The Top 14 Date Night Restaurants Around Denver

Technically, any spot can be a date night destination depending on the couple. This list is meant to be a collection of restaurants that I think would be best for most couples who are looking for that “special” romantic atmosphere. None of these spots will be cheap, save for some happy hour deals if you go early — but in my opinion, they’e also worth it. Most are downtown, with several options nearby like Lohi, Uptown, and RiNo (and a couple in Cherry Creek).

1. Uchi

2500 Lawrence St / RiNo

Uchi has been one of my favorite special-occasion restaurants in Denver since it first opened in RiNo. Jame Beard Award-winning chef Tyson Cole brought this gem here from Austin in 2018, and I’ve never seen it anything but packed since (COVID aside, of course). 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 new dishes with fantastic flavor and texture combinations. This is actually where my husband and I went for my birthday the last 2 years — and where we will be again this June 22nd for my birthday.

Must try: hama chili, walu walu, 72-hour braised short rib, foie gras

Post-COVID update: Uchi is re-opening for dine-in by reservation only starting June 10th and should have a happy hour 4-6pm.

2. LeRoux

1510 16th St Mall / LoDo

LeRoux is a beautiful gem of a modern French restaurant that opened in LoDo at the end of 2018. Right next door to ChoLon, it’s actually the brainchild of the team behind the famous Denver pan-Asian restaurant (and Cho77, BorraCho Tacos, and Concourse). An homage to Chef Lon Symensma’s roots in French culinary training, LeRoux serves up French classics like the well-known French Onion Soup, creative dishes inspired by classics like the Onion-Crusted Short Rib, and labor-intensive creations like the Mushroom Mille-Feuille (literally “Thousand-Leaf”). It also has my favorite dessert in town: the Paris-Brest pastry filled with pistachio mousseline and salted caramel. I’ve gone here on dates, as well as brought my parents and friends when they’ve been in town — and no one has ever left disappointed.

Must try: french onion soup, mushroom mille-feuille, onion-crusted short rib, paris-brest

Post-COVID update: LeRoux is re-opening for dine-in by reservation Wednesday-Saturday for dinner only, with two seating times: 5-5:30pm, and 7-7:30pm.

3. Tavernetta

1889 16th St Mall / Union Station

Tavernetta is hands-down the best modern Italian restaurant 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. 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. I have spent many an afternoon at this little gem for happy hour, which I will sorely miss in these post-COVID times. Its dinners definitely run on the pricier end of Italian options in Denver, but they’re also absolutely worth it for a special occasion.

Must try: any of the pasta dishes (especially if they contain lobster)

Post-COVID update: Tavernetta is re-opening for dine-in on June 10th by reservation only.

4. El Five

2930 Umatilla Fifth Floor / LoHi

El Five boasts beautiful sunset views of downtown Denver from its fifth floor location next to its sister restaurant Linger in LoHi. It also 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.  Personally, I love the hanger steak here, and you can’t leave a Mediterranean restaurant without trying one of the lamb options (like the shawarma lamb ribs or the Moroccan lamb sausage). There are, of course, fantastic cauliflower and eggplant dishes available, too. For the more price-conscious crowd, the paellas here are a perfect option — as they are large platters meant to be shared.

Must try: paella, lamb, hanger steak, cauliflower, eggplant

Post-COVID update: Unfortunately, I have not heard if/when El Five will re-open.

There is something about this long-time mainstay on S Broadway that just feels dreamy and magical. The name itself speaks to the story of two young lovers: a lumberjack and a winemaker’s daughter who settled in a cabin in the Colorado mountains and lived happily ever after. Carefully and lovingly crafted, the unique decor transports you to this woodland fairytale nestled in a grove of Aspen trees, lanterns, and diaphanous curtains. It really is unlike anywhere I’ve ever been. And the food is equally wonderful. Since 2008 when B+W first opened, they have been the perfect example of the farm-to-table movement here in Colorado. The utmost care is given to a variety of top-notch local ingredients that change seasonally and never disappoint.

Must try: Everything here changes seasonally and is worth trying. I always love the crawfish beignets, bone marrow, and any dish they do with duck.

Post-COVID update: Unfortunately, I have not heard if/when B+W will re-open.

6. Nocturne Jazz & Supper Club

1330 27th St / RiNo

Nocturne is a very unique venue on this list — as it combines dinner and live jazz music. The venue itself has a very glitzy 20s vibe to it, and you’ll never be out of place dressed accordingly. Reservations here include a 3-course menu with the option to add wine pairings, welcome cocktails, and more. Previously there was a special five-course interactive Renditions Tasting Menu — but that is on hold post-COVID — so stay tuned. Also, if you can, I recommend trying to get a table on the mezzanine overlooking the stage and rest of the dining room.

Post-COVID update: Nocturne has re-opened by reservation only and has its music calendar online.

7. Guard & Grace / STK / The Capital Grille

1801 California St / 1550 Market St / 1450 Larimer St

All 3 of these steakhouses are downtown, and all 3 are great for a date night in their own way. Guard & Grace was created by Troy Guard — who you must have heard of if you’ve spent any amount of time 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 is the only one of these 3 options that is original to Denver. STK has more of a chic, fun vibe — and you can totally see how they have successful locations in places like Las Vegas and Miami. It also boasts a great daily happy hour, even post-COVID. And The Capital Grille is always a dependable option for the traditional steakhouse vibe, dishes that have been perfected over the years, and impeccable white-glove service. I have never had anything but an outstanding experience here.

Must try: Obviously, any tartar or steak dish at any of these. On top of that: at Guard & Grace, the oak-fired carrots and oak-fired octopus; at STK, the $2 happy hour oysters; at The Capital Grille, the lobster bisque.

Post-COVID update: STK is open and has a daily happy hour 2:30-6:30pm and all day Sunday. The Capital Grille has also re-opened, but they’ve never had a happy hour. I have not heard if/when Guard & Grace will re-open in Denver (although its Houston location is re-opening).

8. D Bar

494 E 19th Ave / Uptown

D Bar was originally a little dessert spot on 17th — and its dessert menu remains the highlight of the restaurant. (You can even just pick up desserts from the dessert counter on your way home, which I’ve done way too many times.) There are great brunch, lunch, and dinner options here too — all set in a bright, open atmosphere in the heart of Uptown. This used to be my regular spot when I lived in the neighborhood, just because I always loved the trendy vibe, friendly service, good wine, and well-made classic dishes like the burger and grilled cheese with tomato soup.

Must try: Loaded “crue fries” and warm Nutella-filled beignets (it’s literally heaven in your mouth)

Post-COVID update: Open for patio and indoor dining Tuesday-Sunday 11:30am-8pm.

9. Fruition Restaurant

1313 E 6th Ave / Cap Hill

Fruition Restaurant is a small, intimate neighborhood restaurant that has always been a dependable go-to for a quiet date night with fantastic food. It’s the original restaurant of Chef Alex Seidel (most recently known for Mercantile Dining & Provision), who opened it in 2007 with the goal of serving top-quality farm-to-table dishes in a non-pretentious setting. Farm-to-table isn’t just a catch phrase here, as Fruition Farm is a 10-acre farm south of Denver that supplies many of the ingredients to the restaurant. Fruition is perennially honored as one of the top restaurants in Colorado, and helped Alex earn a spot on Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef list in 2010, as well as the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest in 2018.

Must try: Everything here changes with the seasons, but is all delicious.

Post-COVID update: Rumor is, Fruition is re-opening for dine-in starting June 11th.

10. Bistro Vendome

1420 Larimer St #1705 / LoDo

Bistro Vendôme has been in Denver since 2003 and is part of Jennifer Jasinski’s group of outstanding Denver restaurants that also include Rioja, Stoic & Genuine, and Ultreia. (In fact, all those restaurants also make great options for date night — but this was just my favorite.) It’s named after a renowned historic square in the heart of Paris and is meant to feel like a true, French bistro in a charming neighborhood setting (the courtyard patio here is absolutely divine). I’m pretty sure the menu hasn’t changed much except for 1-2 options and nightly specials since I first started coming here, and I like it that way. You can always count on everything being just how you remembered here, which is becoming pretty rare in the quickly-changing restaurant scene here in Denver.

Must try: The French bistro classics that have always been on the menu here — like French Onion Soup, country pâté, duck rilette, escargot, steak tartare, mussels, and anything with duck.

Post-COVID update: Bistro Vendôme has re-opened for dine-in, as have Chef Jennifer Jasinski’s other concepts: Rioja, Ultreia, and Stoic & Genuine.

It was really hard for me to pick an Italian place in Cherry Creek, as there are 3 great ones: North Italia, Piatti, and Quality Italian. North Italia is probably the most modern and trendy of the 3 (and has fantastic happy hour deals). Piatti is on the opposite end of the spectrum with an inviting, traditional feel and no frills. Quality Italian is more upscale and also a steakhouse, so it will have a bit of that New York steakhouse vibe and a variety of quality red meat options.

Must try: At North Italia, the Bolognese (house specialty). At Piatti, whatever sounds the simplest: marinated olives, calamari, penne, and veal saltimbocca — which probably haven’t changed since the restaurant opened. At Quality Italian, either the steak or the lobster rigatoni.

Post-COVID update: Piatti is open for dine-in on a first come, first serve basis (no reservations) for lunch Tuesday-Saturday (11:30am-3pm) and dinner daily (5-8pm). I have not heard of North Italia or Quality Italian re-opening for dine-in, but they are doing takeout.

12. Matsuhisa

98 Steele St / Cherry Creek

Matsuhisa is probably the priciest option on this list — but for good reason. It comes from renowned celebrity chef and restaurateur, Nobuyuk “Nobu” Matsuhisa, who opened his first restaurant in Beverly Hills back in 1987. His original namesake “Nobu” opened in New York in 1994 to critical acclaim, and there are now Nobu locations all over the USA and the world. In 1998, the chef opened his first Matsuhisa restaurant in Aspen, followed by Vail, and then recently here in Cherry Creek. And the food here is truly special, influenced both by Chef Matsuhisa’s origins and training in classical Japanese cuisine, as well as his life in Peru. The ingredient quality and preparation here is just absolutely exceptional and a step above anywhere else, making it well worth the price for a special occasion.

Must try: any of the “new style” signature sashimi — and black cod in miso (the chef’s signature dish)

Post-COVID update: Still waiting to hear anything about re-opening, but takeout is available.

13. Q House

3421 E Colfax / City Park

Having come to Denver from California, I still feel the lack of good Asian cuisine here (except maybe for Vietnamese food, which there are great options for down on South Federal). I do think there is one standout date-night Asian restaurant here in Denver, though: Q House. They make fantastic, modern takes on Chinese food in a cute little restaurant right by City Park. Every time I’ve come here, I’ve been impressed by everything from the food and drinks, to the service.

Must try: Duck lo mein

Post-COVID update: As far as I know, Q House is still only doing pickup orders.

14. Mizuna

225 E 7th Ave / Cap Hill

This list couldn’t possible be complete without a restaurant from Frank Bonanno — another famous name in Denver. (Bonanno Concepts is responsible not just for Mizuna, but also Luca, Osteria Marco, Green Russell, Russell’s Smokehouse, Vesper Lounge, Salt & Grinder, French 75, and other Denver favorites.) Mizuna was Bonanno’s flagship restaurant, but remains one of his best. The atmosphere is both romantic and cozy, yet upscale and timeless. It’s an American eatery with a distinctly French flair and a constantly-changing seasonal menu. One of my favorite excerpts from their website: “Every member of Bonanno’s team has input on a menu that changes monthly; each chef is empowered to order whatever ingredients seem best suited to his station, and the result is an inspiring marriage between science and epicuria.”

Must try: Chef’s tasting menu

Post-COVID update: Open 5-9pm Tue-Sat

Special Mention: The Cruise Room

1600 17th St / Oxford Hotel / LoDo

The Cruise Room deserves special mention as a cocktail spot (they serve food, too — but it’s really best for drinks). Here’s the amazing description from its website: “One of the best cocktail bars in Denver, the legendary Cruise Room Martini Bar is just off the main lobby of The Oxford Hotel. The Cruise Room is downtown Denver’s first bar and opened the day after Prohibition was repealed in 1933. Boasting Art Deco décor, this bar is original in its entirety. The Cruise Room was fashioned after one of the lounges on the Queen Mary. Original chrome and neon reflect onto the wall panels depicting light-hearted ‘toasts’ from around the world. The free jukebox entertains guests in this quintessential martini bar.”

Post-COVID update: As far as I know, The Cruise Room is open daily after 4:30pm.