Denver Restaurant Week 2024 – My Top 11 Picks

Having experienced it for 12 years now, I am a bit torn about Denver Restaurant Week. Why? Because it very much spans the gamut from great restaurants using it as an opportunity to show off and do something special — to those that are just phoning it in as if someone told them they have to put up a menu of some sort (which seems to be the majority, unfortunately).

Denver Restaurant Week started 20 years ago priced at $52.80 per couple. Prices have fluctuated over the years, and this is the first year there are 4 distinct price points: $25, $35, $45, or $55 per person. There are still people who complain about how expensive it is, compared to when it began — but how can we expect restaurants to put up interesting, worthwhile menu options if they can’t cover their costs? I think that’s why most of my favorite restaurants in Denver don’t even participate.

Many other cities host “restaurant week” for more than a week. Houston Restaurant Weeks lasts for an entire month! Dine LA Restaurant week — which lasts 2 weeks — had 40+ Michelin Guide spots participate last year. Here in Denver, I think just these 4 “mentions” are participating: Fruition, Dio Mio, Noisette, Mercantile. Having looked at their Restaurant Week menus, I wouldn’t recommend any of those.

Having said all that, I’m giving Restaurant Week yet another try this year, and I’ve made 3 reservations myself.

This guide is meant to help you pinpoint those rare diamonds that I think are worth trying in a year when we have 210 participating restaurants. I’ve looked through all the Denver Restaurant Week 2024 menus — and combined with my knowledge of the local food scene from the last 12 years (and restaurants I know to deliver) — here are my top 11 picks. Take all this with a grain of salt. I told you my thoughts on Restaurant Week above.

In alphabetical order…

1. Ace Eat Serve – $35

Ace serves Asian-inspired dishes in a trendy, modern atmosphere in Uptown — and you can always count on quality food here. Its Restaurant Week menu is on the simpler side, but I’m intrigued by the lamb sichuan wontons, kalbi beef chow fun, and mochi brownie sundae. Those 3 sound like a great deal for $35 to me, and with some interesting and unique Asian flavors.

2. Atelier by Radex – $45

This pick surprised even me. Despite all the newer, more hip & hot French restaurants on the Restaurant Week list — this one had the best menu. Atelier is a bit old-school (Chef Radek Cerny has opened something like 21 restaurants, after all) — but classic French food doesn’t really need to be modernized. Restaurant Week menu options here include: 1) caprese, filet mignon tartare, country pate, wild mushrooms, or soup of the day, 2) wild mushroom pasta, king salmon, lobster ravioli, coque ou vin, bouillabaisse, filet medallions, or canadian elk, 3) créme brûlée, berries & cream, or chocolate cake. Impressive!

3. duo Restaurant – $55

duo is a farm-to-table restaurant that has been a Highlands neighborhood gem since 2005. What I like about its Restaurant Week menu: appetizers include a fennel & citrus salad, smoke white fish & clam chowder, chicken liver mousse, and risotto fritters. Then there’s a choice of stout-braised bison short rib, duo of lamb (T-bone and meatball), mahi mahi, or a sweet potato schnitzl. Finish with a sticky toffee pudding, chocolate torte, or champagne pavlova. Seems you can’t go wrong (except with the sweet potato, haha)!

4. Eddie Merlot’s – $55

With Capital Grille not on the list this year, this is my steakhouse pick. I think $55 is a great deal for all the steakhouse classics: 1) crab bisque or salad, 2) Antarctic salmon, ahi tuna steak, 8 oz filet mignon, or braised short rib, and 3) triple chocolate cake or crème brûlée. It’s exactly what I want from a top-notch steakhouse pre-fixe menu.

5. El Five – $55

I already love El Five, so it’s not hard to add it to this list, especially considering their menu choices. They’re offering jamon iberico, lamb kabobs, lamb sausage, turmeric chicken with cauliflower rice paella, European seabass, and some great desserts. Plus their spectacular views of the Denver skyline make for a perfect date night!

6. Fish N Beer – $45

This is my pick for seafood lovers. Their menu boasts tons of seafood options: hokkaido scallop ceviche, crab fritters, crab dip, Spanish octopus, Scottish salmon, shrimp scampi, fish & chips, and whole seabass. (There is also a red wine braised short rib if your +1 happens to not be a seafood fan.) And you can’t beat a key lime pie to finish a seafood meal!

7. Jing Restaurant – $55

Jing is a “global fusion” spot that has a great date night atmosphere and fun late-night vibe. It’s one of the better options down in Greenwood Village. Its Restaurant Week menu reflects its usual eclectic menu: 1) an Asian soup or salad, 2) a choice of sushi & sashimi, 3) peppercorn tenderloin, thai basil shrimp, miso seabass, or hawaiian chicken, 4) espresso or berry créme brûlée.

8. Kini’s – $45

I just have to add a 2nd Mediterranean spot to the list (after El Five) — and this is also a beautiful location for a date night (and normally very pricy). The menu options I’m loving include items like 1) meatballs or artichokes & calamari to start, 2) filet mignon kebabs or branzino as a main, and 3) sticky toffee pudding for dessert. At least that’s what I would choose from!

9. Linger – $35

Linger has been one of the highlights of the local culinary scene since 2008 (Ophelia’s, Vital Root, El Five, and Root Down are all eventual add-ons to the same family) — and it’s serving up some unique international flavors for a great price this year. Some of my favorites include: 1) bao buns with Mongolian BBQ duck, char siu pork belly, or korean fried chicken, 2) lemongrass pork potstickers, 3) shrimp lettuce wraps with kaffir peanut sauce, 4) Indian chickpea korma pancakes, 5) Moroccan lamb shank, 6) Vietnamese coffee tiramisu.

10. Logan Street Restaurant – $35

Logan Street is a friendly neighborhood spot that can always be counted on for great wine and great bites — and their Restaurant Week menu sounds pretty intriguing (and on the lower-priced side). Standouts to me were apps like the porcini mushroom souffle or bigeye tuna carpaccio, entrees like the braised duckling or grilled bistro tender, and desserts like the warm gingerbread, chocolate espresso cake, or caramelized pear napolean.

11. Work & Class – $45

This American-Latin comfort food spot opened in Denver in January 2014 and has been packed ever since. It was the first of Dana Rodriguez’s restaurants in Denver, and it’s still my favorite (she now also has Super Mega Bien and Cantina Loca). For Restaurant Week, start with 1) the lamb pozole or shrimp & corn grits, 2) move on to a 1/4 pound of pork carnitas, lemon brown butter chicken, or guajillo red wine braised short rib, 3) choose a side like chorizo jambalaya rice & beans or bacon & goat cheese mashed potatoes, and 4) finish with butterscotch pudding or key lime pie.

Some last tips from someone who’s gone through many years of Restaurant Week:

  • Look at the menus in advance
  • Grab a reservations as much in advance as you can
  • If you can, pick a slower weekday instead of a weekend
  • Be patient with the restaurant that day, as service can definitely slow down with the amount of extra traffic
  • Remember, you’re getting a deal today — otherwise you could have gone another time