All My Favorite Restaurants in the Denver Area

Updated February 1, 2024

Below are my favorite spots in Denver by category, based on my experience eating and drinking all around the Denver area for the last 12+ years (skewed towards downtown and neighboring areas). If you think I’m absolutely missing a local gem, please email/message me and let me know!

And no, I don’t have a gluten-free section, because Colorado is  the capital of gluten-free cuisine, and all the below should have at least some gluten-free options. You can search the page for “gluten-free” to see where I’ve called out some options specifically.

Click on a category below to jump down to that section:

African / Ethiopian
BBQ
Cajun / Creole
Caribbean / Jamaican
Chef’s Table / Omakase
Chinese / Dim Sum
Comfort Food
Farm-to-Table
French
Hamburgers
Hot Pot
Indian
Italian
Japanese: Ramen
Japanese: Sushi
Korean
Mediterranean / Israeli
Mexican / Latin
Pizza
Rooftop Views
Seafood
Spanish / Tapas
Steakhouses
Sushi
Thai
Vietnamese / Pho

African / Ethiopian

  • African Grill & Bar (S Lakewood): One of my personal favorite spots in all the Denver area, serving up a wide variety of African cuisine, but leaning Ghanaian (where the wonderful owners are from). They have tons of different fufu options, which is a must-try with the spicy goat soup.
  • Queen of Sheba Ethiopian (E Colfax): This is a tiny spot widely acclaimed as the best Ethiopian in Denver, and it is indeed a special spot. The lovely lady who runs it is your server, bartender, and cook — so have patience when you come here — but it feels like you’re in grandma’s kitchen. You can call ahead several days for gluten-free injera (Ethiopian bread/crepes used to scoop up the other food).
  • Axum (E Colfax / Park Hill): Another one on E Colfax, but closer to downtown if you don’t feel like driving further East. It’s also a bit bigger than Queen of Sheba and has a few more menu options. Call ahead several days for gluten-free injera.
  • Konjo Ethiopian Food (Edgewater Public Market): This one is in a food hall, but the food quality is no less excellent. Gluten-free injera is available upon request.
  • Nile Ethiopian (Aurora): This one can be hit-or-miss in terms of service if you look at their reviews — but it’s a good option to try in this part of town.

BBQ

  • AJ’s Pit BBQ (S Denver): My favorite BBQ in Denver — and it deservedly received a Bib Gourmand recognition from Michelin (for great food at affordable prices). It’s Texas-style pit-smoked BBQ hidden in a residential neighborhood, inside what looks like just another house. I highly recommend the brisket, pastrami brisket, burnt ends, and corn bread.
  • Smok (RiNo): Located in The Source, this is a bit more bougie of a BBQ spot than you may be used to, but I love it. It’s got all the favorites, like brisket, burnt ends, smoked pork belly, pulled pork, pork ribs, and smoked hot wings — along with awesome cocktails. I love their smoked chicken here.
  • Seasoned Swine (Golden): Food-truck turned restaurant, this is one of my personal favorites for their super flavorful brisket, their spicy chipotle cherry BBQ sauce, and the fresh-made margaritas.
  • G Que BBQ (multiple locations): Dependable dine-in or catering spot with multiple locations that is always a good go-to in a pinch.

Caribbean / Jamaican

  • Reggae Pot (Centennial): Since Jamaican Grille closed recently, this is my only favorite left in town. Reggae Pot has been a more recent discovery for me, but it’s amazing. The menu here is extensive (and all options are usually available) — and the goat and chicken curry are probably my favorites. I also highly recommend the oxtail, beef patties, and classic sides like cabbage, plantains, and rice & beans.

Cajun / Creole

  • Lincoln’s Roadhouse (S Pearl): One of my current favorite hole-in-the-wall spots, with great Cajun and comfort food, wonderful staff, and live music on Fridays/Saturday. The po’boys and etouffee are definite standouts for me.
  • Nola Voodoo Tavern (MLK): A little neighborhood spot with great food and beer.
  • Nola Jane (LoDo/Downtown): This place is downtown, with all the pros and cons that brings. The blackened catfish is the dish to get here.
  • NoNo’s Café (Highlands Ranch): This is one of my favorite spots, with an old-school, friendly feel and a beautiful wrap-around porch. Definitely try the etouffee-smothered catfish.
  • Lucile’s Creole Café: Lucile’s is a Denver institution with multiple locations — but this is a breakfast & brunch only spot (and there’s usually a long line for brunch).
  • Bayou Boys: This isn’t a location, but rather a group of awesome guys who know how to make the best Louisiana-style crawfish boil. They only do them in the Spring, and the location varies every weekend (check their website to see which brewery they’re boiling at every weekend).
  • Crawling Crab (S Federal / Lakewood): Ok, so this spot is a bit more Vietnamese than Cajun, but they can do a great crab and crawfish boil, too. My go-to is the dungeness crab, clams, and crawfish (only when they’re fresh / in season, though). Their S Federal location is my favorite, although they do also have a bigger one in Lakewood now.

Chef’s Table / Omakase

  • Wolf’s Tailor (Highlands): Probably the most expensive meal I’ve had in Denver, but also one of the best. Prices have only gone up since they got their Michelin star, but I still highly recommend it. The drink pairing is absolutely worth it, too.
  • Beckon (RiNo): A 17-seat chef’s counter (or covered patio seating), with rotating seasonal menus that change every quarter. Since they got their Michelin star, I’d expect to pay $500/pp here for food with the premium drink pairing. If that’s a little high for you, I highly recommend checking out Major Tom next door (same chef and sommelier, but a much more affordable menu).
  • Ukiyo (downtown): New to the Denver scene as of February 2024, this is a great 12-seat hidden spot under Bao Brewhouse serving Japanese omakase.

Most of the sushi places (covered in the sushi section) also have an “omakase” option (where the chef just makes you custom stuff based on your general preferences).

Chinese / Dim Sum

  • Nana’s Dim Sum & Dumplings: A newcomer to the Denver scene at the end of 2023, Nana’s quickly jumped to the top of my favorites list for dim sum. The vibe here is super fun, they have great cocktails, you can order off a menu (instead of pointing at carts), and the food is fantastic. It’s pricier / fancier than the spots on S Federal, but I love it.
  • Star Kitchen (S Federal): I personally don’t think it’s as good as in Hong Kong or San Francisco, but some people disagree with me. Regardless, it’s been considered as the best traditional dim sum in town for many years.
  • Hong Kong Station (Centennial): The best platter-style (not dim sum) Chinese food in town, but it may be better for takeout or delivery since they don’t serve alcohol. You absolutely have to get the spicy beef & tendon curry, as well as anything Szechuan style (I like the tripe and pig intestine, but there’s also calamari, beef, chicken, and other “normal” meats).
  • Yuan Wonton (Park Hill): These guys have a huge following in Denver, and deservedly so. Their pop-ups used to have lines down the block, and they now (thankfully) have a permanent location.
  • Q House (E Colfax): This little spot on Colfax makes modern, creative takes on Chinese food — with fantastic cocktails to boot. The Duck Lo Mein is one of my favorite dishes here.
  • Hop Alley (RiNo): This is another modern/fusion spot with a great reputation. Some of my favorite dishes here are actually the vegetarian ones: cold tofu, broccolini, eggplant, egg noodles, etc.

Comfort Food

  • The Post Chicken & Beer (multiple locations, most recently in LoHi): the best gluten-free fried chicken in town, with great happy hour and brunch options. Non-chicken options like meatloaf are also on the menu, of course. And they make their own beers.
  • Lincoln’s Roadhouse (S Pearl): One of my favorite hole-in-the-wall spots, with great Cajun and comfort food, wonderful staff, and live music on Fridays/Saturday. The meatloaf burger and pot roast burrito have been on the menu for 20+ years. The po’boys are also a must-try.
  • Culinary Dropout (Colorado Blvd): This is in the complex of new restaurants at 9th & Co, and I love their vibe and food. The fried chicken is the standout (albeit not gluten-free), and the 36-hour pork ribs aren’t far behind.

Farm-to-Table

  • Fruition (between Cherry Creek and Cap Hill): A Denver favorite for many years from James Beard Award-winning chef Alex Siedel — in a cozy, low-key atmosphere. This place essentially pioneered farm-to-table in Denver.
  • Blackbelly (Boulder, but coming to Denver in 2024): This spot got a green star from Michelin, recognizing it’s commitment to sustainability and farm-to-table.

French

  • Noisette (LoHi): This is a newcomer to the Denver food scene, but they without questions have some of the best French food in town.
  • Le Bilboquet (Cherry Creek): The inside is a little too white-tablecloth for me, but the outdoor patio is the best. The famous “Cajun Chicken” is a must-try (expect it to be flavorful and juicy, but not terribly “Cajun” though). I also think their beef tartar is the best in town.
  • LeRoux (LoDo): Right next door to ChoLon downtown is its French sister restaurant with a great happy hour and dinner menu. The atmosphere is trendy, but classy — and the food is top-notch and consists of both French classics, as well as more modern dishes. Definitely try the Paris-Brest dessert!
  • Brasserie Brixton (NE Denver): This is European-leans-French style of food in a cozy, unpretentious setting with fantastic cocktails and dishes. I brought my family here and they all loved it, but it would make for a perfect date night, too.
  • Chez Maggy (LoDo): Located in the Thompson hotel, Chez Maggy is run by the Michelin-star French chef Ludo Lefebvre (whom you might also recognize from TV’s The Taste). The French Onion Soup and the desserts here are the standouts for me.
  • Le French (S Denver / 9+CO): Founded by Senegalese French sisters, Le French is a slightly more casual, bistro-style spot with a second location recently opened at 9+CO. Their dinner menu features some of the best French comfort food classics, like beef bourguignon and the most tender salmon on a bed of mashed potatoes.

Hamburgers

  • Hopdoddy (Union Station / 9th & Co): Even though it’s a “chain” — I love the sourcing/ingredients here. They only buy high-quality bison, beef, chicken, and sushi-grade tuna — sourced from small farms whenever possible. The menu is the perfect length, with just enough variety — but nothing too crazy. They also do burger bowls (which I recommend over the gluten-free buns — which are hit or miss depending on how fresh they are). And the milkshakes churned on-site are some of the best I’ve ever had — a must-try.
  • Slater’s 50/50 (RiNo): This is the perfect spot if you’re looking for those crazy huge burgers with fun options, as well as boozy milkshakes. I know it sounds weird, but the PB&J burger is fantastic.

Hot Pot

  • Tasty Pot (Aurora / S Parker): There are several good traditional hot pot spots in Denver (Old Town Hot Pot being my favorite of those), but I think this Tasty Pot is just hands-down the best, even if not traditional. It’s what made me create the “hot pot” category as a standalone. They have some amazing broth flavors here — like savory Taiwanese or aromatic Thai Curry (similar to Tom Yum) — and that alone makes it better than most other places I’ve been. They also adjust the spice level for you and offer options of pre-set ingredient combos, so you don’t actually have to make your own soup. All the ingredients come in your soup already, based on the option you choose — making it less traditional than other spots — but it’s delicious.

Indian

  • Spice Room (Highlands or E Colfax): This spot has 2 locations — with cozy atmospheres fit for a date night, a large selection of both meaty and vegetarian dishes, and a great spice level (even medium has a kick).
  • Mint (Downtown): This is probably my favorite Indian spot in Denver these days. I usually order delivery from here (almost every week), but I’ve also been here for lunch. The location itself feels a little more like a buffet/café, but the food quality is top notch. Try the goat vindaloo.
  • Little India (Highlands): This place has many locations, but the Highlands one is the only one I like. It’s super cute and trendy inside, there’s live music on weekends, the food is fantastic (and nicely-plated), and the bar is immense (especially on tequila selection, since there used to be a Mexican restaurant here).

Italian

  • Cattivella (Eastbridge / formerly Stapleton): This flagship restaurant from award-winning Denver chef Elise Wiggins is my one of my top 2 favorite “fancy” Italian spots in Denver. Try the charbroiled oysters, lamb ragu, or pasticcio. The gluten-free pasta and pizza is amazing, too.
  • Tavernetta (Union Station): Brought to you by Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Frasca fame (and James Beard and Top Chef), this spot is my other “fancy” Italian favorite. Their gluten-free house-made focaccia and pasta are amazing.
  • Angelo’s Taverna (6th St or Littleton): This is a long-time neighborhood favorite spot with an amazing happy hour, chargrilled oysters, lamb lollipops, and all sorts of fantastic pastas and pizzas (also available gluten-free). The bruschetta is a mini pizza topped with fresh tomato, melted cheese, and lots of zesty pesto — and it’s a must-try.
  • Lo Stella Ristorante (Golden Triangle): A family-owned hidden gem of a spot with a sister location in Portofino, Italy. Super authentic Italian food made the way you’d expect it in Italy. Be patient with the service — it’s that kind of authentic Italian.
  • North Italia (Cherry Creek): Yes, it’s a chain — but the happy hour specials are bomb, the atmosphere is fun and upbeat, and the bolognese is delicious.
  • Postino (multiple locations): More wine café than Italian restaurant, I’m still putting Postino in this category due to their focus on bruschetta boards. The bruschetta options are pretty incredible (try the apple, brie, fig — and the goat cheese and sweet & spicy pepper jam).

Japanese: Ramen / Other

  • Glo Noodle House (Highlands): Newest to the ramen scene and my new favorite, Glo not only has great ramen, but also super fresh sushi (the yellowtail is a must) and fun appetizers like octopus in gochujang sauce. Any place that has a “Deathwish” spicy ramen has my vote! Mild options also available, of course.
  • Uncle (Highlands & Wash Park): This gourmet ramen spot is pretty famous around Denver, which also makes it pretty hard to get a seat, too. You be the judge if the wait is worth it.
  • JINYA (Union Station): Yes, it’s a chain — but I love that they have very spicy ramen if you like it that way. The vibe here is also pretty cool — more dimly-lit downtown bar than quiet restaurant.
  • Kawa Ni (LoHi): I didn’t know exactly where to stick this, but it’s a Japanese Izakaya (neighborhood drinking spot) that quickly became one of my new favorite restaurants when it opened in 2023. They have some sushi, but that’s not the focus. There are great veggies, bao buns, noodles, fried rice dishes, and more.

Japanese: Sushi

  • Uchi (RiNo): Uchi was first opened in Austin by James Beard Chef Tyson Cole, and ever since it came to Denver, it has solidly been my favorite sushi spot. It’s worth trying to get here for their happy hour at 4pm; otherwise, have a reservation. Try the hama chili, walu walu, 72-hour braised short rib, and foie gras.
  • Hana Matsuri (Glendale): This is my new favorite spot for sushi — with an amazing 20-piece omakase option for just $150, unique fresh fish flown in that I haven’t even heard of before, the best aburi (flame-seared) options, and more.
  • Makizushico (Littleton): I am personally still trying to get out here (because it’s so out of the way for me), but foodies I trust have given nothing but rave reviews.
  • Sushi Den (S Pearl): Sushi Den opened in Denver in 1984, which officially makes it a Denver institution (and blows my mind). The quality of their food continues to be excellent, which matches the line to get in. Make a reservation. Try the black cod and any specials.
  • Mizu Izakaya (LoHi): Izakaya means “pub” in Japanese, so this spot has a fun vibe both inside and on the patio, great happy hour specials, and a wide range of food ranging from sushi to ramen. My favorites are the pork belly bao buns, hamachi sashimi (theirs is very citrus-forward), and any of the specials flown straight in from Japan.
  • Bamboo Sushi (LoHi): Nestled right between Postino and Recess in LoHi, this spot has a fantastic elevated outdoor patio (which is one of my favorite things abut it). They also have daily happy hour 4-6pm.
  • Blue Sushi (LoDo/Downtown): This is more of a fun happy hour spot, since their happy hour menu is an entire page (and runs all day Sundays). The atmosphere is more “sake bombers lounge” — and they have sake bombs and margaritas on the happy hour menu.
  • Taki Sushi (Wash Park): Well-kept little neighborhood secret with just a few tables. Nothing too fancy, but the kind of place I’d go every week.
  • Kumoya (Highlands): This is a 2023 newcomer to the Denver sushi scene, and it’s a very nice upscale spot. The sushi is great, and the service is definitely better than the absolute trash Matsuhisa has become, but I’d call it a special occasion spot only, considering the prices.

Korean

  • Seoul Korean BBQ & Hot Pot (Aurora): Undisputed as the best Korean BBQ in town.
  • ThankSool Pocha (Aurora): Korean street food at its best, paired with fun drinks and late-night K-Pop. I absolutely love their spicy crab soup, their spicy braised chicken feet, grilled intestine, kalbi ribs, and kimchi pancakes.
  • Tofu Story (Aurora): Next door to Seoul, this spot focuses on the best tofu soups. If you’ve never tried one, it’s a must.

Mediterranean / Israeli

  • El Five (LoHi): One of my favorite spots in Denver, with beautiful views of downtown and delicious Mediterranean food (from Spain, Israel, Morocco, and all around the area). It can be a bit pricy, but you can keep costs down by sharing a paella. I also love coming here for happy hour, but if you’re walking in without a reservation, get here 15 minutes before they open.
  • Mazevo (Highlands): Love their lentil soup, harissa chicken, lamb tagine, and their spicy lamb with hummus. Other traditional dishes also available.
  • Safta (RiNo): Acclaimed Israeli food from Chef Alon Shaya, the James Beard Award-winning chef behind New Orleans’ perennially packed Saba.
  • Rioja (LoDo / Larimer Square): This is part of famed Chef Jennifer Jasinki’s local empire, serving locally-sourced, modern takes on Mediterranean dishes.
  • Kini’s (Cherry Creek): Very expensive, but very delicious. The langoustines, octopus, and filet mignon skewers are all fantastic, memorable dishes you have to try.

Mexican / Latin

There’s clearly no lack of delicious Mexican / Latin food in Denver, and even this list has hard to narrow down! Below is a mix of upscale newer restaurants, chains that are absolutely worth it, and traditional hole-in-the-wall spots (and trucks).

  • La Loma: This is a Denver institution that started as a family-owned spot in Highlands in 1981, and has since moved downtown across from the Brown Palace. It’s where I always bring anyone visiting from out of town — as I think its a perfect representation of Denver food. Its description of itself as “upscale rustic” is spot-on — and they make delicious cocktails and platters of Mexican food. Must-tries are 1) the mini rellenos (appetizer) that comes with their amazing pork green chile, 2) the mesquite grilled steak fajitas (which is an entire steak grilled and sliced up after), and 3) the juicy tequila-lime shrimp. The Micheladas here are my favorite, too. They also have a second, fancier/bigger location at McGregor Square now, called Caldero.
  • Machete (LoDo or Cherry Creek): It’s a boujee Mexican spot, but I love the Day of the Dead vibe, the freshly-made margaritas, and the tacos that have sauces and toppings customized to each meat. The lobster, salmon, and tripe tacos are my favorite — and I love the jicama tortilla option.
  • La Calle (Alameda & Tejon): This is a traditional, authentic, hole-in-the-wall street taco spot — also known as “that little orange house” you pass on Alameda. It has everything: the al pastor and carnitas tacos that you know and love — but also traditional Mexican flavors like tripe, cow tongue, goat, cow head, pig skin, and pig stomach. A bowl of goat birria is also a must here.
  • D’Corazon: An old-school, family-owned little spot that serves up simple, but delicious Mexican comfort food in the heart of downtown. I’ve been coming here for 12+ years, and I highly recommend the Carne Adobada or the Carnitas.
  • Cantina Loca (Highlands): This is Dana Rodriguez’s place, which means the vibe and the food are both super trendy. My favorites here are the elote, the octopus, and especially the crispy-skin pollo adobado platter.
  • Necio (Highlands): Great food, service, and outdoor patio — but I really have to commend the drinks here. Their famous “Mangonada” is a delicious foot-tall frozen mango margarita doused with Tajin syrup that’s a must-try — not to mention all the other creative cocktails. You can also get a giant Patron-shaped “punch bowl” of margarita that contains a whole bottle of Patron. Party brunch anyone?
  • Ni Tuyo (S University): The best spot for an extensive mezcal menu and a big bowl of molcajete. It comes from the same family that opened the famous Adelitas, but the vibe here is a bit more upscale.
  • Los Dos Potrillos (S Denver): A family-owned spot with 4 locations between Centennial, Littleton, Highlands Ranch, and Parker. The margarita selection is fantastic, the molcajete bowls are bubbling hot and decadent, the DIY taco platters are enormous, and the seafood soup (caldo de mariscos) and nopales (cactus) are my favorite in town.
  • Perdida (Wash Park): The upscale Coastal Baja décor at this new neighborhood restaurant makes this the perfect place for a happy hour with the girls. The cocktails taste and look great. Try the shrimp tacos and the pozole.
  • Kike’s Red Tacos (food truck turned brick-and-mortar in Highlands): The best beef birria tacos that you can dip into some flavorful consommé, just like in Mexico.
  • El Borrego Negro (Sundays off Morrison Rd): Traditional lamb barbacoa, cooked underground and served every Sunday at the Westwood Food Co-op off Morrison Road starting at 9am. Get here early, because they often sell out before noon.
  • Masas & Agaves (Boulder): Mexican fine dining at its best. This is a newly opened spot in 2023 that brings fresh, authentic Oaxacan flavors to the heart of Boulder.

Pizza

  • Walnut Room (RiNo): This has been my personal favorite for delivery for many years. Super thin crust and so many creative, gourmet topping options. Gluten-free available.
  • Blue Pan (Highlands & Congress Park): A locally-acclaimed favorite specializing in Detroit-style pizza. Gluten-free versions are available.
  • White Pie (Uptown): You guessed it, thin-crust white pies (without tomato sauce) are the specialty here. Everything is delicious — especially if you get that cracked egg on top. Not sure about gluten-free.
  • Pizza Alley (Highlands): Traditional NY-style pizza since 1976. Homemade sauce, good ingredients, awesome atmosphere. Gluten-free available.
  • Cart Driver (RiNo/LoHi): Fancy Southern Italian wood-fired pizza that’s gotten a bit of a cult following since it opened. Gluten-free sourdough crust available.
  • Kaos Pizzeria (S Pearl): One of my personal favorites, nestled in a cozy little house on South Pearl Street. I love their pizza that has fresh, heirloom sliced cherry tomatoes on top.

Rooftop Views

  • The Woods (RiNo): Come for the cocktails and views on top of The Source Hotel at this rooftop bar — but go eat below at Safta or Smok instead.
  • El Five (LoHi): One of my favorite spots in Denver, with beautiful views of downtown. They also have amazing pan-Mediterranean food, including paella.
  • Red Barber (RiNo): The Red Barber is on the roof of the newly-built Catbird hotel in RiNo, offering views of all of downtown. There is a daily happy hour 4-6pm. If you prefer to eat elsewhere, Fish N Beer and Hop Alley are also below.

Seafood

  • Jax Fish House: There are several locations, but the one that opened in 1996 in LoDo is my favorite (and my go-to spot for happy hour going on 12 years now). Great atmosphere, driven by the long bar that runs the length of the whole restaurant, with friendly bartenders who make you feel right at home. Highlights include freshly-shucked oysters, fantastic gumbo (or gumbo fries), and the entire seafood-driven menu. Sundays they also have the best Cioppino in town!
  • 801 Fish (downtown): This is the most recent addition to the Denver food scene, and the food and service here are both fantastic. Down sides: it’s in an awkward location in downtown and the decor isn’t great — but I came here for my birthday, and had a great meal.
  • Fish N Beer (RiNo): Great neighborhood spot in RiNo with an awesome happy hour and my favorite chargrilled devil butter oysters in town. Not to be missed are also the buffalo blowfish tails — the only place I’ve ever had these.
  • Blue Island (Cherry Creek & Lone Tree): One of my favorites for raw clams and for clam chowder, but they also have great specials like $1 oyster Mondays, 50% off bottles Tuesdays, etc.
  • Crawling Crab (S Federal / Lakewood): Great crab and crawfish boil spot. I’ve tried a lot of different ones, and their flavors are the best. My go-to is the dungeness crab, clams, and crawfish (only when they’re fresh / in season, though). Their S Federal location is my favorite, although they do also have a bigger one in Lakewood now.
  • Stoic & Genuine (Union Station): I usually come here for the location, since they have a beautiful patio overlooking the Union Station plaza of fountains (which makes for fantastic people-watching on a nice, sunny day). Grab a bottle of wine, order the whole fish to split, and enjoy.
  • Bayou Boys: This isn’t a location, but rather a group of awesome guys who know how to make the best Louisiana-style crawfish boil. They only do them in the Spring, and the location varies every weekend (check their website to see which brewery they’re boiling at every weekend).

Spanish / Tapas

  • Three Saints Revival (LoDo): A newcomer to the Denver food scene just behind Union Station, this spot shows promise with its wine menu and tapa selection — but will be on the pricier side.
  • Barcelona Wine Bar (RiNo): This is a happening spot in the middle of RiNo that can definitely get packed, so make a reservation or come early and snag a spot at the bar.
  • Corsica Wine Bar (Rino): From the creators of Barcelona comes this new 2024 wine bar just a few blocks away. It’s just as trendy here, and the food and wine is just as delicious — just with a slightly different global influence.
  • 9th Door (Cap Hill): A cute, dimly-lit little local spot that’s been serving up Spanish tapas for quite a few years now. I used to go to the one downtown, but this is the only location still standing.

Steakhouses

This is Denver, so there are a lot of good steakhouses here. Yes, The Denver Chophouse, 801 Chophouse, Steakhouse 10, Perry’s, Hillstone, Del Frisco’s (the one on Orchard), EDGE (inside the Four Seasons), STK, and a bunch of others are all great. However, I didn’t want to have a list of 10 steakhouses and leave you struggling to choose, so I’ve picked out just my top 2 favorites.

  • Guard & Grace (Downtown): This is my personal favorite steakhouse, from famed local chef Troy Guard (who has a 2nd location in Houston now). It’s got a bit more of a modern feel than many steakhouses, but still very classy. I’ve never had a bad experience here. The octopus and fish here are also amazing.
  • The Capital Grille (LoDo): It’s a chain, but the white-glove service is always impeccable, the wine list is expertly put together, the steak is consistently perfectly prepared, and you just can’t go wrong in a pinch.

Thai

  • Daughter Thai (Platte St): Fancy Thai in an elegant dinner atmosphere with cocktails. Make sure you try the ribs, volcano beef, and massaman lamb curry.

Vietnamese / Pho

  • Sap Sua (City Park): This is the newest restaurant on this list, and it comes from some pretty famous/pedigreed names. The food is modern Vietnamese and truly phenomenal. The drinks and decor could use a little work, but the restaurant did just recently open.
  • Saigon Bowl (S Federal): My favorite spot for pho — but I recommend its cousin “bun bo hue” instead (a beef broth heavy on lemongrass and a little spicy).
  • New Saigon (S Federal): They have pho, but also fun other dishes like: 1) cherrystone clams, usually available as an appetizer, 2) dungeness crab in whatever house sauce they use, 3) Thai-style spicy hot pot with mixed seafood.