Best Spots to Eat and Drink in Denver
Denver is the perfect city for lovers of food or those hipster beer connoisseurs. The city is chockful of delicious food and beer. The amount of places I have on my list to check out when I am in Denver is ever growing but below are a few of my favorite spots I have had the chance to check out, so if you find yourself in the city feel free to make a stop at any (or all) of these places and if you do let me know. If you have some of your favorites in the city, comment below so I can check them out next time I am in the area. Alright, here it goes:
Four Friends Kitchen - This brunch spot in the booming East 29th Avenue neighborhood is mouthwatering. This is not your typical breakfast food spot with a focus on unique southern comfort food with breakfast grits, creole omelets, fried green tomato benedicts. It is all so good and they do not skimp on the mimosas.
Syrup - This breakfast joint has a couple spots throughout the city, so you probably will not be staying far from one. This one is a bit more of a classic breakfast joint but offering twists like caramel apple and elvis french toast and several different benedicts and omelets. They also have seven different syrups to choose from, umm what. I guess thats why they are called syrup.
Hashtag - This spot just down the road from Four Friends Kitchen is also worth a visit. The menu is inventive with a whole section on hot cakes, it of course also has Hash (per its name), and pretty much anything to cure your hangover. There sandwiches and omelets sounded mouthwatering, I wish I could order the whole menu.
Stowaway Kitchen - Start your brewery crawl through RiNo with this brunch spot. This spot is a bit more sophisticated then the other spots but do not let that small menu fool you, this stuff looked beautiful and tasted just as good. And if you are there early enough you may be able to catch their fresh baked goods before they are sold out.
Snooze - Although Snooze has been becoming more popular throughout the west, it is still pumping out good food. Snooze has a few spots throughout the city like Syrup, and also offers off a bunch of twists on your typical breakfast staples like blueberry danish pancakes and funky monkey french toast to habanero pork and pork chile verde benedicts. Do not snooze on this spot. Ok I will stop the dad jokes.
Denver Biscuit Company - This awesome spot has a few locations throughout the city and as their name might suggest they specialize in biscuits. It might not be the prettiest food and might be the messiest breakfast you will eat but god damn it was worth it. Definitely add this spot to your foodie itinerary.
Unravel Coffee - This unassuming spot in a random shopping plaza is pouring out some delicious coffee (and food too!). The coffee menu here is pretty simple and straight forward, no crazy drinks which is perfectly fine because you do not need it here because it is so good. They are also about sustainability here so they serve the coffee in jars that can be returned. Also if you plan on taking a trip out to the mountains you can find these coffee spot in some of those big mountain ski resorts.
Rosebud Cafe - This spot just plopped pretty much in the middle of a residential neighborhood is worth the trip. They have everything here from your coffee to tea and several sandwiches and fresh baked pastries to choose from. The space is small but perfectly quaint.
Parlor Donuts - After you get your coffee at Rosebud take a quick little walk down to this donut shop and thank me latter. The amount of flavors of donuts here were insane it was hard to choose and then the size of them was almost as big as my hand and stood a couple inches tall. I will definitely being make a trip back here to try more flavors.
Hooked on Colfax - Just around the corner from a Denver Biscuit Company is this nice little coffeeshop. Grab a cold brew on a hot day here and enjoy it right on the lively Colfax Ave or take a stroll up to city park to enjoy. They also start serving alcohol here if you find yourself stopping in later in the day.
Dochi - If you are looking for a unique take on donuts check Dochi out. These donuts are mochi donuts like the sweet Japanese rice dessert. If you have ever had a bubble cone from an ice cream shop, it tasted similar to this. They are also made into a donut that looks like its been connected by several dough balls, really cool to see and eat. The selection is not as big as Parlor but still bomb.
Blue Sparrow Coffee - This tiny coffeeshop in the RiNo district is a great way to start your day or give yourself a pick me up during your brewery crawl. The menu is small and only a couple flavor shots if you are a flavor shot fan like me, but that was ok because this coffee was delicious and creamy. The space is small but take it to go and relax on the courtyard in this mini shopping center and visit the adjoining stores as they all looked really nice.
Milk Market - This recent food hall around the corner from Coors Field is one of the the best designed food halls I have been in recently. Each spot to me felt like they were designed by an artist. This spot should fulfill ever ones needs with its offerings from pizza, sandwiches, pasta, poke bowls, ice cream and so much more. Fell free to take your food out into the alley of dairy block and enjoy some cool al fresco dining.
Union Station Market - In the heart of this historic train station sits this small food hall. In the central area are a few small storefronts and with some surrounding restaurants on the edge of building including the aforementioned Snooze if you want to take brunch here. The center of the building is also a very modern lounge that is anything but your typical train waiting area, a great place to enjoy that coffee you can grab at Pigtrain or the ice cream cone from Milkbox.
Stanley Marketplace - The largest hall on this list is filled with everything from dining shops to small local boutiques. With delicacies from all over the world being served here from Indian, Asian, Spanish, Mexica and so much more it will be hard to find something good to munch on here. You can go straight from a yoga class to a brewery and walk out with some fresh skin care products. There is also an outpost of Denver Biscuit Company here as well. Bring your appetite when you take a visit here.
Edgewater Public Market - A block from the beautiful Sloan Lake park is this food hall. This small food hall is packed with food you can not go wrong with from gyros to BBQ, Ethiopian to empanadas, and ramen to fried chicken. As a trend with the previous two food halls, there is also one of the aforementioned brunch spots here, Syrup. I highly recommend taking a stroll around the lake and after working up that appetite stop here.
Junction Food & Drink - Sitting above the Colorado Station stop on the E line is this food hall tucked among the office buildings. If you are in the definitely in the area stop here for some bomb tacos, fried chicken sandwich or shawarma bowl. There is also a gelateria, bbq, empanadas and so much you can enjoy here.
Open Sandwich/Goosetown Tavern - Sitting inside the Goosetown Tavern on Colfax Ave is the little hidden gem of Open Sandwich. The menu is small with just five sandwiches on it but five damn good sandwiches all with a Japanese flair to them. Get a katsu pork sandwich to a karage chicken sandwich and even a sichuan version of a French dipped sandwich. And since we are in a tavern after all, do not forget to grab a drink from the bar to wash this all down.
ND streetBAR - Although this is located in the Union Station food hall, I felt like this deserved a little extra shout out for paying a visit for lunch or dinner. The bao buns and chicken sandwich were bomb here. The entire menu has an eclectic mix of food and not your typical appetizer-salad-dinner style menu offering so many different items. Definitely worth a visit if looking for a unique spot to eat for lunch or dinner.
Federales - Although people may have a love/hate relationship with this spot, if you are definitely looking for a party spot for dinner, this is definitely the spot and why I am including it here. This spot is strictly dinner, and the nachos were bomb and if you could only see the size if you order them muy grande (pretty sure I could not wrap my entire hands around the plate). The tacos were also good, not the best I have had but still decent. The margaritas were good though and if you get a ring the bell shot, when you are done with the shot you get to throw the ice shot glass at a bell. Again this is a party spot so be prepared for some really loud music, and I wont apologize if you just randomly start dancing in the middle of the restaurant.
Illegal Petes - If you are a fan of Chipotle or Moes, add this spot to your list of places to try. A similar situation to those spots with the choosing of burrito/bowl/etc, meat, and toppings. There are several outposts of this place throughout the city so should be easy to find one, especially if you are looking for a quicker spot to grab food and go.
Postino - This wine bar has a few locations in the city. No big italian items here, they focus on small plates, bruschetta boards, and paninis. The charcuterie board was also the perfect accompaniment to our bottle of one of the best roses I have had. The happy hour here is also good with its lower priced glasses of wine as well as on certain midweek days they have a late night happy hour with a board and bottle deal. Definitely a great spot for lunch or to start your night out.
Barcelona - I have a soft spot for Barcelona as the original restaurants started in Connecticut and made a many visits to them over the years never being disappointed. Definitely pay a visit to this joint if looking for a nice night out where you can just munch on Spanish tapas and drink really delicious. The ambience here is also really cool with a modern sophistication without being pretentious.
Tacos Tequila Whiskey - The Denver area is a hotspot for Mexican food, so no surprise to have another Mexican spot on this list, this one specializing in tacos. The menu included what felt like 20 different street tacos and some really good salso trio and nachos. The margaritas were also a perfect balance of sweet and sour and salty. They also have a great happy hour offering some food items you can only get during that time, so if you make it here during that time definitely give them a try. You can find this spot both just north and just south of the city.
After Dinner Drinks:
Garage Sale Vintage - If you find yourself at an early dinner in the famous Larimer Square, make a stop at this "bar" when you are done. This is the only vintage store I have ever been in that also has full service bar in the middle of it. So not only can you get served up a delicious drink but then go by that vinyl record you have been looking for a vintage Denver sports jacket. Certainly a unique experience you probably wont find anywhere else.
American Bonded - If you find yourself among the many hipsters bars in RiNo but looking for something super casual, make a stop in here. A no frills bar that is still slinging up some delicious drinks. The Ape Shit was really good and felt like I was back on a beach resort. They also have an upstairs area and can turn into a great late night party spot.
Atomic Cowboy - After dinner take a trip over to one of these locations throughout the city. Sharing a space with Denver Biscuit Company and Fat Sullys pizza, this spot slings some good mixed drinks and has decent rotating tap list of beers. Just a fun, casual spot to end the night at, and you do not have to go far to get a late night slice of pizza if you find yourself having too much fun as they serve up Fat Sullys till closing.
Little Man Ice Cream - A unique attraction in the Highlands area of Denver is this little ice cream shop serving out of a giant milk jug. Although sometimes these types of places are more gimmicky then good, I can say the ice cream her is awesome and with several unique flavors to choose from (pretty sure it took me 10 minutes to narrow it down to two flavors). They even have a nice courtyard surrounding the milk jug in to enjoy the ice cream and get that instapic in.
The Urban Cookie - If you find yourself at Tacos Tequila Whiskey off of Colfax for dinner, and still have room after eating there, go across the street to this Insomnia Cookies like shop. The cookies here were delicious despite the small menu selection.
Right Cream - One of the most unique ice cream ordering places you will probably experience. They make small different batches weekly, so at the beginning of the week you pay attention to their Instagram to see what they will be making, and then you can only pick up your order on Saturday or Sunday. One of the best ice creams you may taste and some of the more fun flavors you may experience. You may be able to get some at their walk up window when its open/if its open, so best to order ahead to make sure you get your hands on this crack.
Heaven Creamery - Visit this scoop shop that is serving up everything from ice cream, gelato, vegan gelato and sorbet. They have several flavors in each of the different types so will not be hard to find something for everyone to enjoy. You can find a couple of these scoop shops throughout the city. The ice cream was delicious and really creamy and perfectly filled with chunks of goodness.
Stem Ciders - Pay a visit to this cidery in the RiNo district for some really good cider. The amount of cider flavors here was large so definitely plan on getting a flight (or two). From hibiscus to cucumber and pineapple and strawberry, several unique flavors on top of the traditional ciders. Their Lafayatte location is also worth a visit if you are out that way with their beautiful countryside location.
14er Brewing & Beer Garden - If you are brewery hopping through RiNo, add this to your stops. Although my friends enjoyed the beer they got here, I am not the biggest beer drinker, so seeing their different seltzers was nice sight to see and that Peach Cobbler seltzer was insanely delicious and different than your typical lime and mango seltzers. So if you enjoy seltzers I would definitely add this spot to your list, and if not the beer here is just as delicious.
Bierstadt Lagerhaus - If you are looking for the ultimate fun brewery, this is the spot for you. This giant spot has several oversized lawn games from cornhole to "beer pong". There are also several private hangout areas if your coming with a bunch of friends or a bachelor/ette party. This brewery also has a winery attached to it if that is more your thing. Definitely add this spot to places to check out if looking for some with your brewery experince.
Our Mutual Friend Brewing - This fun spot just down the street from Federales and Barcelona is worth a visit. From sours, to lagers, IPA and stouts, they are serving all different styles of beer if you want to try the different kinds. The spot is small but has a fun vibe and great atmosphere. Again, not the biggest beer drinker here but was delicious here.
Bull & Bush Brewery - If you want to try a spot outside of the brewery happy RiNo, try this spot in the Cherry Creek area. Serving up delicious hearty dinners as well as their own brews, this is a great spot to stop at. This operates more like a brewpub then a brewery, so if looking for dinner and brewery this is a perfect spot to stop at. They also have specials pending the night of the week so pay attention to that to get a great deal, but hard to go wrong with anything on this menu.
If you are in the city in the warmer months, be sure to check out First Friday Art Walks in Denver's Art District where you can check out some bomb food trucks as well as visit the many art galleries in the area, several with bands and DJs to make it feel like a party atmosphere. Another Friday night activity with a rotating food scene is the Friday Night Bazaar in the RiNo district where several food trucks converge in the district every Friday night. And if you miss the Friday night bazaar in RiNo, take a trip over to Sloan Lake where they keep the party going on Saturday nights with more food trucks you can check out.
Check back at this list as I visit Denver more and check out more spots I hope to pass along as recommendations to you guys. Do you have any favorites in the city, let me know in the comments where I should check out?