(credit: Salt & Grinder)
What is really “worth the hype” in Denver? Is it environment? Food? Bar menu? Attention to sustainability and local purveyors? For discerning Denver diners, it needs to be a delicious blend of attention to all details. Below is a small selection of the best restaurants in Denver that live up to the reputations they have acquired.
Beast + Bottle
719 E. 17th Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Siblings Paul C. Reilly and Aileen Reilly believe memories are made over shared meals and have imparted this sensibility in Beast and Bottle. Denver’s Uptown neighborhood superstar serves rustic American craft cuisine centered on sustainability, versatility, creativity and comfort. Personal relationships with farmers and purveyors bring ethically and humanely raised, responsibly harvested and organic meats, fruits, vegetables and fresh fish to the plate. The restaurant offers a nightly tasting menu, a great way to enjoy menu standouts.
3350 Brighton Blvd.
Denver, CO 80216
Located in Denver’s River North District, or RiNo for short, Acorn is one of the best new restaurants in town. It’s owned by the same team behind Boulder’s OAK and brings with it a lot of the same clean flavors and modern approaches to classic cuisine. Chef Steven Redzikowski has prepared a menu full of incredible small dishes, perfect for sharing amongst a group of close friends or for a special romantic night out. The menu changes often and features such impressive dishes as Hamachi Crudu with soy-marinated cucumber, Iberico de Bellota Ham with a romesco sauce, oak grilled bone marrow and much more. There are also lots of amazing cocktails that pair perfectly with this unique and eclectic menu.
1600 W. 33rd Ave.
Denver, CO 80211
Since opening in 2008, Root Down has built a devoted following with a personal riff on local, organic cuisine that pulls seasonal inspiration. Beyond spectacular food, the dedication to food philosophy continually (and deliciously) educates diners. One of the few certified raw chefs in the country, Daniel Asher dreams up vegetarian and vegan dishes while Executive Chef Jeremy Kittelson turns out beautiful meats, fish and vegetables. Weekend brunch is a tradition for locals and the daily happy hour is one of the best in town. Pair that with eclectic, original and just downright cool design and Root Down continues to be worth the hype.
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Salt & Grinder
3609 W. 32nd Ave.
Denver, CO 80211
While Salt & Grinder is new to the Highlands neighborhood, it is a concept Frank Bonanno has had in mind for years. The 11th restaurant to join the Bonanno Concepts family brings a high-quality, eclectic, Jersey-style deli to northwest Denver on charming 32nd Street. Bonanno worked for months to develop the perfect signature grinder bread with baker Jeff Cleary of Grateful Bread to serve high-end meats, cheeses and soon-to-come house-cured salumi. Jacqueline Bonanno was instrumental in many aspects of the new deli, and specifically created an alluring space with an old antique library case filled with eclectic cooking items such as hand-crank grinders, wooden spoons, cocktail shakers and antique books.
2030 W. 30th Ave.
Denver, CO 80211
What happens when you open an amazing restaurant in the former home of an historic mortuary? Yes, what was once Olinger Mortuary is now Linger, an incredible eatery with a very diverse and ethnic menu, featuring the best rooftop patio and views in town. The location of this space gives it the stunning views, so you’ll want to make your reservations early to get seating near the open windows so you can appreciate the expansive views of Denver while you eat. Then enjoy a menu that travels the globe, featuring dishes from Southeast Asia, Europe, Africa, The West Indies and more. Plus, many of the dishes can be prepared gluten free or vegetarian, as the kitchen works hard to cater to any specific dietary needs.
Ellen Marchman Larkey has a savvy knowledge of culture and events and maintains trusted partnerships around
the country. She has substantial expertise with food, wine and lifestyle including Aspen Food &
Wine Festival, South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Cochon, Top Chef and numerous destination
restaurants and master mixologists. She has beeen Examiner.com‘s Denver’s Fine Dining writer since 2009.