Where to eat in Denver

Eloise Barker

Title photography by Snooze: an AM eatery

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November 2017

Skillets, sushi, succotash: Denver chefs have to be skilled to adjust to the altitude messing with their recipes in this famous ‘Mile High City’. Luckily, they’ve gotten very good at it. Look out for restaurant week, which offers discounts in late February, and take a trip on the Denver Beer Trail – this state has an ale obsession. Here’s where to eat in Denver.


Best for… Breakfast

The American breakfast is a delicious phenomenon, where savoury and sweet meet on the plate and the coffee keeps on coming. In Denver, go to Snooze to see breakfast made right--- this famous local brunch spot on Larimer Street is always buzzing. With its extensive breakfast cocktail menu, it’s easy to see why. If you have trouble choosing, the pancake menu includes a ‘mixed flight’ so you can sample a few, plus you can even choose your favourite type of hollandaise. It’s very busy, especially at weekends, but it closes at 2:30pm – presumably for a little nap. With a few more branches across the states, Snooze started in Denver in 2006 and will stay serving pancakes to Denver for as long as it’s flipping possible. 

If you only eat one thing… Make it pineapple upside down pancakes with housemade vanilla crème anglaise – a star dish.

Find it: 2262 Larimer St. Denver

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Sam’s No. 3

Best for… A big brunch

This famous Denver diner has over 100 dishes on its menu and it also has three locations. That’s a lot of eggs cooking – 22,000 a week, in fact – but it doesn’t mean that Sam’s No. 3 can’t juggle your order. This is an old-fashioned diner with all the classics and a few Mexican twists. Order eggs with green chilli, a burrito the size of your head, or build yourself a monstrous burger. 

If you only eat one thing…. Take a gamble on anything with spicy pork green chilli. The Kitchen Sink Skillet is smothered in it… and a heap of other ingredients, too. 

Find it: 1500 Curtis Street, Denver – its Downtown location

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  • The dining room at The Kitchen American Bistro. ©The Kitchen Denver.

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The Kitchen

Best for… Light lunch

The Kitchen is a light, airy bistro with a small, delicate menu. It’s the perfect date spot or meeting place for a civilised lunch. Choose crispy burrata crostini, buttery king crab salad or a robust pasta bolognese. Behind the scenes Kimbal Musk, the charismatic owner, heads up community projects, planting kitchen gardens in schools and supporting local farmers. 

If you only eat one thing… Down ice-cold oysters at the bar. 

Find it: LoDo, 1530 16th Street, Denver

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Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen

Best for… Gourmet gastropub grub

Have a fun, hearty meal set in a historic hall. Like all good Denver dining, at Euclid Hall you can expect to sample the city’s remarkable selection of craft ale on tap, but even the beefed-up beer menu is outshone by the meat – the main star of the show. Open all day, this is American tavern with fluid borders – French boudin noir, Quebecois poutine and North African merguez all make up the menu of cuts, sausages, sandwiches and sides. Local celebrities, chefs Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch, run several acclaimed Denver restaurants, all of which have garnered the respect of the city’s fine diners. Euclid Hall is their third.

If you only eat one thing… And you have a robust constitution, get the Duck poutine. 

Find it: 1317 14th Street, Historic Larimer Square, Denver

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  • The dining room at ChoLon. ©ChoLon.

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    Chef Lon Symensma moved down from New York to make his Denver debut with ChoLon. Go and visit.

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  • The duck poutine at Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen. ©Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen.

    A mean poutine

    Invented in Quebec… but perfected in Denver. Poutine is traditionally made with cheese curds, french fries and gravy. Euclid Hall adds duck to the mix, with glorious results.

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  • Tables at TAG. ©TAG.

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    Hawaii got news for you: there’s delicious fish, sushi, large plates and a very respectable wine list at Pacific island-inspired TAG.

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Root Down

Best for… American fare

In the Highlands neighbourhood of the city, Root Down knows how to take advantage of its location. Its energy is 100% wind-powered and you can eat on the patio on a warm day to see a view of the Denver skyline. There’s a menu that ranges far and wide through world cuisine with vegan and gluten free options. Local suppliers make the menu seasonal and sustainable. Lovely dishes range from black gnocchi (made with coconut charcoal) to Colorado lamb sliders in brioche buns. The restaurant is set in a former filling station – and, fittingly, its customers still go away fully satisfied. 

If you only eat one thing… Share some small plates, so you don’t have to choose.

Find it: 1600 W. 33rd Avenue, Denver

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Best for… Asian flavour

Busy, popular, and known for adventurous dishes – ChoLon’s name comes from a famous Chinese market in Vietnam. Here it is in Denver’s Lower Downtown, serving bold fusion fare. Oft-sidelined ingredients finally get the attention they deserve: there are Brussels sprouts, octopus – and you can’t go wrong with a steamer stuffed full of potstickers. Sit at the bar to let staff guide you through your plate.

If you only eat one thing… Plump for Asian-style dumplings filled with French onion soup and gruyere cheese – the maddest dish on the menu.

Find it: 1555 Blake Street, Suite 101, Denver

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Best for… Something special

Colorado just got exotic. Another restaurant on famous Larimar Square, TAG does ‘continental social food’. What this means is that you’ll find the world on your plate; Hawaiian, Asian and European dishes fill the menu. There are kobe beef sliders for the fancy, duck fat fries the hungry and miso black cod for seafood seekers. Sit at the bar or share a meal with your friends. Chef Troy Guard has gone on to open many other projects in the city – you’d do well to eat at his other Denver restaurants, Mister Tuna and Guard & Grace, too.

If you only eat one thing… Make it mango-laden tuna tacos with sushi rice.

Find it: 1441 Larimer Street, Denver

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Cooper’s Lounge

Best for… Cocktails on rails

Stations are wonderful places for observing the melee of people in transit. Denver’s Union Station has evolved into a social hub as well as a historic site. Don’t be late to get on board at Cooper’s Lounge. This classy bar is imbued with a certain Prohibition romance and serves elegant cocktails. Ease into its high-ceilinged setting and pray for delays. 

If you only eat one thing… make it a liquid lunch.

Find it: 1701 Wynkoop Street, Denver

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