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Favorite Local Restaurants in Denver

Denver, where the slopes are steep, the beer is cold, and the restaurant scene is hotter than that apres-ski jacuzzi. Few places have seen such a boom in new restaurants, with chefs from near and far dialing into the city’s forward-thinking, but laid back, attitude. But where are the smartest, savviest diners eating out? We’ve pulled data from thousands of restaurants to find the top spots among OpenTable's most expert, seasoned diners. You’ll find James Beard Award-winning chefs, some of the freshest sushi flown in from Japan, and everything from decadent French bistros to fusion forms of Italian and Latin American fare—all vetted by the types of tastemakers who know the best spots around the city. You'll want to follow their lead.

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The OpenTable team
15 Restaurants
Updated 25 February 2020
Restaurants:Root Down, Den Restaurant, The Fifth String
Price Range:$$$ - $$$$
Cuisines:American, Japanese, Farm-to-table
Neighborhoods:Highlands, Denver
A photo of Root Down restaurant

Root Down

$$$$
American
Highlands
4.8
7329 reviews

As the name might suggest, this festive eatery—named one of the best around for outdoor dining—seamlessly integrates vegetarian and vegan options into an already inventive menu. Their Vietnamese almond pancakes and shrimp and grits benedict are great examples of the unique twist on American classics they’re known for.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?


Takeout available
View Takeout Menu
A photo of Den Restaurant restaurant

Den Restaurant

$$$$
Japanese
Denver
4.6
1679 reviews

This destination sushi spot serves the freshest fish in Denver, and is actually one of the first US sushi bars to order fish directly from Japanese markets. Izakaya is a large space encased in lots of wood and glass, and it could easily be mistaken for an atrium. As a cherry on top, there’s additional seating on their beautiful glass-enclosed rooftop. If you’re looking for a round two, go next door to Sushi Den. Both spots get their fish from the same market in Japan, but Sushi Den is much smaller, so can be more challenging to get into.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of The Fifth String restaurant

The Fifth String

$$$$
Farm-to-table
Highlands
4.8
556 reviews

These guys are old pros at all things pork, the dinnertime small plates are all pretty great. Don’t leave without ordering the ham and biscuits and the charcuterie plate. Most of the time, this well-lit and rustic eatery goes by the name Old Major, but from 11-3 on weekdays, it transforms into a delicious pop-up called Royal Rooster, which is one of the best lunch spots around.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of ChoLon Modern Asian - Downtown restaurant

ChoLon Modern Asian - Downtown

$$$$
Asian
Downtown / LoDo
4.6
4364 reviews

A spacious and elegant bistro putting out inspired Asian dishes with an inventive twist. A new kind of dim sum and then some, which can be seen in their soup dumplings (with french onion soup inside!), the bacon fried rice (a carbonara topped with a runny egg), and the Korean hot fried chicken sliders. If you wish there was more where that came from, they also have a sister restaurant called Cho77.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of True Food Kitchen - Cherry Creek restaurant

True Food Kitchen - Cherry Creek

$$$$
American
Cherry Creek
4.7
2737 reviews

They’re serious about health food here—which they hint at in the green design accents you see throughout their modern space—but they’re also serious about flavor and variety. This place is truly a paradise of options for picky eaters, or those with allergies and other dietary restrictions. Their pesto is a sauce of the gods, try it on the artichoke and pesto pizza, and then get the strawberry rhubarb crumble for dessert.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Rioja restaurant

Rioja

$$$$
Mediterranean
Downtown / LoDo
4.8
8949 reviews

Chef Jennifer Jasinski and her team are cooking up a solid menu of consistently delicious dishes worthy of a James Beard award (that’s why they won one). Despite what the name might suggest, this isn’t Spanish food, it’s American with some Mediterranean hints. Though the menu changes often, there are some staples you can count on. Try all of their yummy breads and cheeses, and if there’s a dish with octopus, order it, they really know their way around that mollusk. There’s also a tasting menu, if you want some more variety.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?


Takeout available
View Takeout Menu
A photo of El Five restaurant

El Five

$$$$
Mediterranean
Highlands
4.7
2943 reviews

They know how to combine things beautifully, harmoniously, and deliciously at this chic fifth floor eatery. Their three distinct tapas menus—in addition to small plates and paellas—are a hybrid of flavors and dishes from all regions in the Mediterranean. The modern design is eccentric and colorful, with Arab and pop art references all over, but it’s hard to compete with their panoramic view of the downtown skyline. Patio seating offers the clearest view, but with floor-to-ceiling windows, you can still see the epic city outline from an indoor table or the bar. Regardless of where you sit, order their shawarma spiced lamb ribs and delicious cocktails.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?


Takeout available
View Takeout Menu
A photo of Linger restaurant

Linger

$$$$
International
Highlands
4.7
6453 reviews

This is another restaurant from the stellar team behind Root Down (also on this list), and linger is exactly what you’ll want to do in their cavernous space, especially if it’s warm and their huge garage doors are open. Their menu is a very unusual fusion of… everything, and their dinner menu has five different regional food sections. Here’s what to keep in mind: try to sit on the rooftop (it’s one of the best views around), because of the intense variety, some dishes are much better than others, and brunch is your best bet. All of their benedicts are great, the hangover ramen is a delicious life-saver, and the Mongolian BBQ duck buns are a work of genius (you can get these at dinner too).


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?


Takeout available
View Takeout Menu
A photo of Quality Italian- Denver restaurant

Quality Italian- Denver

$$$$
Italian
Cherry Creek
4.7
2042 reviews

This one comes straight out of NYC, where Quality Italian—and the rest of the Quality family—are all big hits. This steakhouse with an Italian moniker is stunningly handsome, featuring brown leather, dark wood, and honey lighting throughout. Aside from the half-steak half-Italian menu, a more literal combo can be seen in their dry-aged porterhouse agnolotti. The grilled branzino is stellar, and if you like gelato at all, order the Fererro Rocher.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Il Posto restaurant

Il Posto

$$$$
Italian
River North (Denver)
4.5
1072 reviews

This Italian restaurant’s chic and modern space features small glass globe lighting overhead, which feels magical at night. It’s fun to sit at the counter, and watch the kitchen magic happen. While the restaurant represents all of Italy, there a few must try menu items. The Burrata is solid gold, any octopus dish they have is a must-order, and it’s a total toss-up between the pappardelle and orecchiette.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Bistro Vendome restaurant

Bistro Vendome

$$$$
French
Downtown / LoDo
4.7
6302 reviews

The ambiance at this French bistro, from James Beard Award-winning chef Jennifer Jasinski, is overflowing with charm. There’s a very romantic patio and one particular indoor seating area that looks like it could be a small Parisian courtyard or alleyway, with fairy lights strung overhead. They serve all the great staples you’d expect and even have a small section of their menu dedicated solely to steak frites, so definitely get some.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?


Takeout available
View Takeout Menu
A photo of Citizen Rail restaurant

Citizen Rail

$$$$
American
Downtown / LoDo
4.4
1344 reviews

Located on the ground floor of the Hotel Born, this uber well-designed restaurant is a stunner. It’s surrounding windows offers great light to contrast the dark furniture with gold accents and marble counters. They take their meat very seriously, and have a dry-aging room and wood-fired grill. Their pretty known for their chops, but their short ribs are fall-off-the-bone perfect, and their oxtail and rice porridge (grits) are sensational.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?


Experiences available
View Experiences
A photo of Duo Restaurant restaurant

Duo Restaurant

$$$$
Contemporary American
Highlands
4.7
3302 reviews

Duo has been a Denver staple—for over a decade now—serving up food that people love to love. From the early days, brunch has been the star here and it still deserves to be. When you can enjoy their basket of pastries, biscuits and gravy, and beloved cider-glazed pork benedict all in one visit, there’s really no other meal as important to come for. Order a duo of each.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of North Italia – Denver restaurant

North Italia – Denver

$$$$
Italian
Cherry Creek
4.8
3251 reviews

You can truly feel the love they cook into their food at this rustic and authentic Italian spot in Cherry Creek, with a staff that’s exceptionally warm and gregarious. Their housemade pasta is absolutely delectable, and is even more wonderful when paired with their (house specialty) bolognese. Their squid ink mafaldine is great, and the calamari, zucca chips, and prosciutto pizza are also hugely popular. People deeply love this place, and you will too.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Tupelo Honey - Denver restaurant

Tupelo Honey - Denver

$$$$
Southern
Downtown / LoDo
4.6
2555 reviews

At the helm of this powerhouse southern eatery—with multiple locations around the south—is two-time James Beard semifinalist, Chef Chris Kobayashi. Speaking of, it’s worth trying to reserve the chef’s table for the very unique experience it provides. The circular booth has a beverage spout in the middle of the table, from which you can self-serve any wine, beer, or cocktail you choose. At dinner, the honey dusted fried chicken is amazing, but brunch is very popular, and people rave about the avocado toast and mac and cheese. On another note, almost every night, they offer a one-of-a-kind late-night meal called Moonrise Brunch.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

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