The Best Restaurants in Downtown Denver, Colorado

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Michael Navarro

In recent years, Denver has become one of the fastest growing and most diverse metropolitan cities in the West. The city’s eclectic population and its proximity to some of the world’s greatest outdoor recreation has drawn people from all over the world, especially trendy millennials and adventurous outdoorsmen. With such great natural resources and diversity, Denver’s restaurant scene has made the city one of the most unique and distinguished food capitals in the United States. Here are the best restaurants to check out if you’re in town.

Rioja

This upscale Mediterranean inspired restaurant is often called the best restaurant in all of Denver. Rioja offers more of a one of a kind dinning experience, rather than simply a meal. Its menu features creative and innovative dishes that blend Mediterranean ingredients and recipes with local and seasonal American products. Food is treated and presented like art with an impeccable wine-pairing list. The interior cosmopolitan ambiance, and the restaurant’s location in the beautiful and historic Larimer Square, makes Rioja the perfect destination for a special celebratory diner or romantic date night.

1. Downtown Denver Food Tour

Natural Feature

Explore downtown Denver’s vibrant culinary landscape on a guided walking food tour, where you’ll indulge in delectable dishes from five top-rated restaurants in just one afternoon. Savor authentic Neapolitan pizza, savory Colorado pork green chili, and freshly baked empanadas from a beloved family-owned bakery. As you feast, immerse yourself in Denver’s rich Wild West history, passing by iconic landmarks such as the baseball field and historic Union Station. Your knowledgeable foodie guide will lead you through this gastronomic adventure, sharing captivating stories from Denver’s colorful past. Gain insider dining tips and a curated list of recommended eateries to enhance the rest of your visit, ensuring you experience the best flavors Denver has to offer.

Cuba Cuba Café & Bar

When you first stumble upon Cuba Cuba, you’d think you were mistakenly walking into someone’s home. Instead, you’ll find delicious Cuban food in an adorable and charming oasis, right in the middle of Downtown Denver. Latin Americans have always had a strong influence in the Colorado capital. And Cuba Cuba exhibits just how influential Latin American food is to the Denver restaurant scene with its authentic and top-notch cuisine. The tropical colors of the restaurant and outdoor patio will make you feel you’ve been transported from the Rocky Mountains to the Caribbean.

The Kitchen

The Kitchen, Denver

Located right on the popular 16th Street Mall shopping district, the Kitchen is a progressive and innovative dining experience. This restaurant prides itself on providing fresh, organic, and healthy American dishes ranging from seafood to steaks and burgers. The trendy and hip interior makes it a perfect urban dining destination to meet with family and friends, or make new ones. Its Community Hours and Community Nights allow all guests to sit and enjoy a meal together with community table seating. Trendy millennials, organic food fanatics, Denver residents, or visiting tourists all enjoy the exceptional food at this cozy and inviting restaurant.

Osteria Marco

A timeless Italian dining experience in every way, Osteria Marco offers classic Italian dishes in a cozy and upscale basement setting. Their menu is made up of delectable handcrafted pizzas, pastas, and cured meats and cheeses. Its food not only makes Osteria Marco one of the best Italian restaurants in Denver, but its romantic charm adds to the amazing experience. The restaurant’s brick basement interior and location in the historic Larimer Square evokes a sense of old world Italy.

Steuben’s Food Service

For all the different cuisines and ethnic foods Denver has to offer, nothing beats a classic American diner. Steuben’s has become a neighborhood favorite, offering a trendy spin on the retro diner experience. The ambiance is far from outdated however, as the restaurant boasts a stylish and modern environment. All sorts of regional favorites are featured here; from Southern comfort food to deli sandwiches, and New York strip steaks to Maine lobster rolls. Steuben’s is so popular that it was featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Bistro Vendôme

No doubt Bistro Vendôme is probably the best French restaurant in all of Denver. Its authentic bistro food features classic French meat dishes, seafood, desserts, and even brunch specials that are excellent and reasonably priced. The restaurant is tucked away in a courtyard off the historic Larimer Square, and its impeccable decor and theme offers a quiet oasis in the middle of Denver.

2. Craft Beer Tour in Lower Downtown Denver

Natural Feature

Immerse yourself in Denver’s renowned craft beer culture on a small-group tour of the historic Lower Downtown (LoDo) district, affectionately known as the “Napa Valley of Craft Beer.” Led by a knowledgeable beer aficionado guide, visit four local breweries to sample over 10 varieties of Colorado craft beer. Learn about Denver’s pivotal role in shaping the craft brewing movement in the West, and stroll through LoDo, the city’s oldest and most vibrant neighborhood, in between brewery visits. This intimate tour ensures a personalized experience with a maximum of 14 participants, allowing you to interact closely with your guide and fellow beer enthusiasts. Cap off your tour by taking home a souvenir tasting glass, making this journey through Denver’s beer scene a memorable and educational adventure.

Panzano

Panzano, one of the best Italian restaurants in Denver, offers the epitome of the Italian fine dining experience, while still maintaining a casual atmosphere. The light interior and classy decor creates an ambiance that feels first rate, but still maintains a warm and inviting aura. The food is exceptionally delicious and predominantly features contemporary Northern Italian cuisine. This is the restaurant to take your special someone on a romantic date, woo investors at a business dinner, or celebrate a special occasion.

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