Tired of your current restaurant routine? Need a refresher on Denver’s best eats? Bored at work and looking to procrastinate by planning dinner tonight?
We’re here to serve, with our current favorite things to eat in Denver. This rundown includes some of what you’re used to, and some of what you’re not - all of which we’ll keep updating on a regular basis. Every 30-ish days we’ll add new things to the list, so set a reminder. Worthy restaurant intel is just as important as your rent/mortgage payment, and should be prioritized as such.
What To Eat: Paccheri Amatriciana
This popular upscale Italian restaurant-steakhouse mashup recently came to Denver from NYC, and the city needed it. We almost forgot what it was like to eat in a special occasion restaurant where the focus wasn’t on farm-to-table food, and Quality Italian presents a pretty attractive alternative. This is a dressed-up Italian place with flashy decor, slightly theatrical service (the waitstaff will mix sauce for your steak at the table), and crowd-pleasing food. We like the pastas here best - especially the Paccheri Amatriciana.
What To Eat: Cricket Burger
Denver’s quintessential burger joint suffered a devastating fire late last year and was forced to shut its doors indefinitely. But as of now, the Cricket is back. Go celebrate with the cricket burger and a few beers, and don’t forget rings and fries.
What To Eat: Grilled Pork Cheek Tacos
Pig & Sprout is our new favorite pre- or post-Rockies game eating and drinking stop downtown. It has an upscale sports bar feel, but the crowd-pleasing food - covering carnivore through vegetarian (and everything in between) needs - is surprisingly great. You’re going to want at least a couple orders of pork tacos for the table. Also worth noting: their solid draft beer list.
What To Eat: Fried Chicken
Ever since Lou’s Food Bar closed, we’ve been searching for fried chicken good enough to fill the void - thankfully, one of our old favorites from up North has come to the rescue. The original Post restaurant in Longmont has been making excellent comfort food for some time, but Lafayette is a long drive for fried chicken. That’s of no concern now, thanks to their new location on S. Broadway. With a big dining room and a long menu, The Post makes for great larger group and family dinners. If you’ve never had the opportunity to try Nashville hot fried chicken (emphasis on the “hot”), here is where you do it.
What To Eat: Turkey Burger
Sort-of healthy eating decisions are occasionally necessary. Our recent go-to has been the Turkey Burger at Sloan’s Tap - the new-ish neighborhood spot from the people behind Bar Dough and Highland Tap & Burger. The turkey burger comes with bacon, white cheddar, and chipotle ranch. So, like we said, sort-of healthy.
What To Eat: Breakfast Bagel
If you don’t know about Montreal-style bagels (we didn’t either), let Woodgrain be your introduction. Compared to ones you’d find in New York, these are sweeter and more dense. We think it has something to do with being boiled and then wood-fired, but we’re more concerned with how excellent of a sandwich they make. Go for the breakfast bacon, egg, and cheese on a poppyseed or everything.
What To Eat: Soup Dumplings, Potstickers, Noodles
Lao Wang is a hole-in-the-wall in Federal and our go-to spot for Chinese. They serve some of the best dumplings in town, but make sure the potstickers and beef noodle soup are on the table too. Don’t expect fast service (the staff is reliably grouchy) - just know that after eating, you’ll forget about that Coke you asked for 30 minutes ago.
What To Eat: Blowfish Tails Basket & Smelt Fries
Fish N Beer feels like you’re eating inside an old ship, minus the risk of contracting scurvy, and they serve a small but well-executed seafood menu. The Blowfish basket is basically fish and chips with a buffalo wing twist, and the smelt fries (salty breaded and deep fried sardine bites) are ridiculously good. You want at least one order of each at your table.
What To Eat: Oatmeal Cookie Scoop
Sweet Cow has been making some of the best ice cream in town for years, but the lines at their new store in the recently-opened Stanley Marketplace are short and the people serving the cones are generous. Grab a double scoop and check out the giant new surrounding marketplace. Worth the trip East of the city.
What To Eat: Power Bowl
For something quick and (mostly) healthy, we like Rush Bowls in LoHi. The menu is all blended smoothies with toppings like granola, honey, and peanut butter, so it’s a good spot for breakfast or a light lunch. The Power Bowl is our favorite, but if whey protein doesn’t interest you, go for one of the comfort bowls - they involve frozen yogurt, graham crackers, and chocolate, and are definitely not healthy.
What To Eat: Fried Mozzarella
Dio Mio is a fast-casual pasta restaurant in RiNo, and while they’re still working out some kinks with the dinner service (their pasta is hit or miss), we use it for wine and snacks before a bigger meal out in the neighborhood. The crunchy deep fried Mozzarella and a glass of cabernet is exactly what you need after a long workday.
What To Eat: Raw Tuna Tostada Bites
The tacos at Dos Santos are the main attraction. But a change of pace never hurts, especially when it comes in the form of something as excellent as these little tuna bites - basically an ahi nacho with spicy slaw and aioli. Available all day Monday, and during afternoon happy hours (3-6) the rest of the week. Pair a few orders of these with their house margarita.
What To Eat: Vegetarian Pho
Good bowls of pho aren’t too hard to find around town, but the ones at Saigon are worth straying from your usual path for - especially if you tend to go the vegetarian route. Try it for a casual weeknight dinner or lunch.
What To Eat: Ronnie’s Favorite
After a tragic fire, Rosenberg’s was forced to shut down and wander the pop-up restaurant desert indefinitely. But the roadshow was never as good as the real thing. Now, the Rose is back, better than ever, and Ronnie’s Favorite is still the play. Your choice of bagel (get the everything) with dill cream cheese, cucumber, Scottish smoked salmon, and whitefish salad. An excellent twist on classic cream cheese and lox.
What To Eat: King & Snow Crab
At the Crawling Crab, your order will arrive in a bucket, ready to be dumped on your table Louisiana-style with sausage and potatoes. We understand why you’d question it, but you should know that the food here is actually really good. It’s also a much easier way to get your crab boil fix than overnighting a cooler of crustaceans from Louisiana. They have a ton of TVs here, which makes it a good under-the-radar spot to catch a meal and a game.