The 25 Best Restaurants In Denver 2024 – Denver

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The 25 Best Restaurants In Denver 2024 – Denver

In Denver, we’re afforded all the big city culture while getting to gaze at the Rockies at the same time. Everybody is here because they probably love the outdoors in some capacity, whether you’re a native who couldn’t bear to move somewhere flat or a transplant from either coast who now owns a Subaru. 

Now that the secret is out on how cool Denver is, we’ve become even more of a food town. Here are 25 restaurants you should go out of your way to try, like long-standing spots for green chile-drenched burritos, modern Asian standouts, and places doing some of the most inventive tasting menus in the country. 

We also have a guide to Denver's coolest neighborhood, RiNo, where to get lunch and find the best sushi, and some great options at DIA.


There should be a written law that any visitor to Denver must eat a green chile-drenched breakfast burrito. We’re so into them that Denver even has an official breakfast burrito day (it’s the second Saturday in October). You’ll see carts slinging these burritos on downtown corners, but drive past those and stop in at 39-year-old El Taco de Mexico. The menu is full of soul-nourishing Mexican food that includes flautas, tacos, and enchiladas, in addition to burritos. When they ask you if you’d like your burrito smothered in green chile, the answer is always yes. Just don’t be confused if it doesn’t come out green: In Colorado, it’s tinted orange, thanks to the addition of tomatoes.

photo credit: Jeff Fierberg

Brutø comes from the team behind The Wolf’s Tailor, and it’s one of the hardest reservations to get in Denver right now—and for good reason. This is one of the city’s most exciting restaurants, where it’s actually worth it to drop a few hundred bucks for a six-course omakase that will leave you full and daydreaming about tender lengua and fluffy bread for months to come. Bring a date who is super into food sustainability, and they’ll be just as excited to chat about fermentation with your server as they will be to try things like tostadas topped with truffle cheese whip and chicatana ants.

photo credit: Werk Creative

Hotel restaurants typically make us want to check out, but not The Source Hotel’s Safta with all its creamy hummuses, honey cheese borekas, and harissa-spiked chicken. Not to mention the pitas, which are so big and pillowy they could pass as some sort of bread-based balloon. While the Israeli restaurant serves one of the best dinners in town, don’t overlook their weekend brunch. The all-you-can-eat spread of bagels, lamb, pastrami hash, smoked fish, and pastries is worth making a return trip in the morning.

photo credit: Shawn Campbell

Alma Fonda Fina is one of the best new restaurants to open in Denver in a minute—they make the kind of regional, soulful, and high-end Mexican food you can only find at Brutø, but at half the cost. That means you can double down on dishes like salsa-topped agave-roasted sweet potatoes on creamy whipped requesón cheese, adobo-seared hamachi crudo, and a giant hunk of crispy-skinned carnitas that will ruin you for all other carnitas. (Always ask for a side of sourdough tortillas.) Extroverts should grab a seat at the chef’s counter, where chatty sous will enthusiastically fill you in on every little thing you’re eating. Otherwise, just book a regular table, and no matter where you sit, make sure you’re sipping an avocado margarita rimmed with housemade black tajin seasoning.

photo credit: Lindsey Alexander

What happens when two of Denver’s most popular food trucks, Yuan Wonton and Pho King Rapids, team up to open a proper restaurant? You no longer have to wait an hour in the snow for the city’s best dumplings, and can sit inside at an actual table while slurping up chewy rice noodles. What makes this operation even more special is that they alternate schedules at night, so you can get wontons dressed in spicy chili oil on Wednesdays, and a bowl of short rib phở you’ll never forget on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. You’ll probably share a high-top communal table, but it still beats eating on a curb.

photo credit: Lindsey Alexander

You’ll have to let go of all control during the tasting menu at The Wolf’s Tailor, but that’s okay because your taste buds probably aren’t as imaginative as the chefs, who turn out dishes like robata-grilled bison with chile peach sauce and pesto dan dan noodles. The spot combines Asian, Italian, and Nordic cuisines with Colorado ingredients, but the dishes are so well-executed, you’ll never have to worry about any wonky combos. Whether you eat in the Scandinavian-style dining room or one of the glamping-like private patio tents, this is the place to go for an upscale, unique dining experience that’s worth dropping a couple hundred per person on.

photo credit: Eric Donzella

A5 is a different sort of steakhouse than you usually find in Denver. Sure, there are the requisite whipped potatoes and New York strips, but there are also cuts like bavette, delmonico, and the Japanese A5. Not to mention the must-eat beef tartare katsu sando appetizer, which has a soft-boiled quail egg among all that chopped tenderloin. It’s also decidedly unstuffy, with tropical wallpaper and a thatched roof bar. Whatever steak you choose, order it “Chef Max Style,” which means it comes topped with buttery roasted bone marrow, garlic, and onions.

Hop Alley is named after Denver’s 19th-century Chinatown, but it’s also a conversation starter and a tongue-in-cheek wink at the neighborhood’s history. Nowadays, the nine-year-old restaurant is still the cool kid in RiNo, Denver’s trendiest neighborhood. Sichuan chilis numb your tongue to a hip-hop soundtrack, and classics-with-a-curveball run through the menu, like schmaltzy chinese broccoli sprinkled with duck salt and super spicy pork and pickled cabbage dumplings. Cool the heat with equally fun boozy drinks, some of which are served out of boba-style cups.

photo credit: Lindsey Alexander

Lucina is a place where you can close your eyes, point to anything on the menu, and be wowed by whatever comes your way. You might land on the tlacoyo cochinita, a boat of red masa packed with slow-roasted pork and spicy garlic habanero crema, or some mofongo with pork belly chicharron. Truly everything is delicious, and the fun energy in the dining room and menu of small plates make this spot perfect for a date or a catch-up with a friend. There’s funky wallpaper you’ll want to steal off the bar wall, a bright floral mural, and the constant buzz of happy people eating stacks of ropa vieja pupusas. 

When you need a cocktail, pizza, ice cream, a green smoothie, and a crab cake sandwich—maybe even all at the same time—head to Denver Central Market. The only food hall centrally located downtown, DCM has great options for all of your snacking, lunch, dessert, and second breakfast needs. Stop in for a cinnamon roll from Izzio Artisan Bakery, a latte from Crema Bodega, pizza or pasta from Vero Italian, or an ice cream flight from High Point Creamery.

photo credit: Lindsey Alexander

It didn’t take long for people to latch onto Molotov Kitschen & Cocktails—from the time it opened in early 2023, it’s been one of the busiest spots in town. Of course, it doesn’t help that the space is tiny (we’re talking your first apartment tiny), so you should make a reservation before stopping in. From the team behind Misfit Snack Bar, Molotov serves Eastern European dishes with creative twists, like parsnip and saffron varenyky pelmeni with turmeric butter and beet-less borscht with red peppers and lingonberries instead. The food is the main draw, but the cuckoo clock collection has got to be Denver’s finest, barring some rare bird timekeeping collector we don’t know about.

photo credit: James Florio

Mention Uchi to most people in Denver, and their eyes will probably light up. Whether it’s the best, most buttery piece of maguro they’ve ever eaten, the sizzling wagyu hot rock, the crunchy rice loaded with mushrooms, or, better yet, the 10-course omakase tasting that changed their life, a lot of people have a memory of Uchi that makes them eager to come back. And while there are so many different ways to do Uchi—bar seating, the lounge area, private rooms, and a large, wood-filled dining room—the lively bar is where you want to be.

photo credit: Casa Bonita

There’s a lot going on at Casa Bonita, a reopened Mexican restaurant that’s one of the most unique dining experiences you can have in Denver. Cliff divers throw themselves off real 30-foot waterfalls, a Man/Bear/Pig inexplicably wanders around the restaurant, and you order sopaipillas by raising a flag. You’ll have to struggle for a reservation through an email lottery, but it’s worth it to bring a bunch of friends and explore every nook and cranny of this gigantic place over a couple hours. While the food is infinitely better than it was before the renovation, do yourself a favor and stick to the menu’s best dish, the carnitas tacos. If you think this spot couldn’t get even weirder, just know that the creators of South Park are the owners, too.

photo credit: Lindsey Alexander

One of the first places to really kick off the birria taco trend in Denver, Kike’s has expanded into birria burritos, quesadillas, and even ramen. But really, it’s all about those tacos. The beef is simmered for more than eight hours in its spicy, saucy bath before hitting the griddle in cheesed-up corn tortillas and served with a cup of consomme for dunking. The former food truck moved into a brick-and-mortar space last spring, meaning no more birria broth all over your car. Plus, the new liquor license means spicy margaritas to wash it all down.

photo credit: Tobin Voggesser

Denver may not exactly be known for its pizza—although there is something called “mountain style” pie, and if you’re curious, you should visit Beau Jo’s for a taste. But there’s recently been something of a pizza boom happening throughout the city. Regardless of where you’re from or what time zone you live in, Cart-Driver makes exceptional wood-fired Neapolitan-style pies loaded up with toppings like wood-roasted trumpet mushroom, littleneck clams, and spicy calabrian honey. So long as it isn’t covered in a pile of snow, head out to the attached patio to escape the cramped shipping container space (seriously, the whole restaurant is 640 square feet).

This fast-casual Native American spot combines traditional Osage recipes with more modern dishes. And while you may go down the line and order Chipotle-style, the tacos and bowls are way better than any chain, with options like fry bread tacos with spiced ground meats and excellent berry BBQ-glazed bison ribs. You should also check out Tocabe’s online marketplace, where they sell Native-sourced ingredients like blue corn pancake mix, their signature house rub, and even Blue Apron-style (but much more interesting) ready-to-eat dinners.

photo credit: Lindsey Alexander

Fact: Matzo ball soup dumplings and patatas bravas taste better when paired with a killer view. El Five, which is located on the fifth floor in a LoHi penthouse, has one of the best vistas in town and a tapas menu that covers much of the globe. With its city and mountain views, party-all-the-time vibe, sexy space with risque vintage posters, and top-notch food and drinks from the Edible Beats group—they run other hotspots like Linger, Root Down, and Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox—El Five is one of the busiest restaurants in town, so book ahead for your next date night.

photo credit: Casey Giltner

Tavernetta nails the Italian trifecta: good wine, handmade pastas, and great hospitality. But what makes this one of the best restaurants in the city is they also have one of the best steaks you can find in Denver—we’re talking about you, New York strip with fig agrodolce and parsnips. Add on an after-dinner cookie plate, a spacious bar with a great spritz list, and a soul-warming fireplace, and you’ve got a restaurant you probably won’t want to leave (but eventually you’ll have to). While it’s not the cheapest—pastas can hit $36 and the grilled branzino rings in at $56— you’re guaranteed a beautiful meal in a beautiful setting.

Sushi Den and Izakaya Den might be better known, but you should really book a table at their sister restaurant Temaki Den. It’s a whole lot easier to get into, and the menu is pared down to some of the freshest nigiri and temaki in town. For the best deal, come before 6pm on a weeknight for a five-roll temaki set for just $24, and definitely add on the wagyu sukiyaki handroll. The location is literally smack dab in the middle of The Source food hall in RiNo, so expect some chaotic energy of people wielding baguettes and pounding IPA flights from the nearby bakery and brewery. That won’t bother you, though—the sushi menu at Temaki Den is simple, excellent, and will have you tuning everything else out.

When a dim sum cart rolls by the tables of Super Mega Bien, you’ll get to pick out plates of carne asada with Argentinian chimichurri, Cuban ropa vieja with olive tapenade, and tuna ceviche with avocado salsa. This place is loud and fun, filled with bright colors, numerous carts rolling by, and is even decorated with lucha libre decor. It’s one of the better group spots in town, since everything works for sharing and you can try a bunch of different stuff.

If you’ve been planning on finally confessing some deep feelings to someone and need a white tablecloth to do it over, come to Restaurant Olivia. Especially if that certain someone likes quiet, candle-lit dining rooms, excellent service, and pastas with ingredients like black truffles and lobster. As with everything else here, the cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks are spot on, featuring combos like olive oil-washed martinis and a Manhattan jazzed up with chai and angostura bitters.

photo credit: Lindsey Alexander

There’s no shortage of Mexican food in Denver, but this fast-casual, breakfast- and lunch-only spot stands out because of its mission. The restaurant doubles as a social enterprise, with an earn-while-you-learn model. Meaning that while the immigrant and refugee women from countries like Mexico, Venezuela, and Syria whip up your incredible Mexican Coke-braised carnitas, they’re also receiving money, education, and training so they can one day open their own food business. As of last summer, Comal’s bigger new home in RiNo ArtPark means more space to spread out with your chile relleno or cachito.

photo credit: Lauren DeFilippo

If every neighborhood had a spot like Bodega, the world would be a better place. That’s because people would be too busy feasting on gyros loaded with pepperoncini and banana bread pudding cups to worry about politics or whether or not people should wear socks with sandals (it’s a no, by the way). The fast-casual Bodega takes staples like cheeseburgers and breakfast sandwiches and makes the best possible versions, all with friendly service and a space that oozes retro ‘90s energy.

If the Cricket isn’t home to Colorado’s number one hamburger, what makes it so special? Everything else. It’s the ultimate Denver neighborhood hang. It’s the place where you come to have lunch on the patio with a giant beer even though it’s Tuesday. It’s the place where all your friends from grade school meet to get drunk the night before Thanksgiving. It’s the place where you eat onion rings and then play some darts with greasy fingers. And yes, it’s the place that will put peanut butter on top of a pile of hot ground beef, despite god and nature’s wishes, just because that’s what you want. Although the green chile and white cheddar is our move.

photo credit: Lindsey Alexander

When the Blazing Chicken Shack II (the original was a food truck) opened nearly a decade ago, it beefed up Denver’s lacking soul food scene. The ladies working here are always ready to warm you up with spicy collard greens, creamy mac and cheese, crispy catfish sandwiches, and that juicy fried chicken that just might be the city’s best. The space is pretty bare bones with just a few tables, but the food and hospitality inside are pure Southern comfort.


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