10 Must-Try Restaurants for Denver Visitors in 2024

This is topic I get the most questions about, so I finally created a post devoted to it. If you’re coming to visit Denver for a weekend (or your friends/family are coming), and you want to know the must-try food recommendations from a local foodie — this post is for you. If you want to know what’s new and hot, I have a post just on that (click here to read it) — but for this post, I’ve thought about not just what’s most popular right now, but about what might be unique to Denver, represent Denver culture and flavors, feature nice views of Denver, etc.

1. La Loma / Caldero

1801 Broadway / 1601 19th Street / Downtown

Mexican

2. El Five

2930 Umatilla Fifth Floor / LoHi

El Five boasts beautiful views of downtown Denver from its 5th floor location next to its sister restaurant Linger in LoHi. I recommend getting here 15 minutes before they open if you don’t have a reservation, and grabbing a spot at the outdoor bar facing the city.

El Five offers something that’s otherwise missing from Denver: a delicious melting pot of Mediterranean dishes influenced by the cuisines of all the countries in that part of the world — from Europe, to North Africa, to the Middle East.  Everything here is amazing, starting with something as simple as the jamon ibérico & cheese plate, and ending with the labor-intensive paella. Also, their gluten-free pita is better than regular pita!

Favorite dishes: jamon ibérico & cheese app, hanger steak, paellas

3. Guard & Grace

1801 California St / Downtown

Guard & Grace is probably my favorite steakhouse in Denver. It was created by local heavyweight Chef Troy Guard — whom you’ve definitely heard of if you live in Denver. (He is behind the TAG Restaurant Group, which also owns TAG, TAG Burger Bar, Los Chingones, Bubu, FNG, Hashtag, and others.) Guard & Grace strikes a great balance between trendy and traditional — and it always has impeccable service. Funnily enough, some of their vegetable and seafood dishes here are actually also my favorites — not just the steaks.

Must try: the oak-fired carrots side, oak-fired octopus appetizer, Alaskan cod, and any of the steaks

4. Tavernetta

1889 16th St Mall / LoDo

Tavernetta is one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Denver, which isn’t surprising considering it comes from Colorado’s culinary royalty: Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, who are behind Frasca in Boulder (and were up for a James Beard award in 2022). It opened at Union Station at the end of 2017 and quickly became famous for its fresh handmade pastas, beautiful wine selection, and impeccable service. It also has some of the best gluten-free bread (focaccia) and pasta that I’ve ever had. Plus, no visit to Denver is complete without hanging out at Union Station — and this is right there!

5. Uchi

2500 Lawrence St / RiNo

Uchi has been one of my favorite special-occasion restaurants in Denver since it first opened in RiNo. James Beard Award-winning Chef Tyson Cole brought this gem here from Austin in 2018, and I’ve never seen it anything but packed since. Not only is the quality of the sushi always top-notch, but Uchi also has a lot of non-traditional dishes that I absolutely love. You can tell that culinary creativity is applied with a purpose here to create unique sushi dishes with fantastic flavor and texture.

Favorite dishes: hama chili, walu walu, 72-hour braised short rib, foie gras

6 / 7 / 8

2500 Lawrence St / RiNo

Do I just put Wolf’s Tailor and Beckon and Bruto because of the Michelin stars? Combine them into one listing? I don’t think they’re any more of a representation of Denver than anyone else. Just michelin star…. I am more leaning towards a place like Root Down tbh.

This spot doesn’t get enough recognition in Denver, partly because it’s been around for so long. It’s the true pioneer of farm-to-table in this town, though

10. Blackbelly

2500 Lawrence St / RiNo

Farm to table