Central Business District (closest to meeting hotels and Convention Center)
Brown Palace (321 17th St.) was built in 1892 as a luxury hotel, which it remains. Glorious Art Deco murals from the 1920s by Allen True celebrate travel and add to the luster of the first floor. High tea is an elegant not-to-be-rushed experience in a gorgeous atrium topped with a stain-glass roof. Lunches and dinners in the multiple restaurants and bars are pricey, sometimes more to be enjoyed for the venue than the food. Tours are available. The hotel is easily accessible via the southbound 16th Street free shuttle.
Pizza Republica (890 14th St.) is across the street from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and a busy spot before productions. Its menu features a wide variety of salads, pizzas, pastas, and other lunch and dinner entrees at reasonable prices.
The Corner Office (1401 Curtis St.) offers an eclectic menu for lunch and dinner, and is a popular happy hour spot. This restaurant is right across the street from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and it tends to fill up quickly before evening productions.
Panzano (909 17th St.). This award-winning Italian eatery features a nice ambiance and accommodating staff. The dinner prix-fixe menu is a great bargain, and the restaurant will allow substitutions for diners with special needs or preferences. The (free) breadbasket is a delight, with numerous home-made varieties to sample. N.B. - Don't miss the Brussels sprouts.
($) Snarf’s Sandwiches (891 14th St.) is an excellent choice to grab a sandwich.
($) (budget option) Sam’s No. 3 (1500 Curtis St.) serves diner food in huge portions.
Union Station (also central)
Mercantile Dining and Provision (1701 Wynkoop St #155) is located in the renovated Union Station at the end of the 16th Street free shuttle. It serves upscale, creative New American cuisine and has an extensive wine list. The menu features take-out and eat-in options for lunch, breakfast pastries, and lots of coffee. The owner is a pioneer in the farm-to-table movement. Don’t forget to explore the shop, where you can find intriguing food gifts to take home.
Union Station (1701 Wynkoop St.), a beautifully renovated classic train station, contains a variety of eateries across the price and cuisine spectrum, including the Mercantile described above. Other options include the Milkbox Ice Creamery, Acme Burger & Brat Corporation, Snooze (for breakfast and brunch only), the Kitchen Next Door, plus several bars and lounges.
Wynkoop Brewing Company (1634 18th St.) has a large menu with standard pub fare and more innovative choices, including vegetarian entrees, and a wide range of home-brewed beer, and suggestions for food-beer pairings. Both the beer and restaurant menus include seasonal offerings. Unwind with billiards, darts, and shuffleboard upstairs! Open for lunch and dinner. Wynkoop was on the leading edge of the gentrification of the old warehouse district now known as LoDo (Lower Downtown) and much hipper than it used to be.
Vesta Dipping Grill (1822 Blake St.). The concept behind this restaurant's menu, which matches small and large plates with dipping sauces, sounds gimmicky. But the food is excellent, if pricey. Wide-ranging bar menu, including many locally made beers and spirits. Dinner only.
($) Freshcraft (1530 Blake St.) is a small eatery and bar with good bar-style food. It has nice selection of Colorado beers and spirits. Good for groups of six or less.
Coohills (1400 Wewatta St.) features splendid local and regional cuisine, unusually good desserts, and great service. Tucked away next to Cherry Creek and an old railroad bridge, guests can enjoy a great view of the sun setting over the mountains. Cohills is easily accessible via the northbound 16th Street free shuttle to Wewatta Street. Then take a left toward the mountains. Not open for lunch or on Sundays.
Larimer Square (in Union Station neighborhood)
Rioja (Larimer Square, 1431 Larimer St.) has excellent, creative food in a western-Mediterranean vein. The setting is elegant and the atmosphere lively.
The Market (Larimer Square, 1445 Larimer St.) is the unofficial faculty club of CU Denver. It looks much as it did a century ago—marked by warmth and abundance. It serves an amazing variety of hot and cold foods, plus house-made desserts and soups, all served deli-style. The Market’s coffees and teas are legendary.
Euclid Hall (Larimer Square, 1317 14th St.) is an 1883 building that once housed the venerable Soapy Smith's bar and is now an American tavern focused on high-quality and innovative pub food from around the world, including house-made sausages, po' boys, poutine, and schnitzels. Euclid serves creative cocktails and has an extensive beer selection. The upstairs room has a delightful view of the Rocky Mountains, and the restaurant has a great happy hour. When Ken Osgood, historian at Colorado School of Mines, came to Denver for his job interview, he enjoyed his first pint of Left Hand Brewery's milk stout, from the nearby town of Longmont. The pint was so good it convinced Ken and his wife Rachel (also a historian at Mines) to take the plunge and relocate to Colorado's front range.
Crepes n’ Crepes (Larimer Square, 1512 Larimer St. #6R) is located in Writer’s Square, just off of Larimer Street and 16th Street. It serves savory and sweet crepes all day with coffee or wine in a cozy setting.
Osteria Marco (Larimer Square, 1453 Larimer St.) serves delicious and not-heavy “dry” Italian cuisine, with lots of salads, artisanal cheeses, and meats made on-site. It has an extensive and reasonably priced wine list.
Tom’s Urban (Larimer Square, 1460 Larimer St.) serves “locally sourced global comfort fare” with creative touches to everything. The service is excellent.
Corridor 44 (Larimer Square, 1433 Larimer St.) is a champagne bar and restaurant with great champagne flights and cocktails and very good food for snacks or full meals. It is a great place to unwind. To get a table on the weekend, dinner reservations are generally necessary.
Bubu (1423 Larimer St. #010) bills itself as part of the “fresh revolutionj," with made-to-order combinations of tasteful vegetables, sprouts, and proteins. Be sure to inform them about your desired level of heat to avoid the default spiciness. Open Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Ted’s Montana Grill (1401 Larimer St.) serves up better-than-classic American, including great kale salads and buffalo burgers!
Bistro Vendome (Larimer Square, 1420 Larimer St.) is a charming French bistro with excellent food and wine and seating both inside and in the courtyard. It is open for dinners and weekend brunch, but not lunch.
Russell’s Smokehouse (Larimer Square, 1422 Larimer St.) serves a wide variety of BBQ and smoked meats, with plenty of options for vegetarians, including mac’n’cheese. Craft cocktails in an underground setting reminiscent of a speakeasy.
Tamayo (Larimer Square, 1400 Larimer St.), a modern Mexican kitchen and tequileria with elegant preparations, blends traditional and contemporary ingredients and techniques. Famous for its margaritas, this restaurant also features a rooftop bar and dining with great views.
North Capitol Hill
(V) WaterCourse Foods (837 E 17th Ave.) is Denver’s original vegan restaurant since 1998.
Five Points (North of Union Station)
a Fiesta Mexican Restaurant (2340 Champa St.) features award-winning green chile and chile rellenos and has been in operation since 1964.
($) Biker Jim’s Hotdogs (2148 Larimer St.) serves hot dogs and sausages with great fries and fried mac and cheese for sides.
La Loma (2527 W. 26th Ave.) is located in Jefferson Park (near the Broncos stadium). Highland
(V) Linger (2030 W. 30th Ave.) serves great food and accommodates for most dietary restrictions.
(V) Root Down (1600 W. 33rd Ave.) shares the same ownership as Linger, but serves different food and caters to most diets. Reservations must be made well in advance.
The Original Chubby's (1231 W. 38th Ave.) was declared the top Mexican food eatery in the nation by Gustavo Arellano in his book Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. In addition to his historical work, many might know Dr. Arelleno from his syndicated column, "Ask a Mexican."
Domo (1365 Osage St.), a country-style Japanese restaurant, serves a wide variety of noodle dishes and hearty fare. While some of the donburi have sashimi components, Domo is not a sushi restaurant. The chefs do not accommodate any special dietary needs. Domo does not take reservations, and seating for groups larger than six can be difficult. You can expect to wait up to 45 minutes for a table. But it’s worth it.
The Buckhorn Exchange (1000 Osage St.) is a National Historic Landmark as Denver's oldest continuously operating restaurant. Neither the décor nor the menu will appeal to vegetarians, but others looking for hearty fare in a setting that dates back to 1893 will enjoy the experience. Two stops on the light rail from the Convention Center make the Buckhorn convenient for visitors as well as locals. As a result, reservations are a good idea.
El Noa Noa Mexican Restaurant (722 Santa Fe Dr.) is located on the Santa Fe Arts district strip. Capitol Hill (south of North Capitol Hill)
(V) City, O' City (206 E. 13th Ave.) is described as a “Bohemian hangout dishing up high-concept vegetarian fare to meat & plant eaters alike.”
Sassafras American Eatery (320 E. Colfax) offers a delicious southern-style brunch, reasonable prices, and friendly service. We especially recommend the eggs benedict, milkshakes, and mac and cheese (with many options for each). It's best to go at off-peak hours (i.e. not 10-1) on weekends to avoid the crowds, which can be heavy.
Speer Lucile's Creole Cafe (275 S. Logan St.). According to our Local Arrangements Committee, “Lucile’s serves the best omelettes in the state!” It is known for its light and fluffy biscuits, sugary beignets, and excellent chicory coffee. The original location is in Boulder, but the Denver spot is larger. There may be a wait at peak times on weekends.
Tacos Tequila Whiskey (1514 York St., formerly Pinche Taqueria with another location on Colfax) is a hipster-style taco joint best suited for lunch. Tacos are ordered a la carte and include favorites such as mahi-mahi, pork belly, and steak, as well as Denver influences (think buffalo). Their fresh guacamole and margaritas are also not to be missed. Prices are very reasonable (a few dollars per taco), especially for the quality. A good place to sit and unwind for a bit, and not too noisy.
(V) Native Foods (680 S. Colorado Blvd.) is a vegan restaurant serving “homemade, fresh, fun food.”
(K) The East Side Kosher Deli (499 S. Elm St.). Besides a nice assortment of delicious deli sandwiches, East Side Kosher Deli also serves rib steak, a variety of chicken and fish meals, wraps, burritos, and terrific salads, all under kosher supervision.