food for thought

2020 insider guide to eating & drinking in Denver

Photo Credit: Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

You won’t be surprised to hear that we are passionate about food, and that one of our favorite hobbies is trying new restaurants. Fortunately for us, the best way to support Colorado’s growing food scene, and the talented people in the food industry, is to eat out a lot!  This year, just like many years before it, we explored all kinds of Denver restaurants, for all kinds of moods and occasions, to bring you this list of a few of our favorites. Did we miss anyone you love? We’re always looking for new places to try!

2019 RISING STAR

Mister Oso has date vibes, girl’s night out vibes, “be by yourself for a meal” vibes. A sister restaurant of one of our favorite restaurants in Denver, Señor Bear, Mister Oso is the perfect sibling – there are many comforting and welcome similarities, but with a unique menu that makes you want to come back to BOTH locations over and over. Definitely recommend the cotija soft serve!

 

COZY ON A COLD DAY

Pony Up: Their selection of French dips are the perfect cold day treat inside a cozy, central location right in LoDo.

Adrift Tiki Bar: What’s better than transporting yourself to the island that is Adrift Tiki Bar when it is oh-so-cold outside. Make sure to grab a gaggle of friends and order a couple of the Pupu Platters that feature delicious duck wings and a Voodoo Witchdoctor Funk punch to share. Plus, feel good about escaping into Adrift knowing that they set aside a percentage of their total profit from every sale for the Mana Immersion Fund, which funds aspiring humanitarians around the globe. 

SHARED BITES & MEMORIES

Bruto: The bread at Kelly Whitaker’s new Bruto is nothing short of phenomenal. Located within The Free Market, it’s the perfect place to meet friends, shop, and share small plates.

El Five: If you are looking for unique cocktails, spectacular food, and a jaw-dropping view of downtown Denver, El Five is it. It’s tough to get a reservation but the rooftop restaurant features a large bar area for walk-ins, and if you’re lucky, you can get a seat out there immediately. Start off with a tropical cocktail in a fish shaped glass, and follow that up with a variety of tapas. Don’t miss the Grilled Hanger Steak that melts in your mouth, or the seafood-filled paellas. 

Bamboo Sushi: A great atmosphere with fresh fish and delicious sushi rolls to share with friends. Bamboo Sushi is dedicated to having a positive impact on the community and environment around us as the world’s first sustainable sushi restaurant. Make sure to try the “Chasing Dragon” roll with shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, and crab!

WORTH A SPLURGE

Tavernetta: Tavernetta not only boasts one of the best wine lists in Colorado, but also offers a great patio to sit and enjoy Union Station’s hustle and bustle. Start with the burrata, then dive into the Branzino. If you are in the mood for pasta, try the housemade Tagliatelle topped with lobster. Drool-worthy! 

Safta: Brunch at Safta may be on the steeper side at $45 per person, but it’s all the shashuka, brisket, smoked salmon, bagels, housemade desserts – and so much more – that your heart desires. Go big or go home!

Beatrice & Woodsley: We’re not exaggerating: B&W is the ultimate getaway. Just walking in the doors is like walking into a Colorado aspen grove. Start with their dainty cheese board featuring cheeses from around the world, and then dig into Pork Porterhouse or Rutabaga Agnolotti. And don’t miss out on their cocktails. The “Violet, You’re Turning Violet,” takes you from Colorado aspen grove to an Austrian meadow. 

BEST GUILT-FREE MEAL

Vital Root: Located on Tennyson Street in the Highlands, Vital Root is home to slow, fast food. You read that right: the menu items are vegan and gluten-free, the restaurant is 100% wind-powered, and home to a 6,000 square-foot garden. Be sure to order the Falafel Wrap or Bahn Mi Tacos. Or, if you are craving something sweeter, order the Coconut Quinoa Pancakes (day or night!) 

The Corner Beet: Home to some of our favorite salads in Colorado. In addition to their iconic Cap Hill location, they just opened a new location in Cherry Creek.

True Food Kitchen: Whether you have dietary restrictions, are trying a new diet or simply want to a healthy, fresh meal, True Food is the place. With nutritious spins on some of your favorite comfort foods, to unique health-conscious combinations, there are a variety of options that will suit every type of eater. We love the inside-out-quinoa-burger, which is light and packed with flavor. Popular on the weekends is the Hangover RX, featuring pineapple, orange, honey and coconut water. 

THE BEST PLACE TO CELEBRATE TACO TUESDAY… EVERYDAY

Rio Grande Mexican: Everyone’s favorite Mexican restaurant, the Rio, will be offering more seasonal menus than ever in 2020 – all of which come with an accompanying special limited-time taco. First on the docket? A Lobster Taco with avocado salsa, pickled fresno peppers and a blood orange compound, which will be featured on the Rio’s blood orange menu, only available Feb. 3 until March 1.

Los Chingones: Chef Tory Guard has brought badass Mexican street food to Colorado with several locations across the metro area.  We love Los Chingones’ street tacos, and the happy hour specials are 3-6pm Monday thru Friday. If you are gluten-free, no need to miss out, Los Chingones offers gluten-free options as well. 

WHEN YOU’RE IN A HURRY 

Rosenberg’s Bagels: We specifically recommend Rosenberg’s Stapleton location – it’s the same great taste as the Five Points location without the huge line! A baker’s dozen bagels with two tubs of cream cheese is the perfect tailgating or Sunday brunch at home meal. 

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