El Jefe

4.5
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248 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Mexican
Our menu is inspired by the Mexican regions of Yucatán, Oaxaca, and Veracruz. We strive to respect the influences and traditions of these diverse cultures to bring you food that is uniquely El Jefe.

We believe in doing things the right way. Not because it’s trendy or cool, but because it’s right. We change our menu with the grow season, supporting our neighbors and the terroir of Colorado. We are not your average Mexican joint, rather a reflection of our environment and beliefs.

We hand make our tortillas every day. All of our pork comes from one whole hog. Our chefs breakdown the whole animal, for chorizo, appetizers, stocks, soups, and entrees. Nothing is wasted. We do this out of respect for the animal and for the people who raised them for us. Anything we can produce in our kitchen is done by us, with love. No frills, just good food.

We do an amazing brunch on the weekends, and by default or menu is nearly 100% gluten free.
What 248 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.2
service
4.3
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
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JS
Denver
34 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall3food4service3ambience3

Food was pretty good. Our server was not very caring, such as spilling water (and she knew she did) but not bothering to wipe it up. I also found the restaurant quite dark inside, at least where we sat; I actually had trouble reading the menu. Tables were a bit cramped, too, so we could hear conversations from our neighbors on all sides.

KB
Denver
22 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Wonderful neighborhood gem!
My sister & I like to try new places for Sunday brunch, and El Jefe came up in a Google search. Definitely not disappointed and I will return for brunch, but I also want to try Happy Hour & dinner.
The fresh made guacamole is SO tasty (a starter option)!
I ate all of my huevos rancheros & tasted the chilaquilles & carnitas & huevos (also very good).
They offer bottomless brunch drinks & the option to switch (which I did after one (1) Bloody Mary). I stuck with the scrumptious sangria as did my sister.
Can't wait to return!

CS
Denver
2 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Yes, we have recommended and brought friends several times! Thanks for being a great neighborhood restaurant!

EB
Denver
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always delicious with a friendly staff! The Al Pastor was amazing!

JA
Denver
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a great dinner! Our server was attentive. The food was excellent.

BN
Denver
5 reviews
Dined on December 13, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

This is a nice neighborhood restaurant. Our party of 4 had a great dinner at El Jefe on a friday night. The place was lively but not too loud. We enjoyed the octopus and shrimp ceviche appetizers. We all had tacos and split Mexican lime pie, sweet, and mexican chocolate pumpkin pie-yummy! Great margs too. One of us had the spicy marg and she said it was perfect. I would definitely recommend this restaurant to others!

G
Denver
11 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

One of our go to places in the highlands. Food quality and service were top notch as always

OT
Denver
3 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience4

Loved the location and available street parking. Food was good but not great. Waitstaff was not knowledgeable about the dishes. The margaritas were amazing. I would give it a try again as I feel it could get better the potential is there.

VM
Denver
1 review
Dined on December 4, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service, delicious food, fun atmosphere. The mushroom tacos were delicious but came with only 2 small tacos. The squash salad and queso were incredible!

S
Denver
14 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

We really enjoyed El Jefe! The food was unique and delicious; think more what you'd get at a fine restaurant in Mexico, than Tex-Mex or CO-Mex (not that we don't love the latter as well). My partner had Tacos al Pastor (her go-to dish) and the El Jefe version both adhered to and veered away from the traditional, using pork belly, grilled pineapple and other fresh ingredients. I had a dish off the special menu and it was excellent - green "mole" with pork, pickled veggies etc. Corn tortillas (house made?) were warm, thick and pillowy. Also some really good craft cocktails- I had one wit mezcal and Ancho Reyes chic kicker and Am had an old fashioned sweetened with marmalade- great idea. And our waiter was awesome!! He brought a couple of tortillas to go along with our leftover box. Devil's in the details, and El J had it going on. We'll be going back soon!

T
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall4food5service3ambience4

Food was great, which is most important! Our server seemed really overwhelmed. One of our guests was pregnant and asked if the bartender could maybe make her a mocktail and the server said he was too busy for that, and then proceeded to bring her the wrong drink when she did order. Just felt like we had to try to catch her whenever we could or else we wouldn't be able to order anything.

L
Denver
18 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Loved the Pescado tacos. Great venue

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GD
Denver
12 reviews
Dined on November 5, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience4

This is a great neighborhood restaurant, my husband and I go there twice if not more X per month.

A
Las Vegas
7 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall3food2service2ambience4

They rave about being almost 100% GF but it’s a common fryer. So not GF. Server was annoyed or disinterested or both in our food, allergies & such. And everyone’s dishes were highly over salted. Plus 2 tacos & a side of beans for $15+ should be spectacular. This wasn’t. This is our second time here & we will not be returning.

JL
Denver
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

My guests loved the resturant and the food was delicious.

M
Denver
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food!! And great service, I will definitely go back

TP
Denver
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My favorite neighborhood gem. Food is always amazing and the staff friendly. The biscuits and gravy for brunch is not to be missed.

g
Denver
17 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience2

We ordered entrees, and our server asked us if we wanted 2 or 3 tacos with our dinner. It wasn't clear until asking a few questions that the entree as priced comes with 2 tacos, not 3, and there's a significant uncharge for a third taco (which was not disclosed before we received the bill).

A
Denver
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall2food2service3ambience4

The food was very sub par. Nothing we had was flavorful and the tortillas were literally uncooked or just not good. The salad we got for our kid had this nasty texture to the watermelon and the dressing wasn’t even good. Come on guys for $88 for three people I expect a HELL of a lot more.

P
Denver
20 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall3food5service1ambience3

Love the food at this neighborhood spot so we thought we’d bring some out of town friends. After we were seated, it took 15 minutes to have anyone acknowledge us, even though we were sitting in the middle of the room and while busy, not too busy for someone to at least get service started. We ordered drinks and it took another 10-12 minutes for drinks to arrive. Disappointing. Fortunately the food was good and the company was better so we made the best of it and carried on with our evening. If the food wasn’t so good, we might think twice about coming back.

JL
Denver
12 reviews
Dined on October 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I always enjoy this restaurant. The service is outstanding and the food is fresh, clean and delicious. I had the beef barbacoa tacos. It was outstanding. I highly recommend El Jefe.

OT
New England
2 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Great Happy Hour!

SO
Denver
1 review
Dined on September 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and service! Wish it was in my neighborhood so it could be my local go to.

OT
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had such a nice time! Food was very tasty; loved the fresh hot house made tortilla chips and tortillas. Had salsa trios, guacamole, ceviche, queso, pulpo, and a variety of entrees & drinks and enjoyed everything. It’s a laid back, relaxed atmosphere which was just what we were looking for. We recommend and will return!

TM
Denver
1 review
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall2food3service1ambience3

Bad service. Not friendly at all.

S
Denver
3 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love the outdoor seating. Cute little casual patio, Great food and service.

OT
Denver
3 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing! Highly recommend

G
Denver
15 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall4food5service3ambience4

I think I might have rated this place 5 stars if it hadn't been for the very slow service. We were told that they didn't have enough staff on that night (a busy Saturday night at that) because someone (or maybe more than one) had called off. They actually had shut down an entire section of the restaurant and were turning away diners. Luckily we had a reservation.

But the service was painfully slow. Our server tried her best but you could tell she was frustrated and had a bit of an attitude. In many ways I don't blame her but in addition to the slow service and food delivery we kind of felt like we were dealing with personal issues with the staff (everyone was grumpy).

We weren't in a hurry and were enjoying catching up with a friend so we made the most of it. The food was quite good and there was a little something for everyone. I was told that everything on the menu was gluten free except for the fried fish tacos and the Mexican pizza. I don't know about the desserts as we were never offered dessert and probably wouldn't have ordered anyway. However, I likely would have asked if any were gluten free.

I really enjoyed the mushroom tacos. I believe the tortillas are made in house and you could tell. The corn tortillas were thick and yummy and didn't fall apart when eating a taco. I almost always end up eating tacos with a fork because the corn tortilla falls apart. These did not and I was able to eat both of them without a fork. Carnitas were enjoyed as was the aforementioned pizza by the others in my party.

We would definitely go back if in the neighborhood again. I would recommend reservations to avoid the wait or being turned away if they are short-staffed again.

AH
Denver
5 reviews
Dined on September 11, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience3

Be forewarned, the floor is concrete, so the noise level is very high and was hard to have a conversation across the table.

MA
Denver
2 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Amazing place and amazing fresh foods, the dessert was amazing as well we had the Mexican lime pie sooooo delicious

OE
Denver
38 reviews
Dined on August 28, 2019
Overall4food5service3ambience4

Loved the food! Guacamole was exceptional 😊 The Barbados tacos delicious and don’t miss out on the lime pie.

MK
Denver
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience5

Great outdoor setting. Service is okay, but food and environment is great

J
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was awesome! Drinks were great! Great neighborhood joint for a Mexican meal and mezcal cocktail.

OT
Denver
2 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Meg was awesome and the food was fantastic!

OT
Denver
2 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

As always great service and delicious food. The paloma is tasty.

RS
New England
1 review
Dined on July 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was our 3rd time at El Jefe, and, per usual, it was delicious. The service was prompt; they kept our waters filled.

JL
Denver
13 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

El Jefe is one of my favorite restaurants. The staff is knowledgable and friendly, and the food is fresh, thoughtfully prepared and delicious. I love their guacamole; all of the tacos are incredible, and of course there is an incredible selection of tequila. I love sitting on the patio for brunch as well as dinner.

OT
Denver
28 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We went for brunch the the food was very good ,fresh tortillas

JC
Denver
2 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Went here for the first time for my birthday. The food, the service, the drinks, and the ambiance were all fantastic!

c
Denver
36 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fabulous Mexican food! From the margarita's to the chips and salsa, guacamole, and entrees. This place wowed us. The service was very attentive, helpful, friendly, competent, and efficient. We enjoyed the chicken tacos and slow braised pork carnitas. Our chosen 3 salsas were the verde, pico (with watermelon) and habanero. The habanero was our favorite mixture of hot and sweet. The guacamole was delicious. The house margarita was tasty but the machete was even better. The slow braised pork carnitas came with perfectly roasted fingerling potatoes, 2 salsas, jalapenos, pickled onions, greens, and tortillas. So good and no dairy in site. The beef barbacoa won rave reviews from our table as well; a perfect blend of flavors. We'll be back soon.