dishes like Shawarma Lamb Ribs (with a really great pickled mango amba) and the meatball-esque Chicken Kofta. The Matzah Ball Soup Dumplings are particularly interesting, and bigger appetites will appreciate the trio of paellas on the menu (seafood, vegetarian and rabbit/sausage).
“At the end of the day we want (the food) to be craveable and full of flavor,” Cucci said.
Desserts were also pleasantly surprising. I’m not a flan fan, but El Five’s — closer to a crème caramel — was a sweet, creamy little mound of goodness that I could eat all day.
Warning for when you inevitably try to find this place: It’s perched high up in the building behind Sushi Ronin. It’s kind of confusing, but Cucci’s got mega fans, so I’m sure people will make the effort.