Denver’s dining scene may be young compared to places like New York or San Francisco, but its heritage is rich one with a long history of game hunting, mountain fishing, orchard growing, and cattle ranching. As a result, Denver’s dining scene is one of the most unique and distinguished food capitals in the United States. Here are six downtown Denver restaurants to check out if you’re in town!
1. El Five
Sitting above LoHi on the fifth floor, El Five boasts unobstructed views of downtown Denver’s skyline, and a wide frame of sprawling highlands for an unrivaled sunset view. When it comes to the menu, its tapas and cocktails are just as great as the view. While the food here is a bit pricey, it’s definitely worth the splurge for a nice date night. Make sure to try the shawarma spiced lamb ribs, and if the open-air patio is full, get a seat at the bar for the same views, as well as faster drinks service.
2. Osteria Marco
Expect classic hand-tossed Italian pizzas, homemade pastas, an extensive wine selection, house crafted meats and cheeses and rustic elegance at Osteria Marco. Don’t forget their famous charcuterie board, as well as what some might call the best burrata in Denver! The restaurant’s location at the historic Larimer Square and its romantic interior evokes a sense of old world Italy.
3. Misfit Snack Bar
Serving inventive takes on traditional bar snacks, the menu Misfit Snack Bar might be small, but they’re big on personality. It is also constantly changing – other than a cheeseburger that’s a mainstay, you never know what you’re going to get. There are also occasional special events, such as their own spin on brunch dim sum or a traditional Ukrainian Christmas dinner. When it comes to their cocktails, rather than covering every type of spirit, there are about 10 signature and seasonal drinks that reflect the bartenders’ own tastes.
4. Yard House
Yard House is the modern American gathering place where beer and food lovers unite. Known for great food, classic rock, an energetic vibe and endless fleet of tap handles featuring the best craft and local beers, this eatery offers over 100 beers on tap along with an array of craft cocktails. On the menu, try out favorites such as their signature Poke Nachos, street tacos, USDA prime burgers, seafood and steaks.
This New American restaurant, run by CIA-trained chef-owner Caroline Glover is down-to-earth and heartfelt. In fact, you might be shocked to find one of the best downtown Denver restaurants inside a mall. One thing for sure is that everyone who comes here feels well-cared for, whether they’re tucking into tagliatelle with sardines or roast chicken with Pedro Ximénez vinegar and escarole. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the grilled beef tongue with marrow toast that’s become a mainstay on the menu.
6. Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs
If you watch food channel shows, chances are you’ve seen a segment on Biker Jim’s at some point. Named after its owner Jim Pittenger, an Alaskan-born ex-repo man with a taste for hogs – as well as just about every other animal – in buns, this is an awesome hangout at all hours, complete with tire marks from his own bike on the floor for decoration. You can’t go wrong with the elk-jalapeño-cheddar dog topped with cream cheese and caramelized onions, after all, it’s what propelled the business from a humble street cart into a brick-and-mortar eatery with multiple locations.