La Chiva has a spacious new location.
Denver’s dining scene is making a big comeback — and we’re hungering to go out. With so many new ventures and old favorites to visit after more than a year of restaurant shutdowns and restrictions, the choices can be overwhelming. So we’re serving up Short Stop, with recommendations for things that should definitely be on your culinary short list. This week, head to La Chiva, which recently relocated across South Broadway from its original space.
What: La Chiva
Where: 1446 South Broadway
When: Open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
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For more info: Visit lachivacolombian.com
The place: La Chiva got its start as a food truck in 2015 and moved into its original brick-and-mortar location at 1417 South Broadway in 2017. In November 2020, the space across the street became available after Magnolia, the short-lived Cajun restaurant that got hit hard by the pandemic shutdown, closed its doors.
La Chiva owner and native Colombian Jorge Aguirre saw prime opportunity in the newly vacant spot; in late July, he relocated his operation to the east side of Broadway. With the move, he gained double the seating, including an upstairs area and large back patio that will be opening soon; outdoor tables are already available in the front. With the two-level setup, the inside feels spacious, though Aguirre admits that the kitchen is much smaller than the one at La Chiva’s original location. He’s working on expanding it.
As for 1416 South Broadway, Aguirre still holds the lease and is planning to transform the space into a cafe that he hopes to open in the fall.
The La Chiva Picada platter is made for sharing.
What you’re eating: The menu is pretty brief, with five appetizers and nine main dishes. If you’re dining solo, consider the traditional Colombian dish Bandeja Montañera (“mountain tray”) for its sheer size and variety, with red beans, white rice, chorizo, sweet plantains, patacones (fried green plantains), arepa (a flat patty made of maize dough), chicharrón, pork ribs and avocado with a fried egg for $15.
If you’ve got company, go for the pork-centric La Chiva Picada platter ($33). The menu notes that it serves two, but you could easily stretch that to three with the addition of a salad or an appetizer. The array of food comes on a large wooden board fully loaded with Colombian specialties. There’s a pile of sliced, mildly spicy Colombian chorizo; a dark link of rellena (a variety of pork blood sausage that tastes much more light and mild than you’d expect, given its dark hue); super-tender and simply seasoned pork ribs; and a heap of crispy chicharrón.
The carnivorous items are accompanied by planks of fried yuca, patacones, papa criolla (small fried yellow potatoes), sweet plantains and arepa. A side of herbaceous aji casero made with cilantro and chiles and a creamy chipotle sauce complete the feast. It’s like a charcuterie board gone fried, in all the best ways.
La Chiva also has an impressive cocktail list, with options like the mango-maracuya margarita, made with triple sec, tequila, mango, maracuya (passion fruit) and lime and shots of aguardiente, a Colombian sugar-cane liquor. If you’re not imbibing, the booze-free beverages are also notable and include a variety of tropical juices, Colombian coffee and soda, and the ultimate hot summer day sipper: limonada Cartagenera, a frothy blend of fresh lime juice, pineapple juice and coconut syrup (which is available with rum, as well).