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Denver

larimer squareSteakhouses 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 good 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 pan seared Alaskan halibut and Colorado lamb. 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 four 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? Sticky bun French toast or a soft pretzel egg sandwich?

How to Find a Great Restaurant: Snooze, Denver

At Euclid Hall Bar & Grill in Larimer Square, American pub food mingles triumphantly with rich European dishes. On the menu, you'll find fried green tomato caprese and chicken and waffles listed alongside foie gras and Bavarian veal weisswurst. The high-quality food is remarkably affordable. Entrees start at $9.50 and linger at less than $20. Euclid's creative dessert menu, which features caramel corn drumsticks and sourdough waffle ice cream sandwiches, is not to be overlooked.

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 and fish entrees. The food is unpretentious, fresh and delicious. This popular restaurant fills up (especially on weekends), so make your reservation in advance.
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