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Denver, Colorado, also known as the Mile High City, is a bustling metropolis near the Rocky Mountains. The Mile High City is located 12 miles east of the foothills (mountains that climb to 11,000 feet), and the Rocky Mountains are just beyond the foothills, with peaks up to 14,000 feet. While Denver isn’t technically located in the mountains, the foothills and mountain views dominate the city.
With over 300 days of sunshine, the city is a popular destination for solo travelers, couples, families, and groups. In addition, its world-class museums, proximity to ski resorts, booming cultural scene, and natural beauty bring over 30 million tourists to Denver annually.
Colorado‘s capital city also has a thriving culinary scene, with a diverse collection of restaurants ranging from Israeli and Mexican food to French and Southeast Asian. Some of the best restaurants operate out of a food truck, while others are located in a modern penthouse, in a hotel, or at the base of a large downtown building. Denver’s best restaurants are scattered across the city, although many are near downtown, Union Station, and lower downtown.
With hundreds of restaurants in Denver, in which most of them are good (while some are exceptional), it’s hard to narrow down the best. However, we tried to highlight restaurants and eateries of all types and price points, giving you a list of restaurants as diverse as the city.
- Best Restaurants in Denver
- 1. Savory Vietnam Restaurant
- 2. Mercantile Dining and Provision
- 3. Corinne Restaurant
- 4. El Five
- 5. Matsuhisa Denver
- 6. The Blazing Chicken Shack II
- 7. Misfit Snack Bar at Middleman
- 8. Bon Ami
- 9. A5 Steakhouse
- 10. Barcelona Wine Bar
- 11. Beckon
- 12. Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs
- 13. The Wolf’s Tailor
- 14. Ragin’ Hog BBQ
- 15. Fruition Restaurant
- 16. Guard and Grace
- 17. Avelina
- 18. ChoLon Downtown
- 19. Safta Restaurant
- 20. Potager
- 21. Sunday Vinyl
- 22. BRUTO
- 23. Annette
- 24. Nuggs Ice Cream
- 25. Root Down
- 26. The Bagel Deli & Restaurant
- 27. Comal Heritage Food Incubator
- 28. Nocturne
- 29. El Taco de Mexico
- 30. Tavernetta
- 31. The Ginger Pig
- 32. Chook
- 33. Work & Class
- 34. Ultreia
- 35. Sushi Den
Best Restaurants in Denver
1. Savory Vietnam Restaurant
Address: 2200 W Alameda Ave #44, Denver, CO 80223
This authentic family-owned restaurant will satisfy your cravings with its traditional Vietnamese dishes. Don’t let the comfortable ambiance fool you; this eatery is one of the best restaurants in Denver!
While Savory Vietnam Restaurant offers pho, you can also branch out of your comfort zone and order hot pot, fondue, grilled meats, or noodle bowls. While most people are familiar with pho, hot pot is a fun experience! You can feel like a chef at your own table with a simmering pot of stock in the middle for cooking meat, veggies, dumplings, or seafood.
The menu at Savory is extensive, so whether you dine in or order carryout, you’ll want to take time to look over it!
2. Mercantile Dining and Provision
Address: 1701 Wynkoop St #155, Denver, CO 80202
Mercantile Dining and Provision offers a farm-to-table experience similar to Fruition Restaurant, the other venture by Chef Alex Seidel. Located in Union Station, Mercantile serves elevated comfort food whether you’re dining for lunch, dinner, or weekend brunch.
The seasonal menu changes based on the availability of local produce, so it keeps customers coming back for new food options! And while the menu isn’t extensive, it’s obvious how much detail goes into each dish.
If you’re looking for something sweet and spicy, try the Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich, with sweet and spicy chili sauce, cucumber, cured cabbage, cilantro, and mint on a sesame potato bun. One of the many mouthwatering dinner options is the venison with pickled cherries and cauliflower. And if you happen to visit Mercantile Dining and Provision for brunch, try their Stone Ground Grits with bacon, shrimp, chili crisps, and toasted peanuts!
Once you take your first bite, you’ll understand why Mercantile is on our list of best restaurants in Denver! And if you get a chance, try to get a seat at the chef’s table for the ultimate experience!
See Related: Best Restaurants in Estes Park, Colorado
3. Corinne Restaurant
Address: 1455 California St, Denver, CO 80202
This upscale American restaurant is located in Le Méridien hotel and has a relaxed vibe. Corinne’s motto is “Honest Food + Drink,” which means that the menu items are made with local ingredients and are simple and approachable. However, the simplicity doesn’t take away from the restaurant, as Corinne is one of the more highly-rated restaurants in Denver.
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you’ll find menu items from buttermilk pancakes to avocado toast and French onion soup to a prime rib French dip sandwich. Their dinner items are a bit more hearty, with options such as Wild Mushroom Bolognese with rigatoni pasta and Belly-On Pork Chop with cider-maple au jus.
If you save room for dessert, you won’t regret having some Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie (with a pretzel crust!) or Bread Pudding (made with brioche bread and served with ice cream).
Whether you’re staying at Le Méridien or somewhere else, it’s worth a trip to Corinne for the delectable dishes!
4. El Five
Address: 2930 Umatilla St, Unit #500, Denver, CO 80211
El Five is the place to go if you’re looking for one of the most fun and eclectic restaurants in Denver! The restaurant is on the top floor, giving you unobstructed views of the Rockies and downtown Denver.
The restaurant focuses on Mediterranean and Spanish small plates (tapas), but the dishes were also inspired by the cuisine of the Middle East and North Africa. This unique hot spot is worth it for the view and ambiance alone, but once you try the food, you’ll understand why it’s one of the most popular restaurants in Denver.
Small plates include European Sea Bass with red onion jam, Goat Cheese Croquettes, Harissa Eggplant Fries with lemon yogurt, and Matzo Ball Soup Dumplings, but there are a dozen choices. In addition, there are several choices of mouthwatering paella, some of them without seafood.
And if you want something just a little sweet at the end of your dinner, El Five also offers dessert tapas like Chocolate Baklava or Basque Cheesecake. This restaurant is a fantastic culinary experience, so be sure to put it on your shortlist for a date night or dinner with friends when traveling to Denver!
See Related: Things to Do in Fort Collins, Colorado
5. Matsuhisa Denver
Address: 98 Steele St, Denver, CO 80206
Matsuhisa is the brainchild of famous Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa, known for his Japanese and Peruvian fusion dishes. This upscale restaurant offers Japanese cuisine with a tasting menu in a comfortable environment.
Sushi and sashimi are obvious choices at Matsuhisa, but if you are okay with spending a little more for a completely personalized experience, try the Omakase. In Japanese, it means, “I’ll leave it up to you,” which gives the chef control of what to bring you. If you’re unfamiliar with sushi, this is a great way to experience a little bit of everything.
Sushi isn’t the only option at Matsuhisa, however. They offer delectable Wagyu beef prepared with Himalayan Salt Rock, Tataki, Balsamic Teriyaki, or Truffle Amazu.
And if you’re looking to experience some of this amazing Japanese food without spending a fortune, there are plenty of options ranging from soups, salads, and other specialties. Regardless of what you choose, your taste buds will thank you!
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6. The Blazing Chicken Shack II
Address: 5560 E 33rd Ave, Denver, CO 80207
Like many local restaurants, this laid-back soul food restaurant started with a food truck. The storefront opened up in the Holly Square Shopping Center in 2017.
You’ll find all the Southern classics at the Blazing Chicken Shack, from fried pig ear sandwiches (yep!) to chicken wings, oxtail, gizzards, and catfish. These soul food dishes are served with sides like fried okra, macaroni and cheese, yams, or collard greens.
Open for lunch and dinner (but closed on Sunday and Monday), you can get a taste of Southern comfort food almost any time. Whether you dine in or have it delivered, once you take your first bite, you’ll understand why it’s on our list of the best Denver restaurants!
See Related: Best Restaurants in Breckenridge, Colorado
7. Misfit Snack Bar at Middleman
Address: 3401 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206
This is one of the more unique restaurants in Denver, with its owner describing it as a “classy and trashy hangout.” (It’s hardly trashy, though.)
Opened in 2018, this eatery aims to reinvent traditional bar bites into something classier. For example, they serve menu items ranging from Fried Chicken with Calabrian chili honey and bacon cornbread to Ravioli Bolognese filled with housemade ricotta and served with “fancy ass garnishes.” (maybe this is why the owner called Misfit Snack Bar trashy?)
The owners put just as much emphasis on their cocktails as their culinary creations, so you won’t find your standard ale or lager here. But there’s nothing else in Denver that compares to Misfit Snack Bar, so it’s worth a visit.
8. Bon Ami
Address: 295 S Pennsylvania St, Denver, CO 80209
This relaxed bistro is the perfect place for a brunch date any day of the week, but also a great spot for a delicious French dinner. Bon Ami, French for “Good Friend,” is a very friendly place with delicious crepes and classic French cuisine.
Start your meal with French Onion Soup au Gratin, and then enjoy a Warm Ahi Tuna Niçoise salad. Or try Escargots de Bourgogne followed by Steak au Poivre. There are so many delightful menu options that it’s almost hard to pick one thing.
Many diners come for the crepes; you’ll understand why once you see all the choices. Bon Ami offers savory crepes like Prosciutto and Brie, Stroganoff, Seafood and Cordon Bleu, as well as breakfast crepes like Eggs Benedict and Corned Beef Hash (I won’t even mention the dessert crepes!)
Bon Ami also offers quite an extensive list of wine, spirits, and beer, whether you want some bubbles with your brunch, a glass of port after dinner, or a bottle of wine to share during dinner.
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9. A5 Steakhouse
Address: 1600 15th St, Denver, CO 80202
If you’re looking for a modern steakhouse with a raw bar, you need to put A5 Steakhouse on your shortlist. This steakhouse is easily one of the most outstanding restaurants in Denver, combining whimsy and tradition with exceptional food. This sophisticated restaurant has an upscale atmosphere but is not pretentious or stuffy.
Start your evening with Poutine with curry gravy or Celeriac Oyster Chowder, and then choose among many delectable cuts of beef like the Wagyu Bavette, Denver Steak, Tomahawk Ribeye, or the Japanese Striploin. Try one of their unique sauces, like the Nuoc Cham Hollandaise, Beurre Blanc, or the A5 Steak Sauce (not to be confused with A1 Steak Sauce!)
There are so many mouthwatering items on the menu that it’s hard to choose what to order! The sides include Bacon & Kimchi Fried Rice, Macaroni & Cheese Croquettes, and Japanese Milk Bread Rolls. In addition, A5 has a sizeable wine list and signature cocktails like the Negroni and Old Fashioned to complement your dinner.
They also offer a fantastic happy hour if you want to experience some exceptional menu items at lower prices! No matter when you visit, you’ll understand why it’s one of the best restaurants in Denver.
10. Barcelona Wine Bar
Address: 2900 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205
Barcelona Wine Bar is the perfect place to experience the culture and flavors of Spain. This tapas bar offers an ever-changing menu with items from Spain and the Mediterranean. The wine bar also has one of the largest Spanish wine lists in the US!
With almost three dozen delicious tapas items, it’s hard to choose which ones to order! While they’re famous for their tapas, they also have salads, large plates (like paella), and numerous charcuterie options.
Some delicious tapas options include Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Eggplant Caponata, House Marinated Olives, Jamon & Manchego Croquette, PEI Mussels, and Steak Paillard. Their brunch menu adds more tapas options that are savory and sweet.
With their extensive Spanish wine list, you can likely find some of the best Spanish wine in Denver here. In addition, you can order their wines in a 3-ounce pour, 6-ounce pour, or a bottle, making it easier to try various wines. Perfect date night spot!
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Address: 2843 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205
Beckon is like no other restaurant in Denver. This fine dining restaurant is open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday by reservation only. What makes it unique is that it’s a prepaid dining experience, so you pay for your meal when you make your reservation.
The menus are changed quarterly based on the four lunar seasons. The first quarter is The Cold Moon theme, followed by The Strawberry Moon, The Harvest Moon, and The Long Night Moon. Reservations open two months before the new quarter starts.
The dinner experience lasts roughly two and a half hours, with options available for a wine pairing or wines by the glass, cocktails, or spirits. Outdoor dining is available with fire pits and heaters, but the most popular seating is at the chef’s counter.
This is a wildly unique culinary experience, making it one of the most extraordinary restaurants in Denver.
12. Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs
Address: 2148 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205
If you’re looking for traditional Coney Island hot dogs, Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs probably isn’t the place for you. The concept came from Jim, as in Biker Jim, Pittenger, a fun, easy-going guy who loved to grill exotic meat. That hobby turned into Biker Jim’s.
And to say that he’s won national acclaim for his grilled gourmet dogs would be an understatement. With two appearances on Anthony Bourdain’s show, “No Reservations,” and numerous other cooking shows on the Food Network and Netflix (where he introduced the elk jalapeno cheddar dog), Biker Jim revolutionized the way hot dogs were prepared and served.
Almost all of the dogs at Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs are exotic, like ostrich, wild boar, rattlesnake, rabbit, veal, and jack-a-lope. Then you can add amazing toppings such as The International, which includes wasabi aioli, caramelized apples, and shaved Irish cheddar, or The Conspiracy, which consists of bacon red onion marmalade, bleu cheese, French-fried onions, and lemon aioli.
These exotic dogs and creative toppings make Biker Jim’s one of the most unique Denver restaurants.
See Related: Things to Do in Colorado Springs
13. The Wolf’s Tailor
Address: 4058 Tejon St, Denver, CO 80211
Located in Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood, The Wolf’s Tailor is a sleek restaurant by Chef Kelly Whitaker. This fine-dining restaurant highlights Colorado’s wild game, grains, and seasonal produce and offers a multicourse tasting menu. The seasonal menu changes every couple of months, giving guests a reason to return!
Wolf’s Tailor is one of the most extraordinary Denver restaurants, with grand attention to detail, exquisite food pairing, impeccable service, and a delightful ambiance. But describing the restaurant beyond that is not easy, as it’s something you have to experience for yourself. The dishes are prepared using a mixture of a wood-fired oven, clay pots, and a binchotan grill while using greens and produce from its garden and house-milled grains.
If you’re interested in a culinary adventure that will delight your taste buds, you must reserve a table at The Wolf’s Tailor. Once you are there, you’ll realize that it’s so much more than a restaurant – it’s an experience.
14. Ragin’ Hog BBQ
Address: 4361 Lowell Blvd, Denver, CO 80211
This rustic restaurant in the Mile High City brings traditional Southern BBQ to the mountains. Like many of the best BBQ restaurants, Ragin’ Hog BBQ closes as soon as they sell out, so don’t go there for a late lunch, or you might be disappointed.
The menu is simple but perfect. You can order combo plates with sides, family packs for three or more people, or by the pound. You can choose from brisket, burnt ends, smoked pork ribs, hot links, and chicken. Sides are the usual standard fare like potato salad, coleslaw, green beans, baked beans, collard greens, and mac and cheese.
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15. Fruition Restaurant
Address: 1313 E 6th Ave, Denver, CO 80218
Fruition Restaurant is the brainchild of Chef Alex Seidel, who opened the restaurant in 2007. This upscale farm-to-market concept quickly rose to fame not only locally but nationally as well. Even after more than 15 years, Fruition’s reservations are still hard to come by. It has won numerous awards, including a listing as one of the “25 Best Restaurants” by 5280 magazine.
While you can order dinner a la carte, one of the best ways to experience the best of Fruition is with their tasting menu. The Cru Menu consists of five courses of the chef’s choosing. You can also add a Cru Pairing which includes three 5-ounce pours with your meal.
If you’d rather order off the menu, you can choose from Braised Lamb Shank, Kuginut Squash Risotto, or Roast Chicken. You can also order a variety of small plates like Grilled Mediterranean Octopus, Grilled Sprouting Cauliflower, or Spaghetti Alla Chitarra withduck confit.
Your taste buds will be delighted whether you order from the menu or let the chefs choose. Once you take your first bite, you’ll understand why it’s one of the best restaurants in the Mile High City.
16. Guard and Grace
Address: 1801 California St, Denver, CO 80202
Opened in 2014, Guard and Grace is located in downtown Denver on the towering Brookfield Building street level. This spectacularly large dining room is airy and light, unlike the feel of most steakhouses.
Because of its downtown location, Guard and Grace is open for lunch and dinner, allowing you to eat its prime cuts of beef during the lunch hour. While they offer lighter options on their lunch menu, you can always try their Filet Steak Flight, which gives you a 4-ounce sampling of their grass-fed, Wagyu, and prime filet mignon. If you order one of their steaks (you can choose from Wagyu, grass-fed, and prime), you can kick it up a notch with a Bearnaise, Chimichurri, or Crab Oscar sauce.
You can start with oysters on the half-shell or King Crab Legs from the restaurant’s raw bar and then have a caesar or wedge salad. While it’s known as a steakhouse, there are plenty of additional entree choices, from grilled salmon to pan-seared halibut and vegetarian pasta. And you can pair your meal with one of the thousands of wine bottles in the restaurant’s cellars.
Guard and Grace is considered a modern steakhouse, but the food quality, impeccable service, and gorgeous ambiance make you feel like you’re in a fine dining room.
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Address: 1550 17th St, Denver, CO 80202
Located in lower downtown Denver (or LoDo for short), Avelina is an intimate restaurant with a modern feel. The restaurant features New American seasonal dishes, with lunch, happy hour, dinner, and weekend brunch options. Avelina’s dining room seats up to 75 guests and has an open kitchen concept with a full bar, wine list, and craft beers.
The upscale yet comfortable restaurant offers homestyle dishes like Roast Chicken with Achiote Butter Sauce but also has more eclectic menu items like Crispy Whole Alamosa Striped Bass with braised escarole, Braised Pork Belly with celeriac puree, and mushroom tarts with black garlic sauce.
Finish your meal with something sweet like Chocolate Fondant with peanut butter cream or Dulce de Leche Flan with yuzu caramel. Avelina is easily one of the best Denver restaurants with its comfortable setting, delicious cuisine, and great service. Reservations recommended.
18. ChoLon Downtown
Address: 1555 Blake St #101, Denver, CO 80202
Opened in 2010, ChoLon is ubiquitously named after Chef Lon Symensma (his real name is ChoLon). The meaning of ChoLon comes from a large Chinese market in Saigon, Vietnam, as ChoLon means “big market” in Vietnamese.
This upscale downtown restaurant features a Southeast Asian menu with a European flair. For example, his concept of French onion soup dumplings came from his Far East roots and his European culinary training.
You’ll find delightful and sometimes whimsical dishes on his menu, from pork belly with hoisin sriracha and pickled vegetables to Colonel Cho’s Fried Chicken served with Togarashi Ranch and a trio of pickles. Whether you come for lunch or dinner service, you have a variety of small plates and entrees to choose from, all of which are delightfully mouthwatering.
To finish your Asian fusion dining experience, try their Spiced Doughnuts with Vietnamese coffee ice cream and condensed caramel. Or, if you’d rather have a cocktail from the bar, you can try one of their specialty drinks, such as Wok Away, which has strawberry gin, Tra-Kal, fresh lemon, and mint.
This lower downtown location is sleek, modern, and elegant, but the delightful (and sometimes whimsical) menu items make ChoLon a comfortable and enjoyable space.
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19. Safta Restaurant
Address: 3330 Brighton Blvd #201, Denver, CO 80216
Safta Restaurant is the go-to place for modern Israeli cuisine and Middle Eastern grub located in The Source Hotel. The restaurant is open for dinner daily and brunch on the weekends, but carryout is also available.
Start your meal with lamb ragu hummus with crispy chickpeas and scallions or baba ganoush with lemon and sour cream. Dinner plates include standard Middle Eastern fare like falafel (served with tahini and herbs) and lamb kebabs (with tahini, spiced pine nuts, and matbucha). Safta also has more eclectic menu items like Duck Matzo Ball Soup or a Cowboy Steak served with blistered peppers and herb zhoug.
If you’ve never tried Middle Eastern desserts, the Triple Chocolate Babka with vanilla ice cream is a popular request, along with the Pistachio Walnut Baklava, but you can’t go wrong with any of the dessert options!
Safta also has a sizeable cocktail menu, including beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages. Reservations are recommended but not required.
Address: 1109 N Ogden St, Denver, CO 80218
Potager was opened in 1997 by a dad and daughter team, and they are now celebrating 25 years of business! While “potager” is the French word for garden, the restaurant is not necessarily a French restaurant, nor do they follow the French style of cooking. The main goals of Potager are to source their foods from local farmers, offer a seasonal menu, and provide immensely satisfying food.
While they offer a rotating seasonal menu, some current seasonal dishes include Duck Confit served with a blueberry gastrique and Lamb Crepinette in a curry tomato sauce. And if you’re a dessert lover, some current dessert options include Sticky Date Cake with toffee sauce and a Granny Smith Apple Sorbet with crushed peanuts and dulce de leche.
The gorgeous covered patio at Potager is perfect on a warm summer evening while you sit and enjoy some bubbly (or a glass of red or white from the wine list). The patio area is first come, first serve, but you can always call to make a reservation for the indoor dining room.
21. Sunday Vinyl
Address: 1803 16th St Mall, Denver, CO 80202
Sunday Vinyl is a wine bar and intimate dining spot located in the Kimpton Hotel Born. The restaurant is only open for dinner during the week but also opens for brunch on the weekends. This upscale retro-style restaurant is perfect for a romantic date night or a boozy brunch with your best pals.
While the menu is fairly brief, the options are mouthwatering. Appetizers include options like Braised Pork Belly with pepper jam, Deviled Eggs with pickled mustard seeds, and PEI Oysters with horseradish mignonette. Dinner entrees include a Pork Burger on a potato roll, Oil-poached Cod, and Roasted Cornish Hen.
Start your weekends with Pumpkin French Toast with apple cider caramel, Shakshuka with a poached egg, or Steak and Eggs. Enjoy an espresso and this retro restaurant’s delicious food and cool vibes. Sunday Vinyl also has quite an extensive list of wines, spirits, cocktails, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages to complement your dining experience.
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Address: 1801 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202
Inside Free Market, BRUTO features global cuisines in downtown Denver in an intimate Omakase-style setting. Guests can watch the chefs at every step while at the chef’s counter, which faces the open kitchen.
The chef’s counter has 16 seats for the Omakase-style tasting menu, which is available for dinner service and weekend lunch. The multi-course menu is inspired by Latin and global cuisines, with optional beverage pairings.
Dinner service begins at 5:30 from Tuesday through Saturday, while lunch service begins at 11:30 a.m.on the weekend. While reservations are highly recommended for dinner service, walk-ins are welcome for weekend lunch.
This unique setting, combined with impeccable service, thoughtful pairings, and delectable dishes, makes it one of the top culinary experiences in Denver.
Address: 2501 Dallas St #108, Aurora, CO 80010
After opening in 2016, Annette (named after the owner’s feisty aunt) was showered with awards, including several James Beard Award nominations. Chef Caroline Glover recently received the 2022 James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef: Mountain.”
While the James Beard Foundation Award is the most prestigious, Annette has also been recognized by local magazine 5280 as one of Denver’s 25 Best Restaurants every year since 2016.
Although Annette isn’t technically in Denver, we couldn’t keep it off our list of the best Denver restaurants. It may be in Aurora, but where else can you dine in a yurt with exquisite food created by a James Beard Award Winner?
Annette is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, offering shared plates like grilled beef tongue and marrow toast, butter lettuce with tarragon, grouper bouillabaisse, and mussels with frites. You can also enjoy a beverage from their list of wines, spritzers, beer, cider, and sake. Reservations are highly recommended.
24. Nuggs Ice Cream
Address: 5135 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80220
Opened in 2014, Nuggs Ice Cream has been a Denver favorite for delicious ice cream and delectable desserts. Located in East Denver in Park Hill, this family-owned ice cream shop offers standard flavors like chocolate, chocolate chip cookie dough, vanilla, and strawberry. Some of their more exotic ice cream flavors include Queen Bee, Pablo’s Danger Monkey Coffee, Zangy Lemon Crunch Cookie, Orange Crush, and Stellar Milky Way.
If your sweet tooth is calling for more than a scoop of ice cream, then you may want to try their banana split, ice cream waffle tacos, ice cream sandwiches (made with fresh chocolate chip cookies), milkshakes, affogatos, or floats.
It can be overwhelming once you’re inside the shop with so many ice cream flavors to choose from and so many ways to use your ice cream (sundae, shake, between two cookies for a sandwich, banana split, waffle taco, or a float). But the hard decision will be worth it in the end!
Several local sources have rated this highly-rated ice cream shop as the best in Denver. So now it’s your turn to try it and see if you agree!
See Related: Best Restaurants in Boulder, Colorado
25. Root Down
Address: 1600 W 33rd Ave, Denver, CO 80211
To say that Root Down is an eclectic restaurant would be an understatement. This eatery is located in a retrofitted gas station with unique trinkets and self-proclaimed “bright-AF cocktails.” However, this unique space and fresh seasonal flavor have earned Root Down a cult following.
While many Denver restaurants source their meat, dairy, and produce from local farms, Root Down’s owners take sustainability further. The restaurant group has its own organic garden of over 6,000 square feet, producing almost a quarter of the veggies and herbs needed. In addition, the restaurant is powered 100% by wind, the seafood is designated as a “Best Choice Green” by the Monterey Seafood Watch, and all meat is pasture raised with non-GMO feed. The owners of Root Down are serious about sustainability and responsibly-sourced dishes.
Open for dinner service daily and for brunch on the weekends, Root Down offers a decent selection of small plates, entrees, and starters. A sampling of the dinner menu includes a Roasted Baby Beet Salad, Colorado Lamb Burger Sliders, Red Rice Risotto, Warm Herbed Feta with pita chips, and Rockfish Tom Kha. The brunch menu offers sweet and savory items like Carrot Cake French Toast, Bananas Foster Pancakes, omelets, egg dishes, and breakfast sandwiches.
Whether you’re dining for brunch or dinner, you can enjoy one of their specialty cocktails, a glass of bubbles, hot tea, coffee, wine, or beer. Reservations are highly recommended.
26. The Bagel Deli & Restaurant
Address: 6439 E Hampden Ave, Denver, CO 80222
If this deli looks familiar, you may have seen it on a “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” episode on the Food Network. This popular deli has been serving locals since 1967 and has been called Denver’s best deli ever since. This authentic Jewish deli is family owned and operated, and they treat the customers like family. In addition, many staff members have been a part of their restaurant for decades!
The Bagel Deli & Restaurant has a deli case where you can purchase homemade whipped cream cheeses (lox spread, chive, veggie, and plain), cheese, meat, and fish to take home. However, they also offer dine-in options for breakfast and lunch.
You’ll be happy when you realize that breakfast is served all day because you won’t be able to resist the Challah Stuffed French Toast (Challah Bread stuffed with sweet cream cheese filling). Of course, they also have bagels with lox and cream cheese, fried matzah with honey and syrup, and a variety of bagel breakfast sandwiches.
A bowl of their homemade chicken soup will cure anything that’s ailing you! (You can add noodles, matzo balls, or kreplach to the soup if you wish.) You can also order sandwiches with pastrami, salami, corned beef, brisket, chopped liver, and bologna. Their deli sandwiches are unlike any traditional sandwich you can get at an ordinary restaurant, as they are piled high with meat!
See Related: Things to Do in Denver, Colorado
27. Comal Heritage Food Incubator
Address: 3455 Ringsby Ct #105, Denver, CO 80216
The Comal Heritage Food Incubator is unlike any other restaurant on our list, as the employees are all female refugees going through a real live training program to become restauranteurs. Most refugees at the restaurant are from Central and Latin America, so much of the menu at this casual lunch counter is from those areas.
This restaurant and associated training program was launched in direct response to the need for economic opportunity in the refugee community. The training program is for female refugees that are aspiring restauranteurs so they can learn the skills they need to work in the restaurant industry or start their own food-based business! As of this article, the Comal Heritage Food Incubator has helped four refugee women launch food-based businesses while two dozen women have completed the program to go on and work in the industry.
Comal’s menu changes daily based on the employees and their heritage. All menu items are homemade, and many ingredients are sourced locally. In addition, a large portion of the produce used for the Latin American dishes is grown in the onsite Heritage Garden.
To support the local community and taste fresh, homemade Latin American dishes, stop by the restaurant between 11 am and 2 pm Tuesday through Friday.
Address: 1330 27th St, Denver, CO 80205
Nocturne is a Jazz and Supper club and is the only music venue in the state that exclusively features jazz. The most popular option at Nocturne is the three-course menu, which is included with all “Dinner and a Show” reservations.
This three-course menu allows you to choose between offerings for each course, making it a customized dinner. You can also add wine or cocktail pairings for each course if you aren’t sure what to order. Once you make your menu selections and order your drinks, the jazz show starts. The server will quickly and quietly deliver your course selections during the show. Often, the show ends about the time you finish your dessert.
Like many Denver restaurants, Nocturne is focused on using local farmers and small purveyors. Because of this, their menu is seasonal. If it’s available, however, you must order the croissant bread pudding for dessert – it’s delectable.
The “Dinner and a Show” tables are in high demand, so advanced reservations are highly recommended.
29. El Taco de Mexico
Address: 714 Santa Fe Dr, Denver, CO 80204
El Taco de Mexico is the place if you’re looking for authentic Mexican food at a super casual restaurant! This family-owned restaurant opened in 1985, so they’ve served the Denver area for over 35 years.
Much of the menu is based on the rich culinary history of Mexico City. For standard Mexican dishes, they have tamales, tacos, enchiladas, burritos, and chile rellenos. They’ve also got chilaquiles, gorditas, sopes, and sincronizadas if you’re looking for something more exciting. You can also order their green chile on top of almost anything, which is delicious.
Many people come to El Taco de Mexico when Santa Fe Drive has its First Friday celebration on the first Friday of every month. The indoor and outdoor dining options make it a perfect place to eat when the weather is questionable.
If you’re looking for a fancy or upscale Mexican restaurant, El Taco de Mexico isn’t it, but if you want authentic Mexican food (topped with green chile!) in an unfussy environment, this is the spot!
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Address: 1889 16th St Mall, Denver, CO 80202
Tavernetta has everything going for it: location, ambiance, food, wine list, and service. This sleek restaurant is located at Union Station and offers a full view of the trains. Tavernetta offers regional pasta dishes across all Italian cuisines. They also offer various styles of handmade pastas such as francobolli, pappardelle, rigatoni, gnocchi, and tagliatelle.
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, and although the menu is somewhat limited, all items are mouthwatering. The lunch menu includes Italian dishes such as a mushroom and cheese panini on sourdough bread and smoked salmon with asparagus. The dinner menu is a little more robust with options like Whole Grilled Sea Bass, Milk Braised Veal, or a Fennel-Rubbed Rotisserie Chicken.
You can’t leave Tavernetta without trying their Tiramisu or Baba Napoletano. Or if you prefer, you can have an after-dinner drink like Moscato, Amaro, or Grappa to end your evening. Regardless of your choice, you will be wowed by the service, the atmosphere, and the food.
31. The Ginger Pig
Address: 4262 Lowell Blvd, Denver, CO 80211
Like some of the restaurants on our list, The Ginger Pig started out as a Pan-Asian food truck. Once the concept took off, the chef and owner opened this brick-and-mortar location. The name “Ginger Pig” is loosely tied to her time as an exchange student in China, where she traveled all over Asia and learned the health benefits of ginger. How she decided on “pig” is unrelated to her travels but pays homage to a friend of hers with a pig named Ginger. And thus, The Ginger Pig was born.
Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, they offer Asian-inspired dishes ranging from Chinese Borscht, a Korean Cornflake Dog (a hot dog with cornflakes and deep fried with dough and panko), Japanese Fried Chicken, and Spicy Cauliflower. If you’re hungry for dessert, they also have a homemade mochi cake with vanilla ice cream or a Vietnamese Affogato.
The restaurant offers quite a few specialty cocktails, a range of beer, sake, hot tea, and other non-alcoholic drinks.
Address: 4340 E 8th Ave Denver, CO 80220
In Aussie lingo, Chook means chicken, and that’s exactly what this restaurant serves. They focus on delicious rotisserie chicken with various sides and sauces to go with it. You can head to Chook for a quick lunch or a relaxing dinner where you don’t have to cook. You’ll still enjoy the same deliciously-seasoned chicken regardless of when you come.
The menu is easy and simple; you can order a whole, half, or quarter chicken. Then the fun part comes – you get to choose a sauce! If you want spicy, choose Macha because it’s the hot one. Otherwise, the other options are Chimichurri, Big A’s BBQ, Piri-Piri, and Mum’s Gravy.
It might be challenging with eight “sides of glory” to choose from, especially when they all sound so good. You can choose between Pacific Rolls, Chook Wedges, Mashers & Gravy, Falafel, Smashed Cucumbers, Charred Mixed Veggies, Celery-Apple Slaw, and Mac and Cheese.
But if you’d prefer a salad or sandwich, you don’t have to order a rotisserie chicken. Sandwiches are served on sourdough bread and include variations of chicken, condiments, and ingredients. Chook is a fantastic place to go when you don’t want to cook but want something tasty and healthy. Or, if you don’t want to leave the house, you can have it delivered!
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33. Work & Class
Address: 2500 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205
Work & Class prides itself on its excellent yet simple food, good service, fair prices, and comfortable environment. The restaurant serves a combination of Latin American and American food because of the co-owner’s Mexican roots.
Open for dinner during the week and weekend, you’ll find menu items like Blue Corn Empanadas, Deep-fried Trout, Coriander-Roasted Colorado Lamb, Wine-braised Short Ribs, and Cochinita Pibil. The cocktail menu includes all types of spirits, wine, and beer. Of course, don’t forget the Panna Cotta or the Key Lime Pie for dessert.
So if you’re looking for a relaxing place to chill out and have some delicious drinks, Work & Class is the spot. It can be a casual date night, a solo dinner, or a good place to meet up with friends.
Address: 1701 Wynkoop St #125, Denver, CO 80202
Located in Union Station, Ultreia is a Spanish and Portuguese restaurant with a beautiful ambiance and matching decor. This popular restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.
The lunch menu has a delightful list of small plates or tapas, including Croquetas de Jamon, Bacon Wrapped Dates, Chicken Liver Mousse, Moorish Spiced Ribs, and Marcona Almonds and Olives. You can choose the same small plates during dinner service, but there are also main entrees such as Crispy Pork Shoulder and Octopus a la Plancha.
Make sure you save enough room for dessert, as Ultreia makes its own sorbet, ice cream, and Tres Leches and Churros. The cocktail menu is lengthy, with numerous spirits, wines, beer, and cider. Reservations are highly recommended at this popular spot!
35. Sushi Den
Address: 1487 S Pearl St, Denver, CO 80210
Sushi Den has been serving Denver for almost 40 years, yet it is still as popular today as it was in 1984. While most people head to Sushi Den for their sushi and sashimi, there are many other menu options. The menu has soups, salads, appetizers, tempura, and signature dishes like Teriyaki Chicken and Sriracha Garlic Shrimp.
The sushi menu is two pages long, with options ranging from Sushi Rolls, Nigiri Sushi, Signature Sushi Den Rolls, Tempura Rolls, Vegetarian Sushi/Rolls, and Hand Rolls. Some of the Signature Sushi Den Rolls are Wagyu Beef Roll, Tuna Firecracker Roll, and a Rainbow Roll.
Since Colorado is landlocked, many guests wonder how Sushi Den gets its fresh fish for sushi. The family’s youngest brother heads to the Nagahama Fish Market every day at 4 am in Kyushu Island, Japan. Then he ships the hand-selected fish to Sushi Den so it will arrive within 24 hours. But the owners of Sushi Den also check the local seafood markets and occasionally order fish from other markets worldwide.
While it is hardly a fine dining experience, it offers fresh seafood in a comfortable environment with decent prices. And after almost 40 years in business, they are just as popular as ever!
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.