glasses on table in restaurant in Denver

7 Best Restaurants in Downtown Denver in 2024 – Where to Eat Now

Let’s continue with our quest to show you what’s special about our beloved city.

We’ve visited some breweries, museums, zoos, and restaurants. And about the last one. Well, for us, it is a simple excuse to keep going on tours and explore the city.

So, we were checking out some popular Japanese BBQ spots, and the one that really caught our attention was the Blue Sushi Sake Grill.

It is located in Downtown Denver, and we decided to visit it again.

After finishing the delicious Truffle Salmon there, we decided to take a walk around Downtown, just for fun. And then we noticed a lot of restaurants in this area. And what’s even more impressive is that they are all different.

So we thought, why not create a whole new list? This time, we are focused only on this part of the town.

1. Tavernetta

Tavernetta

Tavernetta is this cool Italian spot in Denver’s Union Station area. It’s run by the award-winning Frasca Hospitality Group. They really nail the Italian vibe with amazing food, wine, and all that cultural goodness. Definitely a place to hit up for an authentic Italian experience.

 

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Location: 1889 Sixteenth St, Denver, CO 80202

Operating Hours:

  • Monday – Friday: 11:30 AM – 10 PM
  • Saturday & Sunday: 4 PM – 10 PM
  • Lunch (Monday – Friday): 11:30 AM – 2 PM
  • Happy Hour (Daily): 4 PM – 6 PM
  • Dinner (Daily): 5 PM – 10 PM

Parking: Valet parking at Limelight Hotel for $15 with validation and self-parking options available with validation at nearby garages.

We kicked things off with some cicchetti, those tasty Italian nibbles, on our server’s advice.

Then came the main event – the pastas. I chose the risotto, and to keep it simple, it was just as I expected it to be(couldn’t be better than this!).

My wife had the tagliatelle, and it was the real deal – simple, yet so rich with that homemade pasta and meaty ragù.

A combination with a top-notch wine made this a real adventure!

2. Rioja

Rioja Denver

We got hooked up to the Downtown area, so we got back tomorrow to check out the next place.

Our choice was this Mediterranean restaurant in the historic Larimer Square.

 

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Location: 1431 Larimer Street, Denver, Colorado

Operating Hours:

  • Lunch through Flavor Dojo: 11:00 AM – 2:30 PM (Monday – Friday)
  • Dinner: 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM (Sunday – Thursday), 4:00 PM – 11:00 PM (Friday & Saturday)
  • Brunch: 10:00 AM – 2:30 PM (Saturday & Sunday)
  • Happy Hour: 2:30 PM – 5:00 PM every day

Parking: Valet parking available for lunch and dinner

We went there for a light dinner. The starter was Rioja House Salad, and it was a good start to the night.

The winner of the evening was the Seared Venison. Served with a smooth chestnut purée, some sweet and tangy braised red cabbage, and a mix of bitter greens. It was perfect!

We weren’t into drinking anything but water that night, but I saw a great selection of European wines on the menu.

3. Denver Chophouse & Brewery

Denver Chophouse & Brewery

This place was a unique combo of everything we love. It has Asian food, craft beer, and a perfect ambiance.

So, when it comes to our list of best Japanese spots, this one also belongs there.

And the same goes for breweries we recently reviewed, we missed this one on that tour.

Location: 1735 19th Street, Suite 100, Denver, CO 80202

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Sunday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM

We started with the Seared Sashimi Tuna, which was a perfect mix of ocean freshness and a spicy kick from the sriracha ponzu.

For the main dish, we couldn’t say no to the Signature Steaks. We went for the Filet Mignon, and it was spot-on—super tender, super tasty, just what you’d expect from a top steak place.

And of course, we had to try the beers. I got the Imperial Ale, and my wife went for a lighter option, the Red Ale. We got one more round as well since they are great.

4. Mercantile Dining & Provision


Another day, and another simple plan for us, to have dinner at the next place in the area. So we made a reservation for Mercantile.

Location: 1701 Wynkoop St #155, Denver, CO 80202

Operating Hours:

  • Monday-Saturday: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Lunch) | 5-9 p.m. (Dinner)

Choosing a spot where you can watch the chefs work their magic, the night kicks off with some lamb meatballs glazed in pomegranate.

Pan-roasted scallops were the main choice. They come with this amazing mix of celery root puree and fennel apple slaw that just takes simple stuff to the next level.

Throw in a glass of wine from their killer selection, and you have your perfect evening secured.

5. Stoic & Genuine

Stoic & Genuine

Location: 1701 Wynkoop Street, Denver, CO 80202

Operating Hours:

  • Sunday – Thursday: 11 am until 10 pm
  • Friday and Saturday: 11 am until 11 pm

 

The next one is a seafood restaurant. But the thing is that we were not hungry the next morning while passing by.

So we decided to just get a dessert, and leave other dishes for the next time.

 

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My wife and I decided to go for the Apple Cobbler for dessert. It was a no-brainer, really. The apples were tender, the streusel was perfectly nutty and crunchy. Just as it should be!

6. Urban Farmer Denver

We took a break for a few days. You know, it may sound like lots of fun, but visiting a few restaurants every day can get you exhausted.

And I just knew that break was the right thing to do before heading to this place.

Location: 1659 Wazee St, Denver, CO 80202

Dinner Hours:

  • 7 Days a Week: 4 PM to 10 PM
  • Sundays: 4 PM to 9 PM

Happy Hour:

  • Monday – Friday: 4 PM to 6 PM

Brunch Hours:

  • Saturday & Sunday: 9 AM to 2 PM

This restaurant really brings the local flavor to your plate. They get their ingredients from nearby farms, so when you eat here, you’re getting a taste of the area’s farming traditions.

That’s what makes the experience even more satisfying.

The menu’s got a great selection of steaks from old-school breeds.

Picking one was tough, so the New York Steak Tasting was our choice.

It lets you try different steaks side by side – like grass-fed, grain-finished, and dry-aged. Each one’s cooked just right and tastes amazing.

7. Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox

Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox

Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox is described as a huge, multilevel “gastro-brothel” that combines live music with a restaurant offering eclectic American food, creating a unique dining and entertainment experience.

Open Hours:

  • Thursday: 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM
  • Friday: 5:00 PM – Midnight
  • Saturday: Brunch 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Dinner 5:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Sunday: Brunch 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

The first thing we noticed here is that it has a vibe of younger generations. It is a place to have fun.

The selection of cocktails is pretty good. I got the Hawaii 5-OH! and my wife took the Burlesque. Both good!

And if you are looking for a fine dining experience, this is not a place to choose. However, if you are looking for a place to have a good time with friends, go for it!

We went for a simple meal time, The Fun-Guy Pizza. Caramelized Onions are the detail I liked the most on it.

All in all, it was a decent experience, but just not what we are looking for.

Final Thoughts

Downtown’s always got something new up its sleeve.

We spent a week exploring, but couldn’t hit up all the spots.

Just means we’ve got more adventures to look forward to.

Keep following Denver Denizen for tales that’ll make you wanna drop by.

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