Where to eat in Denver

May 17, 2017
J.C. Lightcap

With so many restaurants opening their doors in Denver, you have to wonder how the city can sustain them all; and more importantly, how do I try them all?!?!

Luckily, the massive influx of Fpeople moving to and visiting Denver makes it possible to have a robust and diverse food scene that’s staying put.

This list is some of my favourite places to grab a bite to eat, but it’s by no means exhaustive. And, as always, all the locations listed below are Colorado homegrown and within the Denver metro area.

Best spots for breakfast

Snooze: With multiple locations, including new expansions into Texas and California, this Colorado institute is hoppin’ and for good reason. It is THE best breakfast in Denver. Pro-tip: Show up early for no-wait seating; otherwise expect a wait — especially on the weekend. *Your entire party must be present before they seat you.

Sunnys: This is Sunnyside’s best breakfast spot. The mangia and acai bowl are an easy choice. Great summer place with outdoor seating.

Sam’s Number 3: If you are looking for an old school diner, this is it. Featured on the TV show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, this is a classic example of the former. A Denver institution since 1927.

Denver Biscuit Co: Have you ever had a biscuit so good that it made you pause for a moment after every bite? This is it. The biscuits are also huge, so we usually stop here after a hard workout to dive in guilt-free. Head’s up: the Biscuit Co turns into The Atomic Cowboy in the evenings for pizza and drinks.

Best spots for brunch

Root Down: Elegant brunch place. If Sex and the City was filmed in Denver and the cast loved rock-climbing and CrossFit, this is where they would eat.

Best spots for lunch

PortSide: The website is not kidding when they say “Yummy food and tasty coffee.” Locally sourced food and locally roasted (and delicious) coffee make this a great hangout to either get together with friends or be the local laptop warrior who needs a day out of the house.

toast with avocado spread

Every hipster should know where to go for avocado toast; in Denver, it’s PortSide | Photo by J.C. Lightcap

Snarf’s Sandwiches: Serving some of the best sandwiches in town, Snarf is a being unto its own. Opened originally in 1996 in Boulder, the sandwiches here are a mix of the classics and originals and yes, all are #Snarfalicious.

The Preservery: Their goal is to be 100% locally sourced year-round, hence the focus on preserving ingredients. The menu rotates from season to season (for obvious reasons). Closed Mondays.

gourmet meal on a restaurant table

The Preservery is where you need to go for the most local of local cooking | Photo by J.C. Lightcap

Best spots for burgers

Lark Burger: Gourmet burgers and truffle fries. ‘Nuff said.

Park Burger: Two locations: SloHi and RiNo; the latter has more room and lots of TVs to watch games.

Highlands Tap and Burger: Beers, burgers, and some superb salads. Try the brussels sprouts and bacon — you will not be disappointed.

Best spots for dinner

Biju’s Little Curry Shop: Classic Indian dishes with some new twists for the adventurous eater. Biju’s opened a second location in the Highlands, which serves as a test kitchen. When they say spicy, they mean it.

chalk drawing of chai

The spicy artwork alone will make you want to come into Bijou’s | Photo by J.C. Lightcap

Bacon Social House: All things bacon — be sure to try the flight of bacon to see what is possible in the world of pork. Also located in Sunnyside, in the redeveloped Cobbler’s Square.

Uncle Ramen: Ramen like your uncle used to make. This is not the ramen you remember from college — this is high-end, flavour-packed noodle heaven. Try the pork belly buns (#OmNomNom). Expect to wait in line; seating is limited, and demand is high.

Yazoo BBQ Company: We did it, Denver! We have world-class barbecue! Try the melt-your-face hot sauce — it is delightful. Not so adventurous? There are also the traditional BBQ sauce, Carolina style, and multiple others to make your mouth feel like it’s on a tour of the south.

plate of barbecued meat

Get a taste of the south at Yazoo BBQ | Photo by J.C. Lightcap

Mercantile: White-glove service without the white gloves. If you are looking for an upscale dining option, look no further. They also have a breakfast menu and, yes, the pain au chocolat has two strips of chocolate (as it should).

The best spots for sweets

Sweet Cow: Best. Ice Cream. In. Town. Hands down. How good, you say? People reserve the Sweet Cow truck for their weddings. That’s how good.

Little Man Ice Cream: Also seriously good ice cream located in a giant, old-school milk can in LoHi. Fun fact: Little Man uses grounds from local roaster Novo for their coffee ice cream.

Best spots for the undecided or group outing

Avanti Food and Beverage: Officially called a “Collective Eatery” and officially swankier than it looks on paper, Avanti is chic and laid-back at the same time. With two bars, a lounge, and seven restaurants operating in the same building, you will be the hero that solved the group outing dilemma in style. Check out the terrace for one of the best views of downtown. Pro Tip: Check the Rockies’ schedule; if there is a home game with fireworks, Avanti is where you want to be.

The 9th Door: Tapas and drink specials rule here, and its proximity to the ballpark make it a great stop before heading to a Rockies game. Do not miss the sangria.

Finn’s Manor: River North’s very own cocktail bar and food truck pod where you can find damn good barbecue, Jamaican, delightful sandwiches, tacos, and Thai all within whispering distance of a rotating tap with 16 beers. The perfect starting point for any night out.

Civic Center Eats: Dozens of gourmet food trucks line the Civic Center on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 11am to 2pm. Its raving popularity led them to add Wednesdays to the schedule in 2016. Featuring plenty of standard favourites, the trucks rotate so you can have something new every time you visit.

Whatever your cuisine of choice, Denver has you covered and, if you’re feeling adventurous, can take you outside your normal routine. While it is nice to have so many options that you will never have to eat at the same place twice, the food is so good here that you will have a hard time not going back to the same places. Don’t worry though, it’s normal — we have the same dilemma every time we go out.

Denver Day Tours, with a local

Denver is a magnet for outdoorsy people, with a local community filled with great people who really enjoy where they live, and for good reason. That’s because Denver has a booming craft beer scene… and food scene… and art scene… and coffee scene… and of course, an outdoors scene!