The Best Lunch Spots In Denver

Where to have a very memorable midday meal.
The Best Lunch Spots In Denver image

photo credit: Stephan Werk

Ask anyone what they do for lunch in Denver and the responses will likely be something like, “You don’t meal prep?”, “Oh, I always have [insert protein bar here],” or just “Whole Food sushi.” These are all valid answers, but we think you deserve to go out of your way for something excellent, especially if you barely have any time in your schedule to throw together five healthy grain bowls. 

That’s where these spots come in. All these restaurants serve lunches worthy of daydreaming about on your commute to work, or are perfect for when you have a day off and want to relax on a patio with a burrito drenched in green chile sauce.




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When you want pizza, ice cream, a green smoothie, and a crab cake sandwich—maybe even all at the same time—head to Denver Central Market for all of your lunch, dessert, and second breakfast needs. Stop in for a cinnamon roll from Izzio Artisan Bakery, a salad from GreenSeed, pizza or pasta from Vero Italian, or the best lunch of all: an ice cream flight from High Point Creamery.

Chef Zorba’s in Congress Park reminds us that, sometimes, avoiding the chaos of Colfax Ave. has a lot of perks. If you worked up an appetite escorting your parents through the Denver Botanic Gardens or just finished running around Cheesman Park, hit up this low-key Greek diner. The small strip-center spot has a laid-back dining room, a small sidewalk patio, and a menu that serves all-day breakfast, an Athenian salad with dolmathes, or a gyro melt with grilled onions. Just make sure to grab a slice of honey-drenched baklava for dessert.

If your lunch routine always includes a little sweet treat (whose doesn’t?), then check out Leven Deli Co. in Capitol Hill. Part Mediterranean restaurant, part bakery, Leven serves a long list of salads and sandwiches, including a fantastic reuben with rich 12-day aged pastrami and tart mustard on housemade rye. Try one alongside a chunky tahini brownie or a cocktail on the patio where you can gaze upon the Denver Art Museum or count the number of Tacomas parked on the street.

If Denver put on a green chile award show, El Taco De México would be a frontrunner for this saucy contest. And everybody seems to know it too—the tiny counter-service restaurant Downtown always has a consistent mix of regulars and tourists who come into town just to do outdoor things. Go here to load up on massive flour tortillas with rice, beans, and grilled meats of your choice (we like the al pastor or fajita), and drown it all in that sweet, tangy green chili sauce. You’ll need a fork and knife to tackle this thing, and maybe a sparkling water before hopping home on a Lime scooter.

La Fillette is one of the best French bakeries in Montclair that just so happens to be crammed between a 7-Eleven and a nail salon. There’s a large pastry case full of buttery croissants, kouign-amanns, and chocolate-dipped eclairs, as well as a small menu of sandwiches on fresh, homemade bread for lunch. Get a tender duck confit bánh mì served on soft ciabatta with a thick layer of garlic aioli, or a bowl of hatch green chile soup—something that seems to be an unspoken requirement for most Denver restaurant menus. 

photo credit: TASHA FITTS

This small LoHi Hawaiian spot works great for a healthy solo lunch or a place to meet your younger cousin who wants to get your perspective on their LinkedIn networking strategy. To mitigate the absolute bizarreness of that conversation, get one of their consistently excellent poke bowls and a spam musabi, a.k.a. one of the best handheld foods ever invented. You can wave the tightly packed griddled spam, nori, and rice around and nod as your cousin says optimization a bunch of times.

There are multiple Park Burgers around Denver, but the Platt Park location is pretty adorable, mostly because it’s on the stretch of South Pearl that feels like a small town main street. Snag a seat on the patio if it’s not below freezing and go for a burger with birria smothered in truffle-garlic aioli, or with giardiniera. Add on a basket of sweet potato fries and one of Park Burger’s creamy milkshakes, or sneak in a pint of local craft beer to take advantage of the altitude effect.

There’s no shortage of Mexican food in Denver, but this fast-casual, lunch-only spot stands out because of its mission to highlight the food cooked by immigrant and refugee women from countries like Mexico, Venezuela, and Syria. The menu changes daily, but if the Mexican-coke braised carnitas are on the menu and you’ve got a sunny day, order them and grab a picnic table out front and avoid answering work emails.

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