The Short Version: Ash’Kara is a Mediterranean & Middle Eastern restaurant that brings a global and innovative menu to Denver, Colorado. The menu has everything from fresh takes on classic Middle Eastern dishes, like carrot kibbeh nayyeh, to traditional fare patrons expect from that region of the world. The unique drinks offered at Ash’Kara pair perfectly with the creative menu. The “Casablanca” vibe cements Ash’ Kara as a perfect date night. 

The harsh Denver winters can make people feel dreary while the snow piles up outside. An evening spent dining at Ash’Kara can be a good antidote to a case of the winter blues. The bright aesthetic, combined with an incredible menu, transports patrons into a different place and time. 

During the more comfortable Denver summer, Ash’Kara has a garage door that opens to let the breeze in. The cool, summer breeze combines with the flowy drapes to create the perfect summer dining vibes. 

Ash’Kara was founded to bring modern and fresh Middle Eastern cuisine to Denver, and it continues to innovate and expand its already mouthwatering menu. 

Founded by Chef Daniel Asher, Ash’Kara provides  a taste of the Middle East in Colorado. Chef Daniel, who is of Israeli descent, founded the restaurant to share his culture and cuisine with the Highland neighborhood in Denver. 

Ash’Kara organically rose to fame providing fresh versions of classic Middle Eastern dishes. In 2019, Culinary Creative took over the reins of the day-to-day operation, and the menu began to evolve while remaining connected to its Middle Eastern roots.

Patrons walking into Ash’Kara are greeted by the delicious aroma of fresh, artisan pita bread baking and an incredible decor that transports you to another land. 

General Manager David Berrios described the ambiance of Ash’Kara as “1960s Casablanca,” and even the most well-spoken patron would struggle with a more apt description. Unique lighting features and sheer curtains create the perfect environment for an intimate date night. 

The Dining Experience 

While Ash’Kara’s vibes set the mood for a romantic evening, the menu is perfect for a date. Whether it’s a first date or a 10th anniversary, discussing the unique menu will keep conversation flowing the entire night. Recently, Ash’Kara decided to expand its culinary vision. 

When asked about this change, GM David Berrios said, “We were essentially doing everything in Europe that’s not French, or Italian.” Right now, the Ash’Kara vision blends classic cuisine from Turkey and Morocco to create a fusion that cannot be found anywhere in Denver. 

Patrons should never arrive at Ash’Kara expecting a mundane dining experience. David explained that the restaurant is not afraid to experiment and push the boundaries of diner expectations. 

Right now, David insists that if you can only try one item from the menu, it has to be the carrot kibbeh nayyeh.  Popular in Lebanon and Syria, carrot kibbeh nayyeh is a dish traditionally made with raw minced lamb. 

The carrot kibbeh nayyeh is a pristine bed of ground carrot “tartare” dotted with golden raisins and sunflower seeds. Hints of apricot and baharat spice create this incredible combination of sweet and savory that will make diners reconsider their expectations of what is possible with raw carrots. 

ash kara plates
Ash’Kara offers inventive and delicious fare that’s perfect for date night.

David describes Ash’Kara’s carrot kibbeh nayyeh as a “vegetarian play on that to keep in line with our values for being very vegetarian friendly.”

David said his favorite dish is just one of the many examples of vegetarian options available at Ash’Kara. Executive Chef Reggie Dotson said the menu has a vegetarian’s dream coming up in June. The surprise is the veggie tasting board that is going entirely on Chef Reggie’s creation. 

The menu is going to be a love letter to Denver — written entirely through fresh, locally sourced vegetables prepared in innovative ways that will wow guests with even the most cultured palates.

While Ash’Kara will continue to make you rethink what’s possible in the realm of vegetarian dishes, the restaurant offers plenty of other options. For instance, the restaurant’s pomegranate braised lamb served with sumac glazed charred cabbage will change your life. 

For a more relaxed date, happy hour at Ash’Kara could not be a better match. You can’t go wrong with the delicious, house-made hummus that is drenched in incredible olive oil and spices. Of course, you cannot eat hummus without Ash’Kara’s artisanal pita bread, still warm from the woodfire oven. 

If you are looking for something a little more substantial, you can order David’s favorite dish, carrot kibbeh nayyeh, or you can’t go wrong with the steak or chicken kabob.  Ash’Kara’s Berry Bourbon Smash cocktail is perfect while tasting some of their delicious mezze or appetizers. 

A Bar for the Ages

Conversation is not the only thing that flows at Ash’Kara. The restaurant boasts an impressive spirit and wine selection that’s made up of libations from across the globe. David had plenty of recommendations for thirsty guests. If you prefer wine, the GLS Slavcek Sivi Pinot is an incredible choice. 

It’s a skin-contact wine sourced all the way from Croatia. It’s perfect for guests who want a really bright wine without overloading on sweetness. David shared that “there were only 900 bottles produced.” All the more reason to hurry to Ash’Kara!  

ash kara restaurant
The restaurant has beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces.

For those diners who prefer a drink a little stronger than wine, David recommends the Milk and Honey Single Malt Whiskey. It’s finished in pomegranate wine barrels and that hint of pomegranate pairs perfectly with the Middle Eastern dishes. For non-whiskey drinkers, Ash’Kara has a wide variety of other liquors and spirits. 

The staff at Ash’Kara have worked hard to create a cocktail lineup that meshes with their food menu perfectly. If you are looking for the perfect pairing for the carrot kibbeh nayyeh, the Carrot in the Rye has to be your first choice. 

The bartending team showed off its creativity when it came to naming the house cocktails. If the Carrot in the Rye doesn’t catch your fancy, maybe Gettin’ Zhuggy With It or Figgy Stardust is the right choice to quench your thirst. 

What’s Ahead For Ash’Kara

Ash’Kara will continue to provide Denver with groundbreaking cuisine, while the masterminds behind the menu continue working on bringing their global vision to life. 

“We’ve, you know, started moving away from some of the staples that people are expecting and kind of experimenting a little bit more,” David told us. Ash’Kara will never be the kind of restaurant that rests on its laurels. It will move on from classics to make room for new dishes and new experiences. 

ash kara
Ash’Kara is an award-winning restaurant.

We are not the only people to notice the shining star that is Ash’Kara. In the summer of August 2023, the restaurant received the Michelin Bib Gourmand Award, which highlights restaurants that serve high-class food at approachable prices.  

No matter how many times you have graced Ash’Kara with your presence, the ever-changing menu will present a different dining experience on each visit. A perennial classic, Ash’Kara’s delicious fare and constantly improving menu cement its place as one of Denver’s top date night spots.