Pepsi Center(credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

If you’ve scored some tickets to your favorite team’s game or musician at Pepsi Center, then you are probably already planning your fun night out. If you want to make it a special evening, then you’ll definitely be looking for some nearby restaurants to enjoy a nice dinner before the show. Here’s where it gets tricky; parking and moving your car in downtown Denver can be tough. Instead, arrive at Pepsi Center early and try one of these amazing restaurants, all within walking distance. Not only will you avoid the headache of moving your car and looking for parking twice, but you can nab the best spots at Pepsi Center and enjoy a nice walk before and after an amazing meal.

Euclid Hall Bar and Kitchen
1317 14th St.
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 595-4255

Euclid Hall Bar and Kitchen takes what you know about bar food and turns it all upside down with innovative twists, quality ingredients and a fantastic ambiance that is unrivaled in the area. The restaurant occupies a building that was built in 1883 and was once Soapy Smith’s Bar. Today, everything is modernized, but you can still feel the history when you walk into the space. The menu is carefully created, offering the chef’s personal takes on many beloved classics. Try the chicken and waffles for a truly elegant spin on the traditional comfort dish. Or enjoy one of the many varieties of hand-cranked sausages or a giant plate of duck poutine. Also, make sure to order at least one bruleed center cut beef marrow bone as an appetizer. You’ll be glad you did.

Osteria Marco
1453 Larimer St.
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 534-5855

Osteria Marco is the sister restaurant of popular Luca Restaurant on Grant Street in Denver. Osteria Marco does a lot of things like Luca but everything is a little more playful and has a slightly different spin on classic Italian food. Make sure to try the house made mozzarella, burrata and ricotta cheeses then sample some imported meats like Robiola or Parma prosciutto. For the main course, try one of the many amazing pizzas or one of the more classic dishes like bistro tender, which is served with Roman gnocchi, sautéed spinach and smoked veal Bolognese. Or try the amazing lamb meatballs with creamy polenta. If you arrive on a Sunday night, you can even splurge on a slow roasted suckling pig for the table.

Related: Top Restaurants In Denver Worth The Hype

1431 Larimer St.
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 820-2282

Rioja has long been garnering national attention for high-quality and amazing food. It even won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Southwest Chef in 2013, so you know this is one of the best Southwestern-style restaurants in the state. The menu is all very fresh and flavorful, with modern twists on Southwestern classics. Try the duck confit appetizer with butternut squash and maple syrup, then move on to something like pheasant two ways, with a smoked breast and pheasant sausage. Or try the amazingly fresh Colorado lamb. You can’t go wrong with anything on this menu, just make sure to save some room for dessert. You have to enjoy the incredible beignets with sweet goat cheese or the chocolate caramel tart with espresso chocolate crust and cinnamon almond crème anglaise.

Bistro Vendome
1420 Larimer St.
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 825-3232

Located in the historic Sussex building, which dates back to 1880, Bistro Vendome is a classic French restaurant with local, fresh ingredients. It’s named for the Place Vendome, a well-known historic square in Paris, reflecting the charming neighborhood style of this wonderful eatery. You’ll find many traditional French dishes on the menu here, from escargot en croute to seared foie gras. You can also enjoy many other dishes like the Parmesan-crusted scallops and mussels with roasted cauliflower, or the braised lamb shank with polenta and seared Brussels sprouts. Of course, you’ll want to save room for classic French press coffee and the cinnamon macaron bananas foster, with caramelized banana and a hot buttered rum caramel sauce.

Related: 2014’s Top New Restaurants In Denver

Sushi Sasa
2401 15th St.
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 433-7272

Sushi lovers from all over Denver have been flocking to this Downtown sushi restaurant to sample all the amazingly fresh dishes and unique flavors. In fact, Sushi Sasha has been honored with many awards, including Best Sushi Restaurant from Westword in 2013 and has been ranked among the best Japanese Restaurants in America by Zagat. When you visit Sushi Sasa, make sure enjoy what this restaurant does best, and that is the many different rolls. Try the diablo roll, the dragon roll or the spider roll and you’ll be in sushi heaven. There is also a really delicious Otsumami menu (Japanese tapas) featuring everything from grilled artichoke to mussels, foie gras and steamed pork buns. So really, you can bring anyone to Sushi Sasa, even those that aren’t fans of sushi will find something to love.

Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at