There aren’t many of us left, but we’re a strong and mighty group: the Denver natives. Our numbers continue to dwindle at a shocking pace, so we’ve decided to share what we believe to be our culinary Rosetta stone - The Denver Greatest Hits List.
Obviously you’re familiar with the concept of a “greatest hits” album, but let’s be clear that what you see before you is not meant to be the Now 24 of restaurants. This list is a carefully selected collection of the restaurants most essential to the Denver experience - the spots you should hit first if you’re new to town. Our Denver Greatest Hits includes establishments that have been around since before Denver was cool, alongside newer spots that have proven themselves worthy.
You might be surprised to hear it, but Denver has some pretty great sushi options, and Sushi Den started it all. In short, this is the place that introduced Denver to raw fish. Offering a nice balance between extravagance and simplicity, Sushi Den’s only issue is the difficulty you’ll face grabbing a reservation. Plan ahead.
Like an older sibling in diner form, this is a home-feel staple that’s always there for us. Regardless of mood or craving, Steuben’s is a Denver classic that somehow always has what we need both atmosphere and food-wise. Meatloaf, mac & cheese, burgers - it’s all great. Don’t overlook the Maine lobster roll either.
The Cruise Room is the rare combination of history lesson and bar - and it’s our favorite spot to grab drinks downtown. The place was a hot spot for World War II soldiers on leave in need of strong drinks, and rumor has it that some of the original tapestries featured Hitler and Mussolini, until a handful of U.S. Navy Boys came in and ripped them down. Ask your server about the story, and drink up.
This place was a founding restaurant in Denver’s farm-to-table food scene, and in our opinion, remains the best. We love Potager, and consider this a top choice for any and all special occasions.
Any “Denverite” who doesn’t have the Cricket atop their Mile High must-visit list is probably a rat...or from Texas. Not Denver’s best restaurant per se, but it does have one of our best burgers and sits in the city’s best shopping district.
If you’re in the vicinity of this creamery and begin to realize every other business around you has “Bonnie Brae” in the name, stay calm - you aren’t experiencing a glitch in the matrix. Back in the day, this neighborhood wasn’t super creative with its branding schemes and thought that adding “Bonnie Brae” to anything brought street cred. Keep your head down, find the ice cream, ignore the rest. Also, make sure you put caramel sauce on anything you get.
One of Denver’s oldest restaurants and home to arguably the best hamburger in town. It’s also a great spot to grab an early evening bite after a day of sightseeing around LoDo, or before a night out in LoHi.
Experiencing Colfax in Denver is essential, and Steve’s is one of the best restaurants for getting a sense of the area. Denver isn’t known for its hot dogs, so Steve’s brings other cities’ delicacies to our town. The Atlanta Dog, The Chicago Dog, The Bronx Dog - all options are done really well, and the location inside an old gas station is quite an experience. Great for kids, great for beer-drinking, great for anyone craving a hot dog.
Part breakfast joint with crazy good biscuits, part pizza joint with crazy good thin crust pies. The Cowboy is the very best hangover cure in town - it’s also the best way to work your way into another hangover.
The restaurant itself hasn’t hasn’t been around long, but Linger’s space has. It used to be Denver’s busiest mortuary, and originally that had us all a little concerned. Well, it turns out they knew exactly what they were doing. After holding strong in an area known for quick restaurant turnover, Linger still has one of the best brunches in town.
Every drunken night out with a group needs a good jumping off point. And if you’re looking to get rowdy with your crew, you can’t do much better than getting the night started here. Great Mexican in a great neighborhood. Load up on chips and queso, and probably/obviously tequila.
Fruition is the classiest of classy restaurants in Denver. Not just because of the price (which will be pretty high) - more so because of the complete attention to detail and quality. The food and environment are both worth every penny.
Every big city needs a go-to sandwich shop, and this is our town’s best. Regardless of the location you choose (there are two now), you won’t be disappointed. Their veggie sandwich is the best we’ve had - ever.
Denver isn’t known for its BBQ, which is why this place is so important. Head north of the city to experience a Texas-style BBQ joint and Denver’s best smoked meat.
A must-visit in the Cap. Hill area of town, Liks has been around since the late 70s, and a trip inside will bring you right back in time. With hundreds of flavor inventions under their belt, Liks knows exactly what they’re doing, so you can’t go wrong with any order here.
One of the best Chinese spots in town, and definitely the best nice weather Chinese spot in town. Once they open up the windows, it’s time to head over. The food definitely veers on the American-style side of Chinese, and the house specials are great.