Bittersweet: Our Farm In the City

by Grace Boyle on June 10, 2011

Post image for Bittersweet: Our Farm In the City

Bittersweet just opened on New Years Eve this year in Denver’s Wash Park neighborhood. Chef Olav Peterson and his wife, Melissa have been wanting to start a restaurant for 10 years and their teamwork and hard work has clearly paid off.

The Lowdown:


Location: 500 E. Alameda Ave., Denver, CO

Cuisine: New American / French

The restored auto body garage of Bittersweet, is warm and rustic, with modern charm mixed with antique and salvaged interior decorations. Notice the classy, with a little edge chairs below as you walk into Bittersweet and the wooden fireplace from the 1800’s stood out to me, as well. These pieces are all of Melissa’s handy work and interior decorating eye.

They’ve managed to plant plants amongst the 600 square feet around the restaurant property. During the Spring and Summer their garden will grow most of the restaurant’s seasonal produce on their menu. This effort is admirable and not only does it invoke the organic and conscious feel, but it is also sustainable.

The interior is steel gray, with a French inspired small bar as you enter. We sat near the fireplace and I loved all the design touches.

We ordered an array of appetizers, entrées and desserts. Westword recently awarded them for best Clam Chowder in Denver, and with The Man from New England, I knew it was a must.

The menu is small, artisanal and changes more than seasonally. I was sampling their newer Spring menu and they just came out with their new Summer menu.

For drinks, I tried the Elysees: calvados, St. Germaine, lemon and bubbly. Refreshing!

We started with the Frisee, with cured salmon, poached egg and mustard vinaigrette. The dish breaks apart, with the egg running through the crisp frisee, still wrapped with the cured salmon.

New England Chowder with top neck clam, potato croquet and crispy pork. This was creamy and thick, as a reduced chowder. I could have licked the entire plate clean, no shame. This dish is that good.

Alsacienne Tart with spring vegetables and haystack mountain goat cheese. I loved the flaky tart with fresh vegetables.

For dinner I ordered Study in Spring filled with spring vegetables and crispy polenta That crispy polenta crunched was my favorite.

After being so full from our Malbec and my cocktail I simply couldn’t say no to those sweet morsels.

We ordered the chocolate cake with chocolate mousse and mascerated blackberry.

Vanilla mascarpone tartley with strawberry brulee and graham cracker crust.

Everyday they have a new Pie of the day and we were lucky that Rhubarb was the pie of the day. The salty and sweet with the slight sour of rhubarb was incredible.

We even ordered a scoop of homemade peanut butter ice cream, made in house.

Bittersweet is one of my favorite restaurants in Denver now. Chef Olav takes classic dishes, and spins them into something creative, artistic and truly inventive.

I really love their artisanal cuisine (so my style) and appreciate the way they’re building their own garden around the space. When you put yourself out there and do something different, in an urban area where you might not traditionally see a restaurant planting seeds, this is when you know they’re marching to their own beat. They serve French inspired food that is plated in such an artistic way you don’t want to eat the food, but then again, the food is so good you will find yourself never wanting to feel full.

Find Them:


Phone: 303. 942.0320

Facebook: | Twitter: @DineBittersweet

Reservations: Open Table

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Bing Chou June 10, 2011 at 8:24 am

While I don’t find myself in Denver very often, I do find myself wanting chowdah often. Thanks for the tip.


Grace Boyle June 10, 2011 at 11:07 am

Bing, it’s a unique variation of the chowdah, but Denver voted it the best (it’s deconstructed) so it’s a must try. I’m not in Denver too often either – but it’s a great place to wander off the beaten path and try their delicious food!


Chelsea Talks Smack June 10, 2011 at 9:01 am

THIS. LOOKS. AMAZING. Definitely have to go.


Grace Boyle June 10, 2011 at 11:07 am

Chels you will LOVE it!


Lenora Boyle June 10, 2011 at 11:35 am

I would love to savor and look at this beautiful food, and work in their garden. Yum..seed to table. Please take me there when I visit Boulder.


Grace Boyle June 10, 2011 at 11:41 am

Momma, anything for you 🙂 Of course! It’s on the list.


Kazia Jankowski June 25, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Can’t wait to try it! How lucky that the pie of the day was rhubarb, one of my favorite summer treats.


grace June 26, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Agreed! Let me know what you think when you try them out 🙂


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