Six years in the making my Denver Guide is finally live! I will be updating this on the regular and will put in the last updated date here as well – October 30th, 2018
Just Visiting – Heading to Denver for the weekend? If this guide is a little overwhelming, I suggest checking out my Denver Quick Guide, where I highlight some of the best spots in town. It is the list where I take all my out of towners.
Anywhere I left out? Please let me know, I love finding new places to go!
A little disclaimer – I have been in Denver for 6 years and lived in the South Denver area, so these are the hoods I know best. The hottest neighborhoods for food and drink are by far RiNo and Highlands area. We frequent RiNo because it’s walkable and love the vibe.
Wash Park/South Pearl Street
Sushi Den – This place has been packed every day since opening in 1984. Yes, you read that right, the 80’s. This South Pearl hot spot, by Chef Toshi Kizaki, dominates the block; I mean he literally owns three restaurants and a parking lot on South Pearl.
Sushi Den is just as busy on a Friday night as it is on a Tuesday lunchtime. The restaurant is huge, so the wait is never outrageous, and luckily, they take reservations. Put your name in and explore up and down South Pearl. Or, snag a table at its beautiful sister restaurant, Izakaya Den, in the upstairs bar.
Izakaya Den – Sister restaurant to Sushi Den, this upstairs bar features a giant, glass retractable roof and is drop dead gorgeous inside. Izakaya is a Japanese “Gastro Pub” so sushi plus “world food” make this a hit for sushi lovers and non-sushi lovers.
Ototo – The third restaurant dominating South Pearl by Toshi Kizaki. Ototo means “little brother” so this little brother restaurant has a raw bar, robata grill, and has bomb.com ramen.
Taki Sushi – Cheap, delicious sushi with the most incredible service,Taki is all you need. I mean, even your water cup is always full here. I LOVE the Sex on The Beach Roll. Want to saki bomb? Totes cool here. I actually wrote a blog post on Taki back in the day, which you can read here.
Max’s Gill & Grill – Gosh, this restaurant just kills it on all fronts. It’s one of my all-time favorite seafood restaurants and it’s right in the heart of Denver. The decor is like an old ship, with a giant fireplace keeping it toasty and cozy during the winter months.
In the summer, the patio doors are wide open, making it feel like you’re at the beach. Oh, and in the way back, a tiki bar! Head here for a great happy hour such as $1 oysters and ribs night.
Acero Tacos – I feel like this place gets overlooked because of its close proximity to another very popular taco joint, but this spot is HUGE. It is perfect for groups and large parties. Oh, that reminds me, I kind of want to host a party here.
Chook – Chook in Australia means chicken, and Chook cooks up the most delicious rotisserie chicken. and this cute little spot just opened on the corner of Pearl and Louisiana. Everything on the menu is soooo yummy. I love the Chicken sliders and roasted squash.
Park Burger – I honestly don’t eat a lot of burgers but Park Burger is fire, so are their decadent milkshakes, sweet potatoes fries, and waffle fries. I highly suggest the turkey burger with avocado and bacon…nom, nom, nom.
Devil’s Food Bakery & Cookery – The popular, historic Gaylord Street has so many good spots and this bakery is one of my favs. Super yummy! It offers fresh food with a seasonal menu. One of the best brunches in the city – read more here.
Lincoln’s Roadhouse – Part neighborhood drunk and part biker bar with a Cajun spin, this place is a hoot. Almost every night, there’s live music and the dance floor will be popping. The crowd is definitely older, but quite entertaining. A great people watching spot too. Oh, and the hush puppies are amazing!
The Kentucky Inn -This Wash Park dive just got a big renovation, and even the menu has a new look. Anything pimento cheese is delicious! All in all, great dive bar and equally great food.
Moe’s – We frequent this location way too often. It has a bowling alley and small venue so great for groups and kids alike. Recommend the nachos with white queso, they are incredible. I talked about them so much to a friend visiting, he got us a $100 gift card for hosting. WINNING!
Cochino Tacos – We were stoked this spot opened up in Englewood because the food, service, and drinks are fantastic. Frozen Paloma’s are my ultimate drink. Great happy hour deals too.
Miyako Ra-men – Our go-to ramen takeout spot. I really like eating in as well, plus everything we’ve tried is delicious. We went last week and I got the sushi – yummyyyyy! I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s our new go-to sushi spot.
Taste of Thailand – Our local neighborhood Thai spot has been open for over 20 years. They use only the freshest ingredients from their very own garden. Order in or get delivery, you choose!
Breakfast on Broadway – One of our favorite brunch spots with great prices, and, of course, bottomless mimosas. Win, win!
Punch Bowl Social – Half restaurant, half bar, and half adult playground, what more could you ask for? Punch Bowl Social has it all with an adult arcade, bowling, shuffleboard, darts, and damn good food. Great for groups, too!
Canopy Bar – Recently, this has been our new go-to spot. I love the space and decor. It’s great for groups and never too crowded. Important to note, they don’t serve food but you can bring in whatever you want from a nearby spot. BYOF!
True Food Kitchen – This popular restaurant is popping up all over the country, and honestly, it’s pretty damn good! If you haven’t been yet, go check it out.
Blue Island Oyster Bar – One of the best oyster happy hours in town! Great little patio in Cherry Creek North makes it a favorite of mine.
Margs – I must admit, I have a soft spot for Margs, as its one of the first places I ever ate in Denver! Their street tacos are super yummy, but I particularly love the totally untraditional tacos on the menu.
Zaidys Deli – Looking for a true Jewish deli in town? Look no further. This is it.
Linger – Fun, vibrant, and different, this spot is booked weeks in advance, so go ahead and book now. It’s delicious and super fun. Plus, the rooftop is fabulous. One of the many favored Edible Beats’ restaurants in the city.
El Five – Probably my favorite rooftop restaurant in town. The views are simply amazing. It is another Edible Beats’ restaurant with just the best vibe, cocktails, and tasty food.
Avanti – A crowd pleaser! This two-story food hall is centered around two giant bars and a balcony. Avanti has a consistent rotating group of restaurants, so everyone is happy.
Uncle – Hands down the best ramen in town! I promise it’s totally worth the wait. They are opening a new location in Wash Park. I, for one, can’t wait!
The Palace Arms at The Brown Palace – If you want to impress your parents, a hot date, or an out of towner, this is the spot to wine and dine. First, order drinks at Churchill’s, then make your way over to The Palace Arms for one of the best meals this city has to offer. It may cost you a pretty penny, but worth every bite.
This classic hotel and restaurant are full of history so there will be plenty to talk about as you sip champagne and enjoy the fine dining experience. When the dinner portion is done, head over to The Ship Tavern for a worthy nightcap!
Kachina Grill – Located in the Dairy Block downtown, this swanky Mexican joint serves up festive food. The queso dip isn’t white but it still gets five stars in my book. The tacos are served on Asian-like buns and are freakin’ incredible.
Milk Market – My favorite Frank Bonanno, just opened his own food hall, where every single restaurant is his. Seriously, it’s ridiculous and so damn good. A great spot for happy hour or to start off your night. Make sure to try the pork buns as they’re heavenly. Again, I cannot stress this enough, everything is so damn good! As for you, Frank Bonanno, I love you. That is all!
Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox – VIBEZZZZ like all the Edible Eats’ restaurants, they have killer vibes. This building was once a brothel and the theme carried over into the interior. Also, its downstairs offers an intimate venue with great live acts, reggae night, and crazy brunch parties.
El Chapultepec – As Denver’s oldest jazz and blues club, it serves up great live music every night of the week. Since 1933, it has been in the same location on West 20th and Market street. As an iconic establishment, it is tiny, loud, and really fun! Don’t forget, it is cash only.
Herbs – Live music every night, seriously the only bar I go to in this area beside El Chapultepec.
Rio – If you are in need of cheap Mexican, killer margs, great queso, and room for a large group, Rio is the one. A true Denver staple.
Osteria Marco – This is my favorite spot on Larimer Square, especially if you can grab one of the four outdoor tables. Frank Bonanno is a Denver-based restaurant legend, and everything he touches turns to gold. See Milk Market. A few culinary eats I highly recommend are the burrata, quinoa salad, and the arugula pizza. Nommmm!
Panzano – One of my first memorable meals in Denver is Panzano’s happy hour. It is the bomb.com because all their main dishes are half priced in smaller portions. I still dream about the GRILLED caesar salad! They legit grill it which makes it amazing. You won’t be disappointed!
Snooze – This eatery is so damn good, which is why it is always packed. Go early and be prepared to wait, but trust me, it SO WORTH IT.
Bubu – For a quick power lunch downtown, this is my go-to. You can get grain/salad bowls made to order, plus if you need, ordering online is available. One of Troy Guard many restaurants around town.
The Pig & The Sprout – Their menu is split two ways, meat lovers and vegetarian or pescatarian. They offer both hearty and light items, and even their artisan cocktails match their unique split focus. The Brussels are the best of the best this city has to offer. Everything is yummy and so is their patio space!
Vesta – A classic Denver establishment. Originally named Vesta Dipping Grill (ring a bell?), the restaurant rebranded a few years back to simply Vesta. Our meal here was truly amazing and even more so, the service was out of this world. This warm, inviting restaurant is where to take your parents, out of town guests, or your new boo, especially if you really want to impress them. And don’t forget, you must order the pork belly!
Blue Pan Pizza – Good lord, their pizza is fabulous and they even got the awards to prove it. Do you like New York style? How about Detroit or traditional Italian? Well, they offer all of them, every single day. And each slice is so damn good.
Wendell’s – Bar none the BEST pancakes in town. A popular brunch spot with tasty classics and a great patio. Also, Wendell’s is perfect for larger parties.
Vital Root – Fast, casual, and uber healthy food is real. Yes, you read that right! And you can find it at Vital Roots. It is 99% vegan, 100% gluten-free, and incredibly delicious. No matter how picky your friends are they will love it.
Safta – James Beard Award winner Alon Shaya, opened up his second restaurant, Safta, this past August in Denver. It was welcomed with rave reviews. Seriously, I have never heard so much buzz around a restaurant here. Clay and I were lucky enough to eat there for the blog and had one of the most amazing meals to date. Read what to order here.
Comida Tacos – Located in The Source, this taqueria is great on a sunny day for street tacos and margs.
Acorn – Just like Linger, this place has been HOT since day one. The menu changes seasonally with a few staples year-round. Acorn is always a beautiful and worthwhile dining experience. Their larger plates for sharing are great for big parties. Or, just two very hungry individuals.
Barcelona Wine Bar – I was stoked to hear a Barcelona Wine Bar was opening here as it’s a coveted Atlanta spot of mine. Enjoy the great vibe, delicious tapas, and an extensive wine selection. And their patio is even bringing the vibe with a gorgeous setting.
Cart Driver – All you need here is their perfect wood-fired pizzas, oysters, and rosé, all day. It’s my dream restaurant.
Rosenbergs Bagels – Simply put, the best bagels in town.
Los Chingones – This Troy Guard Mexican spot has a few locations around town – DTC, Stapelton & Colorado Mills. Their passion fruit Paloma is pure perfection. Hands down my favorite in town, maybe the world! The food is also so so good. I love the fish tacos but the Enchiladas are really delicious. Plus you can’t beat a $5 happy hour marg!
Moe’s – They have authentic BBQ from Alabama, so you know, it’s damn good. I have a serious bad obsession with their nachos because they use WHITE QUESO.
Bones – Another wildly successful Frank Bonanno concept, Bones was serving ramen and buns, way before everyone else. Two things; the buns are divine and the ramen is perfect. Gah, I need some pork buns ASAP!
Luca – Your local neighborhood Italian spot, featuring a wood burning oven! Clay and I went here for Valentine’s day dinner and totally overindulged with the most decadent kinds of pastas. We recently ate here again and can’t get enough of the truffle pasta! Currently, counting down the days till we return again. Oh, and yes it’s one of Frank Bonanno’s, too!
P.S. Thursday night is date night. An app, pizza, and pasta to share, plus a bottle of house wine for $50! STEAL.
Don’s – Are you from the South? Then, you’ll probably run into someone you know at this bar. On Saturdays in the fall, Don’s is packed with USC Gamecock fans and rowdy at all hours.
Angelo’s Taverna – Italian, oysters, and one of our favorite happy hours. Great for date night, too.
Congress Park/City Park/Colfax Area
Blue Pan Pizza – The best pizza. This is the 2nd outpost in the city. First in Highlands just go and get it all.
Pinche Tacos – Tacos, Tequila, Whisky – A few locations across town, Pinche is the OG restaurant that brought street tacos to Denver.
Steuben’s – We love taking out of towners here for a reasonably priced meal that everyone enjoys. The trout almondine is perfection. It’s just really good food, every single time.
Ace Eat Serve – You will be greeted with delicious Asian fusion and a giant room of ping pong tables. Three worthy mentions; the wings, buns, and ramen.
Other Great Spots Around Town
Star Kitchen – If you are on the hunt for authentic dim sum brunch, this is the place to go.
Domo – Travel back in time and across three continents, when you dine at this authentic Japanese restaurant near 6th and I-25. In advance, check out the menu and be prepared to spend at least $20 a person, if not more. You will get a lot of food while enjoying sitting in their calming zen garden. Seriously, you’ll love this incredible experience.
Cavatelli – This Stapleton Italian restaurant is worth the drive from anywhere in the world! We had planned to eat at Stanley Market Place, but everything was packed so we decided to try Cavatelli, because well, they have pizza. We got a seat at the kitchen bar, talked to the chefs, and had one of the best meals to date.
When I go out, it’s 75% of the time to a show. You can find live music, basically, any night of the week at these spots.
Cervantes Masterpiece Theater – Shows here on most nights of the week are either in the Ballroom or “The Other Side”. A special night is Thursday featuring bluegrass.
Quixotes – Jam bands and cover bands. What more can you ask for?
Be On Keys -The sister to Quixotes, they also rock out with jam bands and cover bands.
Ophelia’s Electric Soap Box – A very cool restaurant with the additional downstairs venue, that also caters a fun brunch!