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The 8 Best Restaurants in Denver

By Neharika Padala |  December 23 2014

The thriving cultural scene, award winning dining and unparalleled natural beauty makes Denver truly unique.

At the base of the Colorado Rocky Mountains lies this cosmopolitan city, boasting Italian, French and American cuisine, ensuring there is something for everyone’s taste.

Mediterranean restaurant Rioja was the start of celebrity Chef Jennifer Jasinski’s transformation of Larimer Square. In 2013, Jasinski received a James Beard award for Best Chef Southwest. Well known amongst the people of Denver, Rioja serves homemade pasta dishes, an extensive brunch menu and more, executed by chef Eric Dale.

Also featured within our guide to the best restaurants in Denver is Flagstaff House Restaurant. Although located a short distance from Denver itself, the impeccable service, fine American cuisine and spectacular views make this a truly special restaurant. Owned by the Monette family, this restaurant boasts an impressive 15,000 bottle wine list and is a five minute drive from Boulder.


You only have to look at the long list of accolades received by Frasca to discover the popularity and success of this restaurant.

Not only has Frasca received honorable mentions from Bon Apetit, Food & Wine and the Wall Street Journal, it has two James Beard Foundation Awards, the latter for 2013’s Outstanding Wine Program.

Developed by Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey and Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, their shared passion for fine dining and wine is clearly evident, with their comprehensive wine list including over 200 varieties.


Located within the historical The Brown Palace Hotel, the extravagant Palace Arms boasts an illustrious interior.

The tableware, the wallpaper, the carpets and the paintings make The Palace Arms a stunning restaurant with an enticing menu to match.

Dishes include diver scallops with garbanzo beans, snap peas, spring onion and baby artichoke barigoule and Palace Arms ‘Rossini’ – truffle, fois gras, brioche, Madeira and Swiss chard. The choices of accompanying wines have been carefully selected by the Sommelier and have been specifically paired with each course.


The Capital Grille is located within the historic Larimer Square and is a short walk away from the Convention Center, Coors Field and the Denver Center for The Performing Arts.

Executive Chef Jim Nuetzi artfully prepares dishes with the finest, freshest ingredients. To enhance the natural flavor and tenderization of the meat texture steaks are dry aged long before they meet the grill.

The Capital Grille has received a considerable amount of awards, the most recent accolade being the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator, paying homage to the wide wine selection available.


The newly relocated Opus Restaurant is now situated in Cherry Creek having left Littleton in 2012.

Since relocating, renovations have expanded the bar area. The menu showcases an elegant spin on local produce, some even from the restaurant’s own garden.

Led by head chef Sean McGaughey, the cuisine is French inspired and includes chicken roulade, Angus striploin, pan roasted scallops and nori seared salmon just to name a few.


A short distance from Denver, Flagstaff House Restaurant boasts the personal touches of a family-owned restaurant.

Don Monette and his sons Mark and Scott Monette have developed a multi-award winning wine list from their 15,000 bottle wine cellar.

They continue to serve French-American cuisine such as Maine day boat lobster, duck breast and tenderbelly Berkshire pork.  Nestled into a mountainside, this restaurant provides spectacular views overlooking the city at an elevation of 6,000 ft.


Barolo Grill proudly serves authentic Northern Italian cuisine in a relaxed, elegant and comfortable setting.

Inspired by Italian provinces of Piedmont and Tuscany,  Barolo Grill offers a five course tasting menu showcasing the most innovative dishes from Chef Darrel Truett.

The menu includes seared Hudson Valley foie grass and traditional piemontese pinches of pasta stuffed with castel magno fonduta with black truffles. The wine list boasts small family wineries. Barolo Grill has one of the largest collections of Barolo wines outside of Italy.


This fine dining restaurant serves seasonal modern American cuisine one story above Market Street in downtown Lodo Denver.

This comfortable and relaxed establishment is the perfect place to enjoy the six or eight course dining menu.

There are also over 500 fine wines and a selection of local craft beers to choose from. The private dining room boasts soft lighting and exposed brick, creating a sophisticated and serene setting. The two banquet rooms can serve 60 to 90 guests for a sit-down dinner or up to 200 guests for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.


Winner of The James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Southwest 2013, Rioja features a menu inspired by Mediterranean ingredients and uses local, seasonal produce, creating dishes such as black truffle gnocchi.

The copper-topped bar and simple interior allows the cuisine to shine. The restaurant is located a short distance from the Denver Performing Arts Complex and Pepsi Center, between 14th and 15th streets in Larimer Square, one of Denver’s top 5 tourist attractions.

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