We asked you a simple question: “Where would you take someone who was visiting Denver if you could choose one place” and boy, did you guys deliver. From Texas BBQ to farm-to-table to Japanese and Mexican, elegant and casual, mom and pop to chains, we truly think this is the ultimate guide for eating your way across Denver. We hope you enjoy!
1. El Five
Welcome to El Five. We’re starting this list off with a bang–one of Denver’s rooftop bars nestled in the LoDo neighborhood. Take in scenic skyline views while scarfing down some killer seafood, burgers, and bar bites, and that’s not even mentioning their delicious cocktails.
This cute bistro has some Watership Down-inspired murals and classic vegan comfort foods. Watercourse is all about doing things that cause the least amount of harm to the environment and the community, and we couldn’t agree more with their message. Here, you can get a bunch of different types of vegan bar food, like vegan cauliflower wings or truffle fries or even fennel sausage bolognese.
Tavernetta has got some delicious Italian and Mediterranean vibes going for it with elegant and elevated plates to match. From handmade pastas like Tagliatelle with Lobster and Anolini with Dandelion to seafood like Halibut and Sea Bass. Don’t skimp out on their extensive worldly wine menu as well.
You know Hillstone is good when it’s got other locations in big cities like New York and San Francisco, but lucky for us, one of their central locations is in Denver. They’re more upscale eatery than casual (their website says hats and flip flops are a little too casual for them) so keep that in mind before heading over. Hillstone has some good American classics like Rotisserie Chicken, BBQ Ribs, and Trout, so it’s a great option for everyone.
Who doesn’t love Mexican food? The owner of Los Dos Portillos, Jose Ramirez, grew up determined to make an authentic no-frills Mexican eatery here in Denver, and now you can enjoy Portillos in multiple areas of Denver! We’d recommend some Ceviche since its summer right now, but you can’t go wrong with a heaping plate of Carnitas nachos either.
6. Happy Camper
Happy Camper is another great addition to the list with a lovely outdoor patio and great looking menu. The layout involves a perfect green lawn, pull up chairs, fire pits, and communal wooden benches and tables to eat. The menu is centered all around pizza, but they’ve got a big list of bar snacks as well. Come with your friends on a warm summer evening and enjoy a couple of pizzas for the table.
If you’re in the mood for a lounge with live jazz, then Nocturne is the perfect place. Located in RiNo, head over to the elegant and art-deco style turquoise door with gold accents, and be taken down into a dark underground lounge. Sip on cocktails like their Lady of Lavender Mist with London Dry Gin, Creamy Sherry, Lavender Chamomile Rosemary Syrup and Lemon or a crisp glass of vino, and finish the night off with a “old fashioned” croissant bread pudding or an affogato.
8. Post Oak
Enjoy some authentic Texas BBQ right here in Denver. They’re dedicated to keeping the Texas BBQ traditional alive, and that’s why they only use authentic Post Oak delivered from Texas. Get a meat-laden sandwiched like the Ron Swanson with a full pound of brisket, pork, turkey, and pork belly, or get BBQ tater tots or Mac and Cheese.
Potager’s patio will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale. Enjoy New-American cuisine in a rustic restaurant meets wine bar. They’ve got small plates, appetizers, entrees and desserts, as well as daily specials which are eclectic and incredibly fresh. Potager’s is also issuing help from local farmers, makers, and the seasons to create a local and fresh menu perfect all year round.
10. Pig and Sprout
Pig & Sprout is a two-level, gastropub with multiple bars serving up American food and cocktails. They’re also doing a brunch menu on the weekends. Pig & Sprout is two-fold: on the pig side of the menu, you’ve got your meats dishes and on the Sprout side, you’ve got a vegetarian, pescatarian, and vegan side of the menu. Served all day, they’ve got a breakfast burrito on both sides. The Sprout side serves it with tofu and the Pig side serves it with bacon.
11. Hapa Sushi
13. Hop Alley
Hop Alley is a cute bar selling up unique renditions of Asian-inspired dishes. One of their newest summer snacks is their Coriander Summer Melon Salad, with seasonal melon, cucumber, green coriander, and berry viniagrette. Pictured above is their rendition of dim sum classic, the turnip cake, with lap cheong sausage and shrimp, turnip green relish, pickled hakurei turnips, and black garlic sauce.
Beckon is one of Denver’s chef counters where chefs are serving up pre-paid, reservation only seasonal meals, and you can watch from a beautiful, sleek black chef’s table. They’ve also got a sweet, outdoor garden patio as well so come in, take a seat where you’d like, and enjoy some culinary delights. Reservations are available Wednesday through Saturday and their number is 303.749.0020.
15. AJ’s Pit BBQ
Texas Style Pit smoked BBQ. That’s it. That’s the tweet. Haha, no but on a serious note, just look at that fluffy, dense cornbread. And that’s not even getting into the delicious cuts of meat Aj’s offers. From ribs to pork belly to sausage, you definitely won’t leave this place feeling hungry.
16. Quality Italian
17. Welton Room
The Welton Room is an incredibly popular and fun cocktail bar here in Five Points, where their speciality is liquid nitrogen cocktails. Their other whimsical cocktails are topped with edible flowers, interesting ingredients, and even popsicles it seems. You’ll not want to miss this place.
Barcelona Wine Bar transports you to the Cosmopolitan city of Barcelona along the Mediterranean coast. Sample from fresh tapas like nutty Jamón Iberíco, Manchego Cheese, Olives, and paella of course. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Europe without the expensive plane ticket.
20. Señor Bear
21. Cart Driver
23. Casa Bonita
24. La Diabla Pozole y Mezcal
25. Guard & Grace
A steakhouse by Chef Troy Guard and named after his daughter, Guard & Grace is an essential steakhouse in Denver that should be on any foodie’s bucket list. A bit more pricy than some of the other choices on this menu, it’s not one to be pissed. Featuring excellent raw seafood, cooked dishes like octopus, and of course, juicy perfectly seared steak with delicious sides, this one’s a classic that is well worth the price point.