In a city like Denver, where urban style meets rugged adventurism, it’s no wonder there is a vibrant and electric dining scene for its diverse residents. If you’re looking to spice up your usual restaurant options, you’re in luck. Denver features a number of unique themed restaurants and elegant bars offering gorgeous views of the city. Whether you are in the mood for thick slices of cheese pizza or a Long Island Pitcher, Denver offers everything you could want in a bustling city and more. In this article we’re going to take a look at 12 cool restaurants in Denver, including:
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Prized game looks down from the restaurant’s walls at this popular place. Image courtesy of Yelp.
1000 Osage St | Denver | buckhornexchange.com
Known as Denver’s first steakhouse, The Buckhorn Exchange has served as a city staple for savory steaks and exotic appetizers like alligator tail and buffalo sausage for years. This Downtown restaurant offers a diverse array of sizzling meats such as buffalo prime rib, elk, quail, and baby-back pork ribs. If you’re in the mood for something lighter, you can choose one of the restaurant’s main course salads or its famous bean soup.
This is perhaps one of the most unique restaurants in Denver. With prized games staring down at diners from all four walls, The Buckhorn Exchange is sure to offer an unforgettable dining experience for you.
“Had to try the Rocky Mountain oysters while in Denver and I heard this is the place to get them! I wasn't disappointed. The place feels like it's a hunting lodge out of a movie, filled with cool historical Knick knacks and taxidermy.” - Yelp Review
3200 Pecos St | Denver | avantifandb.com
Avanti Food & Beverage is inspired by food trucks and European markets. They have created a modern day food hall where seven different restaurant concepts are housed in different modified shipping containers. Some of the options include Quiero Arepas, Goriami Pizza, and Meta Asian Kitchen. You will find delicious and affordable chef inspired cuisine in an eclectic space.
“This place was AWESOME. Such a cool aesthetic and tons of options for food! We enjoyed a couple hot drinks on the rooftop patio - I got a vodka hot chocolate drink that was so tasty it was gone in a couple minutes. Had such a good experience here.”–Yelp Review
2930 Umatilla St | Denver | elfivedenver.com
Located in Northwest Denver, El Five offers breathtaking views of the downtown Denver skyline. During warm summer evenings, you can sit outside on the patio and watch the sun go down as you enjoy a delicious meal.
Their Mediterranean dishes, such as the Jamon Iberico & Camaros and the Burrata Di Puglia are meant to share. So make sure you order enough for the whole table! A full bar is also featured at El Five with drinks that are sure to go perfectly with your meal. For dessert, you have an appetizing selection of special dessert tapas.
“Okay I absolutely love this place. The vibes are great - such a good date night spot or spot to go have a fun little girls night. I've sat on both sides and the view from both is great.” - Yelp Review
1600 W 33 Ave | Denver | ediblebeats.com/root-down
Root Down is known for their responsibly grown veggie forward food. In the world of the owners, real food and real flavor is true love. And that is a love that they want to share with everyone. One of this restaurant’s best features is how sustainable they are. They are 100 percent wind powered, and all their vegetables are responsibly sourced.
“Still the best restaurant in Denver as far as I know. If you sit on the patio you can catch an amazing view of downtown Denver. Food is consistently good and so are the drinks. Love this place. Always a great vibe and awesome service. It's just a great restaurant all around.”–Yelp Review
2532 15th St | Denver | forestroom5.com
As you enjoy the last days of summer, make sure you stop by Forest Room 5. Offering a spacious outdoor patio alongside a running creek, Forest Room 5 offers a calming ambience unmatched by other restaurants in the city. Guests can lounge by the fire pit and enjoy a glass of wine or sit at a full table to enjoy a meal. Delicious options including the Filet Mignon, Colorado Beef Filet, and Smokey Mac ‘N Cheese are sure to fill you up.
“The happy hour at Forest Room 5 is pretty great. There are a handful of cocktails that are $5-$6, draft beer specials, and a couple of snacks that are fairly cheap as well. The cocktails are pretty unique.” - Yelp Review
3760 Tejon St | Denver | gaetanositalian.com
To enjoy some of Denver’s best Italian food while dining outside on a romantic patio, head to Gaetano’s. This old-school spot is known for its famous Bloody Mary Bar and Gangster Cocktail. Speaking of gangsters, this famous restaurant used to serve as the city’s mobster headquarters.
When it comes to the food, you are sure to find a dish that speaks to your cravings. Savory meals like the Calamari Fritti, Pei Mussels, and Clams Casino are sure to delight your taste buds. Specialty cocktails like the Capone and Gotti’s Hot Buttered Rum are perfect for enjoying alongside your savory meals.
“My only complaint is that I didn't find this hidden gem sooner! Finally some authentic Italian food in this town. The staff was incredibly friendly even in the midst of this covid craziness. Amber was our server the first time and she made our visit a wonderful experience.” - Yelp Review
3160 Tejon St | Denver | williamsandgraham.com
Authentic speakeasies might be a thing of the past, but you can still enjoy the electric atmosphere of the underground bars from the Prohibition Era at Williams & Graham. W&G offers an extensive cocktail menu featuring over 60 drinks perfect for any taste or preference. Inside, you will find a classic dining space and bar perfect for sitting back and relaxing with friends.
The restaurant’s ever-changing menu offers an assortment of hors d’oeuvres, small plates, entrees, and desserts. Some popular items that are currently on the menu include the Roasted Cauliflower, Oyster Po’ Boy, and Tea Sandwiches.
“Bar seats opened first and I can tell you the bar is an excellent place to sit. Very cozy as there are many people at the bar however the bar staff makes you feel like you belong. The Mac n cheese was among the best I have ever had, I would highly recommend it.” - Yelp Review
2030 W 30th Ave | Denver | lingerdenver.com
Linger is a top destination for high-quality food and access to the best views of the city. Its rooftop lounge is perfect for warm days and clear nights. You’ll find a savory variety of food and drinks up here. Under the Food Truck section are creative selections such as the Yellowfin Tuna Poke Bowl and the Tempura Ginger Chili Shrimp. Quick bites like the Sweet Potato Waffle Fries and Korean Fried Chicken Bao Bun are perfect for sharing with friends.
“Linger linger linger... how you're still my favorite restaurant after living in Denver for almost 7 years. There's just something about your eclectic vibes (I mean you used to be a mortuary) to your unique food selections that always want me coming back for more!” - Yelp Review
These friends are having a fun and casual dinner. Image courtesy of TripAdvisor.
1889 16th St | Denver | tavernettadenver.com
Tavernetta is a restaurant that is steeped in the tradition of authentic hospitality. They serve their customers elevated cuisine along with thoughtfully curated wine through dedicated service. Tavernetta was founded by the Frasca Hospitality Group. This group is run by a chef and a master sommelier. Their passion and dedication for their work comes across in all their offerings.
“Seriously one of the best restaurants in Denver. The food itself is already worth every penny, but the dining experience elevates this rating even higher. They can transform almost every dish to your liking and allergy accommodations. I wish I could rate this place more stars because I would.”–Yelp Review
500 E Alameda Ave | Denver | bittersweetdenver.com
Founded by husband and wife team Olav Peterson and Melissa Severson, Bittersweet is a unique restaurant known for its artisanal cuisine. In order to offer the freshest and innovative menu in the city, Bittersweet offers a seasonal selection of food that changes throughout the year. All of these meals contain ingredients and meats from local farms and fisheries.
In addition to its extensive dinner menu, you can also find a fine assortment of cocktails, wines, and beers. Whether you are in the mood for a glass of white wine or you want to try the Cherry Bomb cocktail, you are sure to be delighted by the skill and craftsmanship of Bittersweet’s expert bartenders.
“The food is always cooked to perfection and this time around we started with the etouffee starter along with the lamb meatballs, both were excellent. For our entrees I went with the Picnic Chicken and my wife got the scallops and again everything was cooked perfectly with wonderful flavor.” - Yelp Review
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1215 20th Street | Denver | opheliasdenver.com
Are you looking for some place totally one-of-a-kind to go to in Denver for a night out? Why not consider Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox for something delicious today! Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox is a fun gastro brothel that features a lot of incredible globally-inspired dishes, and even live music too.
At Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, you can try out everything from creme brulee french toast, a bison burger, duck wings, goat cheese cornbread, wagyu beef sliders, a mushroom flatbread, and so much more. Don’t miss out on Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox and the amazingly good food they offer!
“Went for the Bowie Brunch. By far, the BEST themed breakfast I've ever attended. The presentation of music videos and clips was a perfect compliment to table conversation.” - Yelp Review
This person is definitely enjoying their dinner. Image courtesy of New Denizen.
3264 Larimer Ave | Denver | diomiopasta.com
Dio Mio is a counter service restaurant that specializes in fresh, handmade pasta. The chefs that run this place use their fine dining backgrounds to mix traditional Italian and contemporary food in a relaxed environment. Their pasta production table is right in the middle of their 1500 ft restaurant, showing just how central it is to their restaurant.
This restaurant always sources their food seasonally, often locally, and sometimes nationally. They also have a constantly rotating menu that keeps the options exciting. They will always have a few Italian items with a mix of experimental foods. They provide a constant variety of drinks as well.
“Read some great reviews so I decided to stop by to see what the gossip was all about. Small place with counter service ordering. Definitely worth a stop while in Denver if you're looking for pasta and a casual setting.”–Yelp Review
3040 Blake Street | Denver | thepreservery.com
Are you looking for something truly amazing to eat for dinner for a special occasion? If so, then you need to stop and try out The Preservery, a fun and unique little restaurant in Denver! The Preservery is known for their delicious farm-inspired new American dishes, specialty cocktails, and the live music they play at night.
If you go to The Preservery, you absolutely need to try out the potato croquettes, fried chicken, buffalo cauliflower, greek frites, goat cheese and mushrooms, and lots more. Make sure to check out The Preservery as soon as you can!
“We've been here multiple times over the years and whether it's brunch, dinner, or cocktails, it always is amazing. The food is so tasty. Cocktails are on point.” - Yelp Review
2335 E 28th Avenue | Denver | theplimoth.com
If you are interested in New American food and want to try out some of the most unique dishes in Denver, then you need to go to The Plimoth! The Plimoth is a local eatery known for using locally-sourced ingredients to create some of the most beautiful and delicious seasonal dishes you can’t say no to.
At The Plimoth, you need to try out the Alaskan sockeye salmon, baby back ribs, country-style pork rillette, cauliflower turnip gratin, cracklin’ chicken, grilled pork tenderloin, and lots of other unique dishes. Treat your taste buds to something delicious at The Plimoth today!
“The farm to table so the menu is ever changing. As someone who likes to mix it up, I love this.” - Yelp Review
609 Corona Street | Denver | table6denver.com
Are you looking for a comfortable restaurant where you can enjoy some delicious food in a cool rustic environment? Check out Table 6, a fun and unique restaurant that is located in Denver, Colorado! Table 6 is a fine-dining restaurant known for its unpretentious atmosphere to make everyone feel welcomed, and the added bonus is that they serve some incredible food too.
Table 6 is where you can try out duck confit, pork belly, fried chicken, pork chops, lamb bacon soup, and lots of other unique dishes with flavors you never thought possible. This is the unique restaurant that you need to go to in your life, so book a reservation today!
“HOME RUN. Such a sweet, cozy, intimate place with smooth service and a fun wine list.” - Yelp Review
700 Water Street | Denver | aquariumrestaurants.com
Interested in eating in a restaurant in the middle of an aquarium? You need to come to the Aquarium Restaurant right now! The Aquarium Restaurant is an amazing seafood restaurant where you are surrounded by a 50,000 gallon aquarium tank where you can look at some amazing fish as you enjoy a good meal too.
Going to the Aquarium Restaurant is perfect for any occasion because you can try out dishes like Louisiana cajun pasta, rustic vegetable pasta, fried seafood platter, golden fried shrimp, steak and lobster, grilled mahi mahi and shrimp, herb-crusted Atlantic shrimp, and so much more. Come to the Aquarium Restaurant right now for an experience you’ll never forget!
“After visiting the Aquarium today we enjoyed a fabulous lunch at the restaurant! First time dining there, great service, good food!” - Yelp Review
500 16th St | Denver | hardrockcafe.com/location/denver
If you’re in the mood for something more familiar to you, you can always visit the Hard Rock Cafe. It is located in the Denver Pavilion, a two story mall rated Denver’s number one tourist attraction. And despite that reputation, locals still frequent the place. Once you spot a giant neon guitar, you’ll know that you’re close!
This restaurant pairs friendly service with a living museum of music history. You can go in to enjoy their great food as well as the live music they frequently have playing. Burgers are among the most popular choices on their menu, but they also have plenty of other great options to choose from.
“The customer service was amazing. The manager went above and beyond and was just a great person. The food was scrumptious and the karaoke was fun. Next time I come back I will definitely eat there again.”–Yelp Review
A memorable night out is not hard to achieve when you find yourself in a bustling city like Denver. The restaurant options are abundant, and you can sometimes see live performances along with your meals. Checkout some of the cool restaurants on this list to have a night in Denver you won’t forget!