The best restaurants in Denver, Colorado, are more than just places to refuel. The city’s restaurateurs encourage conviviality and conversation, creating small communities around their kitchens and making guests feel at home. Granted, the food still matters, and it’s delicious. From neighbourhood restaurants to top-class fine-dining establishments, read our updated guide to Denver’s ten best restaurants and start making plans for your next dinner in the city.
Courtesy Ocean Prime
Restaurant, American, $$$
Palace Arms, Denver | Courtesy Palace Arms
To say that Palace Arms is a refined restaurant would be an understatement. Part of the Brown Palace, a first-class, historical hotel in Denver housed in a magnificent Italian Renaissance building, Palace Arms is more than classy: it’s royal. Presidents could be accomodated here appropriately – in fact, they have been. Elegance drips from every detail. The furniture, the tableware, the wallpaper, the carpets, the paintings, flags and coats of arms on the walls – every fixture is absolutely top class, and contributes to creating the atmosphere of a bygone era. Then, there’s the food: diver scallops with garbanzo beans, spring onion and baby artichoke barigoule or Berkshire pork tenderloin with pancetta, green tomato and smoked manchego grits are only some of the option in the restaurant’s impeccable menu.
Tables is a very homely corner restaurant with an outdoor patio enclosed by a picket fence, salvaged tables and a strong, neighbourhood feel. How come, then, that it is consistently packed, even on week nights? Dine here, and you will know. Tables’ kitchen invariably cranks out exquisite dishes prepared with seasonal ingredients, full of flavour and cooked to perfection. Try, for example, the rainbow trout with roasted peperoncini and summer squash, or the grilled pork chop with sautéed peaches and blue cheese. In addition to the eclectic menu, patrons love Tables for the friendly, comfortable atmosphere and hospitality like you would get it at home.
Imagine a great seafood restaurant, an excellent steakhouse and a top-notch cocktail bar. Put them together and you get Ocean Prime, a chain of restaurants located in eleven cities throughout the US. In Denver, Ocean Prime is found on historical, trendy Larimer Square, ready to please its guests with prime seafood – teriyaki salmon, yellowfin tuna and chilean sea bass, among others – or a prime steak. Despite the range of taste in the menu, choosing the perfect wine to pair with the scrumptious food won’t be complicated at all, seeing as Ocean Prime boasts a wide selection of fantastic wines. Don’t skip the handcrafted cocktails, either: the bar chefs love to experiment and hone their mixtures of spirits to cater to your tippling needs.
The Kitchen, Denver | Image Courtesy of The Kitchen
The Kitchen Denver is one of eight restaurants, with other locations in Boulder, Fort Collins and Chicago. The Kitchen puts community at the centre of its philosophy. The restaurant’s owners believe great food should ignite conversation and nurture personal relationships, just like it does with families when they reunite in their own homes to enjoy a meal. This is what this restaurant tries to be everyday for its patrons: a meeting place where delicious, wholesome food can foster both the body and the soul. Interior design lovers will also immediately notice and appreciate the restaurant’s well executed industrial feel.
Restaurant Snooze comes with a mission: to make a culinary experience of your breakfast or lunch. While most restaurants put their best efforts into making dinner, Snooze concentrates on the earliest meals of the day, performing a creative take on the traditional breakfast or lunch staples both in terms of preparation and presentation. By putting a contemporary spin on everyday food, at Snooze simple fare like eggs benedict, tacos or pancakes becomes a work of culinary art. The ambiance is equally charming, bustling with early birds coming to enjoy their delicious breakfast in a beautifully relaxed and cosy atmosphere.
In ancient Rome, Vesta was revered as the Goddess of the hearth, which in those times was the centre of the home. Some two millennia later, Denver’s Vesta Dipping Grill continues the divinity’s mission of guarding the bonds of family by celebrating the art of the hearth fire grill as a way to bring people together in an intimate setting. Vesta is a very warm, cosy restaurant characterised by an award-winning design of comfortable lighting, brick walls and extensive use of wood, plus a few eccentric, curvy table booths. Guests can enjoy some succulent roasted meats or seafood, but the restaurant’s signature offering is a selection of 30 different, exotic sauces to dip the food in, from the jalapeno ponzu to the pineapple pedy marmalade, from the house-made sriracha to the Indonesian chili sauce.
A talented chef, Alex Seidel, who in 2010 was appointed as Best New Chef by noted magazine Food&Wine, is the owner of acclaimed restaurant Fruition. The chef received the prestigious accolade on account of his exceptional skills in transforming farm-fresh ingredients into innovative recipes that pleasantly surprise those lucky enough to try his cuisine. A fan of quality cheese, Seidel is also a local producer of sheep’s milk cheeses, which he uses for many of the dishes offered at his restaurant. Fruition’s entrées include a mouth-watering grilled pork chop with heirloom shelling bean succotash or the exquisite pan-roasted lamb loin with potato gnocchi and house-cured lamb pancetta.
Housed in what was once a car garage, Root Down is a lavish restaurant decorated with great art on the walls, old phones and other accents that give it a charming, vintage vibe adjusted for a contemporary setting. The menu is an eclectic and evolving selection of internationally inspired dishes driven by no one particular style of cuisine. All courses, however, are prepared with fresh, organic and natural ingredients, including those designed to cater to vegetarians, vegans and other special dietary requirements. A popular restaurant, Root Down has succeeded in creating a sense of community with its patrons thanks to a lovely, friendly atmosphere that keeps them coming back for more.
From Mexican tacos to North African falafels and kebabs, from Greek gyros to Asian fried rice and spring rolls, Linger‘s menu is a wonderful selection of top specialties from virtually any region in the world, grouped by their geographical origins and with an emphasis on the world’s most delicious street foods. The restaurant’s urban look and feel nicely complements the keen international influence on the kitchen, and is a good, chic choice for a stylish night out. Linger’s best part is without a doubt its rooftop patio – sit here and enjoy the restaurant’s excellent food while soaking up Denver’s skyline from above.
Book a table at TAG Restaurant and get ready for an adventurous journey into uncharted territories of taste – surprises await at every morsel! TAG Restaurant is the food haunt of chef Troy Guard, a culinary wizard of Hawaiian origins who likes to approach cooking with a think-outside-the-box philosophy. Unsatisfied by traditional recipes, Guard crafts fresh, innovative creations that blend together ingredients and flavours typical of different regions of the world, with Asia and Latin America as two favourites. Highlights from TAG Restaurant’s menu include the lemongrass petaluma chicken, the Australian barramundi and the popular taco sushi.