If you’re anything like us, exploring the fine dining scene will be among the top boxes to check when relocating to a new home in a new city. To help you out a bit, we made the list of the best restaurants in Denver. It may serve you as a stepping stone, to get off the mark before you discover a hidden gem or two on your own.
Moving to Denver will undoubtedly satisfy all your cravings for new tastes. The restaurant culture in the city is booming, and new joints are opening everywhere from downtown to the suburbs. It has reached such levels that you can even single out the best neighborhoods in Denver by their offer of eateries. Since we believe that you’re a gourmet and foodie just as we are, let’s begin our guide.
When it comes to US signature dishes, one doesn’t have to think much further than the charred-on-the-outside juicy-on-the-inside briskets fresh off the grill or out of some garden firepit. True, most city folks have fully embraced pizza as their own, but good old’ barbecue still reigns supreme. And Colorado is making giant steps forward in order to catch up with the BBQ giants in Texas or Arizona. So, it’s only right to begin our tour with one of the joints that leads the charge.
Roaming Buffalo is what an authentic American restaurant should look like. Its owners, the Webb husband and wife, decorated it in Southwestern style, adorned with a buffalo pelt, of course. Venison, famous local lamb, and bison are smoked on pecan and oak wood. It does wonders on pork ribs and hot wings, but house choices will always be bison and venison sausages. These are best savored in the conveniently named Bambi Sandwich.
Buffalo’s menu covers everything, and meals have just enough green chile to give them that special spicy touch. If you happen to be there any day save Monday, you may enjoy weekly specials at a discount.
Blackbelly Market, the brainchild of Hosea Rosenberg, winner of Top Chef, serves only local Colorado’s organic meat of the highest quality. Livestock that ends up in Blackbelly’s butchery next door is completely free of drugs and hormones. In fact, the entire line is cut and prepared in Blackbelly’s aforementioned butchery.
Whether you opt for lamb, beef, or pork, you can’t go wrong. Happy hour is every day from 4 to 6 pm. Blackbelly quickly put its stamp on Boulder neighborhood as soon as it first opened its doors and has been recognized as an elite joint in the Centennial State, winning multiple accolades. Items on the menu change seasonally, as do prices.
What would the Southwestern US culinary scene be without some Mexican input? Quite different, to say the least. Therefore, this dining option has earned a place or two on our list.
El Taco de Mexico seems just like any other Mexican eatery. There are tacos and burritos, stools along the counter, and no alcohol. Yet, El Taco collected many accolades that others didn’t. So, what’s their secret? Well, probably the recipes, which you’ll never hear anything about, even though the kitchen is open for all patrons to see.
The main staple is the chile-relleno burrito, stuffed with beans, rice, and pepper stuffed with cheese. And we guarantee that if you try it, you’ll go back for more. Now, this may be the subject of a much-heated debate, but it can be safely said that El Taco de Mexico offers the best green chile in Denver.
Super Mega Bien is part of the from-rags-to-riches story of Mexican chef Dana Rodriguez. Located in the trendy RiNo area, it sports food from all around Latin America, with Cuban gorditas and bottled chicha punch.
The walls are covered with imagery of music albums, wrestlers, and Latin American revolutionaries, all looking down to the stream of trolleys carrying snacks around. The joint’s cocktails are somewhat legendary in town, with the greatest glory reserved for a piña colada. And in case you’re wondering why the place has such a positive-sounding name, that is the answer one of the cooks gives whenever asked how he is doing.
Just like many others, Asian cuisines are thriving in the Mile High City. Sushi bars are countless, of course, but there are also so many others. Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, or whatever cuisine you might crave, it’s there somewhere. Still, we had to decide on our picks, and here they are.
When famous Texan culinary artist Tyson Cole decided to cross state borders, Denver made itself a natural first choice. So Uchi came to town and gave all its counterparts a run for their money, immensely raising stakes on the Japanese food market. It isn’t only about sushi. Cole is also famous for his nigiri, and scores of other Japanese plates with an innovative and exciting twist.
Changing one ingredient for another does wonders for the meals. Said nigiri, for example, doesn’t come with wasabi, but with chicken breast or something else, depending on inspiration. It’s not to say that sushi isn’t marvelous, because it is. It comes in varieties, such as flounder fin or sea urchins. Every day, there are daily specials that will leave you wanting more.
Hop Alley is a restaurant in RiNo that took the name of now long-gone Denver’s Chinatown. Owner Tommy Lee and his staff do their best to respect Chinese culinary traditions while enriching them with new approaches at the same time.
Their signature dish is steamed eggplant in Sichuan sauce. Other items on the menu depend on a season, with pork loin today and mapo tofu a month from now. Still, all the local gourmets will tell you that the greatest joy of Hop Alley is sharing meals with friends.
Italian cuisine has been around for so long that the Americans see it as their own. Pizza is the main staple of every house party, and romantic dinners are always better with a nicely seasoned pasta.
If you wish to take your significant other to a small, cozy, wooden spot made for romance, then Spuntino is the place for you. There are all kinds of pasta, and risotto is highly recommended, as are focaccias. Still, the pride of the bar is housemade ricotta.
The couple who runs the place keeps things going by changing the menu all the time but always pushing the boundaries of tradition. Examples of that are elk tartare or Colorado goat with mascarpone polenta.
And there is also a vast offer of another staple of a romantic evening out – wine. Spuntino sports dozens of wines from each type. Lest we forget, Happy Hour is served from 5 to 6:30 pm every day except on Mondays.
To experience what is probably the best pasta in town, head to the Union Station and Tavernetta. It’s a casual joint with a lot of creative approaches when it comes to cooking. The results are still lovely, however, from vitello tonnato to roast chicken. You can’t miss with Negroni either.
But nothing beats pasta, with the phenomenal wines and view of incoming and outgoing trains. The final piece of info: happy hour is from 3 to 6 pm every day.
One would usually not expect high levels of seafood mastery in landlocked places such as Mile High City. Yet, Maine Shack is there to offer first-class lobster and other seafood, worthy of the East Coast and New England. No wonder there, since the ingredients come directly from the Gulf of Maine. Even though lobster dishes occupy the most substantial portion of carte, there are also clams, crabs, scallops, and haddock. And, of course, beer and wine.
If you wish to try the tastes of Mediterranean and Middle East in Colorado, you’re not hung out to dry. There’s a niche for you, too.
Another RiNo joint, Safta (Hebrew for grandmother), is the place of cook Alon Shaya and his Israeli meals, based on his grandma’s recipes. From pitas with hummus to duck soup and charred cabbages or the lamb ragu, you’re in for a treat.
Though it changed names since opening in 1873, My Brother’s Bar never changed its saloon soul. Many counterculture figures of the 1960s and Beat generation spent time there, enjoying burgers and beer, just like today’s patrons do. Besides burgers and dried meat and cheese plates, both hot and cold, you can try out a chicken salad with cashews or turkey salad. There is also a special menu for children. The tavern offers an array of lagers and ales, much to the pleasure of patrons and regular barflies.
The current name of the joint stems from 1970, when brothers Karagas bought an eatery named Whitey’s. The story goes like this: Jim and Angelo worked alone, one behind the tap, the other as a cook, changing duties every day. Whenever some of the vendors came for their money, there would be a ready answer: “it’s my brother’s bar.” Karagas brothers retired a few years back, but the joint remained in the house, so to speak. Long time waitress and her family bought it and continued business.
Comal Heritage is a heart-warming success story born out of love for cooking. Its offer changes every day, depending on who’s at the helm.
All the chefs there are immigrant women from the neighborhoods, and all of them are preparing to open their own eateries.
Mexican cuisine is ever-present, but depending on when you visit, you might stumble upon Syrian Day (with pastries filled with lamb or roast chicken) or Ethiopian Day; you’ll never know until you visit this casual diner in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood.
Every Thursday, you can try special afternoon tea. Since women from different countries come and go quite often, you can expect something new and exciting from Comal every day.
When chef and farmer Alex Seidel opened this joint in 2014, it immediately jumped to the top of the list of trendiest dining experiences in Denver. On the premises of Union Station, Mercantile serves as a high-quality shop and cafe during the day and turns into a restaurant as the sun sets.
What the place is mostly known for are blistered shishito peppers, in sesame caramel, and covered with pig’s ear. Their price is $10. Seidel’s technique can be seen (and tasted) in all other dishes, too. The cheese comes from Seidel’s farms, and everything made with it is a specialty in its own right. Seidel also owns a bakery that offers tasty pastries for breakfast. As expected, the list of wines is quite extensive, too.
Another staple of the Old West, Buckhorn Exchange dates back to the 19th century. The joint’s history is as rich and exciting as it can be. Its founder was Henry Zietz, one of the scouts of famous Buffalo Bill Cody, nicknamed “Shorty Scout” by none other than legendary Sioux chief Sitting Bull. The highest point for Zietz and his bar probably happened in 1938, when a group of battle-clad Sioux visited Buckhorn and presented Shorty Scout with a saber taken from General Custer at Little Big Horn.
All in all, five US presidents dined at Buckhorn. The first of them was Theodore Roosevelt in 1905, and after a few drinks, he and Zietz went hunting big game together. It’s no wonder that Buckhorn’s interior is filled with memorabilia, a gun collection, and, you might have guessed it, more than 500 stuffed animals. The joint muddled through the Prohibition years, and after the ban was lifted, got the first Liquor License in Colorado.
On the menu are mostly game dishes, meat from alligator, elk, and buffalo, but also turkey, duck, beef, and pork. One of the specialties is the famous Rockies oysters. There are also poultry sandwiches and buffalo cheeseburgers on the kids’ menu. The wine list is also worthy of even the classiest restaurants anywhere on Earth. For a great Colorado experience, don’t miss Buckhorn Exchange.
There you have it, our list of most excellent eateries in the Mile High City. American or Italian, Mexican or Japanese, Middle Eastern or Indian, there is a place for everyone and something to everyone’s liking. We’re sure you won’t be disappointed if you contact Denver movers with professional moving services and arrange a move to this amazing community of gourmets.
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