10 of the Best Places to Eat in Denver

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Denver’s Fantastic Food Scene

Denver is known for a lot of things, great weather, nearby skiing, and great craft beer.  Well it is also rapidly becoming known for its food scene so in this article we share 10 of the best places to Eat in Denver.

In the mid- late 90’s it was hard to find anything beyond a great steak and fantastic Mexican in Denver.  These days, you will need to extend your visit, so you can fit in all the great food.

It has been a virtuous circle for Denver in the last decade.  We put it down to the great weather!  With over 300 days of sunshine a year, there is no excuse to be inside.  The healthy outdoor lifestyle attracts a lot of people and Denver regularly appears on lists of the healthiest cities in the USA.

The rapid influx of newcomers has meant continued growth in jobs and employment. Much of the workforce is well educated.  Many companies in need of well educated workers moved their operations to Denver over the years. And many tech workers able to work from home choose to live in Denver. Denver was recently voted #1 for the Best Places to Live in the USA by US News & World Report.

Rapid growth, low unemployment and a buoyant economy has led to an explosion in new restaurants as well.  Fox News estimates more than 100 new restaurants are expected to open in Denver in 2016.

There are a number of award winning restaurants that are not only in the top restaurants in Denver, but top rated in the USA. Add this to its already well known craft beer scene, a vibrant and growing number of food trucks and you will be wishing you could eat and drink more!

10 Best Places to Eat in Denver
Denver at Sunset | Flickr: Larry Johnson

The Best Places to Eat in Denver

So if you are going to spend any time in Denver we’ve compiled our list of recommendations of the best places to eat in Denver.  This includes our favorites as well as some recommended by family and friends.

They are in no particular order.  All are close to downtown Denver, many offer valet parking.

Casual Dining

1. Vine Street Pub- [1700 Vine St, Denver]

A local neighborhood joint in the Capital Hill neighborhood.  Good, honest food, great selection of craft beer on tap. Home to the Mountain Sun Brewery since 2012.

The pub is nothing fancy, but a great atmosphere, a bit like hanging out at a friend’s place.  Blissfully, no TV’s!! In good weather, play a friendly round of Corn Hole outside. Or inside find a great selection of board games to entertain everyone.  No reservations and no credit cards.

Live music, happy hours, and other events.  Check the website.

Italian

2. Carmine’s on Penn [92 S Pennsylvania, Denver]

One of our favorite restaurants in Denver for a large group.  It’s homemade Italian at it’s finest, all served family style.  Perfect for sharing and with a large group you can try all your favorites.

Good friendly service and a very reasonable wine list.

Reservations are highly recommended. (You can book online for groups up to 8)

 

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3. Osteria Marco [1453 Larimer St, Denver]

Another great Italian restaurant in Denver is Osteria Marco.  Several friends mentioned this one as one of their favorites.

And if you are looking for a reason to dine out on a Sunday evening, slow roasted suckling pig is only offered in the restaurant on Sunday evenings.

Sushi and Seafood

4. Domo [1365 Osage St, Denver]

One of our good friends, and fellow food lover, ranks Domo as the best sushi he has ever eaten.

Head Chef Gaku Homma is passionate about Japanese culture.  In addition to the restaurant, you can dine in a Japanese Garden (closed in Winter) or visit the Japanese cultural museum at the same location as the restaurant.

Domo also offers a program for school children to learn about Japanese culture and food, including sushi.

5. Sushi Den [1487 South Pearl St, Denver]

Back in the mid 1990’s when anything other than steak and potatoes was hard to find in the Denver restaurant scene, there was Sushi Den serving excellent fresh, high quality sushi.  And they are still at it.

The restaurant has expanded, but the food it still terrific.  Sourcing and flying in the freshest fish, you’ll forget you are in land-locked Denver.

Reservations are essential.  Book in the main room for the best atmosphere (the original part of the restaurant pre-expansion) and a glimpse at the kitchen.  You can also sit at the sushi bar and watch the sushi being made.

The founders also own two other restaurants in the same vicinity,Izakaya Den a Japanese gastro pub serving traditional Japanese plates along with dishes infused with international flavors.  And the newest addition OTOTO, offering a casual dining experience with raw bar, robata grilled skewers, and an extensive sake list.

 

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6. Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar [1539 17th Street, Denver]

With two locations in Denver, one in LODO and one just off Colorado Boulevard near Cherry Creek, Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar has been serving fresh oysters and seafood in downtown Denver since 1996.

Happy Hour ALL NIGHT MONDAY, Tues-Sun 4-6pm, Fresh oysters are $1.50 during hour!  And there is a great menu of small bites to choose from and drinks.

It is casual dining is a lively atmosphere.  The perfect place to meet a group of friends. Or to pop in before an evening Rockies game.

Seasonal Food

7. Root Down [1600 W 33rd Ave, Denver]

“One of my favorite meals in my life!” said one of our friends when asking his favorite Denver restaurant.   With a fascinating menu that changes often and uses many local farmers, Root Down delivers fresh, seasonal food.

The focus on organic, natural and locally-sourced ingredients uses fresh vegetables two onsite gardens, which provide seasonal vegetables for Root Down and our sister restaurants, Linger and Ophelia’s, also owned by the chef Justin Ciccone.

Serving Brunch Friday-Sunday and a Happy hour daily in the bar (food and drinks).  Gluten Free and vegan options are available.

8. Fruition [1313 E. 6th Avenue, Denver]

A farm to table feast! From their house cured meats to the chef’s own dairy and garden it’s a very special night of flavor and fun!  The chef and owner Alex Seidel is passionate about food, owning a ten-acre farm which produces many of the herbs and vegetables served in Fruition and his other Denver restaurant, Mercantile dining & provision.

The farm also produces sheep’s milk cheese.  If you are looking for fresh, simple food, you won’t be disappointed here.

Perfect for a quiet dinner, or a fun filled evening with friends. Reservation advised.

9. Tables [2267 Kearney St., Denver]

This neighborhood restaurant is reminiscent of a quaint NYC joint.  The decor is unusual – walls, lined with doors, the tables and chairs are all unique and the chef creates a taste sensation!  The tuna tartar is magnificent to start.  The nightly specials are terrific and the seasonal menu a delight.

Save room for dessert and an after-dinner drink.

Tables is open Tuesday- Saturday.  Perfect for a romantic dinner.

 

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10. Mizuna [225 East 7th Avenue, Denver]

A bit fancy, very delish, everything on the menu is great at Mizuna and the service is good.

This neighborhood eatery specializes in French cooking techniques. The menu changes monthly to reflect the what is in season (“on land and by sea”).  Mizuna is the flagship restaurant of chef Frank Bonanno (also owns Osteria Marco above).

Only open for dinner, this is great choice for a special occasion.  You won’t be disappointed.

We hope you enjoy our list of the best places to eat in Denver.  We sure enjoyed making the list and visiting the restaurants!  If you have another great restaurant you’d like to add, please leave a comment below (no URL required.)

 

10 of the Best Places to Eat in Denver www.compassandfork.com

 

 

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10 of the Best Places to Eat in Denver www.www.compassandfork.com

16 Responses

  1. Voyager
    | Reply

    The food scene in Denver seems to be quite happening, what would you recommend for Vegetarians.

    • Editor
      | Reply

      There are a lot of vegetarian options and almost all restaurants offer gluten free and vegetarian options. And the vegetarian options will be a much better choice than just the token salad, it’s real food. I actually think Denver is one of the easier places in the USA to find great vegetarian food. City ‘O City and Watercourse Foods are both well regarded vegetarian restaurants. And the town of Boulder is worth a visit (1 hour North-west of Denver) for some really good vegetarian. Thanks for asking- great question.

  2. Klipdrifters
    | Reply

    Table 6 and The Sushi Den sounds great. Pinning this for later if we go to Denver 🙂

    • Editor
      | Reply

      The Sushi Den owners also run the two restaurant next to the Sushi Den!

  3. Rob Taylor
    | Reply

    What a cool way to showcase recommendations! We’re always cautious about sushi away from the coast, so it’s nice to see that there is a solid option for our next trip.

    • Editor
      | Reply

      I agree on any seafood away from the coast. Denver has always had pretty good seafood I think because the airport has always been a hub. Good air access so it is fresh.

  4. Marta
    | Reply

    You had me at 300 days of sunshine and then I saw the food! I had never thought of Denver as a travel destination but it seems like a great city with a great quality of life, I must try include it in our next trip to the US.

    • Editor
      | Reply

      It is one of my favorite USA cities. The weather is great! The mountains are really accessible from Denver as well.

  5. Kevin Wagar
    | Reply

    Great selection of locations for amazing dining in Denver! Duo looks like my kind of place!

    • Editor
      | Reply

      I have a few friends that rank it as their favorite!

  6. Nikki
    | Reply

    Looks like a great list there, now if ever I’m in Denver I’ll know where to look!

    • Editor
      | Reply

      I was amazed how hard it was to find a list of good restaurants in Denver, so we decided to make one.

  7. Ami
    | Reply

    Would definitely like to try the food trucks, besides of course, some from your list. Thanks for sharing.

    • Editor
      | Reply

      A lot of the food truck move around, you can follow on twitter of facebook for their daily location.

  8. Colby
    | Reply

    I love reading about restaurants in different places, in the hopes that someday I’ll visit and satiate the foodie in me. Tacos-Tequila-Wiskey sounds like my kind of place! I love Mexican food! I had no idea Denver was known for its Mexican food!

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Well we think Denver is renowned for its Mexican food. We have tried a number and are very happy. Restaurants range from the traditional, family-owned, serving all of the old favorites through to funky, new wave, eclectic restaurants with maybe a more modern touch.

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