Denver’s Delicious Dining Scene
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Denver’s location in the center of the country is reflected in its cuisine – a combination of appealing Western culinary charm, such as steak and barbeque and local flavors, and the innovative international cuisine that a world-class city demands. It’s also a cuisine that’s skyrocketed in status over the last few years, with Denver area chefs recognized for national acclaim in a variety of ways.
Consider that six Denver chefs were nominated for the James Beard House Foundation Awards in 2010, and that many area restaurants have also been nominated for James Beard Foundation awards. Other Denver chefs have been featured on the Food Network, including the Food Network Challenge–which has Denver master baker Keegan Gerhard as its host – and on the Travel Channel’s Man v. Food program.
Steaks and more
Got beef? Denver’s location means it’s no surprise that it’s a city known for its steakhouses. Whether your craving is for ribeyes, T-bones, tenderloin, or porterhouse, this is one city that’s got you covered. Try local favorites like Elway’s (named for ex-Bronco John Elway), the Denver Chophouse, The Capital Grille, or The Broker, or go for national chains with Denver charm like Morton’s of Chicago.
Of course, authentic western cuisine is also big here – with big game on the menu at any number of innovative restaurants. Try elk and bison and soak in history at the Buckhorn Exchange – founded in 1893, it’s Denver’s oldest restaurant – or dine on buffalo, elk, quail, salmon and more in the rustic ambiance of The Fort – an authentic replica of an adobe fur fort that’s been featured in both Bon Appétit and National Geographic Traveler.
Brewpubs and Casual Noshing
Got beer? This city definitely does. Did you know that Denver brews more beer than any other U.S. city? With 80 different beers brewed daily and the Coors Brewery in nearby Golden (founded in 1873), it’s no surprise that the Great American Beer Festival is held here each fall, as well as such local events as the Denver Beer Fest. Sip on some tasty suds at Wynkoop Brewing Co. – the largest brewpub in the United States. Try a sampling from the Falling Rock Tap House – it’s easy with this brewpub’s selection of more than six dozen taps.
Local flavors and creative culinary chops
Colorado’s agricultural bounty and Denver’s thriving famer’s market scene mean that going local is easy to do, with delicious results. Many area restaurants are creating innovative dishes with the freshest produce, fruits, meat cheese and eggs that the region has to offer. The area’s flavors are varied, too – from Pacific-Rim fusion and comfort food to ethnic hotspots and traditional French, Italian and more.
Try Frasca’s in nearby Boulder – an Italian favorite and consistently named as one of the area’s top 10 restaurants; Mizuna in Governor’s Park – acclaimed Denver chef Frank Bonnano’s flagship restaurant (he also owns Luca Di Italia, Osteria Marco, and Bones – an Asian-fusion noodle restaurant); or Table 6 – Chef Scott Parker’s classic American bistro known for its creative cuisine and vegetarian entrees.
No matter what you’re craving, Denver’s restaurant scene is sure to satisfy. Browse our sampling of listings below or VISIT OR DINING GUIDE.
A Sampling of metro Denver Restaurants
No matter what you’re craving, Denver’s restaurant scene is sure to satisfy! Browse our sampling of listings to get an idea of the city’s cuisines, price points, and variety whenever you dine out.
1515 Restaurant1515 Market St. Denver, 80202 303-571-0011 www.1515restaurant.com
An independent fine dining restaurant, 1515 offers a contemporary American menu with European flair. Menu creations include the critically acclaimed Barramundi, Buffalo Steak and the Colorado Lamb, as well as special seasonal menus. 1515 also has an award winning, 400-plus bottle wine list and on-site sommelier, is a winner of Wine Spectator’s “Award of Excellence” from 2001 to 2010, and is an AAA-rated Three Diamond restaurant.
BD’s Mongolian Barbeque1620 Wazee St. Denver, 80202 303-571-1824 www.gomongo.com
BD’s Mongolian Barbeque, a national chain restaurant, gives Denver diners its take on stir-fry, letting diners create their own feast from a variety of choice meats and seafood, fresh veggies and flavor-packed sauces, and then chefs cook it Mongolian-style on a large, flat grill while you wait.
Benny’s Restaurant301 E. 7th Ave. Denver, 80203 303-894-0788 www.bennysrestaurant.com
A fixture in Denver’s Capitol Hill area since 1987, Benny’s is a neighborhood hangout known for authentic Mexican food, affordable prices, and a fun atmosphere. Winner of multiple “Best of” awards from various Denver publications, Benny’s authentic Mexican food is made fresh on the premises every day. The restaurant also has a tequila bar featuring margaritas, wine and beer.
Blue Bonnet Cafe457 S. Broadway Denver, 80209 303-778-0147 www.bluebonnetrestaurant.com
One of the city’s most popular Mexican restaurants for the last 40 years, the family-owned Blue Bonnet Café is known for its great patio, handmade chips and salsa, chimichangas, award-winning margaritas, flautas, chile rellenos, pollo adovado, fish tacos, and carnitas – all made from scratch.
The Buckhorn Exchange1000 Osage St. Denver, 80204 303-534-9505 www.buckhornexchange.com
Known as Denver’s original steakhouse, The Buckhorn Exchange is located in the city’s oldest neighborhood just five minutes from downtown. This National Historic Landmark and Western Museum has been serving the finest in Old West fare since 1893, including Prime grade steaks, buffalo prime rib, elk, salmon, quail, game hen, and succulent baby-back pork ribs. You’ll also find exotic appetizers such as alligator tail, rattlesnake and buffalo sausage, as well as the house specialty Rocky Mountain Oysters.
The Capital Grille1450 Larimer St. Denver, 80202 303-539-2500 www.thecapitalgrille.com
Rich African mahogany paneling and art deco chandeliers are just a few elegant details at the upscale Capital Grille, a recent recipient of the American Culinary Federation’s “Achievement of Excellence Award.” The menu includes nationally renowned dry aged steaks, fresh seafood, and an award-winning wine list of more than 5,000 bottles.
Chlóe1445 Market Street Denver, 80202 www.chloe-denver.com
Chlóe's Mezze Lounge is the perfect atmosphere for fine dining or early-night cocktails. The menu, crafted by Chef Jose Guerrero, features Mediterranean small plates that are designed to be shared and experienced together. To accompany these small plates, Chlóe offers light, refreshing, and fun specialty cocktails concocted by Mixologist Eryn Latterman.
Denver Palm RestaurantTabor Center, 1672 Lawrence St. Denver, 80202 303-825-7256 www.thepalm.com
This Denver location of the nationally known original New York restaurant founded in 1926 features an extensive lunch and dinner menu, as well as Bar Bites, special business lunch menus, and private dining. The dinner menu reflects the restaurant’s Italian-American heritage and includes such classics as prime aged steaks, jumbo Nova Scotia lobsters, chicken parmigiana and veal martini.
Earl’s Downtown Denver1600 Glenarm Place Denver, 80202 303-595-3275 www.earlsdowntowndenver.com
Known for its diverse menu and convenient downtown location, Earl’s Downtown Denver is located next to Cooks Fresh Market and close to such nearby attractions as the Colorado Convention Center, Coors Field, Invesco Field and others – making it ideal for dinner or drinks before an event. Menu items include a Leroy’s crispy dry ribs; a wedge salad with house-made bleu cheese dressing; and a hot chicken Caesar salad, plus pastas, burgers, wok items and more.