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Food & Drink

Top Places To Dine Outdoors In Denver

May 31, 2011 11:07 AM

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Cherry Creek Grill (credit: hillstone.com)

Cherry Creek Grill (credit: hillstone.com)

With abundant sunshine and a generally mild climate, plus views that words fail to describe, the Denver area offers lots of options for outdoor dining. Whether it’s the hustle and bustle of the urban core or breathtaking views of the Rockies, forget about dining inside. There are a lot of options for every mood and taste. Here are a few to consider.
cherry creek grill Top Places To Dine Outdoors In Denver

Cherry Creek Grill (credit: hillstone.com)

Cherry Creek Grill

184 Steele
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 322-3524
hillstone.com
Everyone I know seems to be a fan of the Cherry Creek Grill with good reason. While the inside scene pulsates with vibrant energy, its patio offers great people watching in trendy Cherry Creek. The good food and perfect martinis make this a Denver favorite, so expect crowds any weekend and most evenings as well. But here’s a hint: If you have an afternoon off during the week, there’s no better spot for late lunch and people watching, and your chances of snagging one of these coveted tables increases dramatically. Combine all this with service you’ll wish was the standard in the restaurant industry and you’ll know why Cherry Creek Grill is a Denver must.

vita Top Places To Dine Outdoors In Denver

Vita Restaurant (credit: vitadenver.com)

LoLa and Vita Restaurant

LoLa
1575 Boulder St.
Denver, 80211
(720) 570-8686
loladenver.com

Vita Restaurant
1575 Boulder Street Suite A
(303) 477-4600
Denver, 80211
vitadenver.com

I must confess a personal fondness for LoLa. I first tasted Jamey Fader’s food back when it was located on South Pearl. After a move to Boulder Street, both LoLa and its next-door neighbor Vita Restaurant, sport what may be the best view of the city. Vita offers a modern American menu pared with inventive cocktails like the Orange Vanilla Julep, Cucumber Lavender Martini and the “Georgia Tea” made with sweet tea vodka. LoLa’s menu takes its inspiration from Mexico’s coastal regions, and was named one of the Top 5 establishments in America to drink tequila. With 150 to choose from, you’ll find new appreciation for the blue-agave based spirit. In fact, I’d even go so far as to suggest that if your idea of a margarita is something a rookie barkeep got from a machine, you’ve got a real treat in store for you here, because not only can you marvel at the beauty of the Mile High City, but you’ll do so enjoying a true delight to the senses, the perfect balance of aged tequilas and lime. Both places have a vibrant, hip bar scene, and live music at different times of the week.

cafe Top Places To Dine Outdoors In Denver

Highland's Garden Café (credit: highlandsgardencafe.com)

Highland’s Garden Café

3927 W 32nd Ave
Denver, CO 80212-1739
(303) 458-5920
highlandsgardencafe.com
Located in the historic Highlands neighborhood just minutes from LoLa and Vita Restaurant is Highland’s Garden Café. Two converted Victorian homes are graced with beautiful patios and gardens and set the stage for what may be Denver’s most unique outdoor dining experience. They offer a wide range of seating options, from the intimacy of the side porch, to a shaded table under the apple tree. This is a spectacular space to enjoy casual fine dining. Here’s something I found truly special at the cafe. It’s their senior lunch. On the second Wednesday of each month, this prix fixe menu is presented in a setting owner Patricia Perry offers, providing seniors a place where they can enjoy a great meal, good friends and cherished memories. While you don’t have to be a senior to enjoy this special meal each month, you must be invited by one. Thinking back to the stories and memories shared with me from my own grandparents, I ask you to rediscover the elders in your life, whether friend or family, in this intimate setting. You may find it to be the most cherished lunch you’ve enjoyed in a very long time.

flagstaff house1 Top Places To Dine Outdoors In Denver

Flagstaff House (credit: CBS)

Flagstaff House

1318 Flagstaff Road
Boulder, CO 80302-9510
(303) 442-4640
flagstaffhouse.com
While I would do any reader a disservice not to warn you that my next choice isn’t for the financially faint of heart, I’d also be remiss if I neglected The Flagstaff House. With awards spanning decades, this Colorado gem offers exquisite cuisine and stunning views of the city of Boulder and the plains beyond. Some of the seating area is open air. It’s a breathtaking setting for an experience of pure culinary delight run with the love and care of a family-owned treasure. Do know before you go, there is a dress code (though not too stuffy), but it is enforced.

Appaloosa Grill

Denver, CO 80202-4240
535 16th Street, Suite 105
(720) 932-1700
appaloosagrill.com
The 16th Street Mall offers great people watching in the city, so why not combine it with good food at Appaloosa Grill. This employee owned eatery serves up a diverse menu featuring 100 percent natural meats plus a variety of vegetarian choices. With a patio right on the 16th Street Mall and live entertainment nightly, this is a great place to meet with friends whether you live or work downtown, or just happen to be in the neighborhood. For information on tonight’s band and happy hour specials check out their website.

- By Scott Smith for CBSDenver.com

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