That well-known lamb. These Palisade peaches, Olathe corn, and Rocky Ford melons. That ubiquitous inexperienced chile. The ever-flowing beer. Anybody who nonetheless claims there’s no such factor as Colorado delicacies simply hasn’t been wanting onerous sufficient. This information to its capital metropolis will present you the place to search out it at its best possible.

Union Station Farmers Market
Ashton Ray Hansen

Welcome to the Land of Actually Elevated Delicacies

Over the previous few years, the restaurant publicity machine has begun to connect the adjective “elevated” to simply about all the pieces from consolation meals to cocktails. Right here within the Mile Excessive Metropolis (so nicknamed, to be clear, for its altitude and never its hashish business), we will joke that our culinary tradition has at all times been elevated; it simply took the nationwide media, which had lengthy dismissed Denver as a cowtown, some time to note.

What accounts for the progressiveness with which we’re now credited? Little doubt it correlates partially to the collective sense of journey right here, the place a comparatively younger, dynamic inhabitants spends each doable second of free time mountain climbing, climbing, snowboarding, and snowboarding up within the mountains — and frequenting the most recent breweries, distilleries, and naturally eating places in between. That demographic naturally contains cooks themselves, who’re as more likely to be discovered within the wild foraging, fishing, or searching as they’re within the kitchen. Okay, that’s maybe a slight exaggeration — however the level stays that the chance to chase new highs, to scale new heights, is what Coloradans stay for, figuratively in addition to actually. Could your personal Denver eating journey be as thrilling as your first fourteener.

The place to Begin: Eater Denver’s High Maps

Eater Denver’s maps are designed to maintain you within the loop from the waking hour to bedtime; right here, we’ve distilled just a few of the most well-liked right down to their fundamentals.

Bustling food hall

Denver Central Market in RiNo is open for enterprise from morning to nighttime.
Adam Larkey

Breakfast: Whereas egg- and chorizo-stuffed burritos from taquerias like El Taco de Mexico should still represent the consummate morning meal in Denver, one of the crucial notable issues concerning the metropolis’s rampant progress in recent times is the rise in breakfast choices from around the globe. Now you can begin the day with one other Mexican staple, huevos con machaca, alongside a michelada at La Machaca de Mi Amá; with a pink bean bun and a matcha latte at Tokyo Premium Bakery; with Armenian espresso service and the savory pastry known as ajarski at Home of Bread; with Swedish potato pancakes with lingonberries and a cup of the Fjäll home mix at Kaffe Landskap; or with Chinese language-inspired duck-confit congee (or, for that matter, Hawaiian loco moco) and Vietnamese espresso at Onefold.

Lunch: In fact, Mexican meals is an equally positive wager for lunch round right here, whether or not from a rocking truck like Kiké’s Crimson Tacos (amongst different top-notch taquerias) or a killer torta store like ATM. However so is pizza, be it Connecticut-style at White Pie, Detroit-style at Blue Pan’s Congress Park location, or Chicago-style at Grabowski’s. And so are burgers: Go lowbrow with the JCB at historic hangout My Brother’s Bar or means gourmand with the beauties on deck at Apple Blossom or Chez Maggy. For the health-conscious (to not point out time-strapped), there’s sustainable poke hut The Turtle Boat and vegetarian magnet Important Root; for pockets watchers, there’s stuffed frybread at American Indian eatery Tocabe and bánh mì at Vinh Xuong. However the lunch-friendly lists go on and on, from hen shacks to crock spots.

Comfortable Hour: Appears it’s at all times joyful hour someplace within the Mile Excessive Metropolis, with specials on sips and snacks working virtually across the clock at institutions of every kind. Grape geeks (and interior-design nerds, for that matter) ought to try the half-price pours Trellis Wine Bar; craft-brew buffs can absorb the suds at The Brutal Poodle for reasonable; and Champagne tastes on a beer funds must know that they will make out like bandits after work on the in any other case expensive sushi sanctuary Uchi in addition to steakhouse A5.

Dinner: Assuming you wish to make each second of your time right here depend, there’s no higher option to weigh your choices for dinner than by perusing Eater Denver’s 38 Important Eating places. To call just a few positioned outdoors the neighborhoods lined under: The Wolf’s Tailor, as its quirky identify would possibly counsel, delivers a culinary expertise so eclectic it’s uncategorizable, to not point out unforgettable. Restaurant Olivia has made its identify on beautiful handmade pastas, a critically good wine listing, and extremely polished service, whereas Fortune Wok to Desk has constructed a cult following on the energy of its dumplings, noodles, and fried-rice plates. Specializing in its namesake stew, La Diabla Pozole y Mezcal has emerged as one of many metropolis’s most fun eating places in recent times, Mexican or in any other case. And African Grill and Bar makes its visitors really feel proper at residence whereas taking their palates on an exhilarating journey to the house owners’ homelands through plates of kelewele, egusi, yassa, and pink pink.

Drinks: To construct your bar-crawling itinerary, in the meantime, look no additional than 24 Denver Important Bars. There await historic dives like Charlie Brown’s Bar & Grill; first-class cocktail lounges similar to Williams & Graham, Yacht Membership, and Overlook Me Not; and comfortable nooks for area of interest drinkers, together with natural-wine purveyor Noble Riot and critical sour- and wild-beer specialist Goed Zuur. Talking of beer, they don’t name higher Denver “The Napa Valley of Beer” for nothing — not least as a result of it’s residence to the world-renowned Nice American Beer Pageant; a whirlwind tour of its award-winning breweries may embody Congress Park’s Cerebral, RiNo’s Our Mutual Buddy, and Unusual Craft in Lincoln Park.

Late Evening: And the get together doesn’t must cease there. Although this isn’t precisely a metropolis that by no means sleeps, night time owls will nonetheless discover their share of roosts to rule, from rollicking Ok-pub Thank Sool Pocha to sit back hangout (and French dip specialist) Pony Up.

Eating Neighborhoods to Know In and Round Denver

Ever-growing and evolving, these districts are those that each Denver diner is aware of in and out; we’ve singled out some highlights. (See the glossary for different key geographical phrases.)

Hummus, lutenitsa, pita, and pomegranate-braised lamb shank at Safta

An array of dishes from Safta at The Supply Lodge in RiNo.
Lucy Beaugard

RiNo: Eight or so years in the past, no one had ever heard of RiNo (quick for River North). However this as soon as dusty stretch of industrial-strength warehouses has since been carved out of 5 Factors by the artists, brewers, distillers, and naturally, restaurateurs who’ve made it the most popular ’hood on the town. Among the many eating locations that put it on the map are the eternally hip, progressive Chinese language spot Hop Alley; swanky jazz and supper membership Nocturne; hopping pasta spot Dio Mio; and magical Mexican-Midwestern mashup Work & Class. They’ve since been joined by such game-changing arrivals as Denver Central Market; up to date Israeli go-to Safta; prix fixe–solely chef’s counter Beckon; and Greenwich, a classy shrine to its New York namesake, in addition to the aforementioned Uchi. Simply right here for drinks? Make it a carrot-elderflower saison at Ratio Beerworks or an over-the-top cocktail at Demise & Co.

Savory rabbit pie with mustard gelato

Rabbit, pictured right here within the type of a savory pie with mustard gelato, is a signature of The Bindery in LoHi.
Lucy Beaugard

LoHi: The Decrease Highlands, higher often known as LoHi, is one other treasure trove for the tastebuds — and feast for the eyes, for that matter: Simply strive the views from fifth-floor tapas joint El 5 or the Household Jones Spirit Home’s drop-dead decor on for measurement. Different must-stops, in the meantime, span the globe inside a few sq. miles tops. Spuntino is just not your common mom-and-pop red-sauce parlor; although certainly run by a husband-and-wife crew, it’s identified for a number of the metropolis’s most imaginative Italian delicacies in addition to certainly one of its most attention-grabbing wine lists. Innovation can be on the menu at The Bindery, which showcases influences from just about each continent — generally in a single dish (Spanish octopus asado with zapote negro and shishitos, for instance, or calamari risotto with inexperienced chile). For fab Japanese fare, there’s trendy izakaya Mizu and raucous ramen store Uncle; for a pan-Latin fiesta, Señor Bear; for a meat-centric splurge, The Fifth String; for a pizza get together, Cart-Driver; for sandwiches you gained’t discover wherever else, Dimestore Delibar; and for a bit of little bit of all the pieces — from Venezuelan arepas to shrimp po’ boys — there’s meals corridor Avanti F&B.

Photo of an Italian feast on the wall of a restaurant

A meta-meal within the type of a Slim Aarons {photograph} at Tavernetta.
Mike Thurk

LoDo: Earlier than there was LoHi and RiNo, there was Decrease Downtown. Its authentic eating hub, Larimer Sq., stays residence to such enduring native favorites as Mediterranean fixture Rioja, cozy Italian hang-out Osteria Marco, and subterranean cocktail lounge The Inexperienced Russell. In 2014, the motion expanded to the newly renovated Union Station, the place no fewer than three James Beard awardees function at, respectively, up to date American go-to Mercantile Eating & Provision, ultra-suave Italian vacation spot Tavernetta, and beautiful tapas bar Ultreia. And that’s not all. For a superb time, hit up chichi pan-Asian spot ChoLon for its well-known kaya toast and French onion soup dumplings; the aforementioned A5 for stellar steakhouse fare; tiny chef’s counter BRUTØ for an intimate, intricate tasting extravaganza; and Run for the Roses for a top-shelf nightcap. (And that’s nonetheless not all, however this paragraph has to finish someplace.)

Fried chicken and taiyaki waffles

Brunchtime hen and taiyaki waffles at Ace Eat Serve.
Ruth Tobias

Uptown/Metropolis Park West: Simply southeast of downtown, this immanently walkable space is a noontime boon, what with regional American diner Steuben’s providing up the likes of clam chowder and meatloaf, aforementioned eclectic café Onefold turning out duck fried rice and chilaquiles with equal oomph, Olive and Finch whipping up juice blends and elaborate sandwiches on fresh-baked bread, and Dos Santos taking tacos for a inventive spin. Come dinnertime, Ace Eat Serve certainly serves up a plethora of pan-Asian plates with a facet of ping pong, whereas Coperta will spoil you for contemporary Southern Italian meals and wine, from aperitivi and antipasti all through to digestivi and dolci. Different greatest bets for dessert: upscale bakery-café D Bar and scoop store Frozen Matter (which can be residence to cocktail bar Retrograde).

Watermelon cucumber salad

A seasonal watermelon salad at Ginger Pig.
Ruth Tobias

Berkeley: Centered primarily round a roughly eight-block stretch of Tennyson Road, this charming neighborhood dotted with boutiques and galleries can be awash in various eating and consuming choices. Longtime favorites embody the wildly well-liked pizzeria and craft-beer bar Hops & Pie, top-flight butcher store and deli Il Porcellino Salumi, and the ever-lively Cafe Brazil; newer hits embody Asian fusion sizzling spot Ginger Pig, Indian eatery Himalayan Spice, and Lucy’s Burger Bar. Cap all of it off at refined cocktail retreat The Tatarian.

Korean banchan

Banchan at Korean restaurant Shin Myung Gwan in Aurora.
Ruth Tobias

Aurora: Whereas Caroline Glover’s homey but splashy Annette within the Stanley Market justifiably introduced the nationwide meals media working to this japanese suburb, locals have lengthy celebrated it as a microcosm of world delicacies. Right here you’ll discover scores of very good Korean, Ethiopian, Chinese language, and naturally Mexican eating places, to not point out retailers for Greek, Vietnamese, Moroccan, Thai, Cajun/Creole, Polish, and even Burmese and Russian fare — no scarcity of which repeatedly discover their means onto Eater Denver maps. Taproom vacationers, in the meantime, shouldn’t sleep on Haykin Household Cider or the Chinese language-inspired Jade Mountain Brewing Firm, which can be a teahouse.

Turkish breakfast

Turkish breakfast at The Boco Restaurant (fka The Breakfast Champion).
Ruth Tobias

Boulder: Technically, Boulder isn’t a suburb of Denver. But it surely’s shut sufficient — and given its vibrant eating scene, no complete culinary information to the world can be full with out it. Its crown jewel is Friulian-inspired legend Frasca Meals and Wine, amongst many different posh special-occasion spots, however it’s completely doable to have a blast right here with out breaking the financial institution: You might, as an example, begin with an elaborate Turkish breakfast at The Boco Restaurant; seize lunch on the charming Little Tibet; absorb the environment of the architecturally jaw-dropping Dushanbe Teahouse come afternoon; and eventually wind down over just a few artfully offered Japanese nibbles at Izakaya Amu.

Denver Glossary of Phrases

Burrito topped with green chile

A burrito that isn’t smothered in inexperienced chile is simply “a sleeping bag for floor beef,” to cite the late Mitch Hedberg.
Ruth Tobias

420: Code for getting excessive, this quantity now additionally refers to April 20, a day of celebration for hashish lovers. Space eating places, bars, and breweries mark the annual event with every kind of intelligent promotions (although it must be famous that THC-infused edibles and potables can solely be bought at dispensaries).

5280: The variety of toes in a mile serves as a form of shorthand for the nickname Mile Excessive Metropolis. See, as an example, 5280 Burger Bar within the CBD. (The native space code, 303, performs an identical position.)

CBD: Amusingly sufficient, the initials that stand for cannabidiol — a non-psychoactive part of hashish — additionally stand for Central Enterprise District, or the a part of downtown that’s not LoDo. Although the pickings are slimmer right here, there are nonetheless some finds available: pre-Prohibition-inspired cocktail lounge Union Lodge No. 1, for one, in addition to swish steakhouse Guard and Grace, the aforementioned farm-to-table spot Apple Blossom, and eternally thronged avenue cart Liang’s Thai Meals.

Denver Omelet: That is nothing it’s best to exit of your option to eat, however in the event you’re curious, it’s an omelet full of diced ham, onions, and bell peppers.

Denver Steak: This shoulder reduce of beef has gained in nationwide reputation in recent times. Its identify belies its origins — it wasn’t invented right here — however so what? Good steak is nice steak.

Federal Boulevard: A principal thoroughfare that doubles as a global Restaurant Row. Mexican and Vietnamese eateries are particularly prevalent alongside it — strive Tacos El Paisa or Tarasco’s within the former case, Pho 95 or New Saigon within the latter — although Chinese language, Thai, and numerous different kitchens pop up too: High examples embody Hong Kong Barbecue, Star Kitchen, and Suvipa.

Pueblo chile: That is precisely what it appears like — a chile grown within the Colorado city of Pueblo, the place debates over its high quality relative to New Mexico’s Hatch chile can get heated. However by no means thoughts all that: The warmer the chiles themselves get, the much less their variations register anyway, dissolving as a substitute into that candy, candy burn.

Rocky Mountain oysters: Some Denverites sniff that solely vacationers go to the enduring Buckhorn Alternate to eat fried bull testicles. That is true. However that doesn’t imply you shouldn’t do it, if solely simply to say you probably did.

SoBo: Cease attempting to make this nickname occur, actual property brokers — it’s not going to occur. That mentioned, it’s quick for South Broadway, which, like Federal Boulevard above and Colfax Avenue under, is residence to many a must-stop, together with vegetarian sizzling spot Any individual Folks, Colombian charmer La Chiva, the long-lived Style of Thailand, and tiki bar Adrift.

Smothered: A smothered burrito is one which comes topped with inexperienced chile — as effectively it ought to. Simply don’t be stunned if the chile seems to be extra orange or brown than inexperienced; its hue partly is dependent upon its supporting elements. (“Inexperienced” on this case actually means “recent,” versus pink chile produced from dried pods.)

The ’Fax: That is the nickname for what, again within the Seventies, a author for Playboy known as “the longest, wickedest avenue in America.” The repute caught — and Denverites love Colfax Avenue all of the extra for it. But along with a number of the world’s most colourful dive bars, it’s strewn with quite a few restaurant gems, together with fashionable Chinese language spot Q Home, Eater Denver’s 2018 Restaurant of the 12 months; cocktail hang-out Intermediary, the place the extremely modern Misfit SnackBar operates; fashionable pizzeria Benzina; pierogi parlor Baba & Pop’s; and all method of Mexican, Central American, and Ethiopian institutions (together with the fantastic Axum and Queen of Sheba).

Western Slope: Protecting roughly the westernmost third of Colorado, this area is the supply of a lot agricultural delight. Most of the ranches that yield our well-known beef and lamb are right here; so are the orchards that produce our bounty of fruit — not solely Palisade peaches however plums, cherries, apples, pears, and extra — and the vineyards that just lately prompted Meals & Wine to dub the Grand Valley “the brand new Sonoma.”

Three Painkiller cocktails

Painkillers at Adrift on South Broadway (not SoBo).
Harrison Warters Images

Get in Contact

Have questions not answered right here? Wish to submit a suggestion or a grievance or simply say hi there? Listed below are some methods to get in contact with the Eater Denver workers:

Union Station Farmers Market
Ashton Ray Hansen