Denver’s dining scene is flourishing now more than ever before. Some of our old favorites continue to make our favorite dishes year after year, while a great assortment of newcomers are providing some fresh + fun options to mix things up as well. Maybe you already have a list of old favorites or maybe you’re still discovering, but we can assure you that you’ll be adding all of these best restaurants in Denver as new favorites.
If you’re craving a good burger, fresh oysters, steak, or a generally delicious meal, A5 is the place to go. It delivers on all fronts, from food to service to ambiance. Slide on into a seat at the bar during happy hour and try their burger (it’s only available at the bar), or get a table for two in the main dining area to enjoy a more intimate and well-rounded dinner. A5 is one of the newer additions to the Culinary Creative Group family of restaurants and is a solid and welcome addition to the Denver dining scene, making A5 an easy choice to include on our guide to the best restaurants in Denver.
$$ Steakhouses, Salad
1600 15th St, Denver, CO 80202
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Annette has made quite a reputation for themselves. Just after opening, Annette was included in the 50 Best New Restaurants by Bon Appetite magazine, and their chef has been named one of the best in the country by the James Beard Foundation. We can honestly say they live up to every ounce of praise. Annette’s wood-fired kitchen serves up seasonal modern American food with a menu full of shareable plates at prices that won’t shock you out of your seat given the exceptional quality. Annette’s menu is highly seasonal, but a few highlights include the roasted half chicken and the butter lettuce + tarragon salad. If you’re not overly hungry or are dining alone, Annette offers most plates as a half portion.
$$$ Wine Bars, American (New), Cocktail Bars
2501 Dallas St STE 108, Aurora, CO 80010
Small but mighty, Cart-Driver now has two locations, their OG in RiNo, located within a 640-square foot shipping container, and their newest in LoHi. They serve up one of the best thin-crust wood-fired pizzas in Denver and are an easy favorite in our guide to the best restaurants in Denver. Cart-Driver’s menu features seven or eight regularly offered pizzas as well as one that changes seasonally (always a banger). Try topping your pizza with their house-made green hot sauce. It’s so popular they have to replace bottles often as it seems to “disappear”. Need your pizza fix but you’re GF? Cart-Driver has one of the best GF pizza crusts in the city. Made with chickpea flour and baked in a cast-iron skillet, it’s the same way it’s done in some parts of Italy.
$$ Pizza, Italian, Bars
2500 Larimer St #100, Denver, CO 80205
12. Super Mega Bien
From the amazing chef Dana Rodriguez comes Super Mega Bien, a restaurant serving up a fun and approachable menu that traverses the world of Latin American cuisine. Small plates are served dim sum style, so you can order directly off the cart as it makes its way around. We suggest snagging up a few before moving on to larger plates from the menu. Reservations are not accepted, so go early or later in the evening to avoid a wait. With a well-rounded menu with plenty of offerings for meat + veg lovers alike, we recommend going to SMB asap to try one of the best restaurants in Denver.
$$ Latin American, Bars, Tapas/Small Plates
1260 25th St, Denver, CO 80205
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In addition to being a hit on our guide to the best restaurants in Denver, Spuntino is also one of our top picks for Denver’s best Italian restaurants. You never know what fun take on Italian food you’re going to see on the menu, which is one of our favorite things about a trip to Spuntino. The chef learned to cook from her Indian-born parents, and the menu certainly includes very interesting Asian (specifically Indian) – Italian fusion dishes. Spuntini does an excellent job at balancing light and heavier dishes on its menu, especially in their Primi pasta section. We love the arancini as a starter – they always seem to infuse the traditional risotto balls with flavors to perfectly complement the current season. The menu is ever-changing, but you’ll always find at least one dish featuring the goat ragu, which is a must.
$$ Italian, Indian
2639 W 32nd Ave, Denver, CO 80211
10. Izakaya Den
Izakaya Den is the place for you if you’re after the best sushi in Denver. The front door opens to a beautiful, dynamic interior that you wouldn’t expect from the outside of the building—a warm, low-lit seating area that feels more like an intimate lounge greets you right away. Or head upstairs to be surrounded by towering bamboo stalks for a bright and airy dining experience. The menu does offer some variety, but you’ll find mostly traditional Japanese-style sushi here. While the Red Dragon Roll and salmon roll are all-stars from the signature menu, go with a group and try a little of everything. It’s ALL amazing. If you can’t decide what to order on your first visit, get the crispy spicy tuna, maybe a few pieces of nigiri, and a roll or two. Finish off with a tasty treat from the dessert menu. Izakaya doesn’t take reservations, but you can avoid most of the long line by arriving 10-15 minutes before they open on weekends. Don’t let that scare you away, though, because Izakaya Den is absolutely worth any wait.
$$$ Japanese, Sushi Bars
1487A S Pearl St, Denver, CO 80210
9. La Diabla Pozole
Pretty nondescript from the outside, La Diabla Pozole is a great lesson in not judging a book by its cover. La Diabla is Denver’s first eatery dedicated to pozole, a traditional Mexican soup made from hominy and meat that’s garnished with shredded lettuce or cabbage, chile peppers, radishes, avocado, salsa, and limes. At La Diabla, you can find traditional pork pozole, as well as chicken or vegan soups, all equally delicious. In addition to pozoles, La Diabla also serves some of the best tacos in town, as well as pambazos (pictured above). Regardless of what you end up trying (best to start with the pozole, but definitely make return visits to try it all!), you’ll find yourself a new favorite Mexican food spot at one of the best restaurants in Denver.
La Diabla Pozole y Mezcal
$$ Mexican, Cocktail Bars
2233 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205
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8. El Five
Home to quite possibly the best view you can get while dining in downtown Denver, El Five is one of the best restaurants in Denver for more than just its views, though. El Five features quite a varied Mediterranean menu, with highlights including a Lebanese garlic dip (we promise it’s not overbearingly garlicky), fattoush salad, sea bass, and, of course, paella. If you’re a party of two, order a half serving of paella plus a few tapas, and you’ll be delightfully full and happy by the end of the meal. El Five is part of the Edible Beats restaurant group (hello Linger! and others), so you know you’re in good hands.
$$$ Tapas/Small Plates, Cocktail Bars, Mediterranean
2930 Umatilla St Unit #500, Denver, CO 80211
One of the more exclusive restaurants on our guide to the best restaurants in Denver (we’ve witnessed wait times of up to 2.5 hours) is Uncle. The original Highland location is quite small, but a second outpost recently opened in Wash Park has a bigger menu and more than double the seating capacity, making it a good option for a bigger group. Two of the most popular dishes on the menu are the Szechuan ribs and the spicy chicken ramen (our favorite ramen in Denver, hands down). We love the Colorado Wagyu beef and any of the steamed buns as well. If you happen to find yourself at Uncle on a cold night and the wait is too long, call ahead and order it to go. We can assure you your food will taste just as good at home.
$$ Asian Fusion, Ramen, Noodles
2215 W 32nd Ave, Denver, CO 80211
6. Somebody People
On a plant-based diet and in need of a nice night out? Somebody People is the place for you. This brightly colored, plant-filled, cute-and-cozy restaurant is one of the best vegan restaurants in Denver. Its Mediterranean-leaning menu is full of housemade pasta, risotto, and dessert. We find it so refreshing that Somebody People doesn’t rely on fake meats to execute great vegan dishes. We strongly recommend their carrot bolognese, which is made with funghetto pasta and is paired with grilled-smoked oyster mushrooms and chimichurri sauce. It’s bound to be one of the most flavorful and unforgettable mushroom dishes you’ll ever have. Somebody People is a zero-waste restaurant, so don’t forget to bring your own to-go container for any leftovers we doubt you’ll have.
$$ Wine Bars, Cocktail Bars, Mediterranean
1165 S Broadway #104, Denver, CO 80210
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5. Nest at Nurture
Nest at Nuture Marketplace is an organic cafe featuring locally-sourced ingredients. And while we do enjoy Nest, their special dinner menu/ experience, Rewild, is what we are soooo here for. Rewild started as a pop-up dinner series but has grown into a weekly dining experience available Wednesday-Saturday from 3-9 pm. Sustainable, wholesome, and local ingredients are fully utilized here with a plant-forward menu to nourish the body and mind from within. A few of our favorites include the bread service or the mushroom dip (pictured above). Your tastebuds will be catapulted into another dimension of delight with each bite, each dish is so unique and flavorful and done so well. Rewild at Nest is still somewhat of a hidden gem, so get to one of the best restaurants in Denver before the secret is out.
Nest at Nurture
$$ Juice Bars & Smoothies, Coffee & Tea, Tapas/Small Plates
2949 Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80211
4. Hop Alley
Newly renovated in 2023 with a larger dining area, Hop Alley, named in honor of Denver’s original Chinatown, serves up a bold dining experience with a creative menu with influences from a range of Taiwanese, Cantonese, Sichuan, and Hunan cuisines. Hop Alley is quite generous with serving sizes (perfect for sharing), so come hungry and ready for mouth-tingling satisfaction from dishes like their Beijing duck roll or grilled xo beans. Hop Alley is one of the best restaurants in Denver and is not to be missed.
$$$ Chinese, Asian Fusion,Bars
3500 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205
Fruition’s ever-changing seasonal menu + approachable low-key neighborhood vibes always keep us dreaming of when we can visit again. We love the creative approach they take with in-season ingredients for each course, and the service is always incredible to top it off. If you’re lucky enough to visit in late summer, the menu features dishes using the most incredible seasonal local peaches. The next time you’re craving fresh, farm-to-table food for a nice date night, be sure to check out one of the best restaurants in Denver, Fruition.
$$$ American (New), Bars
1313 E 6th Ave, Denver, CO 80218
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We are forever grateful that chef Alon Shaya has gifted Denver with Safta, located in the Source Hotel in RiNo. Safta is a Middle Eastern restaurant that brings guests on a journey through the culinary landscape of Israel. Their menu features a variety of hummuses, salatim (Israeli salads), and larger plates. Take your time with the menu and ask lots of questions – you have to order everything all at once at the beginning of the meal. Try your hardest not to fill up on the fresh, piping-hot pita bread they’ll be bringing to your table. We promise you’ll want room to try as many dishes as possible. Favorites include the crispy eggplant, whipped feta, and the short rib stuffed cabbage.
$$ Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Burgers
3330 Brighton Blvd #201, Denver, CO 80216
If you haven’t tried a souffle from Potager yet, you’re missing out on a key culinary experience. Potager is a cozy and friendly neighborhood restaurant that always feels like home and has the best farm-to-table menu in the city. Operating as a family-owned business in Denver for the past 25+ years, you know you’re in good hands when you take a seat at a table at Potager. Their ever-changing soufflé is a must for starters (pictured above is a summery version with corn), and you can’t go wrong with whatever direction you decide to go from there. Their dessert menu is equally creative, so be sure to save room for the perfect sweet ending to a lovely evening spent at one of the best restaurants in Denver.
$$$ American (New)
1109 Ogden St, Denver, CO 80218