Steakhouses and microbrews are the stuff of Denver legend. The city's well known for its juicy slabs of steak and locally made beer. But there's such a wide variety of restaurants and cuisine on offer in Denver, it would be tragic to stick with steakhouses alone. Be sure to branch out and have a meal at a farm-to-table restaurant (Fruition's a great one) or a sassy Denver diner while in town.
Larimer Square's upscale Rioja serves Mediterranean-inspired cuisine -- with a surprising local twist. Blown-glass light fixtures and a blood-red wall of wine supply the ambience. Chef Jennifer Jasinski supplies the tasty dishes, such as artichoke tortelloni and scallops with eggplant spanakopita. Local foods are featured in many dishes, and while meat and fish are the stars, some quality vegetarian options are available.Snooze is a Denver institution. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, lines of hungry patrons snake around the block at each of Snooze's three Denver locations. But don't let the long lines scare you away. While you're waiting, you can grab a breakfast cocktail at the bar or enjoy a hot cup of coffee on the house. And when it's finally your turn to be seated, you'll be faced with some tough choices -- so you might want to take a look at the menu while you stand around. Breakfast tacos or pineapple upside-down pancakes? Hash browns covered with cheese or a soft pretzel egg sandwich?
At Euclid Hall Bar & Grill in Larimer Square, American pub food mingles with rich European dishes. On the menu, you'll find chicken and waffles listed alongside foie gras and beef short rib kielbasa. Be sure to save room for dessert.Sam's No. 3 is the diner of diners. Think milkshakes, big baskets of greasy fries, an extensive breakfast menu (served all day, of course) and plenty of counter seating. Sam's was featured on television's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" -- a fact that draws many a Food Network fan to the downtown Denver restaurant (there's also a Sam's in Aurora, Colorado).
Simple, understated decor lends a homey ambience to Fruition Restaurant, a farm-to-table eatery that serves locally grown foods. A simple one-page dinner menu offers well-prepared meat, fish and vegetarian entrees. The food is unpretentious, fresh and delicious. This popular restaurant fills up (especially on weekends), so make your reservation in advance.
Located in LoDo, Aloy Modern Thai is brand-new on the Denver restaurant scene but has already made a name for itself by serving what one of the owners calls "Mom's recipes with a modern twist." This includes familiar favorites like pad Thai and some of the best tom kha soup we've ever had.
Little India serves up curries, kormas and other classic Indian dishes in several locations around Denver. The restaurants are run by two Indian families and include a popular lunchtime buffet.
Join Denver's young and trendy set for vegetarian fare at City, O' City, located just a few blocks from the Capitol and the Denver Art Museum. The menu ranges from "burgers" made of quinoa and pinto beans to pumpkin curry pasta and Waldorf pizza with apples, walnuts, arugula and blue cheese. Gluten-free options are available.