Guide to the Best Restaurants in Denver for Those Moving to Colorado
Is there a better way to celebrate the start of your new life in the capital of Colorado than to visit some of the best restaurants in Denver and have a tasty meal and a glass (or pint) of your favorite drink? If you’re a newcomer, you should know that there are two quintessential things here: basketball and food. And if you consider yourself a real foodie, don’t worry; you’re not going to stay hungry in this city for too long. Let’s check out what’s good in the Mile High City beside the Nuggets.
How to Find the Best Restaurants in Denver as a Newcomer
One of the things you shouldn’t worry about when moving to Denver is whether you’ll find a good place to eat because this metropolis is a perfect place for foodies. As a newbie in town, we are sure everything will look the same to you, and you won’t know where to begin. While scouting for the best neighborhoods in Denver or Denver public schools and checking out what popular things to do in Denver are, you’ll stumble upon a variety of eateries around town. But if you don’t like to risk and wander around while experimenting with food, we can give you some recommendations that will undoubtedly satisfy your appetite.
Prices can vary, but there is something for everyone’s budget, so make sure to count the occasional dining out in your cost of living in Denver list. Keep in mind that the restaurant scene in the Mile High City is very vivid, and new places are popping out daily, so make sure to give them all a chance while settling down in the capital.
Mexican Vibes Around Lincoln Park – El Taco de Mexico
Located close to downtown, this Mexican eatery is a family-owned restaurant that has been around for more than 30 years since it first opened its doors in 1985. You will forget about Taco Bell and all the other spin-offs because here, they make authentic Mexican tacos and other specialties such as burritos, enchiladas, tamales, gorditas, and many more.
Until recently, this place was a secret well kept by the locals, but after it got the James Beard Foundation Award for America’s Classics this February, food tourists have begun to show up. And during the weekends, you can even bump into a waiting line outside. Since this is the first restaurant in the state of Colorado that received this award, it should definitely be on your must-visit list.
The Best Restaurants in Denver Serving Mexican Meals
The Mile High City is packed with excellent eateries serving Mexican specialties, and singling out only one doesn’t do justice to the rest of them. That’s why we decided to add a few others to the list as well, just in case El Taco de Mexico is too crowded.
- Garibaldi Mexican Bistro – Denver’s Garibaldi eatery got its name after the famous square in Mexico City. Here you can find specialties like tlayudas, huaraches, chilaquiles, and famous tacos.
- El Camaron Loco – the name of this place translates to “crazy shrimp,” which can give you a hint about what to expect here. Also, if you happen to feel a bit hungover, drop by and try Cocktel de Camaron, a Mexican cure for a hangover.
- La Loma – Despite relocating from the LoHi neighborhood after 30 years, La Loma is now located between the North Capitol Hill and Central Business District, and it still serves classic Mexican dishes with a southwestern twist.
Do You Have an Obsession With Italian Food? Visit Tavernetta
Even though this place opened not so long ago (in 2017) at the edge of the Union Station railway platform, it quickly gained the affection of all foodies who are into Italian meals. And when you know that the team behind this restaurant already has a high reputation and James Beard awards behind themselves, the final result has to be good. One of the owners is a sommelier, so you can be sure that their wine selection is exquisite. The menu is seasonal, and the chef strives to achieve that wow effect with even the simplest meals.
Italian Dolce Vitta at a Lower Price
The list of Denver’s best Italian restaurants is quite long and probably deserves an article of its own. But if planning your moving budget didn’t go as planned, and you went a bit over the top, you might want to know where you can get a slice of pizza at a reasonable price. Someplace where you can grab a bite once you are done with all the boxes and packing supplies.
- Sliceworks – located in LoDo, this place offers some of the best pizzas in town. Here you can also find New York-style pizzas, eggplant parmigiana, penne bolognese, and many more.
- Brooklyn’s Finest Pizza – another local favorite when it comes to inexpensive sandwiches and pizzas became well known for its signature dishes, The Bronx Bomber and The Godfather. We won’t reveal the ingredients. You’ll have to try it for yourself.
- Brava! Pizzeria Della Strada – if you have room for dessert after pizza or pasta, then come here and try the finest tiramisu, or s’mores with Nutella.
A Place With a Story – Gaetano’s, Est. 1947
The capital of Colorado has a lot of unique places with a long history and exciting stories to tell. This place was opened way back in 1947 when it was owned and run by the Smaldone mob family. It used to serve as their headquarters from which the empire of two brothers, Clyde and Checkers, kept expanding. This notorious family sold the place in 2006 to John Hickenlooper’s Wynkoop Holdings restaurant group, but they resold it soon after, and it is now independently run. Oh, and if you are here to eat, this is one of the old-school Italian restaurants, so you know what to expect from the menu.
Other Places That Stood the Test of Time
If you are into discovering places that have a long tradition, here are some of Denver’s most iconic bars and eateries:
- The Buckhorn Exchange – This bar opened back in 1893 and, over the years, hosted presidents Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Jimmy Carter. But besides its long list of famous guests, this place has a stunning taxidermy collection of more than 500 animals and birds.
- Charlie Brown’s Bar & Grill – it has been an integral part of the Colburn Hotel since it opened in 1928. But it officially became a bar in 1947, when it finally obtained a liquor license.
- My Brother’s Bar – located in the place of a bar that was established in 1873, before Colorado even became a state, it was recently “gifted” to a waitress and manager who have been working there for more than 30 years by generous owners.
Share a Picnic Table at Comal Heritage Food Incubator
One of the great ways to avoid relocation depression after moving to a big city is to find an eatery that serves your type of comfort food. This casual place with picnic tables is recognizable for its Frida Kahlo mural, but besides that, it doesn’t look too special. Until you try some of their dishes. From Monday to Thursday, they serve Mexican meals, and Fridays are reserved for Syrian meals. We recommend green chile-chicken tamales, roast chicken in a yogurt garlic sauce, and other Syrian delicacies like mujadara.
The Story Behind This Eatery
It is interesting to know that women who work here are all immigrants, training to open their own restaurants. So it is a great way to support someone and try great meals at an affordable price. The menu is continuously evolving and changing with new women that come and their specific backgrounds, so you can even get a chance to try authentic Ethiopian or Salvadoran cuisine.
Homage to Denver’s Chinatown – Hop Alley
Back in the 19th century, there was a Chinatown in the Mile High City, called Hop Alley. In honor of local history, chef Tommy Lee picked that name for his restaurant located in the trendy River North Art District. So if you are house-hunting around RiNo, make sure to stop by this modern Chinese eatery and try their signature steamed eggplant in Sichuan bean sauce. Depending on the season, you can even find a pork loin or mapo tofu.
Moving Further East – The Prime Sushi Places
There are so many essential sushi spots in Mile High City that we don’t know where to begin. Whether you prefer to order or eat out, these sushi bars wouldn’t disappoint you.
- Izakaya Ronin
- Kobe An LoHi
- Bamboo Sushi – LoHi
- Mizu Izakaya
Contemporary American Cuisine – Acorn
A menu offering eclectic American cuisine is what made the chef Ian Palazzola and his place so famous around the town. The chef relies on fermented, dry-aged ingredients, supporting environmental sustainability philosophy. They collaborate with several local Colorado farms to provide farm-to-table dining. The place has that industrial chic interior design, but it is still warm and cozy, perfect for family gatherings.
Denver’s Central Market Is a Must
If you find yourself in RiNo and consider yourself a foodie, you can’t avoid this famous food hall. Located on Larimer Street, this 12,000-square-feet marketplace is home to dozens of local vendors selling anything from American pork and chicken dishes to specialties coming from international kitchens. We cannot recommend this place enough, and once you try eating there, we are sure you’ll keep coming back for more.
Forest Room 5, Artsy and Pet-Friendly Place
In case you are moving with dogs, it is good to know that pets are allowed in patios of pretty much every eatery in the Mile High City. However, we wanted to highlight Forest Room 5 because it is so authentic and different from others. You’ll indeed have a feeling of being in a forest outside of town, and we cannot decide whether we like its exterior or interior more. It is also a great dining spot for all vegans and vegetarians.
More Pet-Friendly Options
Denverites love their pets, so options for dog-friendly places are endless. Don’t forget to pack your dog’s favorite toys when packing. Everything else can be found here. These are some of the favorite places among our furry four-legged friends:
- Watering Bowl
- Low Down Brewery
- Denver Beer Co.
- Stella’s Coffee House
A Place to Be Seen – STK Denver
Probably one of the fanciest places in town where you can meet all the local VIPs, but also get a full fine-dining experience, is located in the LoDo neighborhood. This is a mixture of a chic lounge and a steakhouse, which somehow works perfectly. A DJ is here every night to make sure the atmosphere is on point, while bold and colorful artwork creates a nice contrast to white leather banquette seats. Happy hour is daily from 4 to 6 PM, so you can grab a cocktail on your way home from work and skip the traffic jam.
Magazine Cover-Worthy Places in the Mile High City
- Sweet Cooie’s
- The Family Jones
The Best of Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants: Vital Root
Whether or not you’re a veggie person, this place is so aesthetically pleasing that it will soon become your favorite spot in town. By mixing the elements of a zen garden and museum cafes, this cute place earned a high spot on everyone’s list. If you are wondering how to cope with stress when moving, just come here, and all your anxiety will be immediately relieved. Their menu is full of fantastic stuff, for example, sunflower risotto, yuca fries with grilled-banana ketchup, and plenty of other twists.
Take a Glance at These Places Too
There is something about those vegan and vegetarian places that makes them look so fresh and enticing. We could not opt for just one, so here are some other excellent places where you can eat healthily:
- Turtle Boat
- The Corner Beet
- Beet Box
- Watercourse Foods
- Somebody People
The Bottom Line
As you have seen, there are so many options to eat out in the Mile High City, and their number keeps rising, so if you want to be up-to-date with all the latest trendy places, check out Denver.eater to get an idea of where your next meal might be. Don’t go exploring the best places to live in Denver on an empty stomach; it might hinder your perception. Besides, if you cannot wait to be done with Denver movers and moving services, visit some of the above-listed places while waiting for your stuff to be shipped to your new home.