Denver’s 13 Most Iconic Restaurants | Best Places To Dine In Denver, CO

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When in Denver, don’t miss out on the following activities that will help you immerse yourself in the city (get them while they’re hot!):

  • Denver: Haunted Walking Ghost Tour
  • Denver: 6-Zipline Rocky Mountains Adventure Tour
  • Denver: Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park Ticket
  • Denver: Glacier Hike and Geothermal Cave Pools
  • Denver: Customized Guided Tour

Visiting other places in Colorado? See our other guides:

  • 7 Best Grand Lake Colorado Restaurants
  • 12 Best Things To Do In Breckenridge, CO
  • 10 Best Restaurants In Colorado Springs
  • 7 Must-Try Breckenridge Restaurants

Denver may be most known for its height (dubbed “The Mile High City”), having over 300 days of sunlight per year (ideal for rooftops), or being a major dog in the US beer scene.

Visitors may be astonished to discover a thriving Denver restaurant scene as well! Whether it’s breakfast, brunch (a particular Colorado favorite), lunch, or supper, there’s no lack of fantastic places to eat in Denver.

This may make deciding where to eat difficult. Thus, in every city, a good place to start is with the famous restaurants, which are the ones that put a city on the map in terms of cuisine or are immediately identifiable inside that city borders. And it all begins here in Denver.

Denver’s Thirteen Most Iconic Restaurants

Buckhorn Exchange: Denver’s Oldest Restaurant

Osage St, +1 303-534-9505

Buckhorn Exchange is at the top of everyone’s list of the most historic Denver eateries, and for good reason. This restaurant is not only in its second CENTURY of existence, but it is also recognized with possessing the first liquor license in Colorado. In reality, having opened in 1893, it is Denver’s oldest restaurant and steakhouse.

People now go in droves to this restaurant for their extensive selection of wild game. Indeed, you can have your normal beef, chicken, or hog at any restaurant. What distinguishes Buckhorn is the availability of meats such as elk, yak, and alligator. And, of course, rocky mountain oysters, a local specialty. If the carnivore in you yearns for more and more diverse meat, make a reservation at this unusual Colorado restaurant.


Sams No. 3: A Traditional Denver Diner

303-534-1927500 Curtis St.

Is there anything more authentically American than a great diner? A location where costs are normally cheaper, breakfast is available all day, and the menu is large enough that everyone can find something they like?

Sams No. 3 is the pinnacle of a Colorado traditional restaurant. Fans of Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives may know this restaurant, since Sams was featured on the program in 2011. And if it wasn’t already popular (it was), it has subsequently exploded!

Breakfast is available all day, as well as burgers, sandwiches, and other traditional diner cuisine. But what Sams is Actually renowned for are their incredible green chili and enormous (and imaginative) breakfast burritos!

Try this iconic Denver cafe for a dining experience reminiscent of yesteryear.


Cherry Cricket: Denver’s Greatest Burgers

E 2nd Ave, +1 303-322-76662641

Since the 1940s, the Cherry Cricket has been serving some of the greatest burgers in Colorado. It was regarded as one of Denver’s first sports bars at the time.

In the twenty-first century, the Cricket is so beloved by the Denver community that when a fire damaged the building in 2016, the effects were felt across the city. However, their hiatus was brief, and they returned stronger than ever, even building a second restaurant in Denver’s stadium area.

Try one of their signature sandwiches or build your own from their extensive list of possible components. The options are limitless. Just be sure you get some fries to go with it! This Colorado restaurant has a wonderful atmosphere, a lot of fun, and delicious burgers.


Casa Bonita: Denver’s Most Exciting Restaurant

303-232-51156715 West Colfax Avenue

When people outside of Denver think of restaurants, Casa Bonita may be the most well-known. South Park is ultimately responsible for this. They aren’t recognized for their cuisine, which is extremely basic cafeteria-style Mexican meals.

Yet, whatever we got here, a list of legendary eateries would be incomplete without include this one. Despite the fact that they are aware of the dietary deficiencies, customers continue to visit this institution for the experience.

Casa Bonita features around thirty attractions on its agenda. The most popular (and renowned) is the dive show, in which divers leap from a thirty-foot high indoor waterfall into a fourteen-foot deep pool. Although it may seem unusual to put an ordinary Denver restaurant on our list, the entertainment value here is anything from average.


Gaetanos: Denver’s Traditional Italian Restaurant

Tejon St., +1 303-455-98523760

The Smaldones, Denver’s most prominent criminal family with confirmed links to the mafia, originally owned Gaetanos. Indeed, it was generally recognized as a mafia hangout from the moment it debuted in what was formerly Denver’s Little Italy district.

Nowadays, it is generally recognized as Denver’s finest old-school, authentic Italian restaurant. Its menu has all of your favorite Italian dishes, such as burrata, hand-tossed pizzas, chicken parmigiana, and the finest lasagna you’ve ever had.

You could also see their Frank Sinatra mimic entertaining the audience. Check out one of Denver’s greatest Italian restaurants for quality cuisine and a fascinating history.


Denver Restaurant: Outstanding 24 Hour Denver Diner

W Colfax Ave, +1 303-825-5443740

Another renowned diner from the Denver culinary scene. This one is open 24 hours a day and is quite popular with the after-bar crowd (as you can imagine).

If you chance to be here late at night, you’ll get some of the greatest people-watching a restaurant has to offer along with your food.

Yet it’s the old-school diner vibe, together with a cuisine that has become associated with the typical American diner, that keeps customers going back. Even though the people-watching experience dwindles a bit throughout the day, don’t let that deter you from trying this historic Denver cafe.


Brown Palace: An Excellent Choice for Upscale Dinner in Denver

+1 303-297-3111321 17th St

The Brown Palace, built in 1892, is Denver’s second-longest running hotel, and its unusual triangle design has left its stamp on the downtown Denver map. The hotel, as a symbol of luxury, is now a favorite tourist splurge destination (read: not cheap).

The dining selections at the Brown Palace are equally luxurious, with no cost spared. Ellyngtons, in particular, is well-known for their lavish champagne breakfasts.

Instead, the Palace Arms offers four-diamond exquisite dining among Napoleonic antiques. The hotel even serves a beautiful afternoon tea in the style of the United Kingdom.

Visit the Brown Palace for an upmarket dining experience that combines elegance with an international flare.


Elways: Denver’s Finest Steakhouse

+1 303-312-3107

Nobody is more liked and renowned than John Elway. coach Denver is a sports-obsessed city, having professional teams in every major sport. The city bleeds blue and orange for the Denver Broncos in football. And there is no player on the Broncos’ roster.

Therefore it’s only logical that a restaurant founded by Elway would be a great success. But, although the name may draw people in, it is the cuisine that keeps them coming back. Elways Steakhouse has become known with hand-cut USDA prime steaks, superb Colorado lamb, fresh seafood (for a land-locked state), and an incredible wine collection.

Go out this best of Denver steakhouse even if you’re not a Broncos fan.


The Fort: An Excellent Location for a Regional Game

+1 303-697-477119192 CO-8

The Fort is a well-known Colorado restaurant with an unusual history. It was built to be a family house at first, but the restaurant was added as an income generator after the project went over budget. They were finished in 1963 and opened for business.

The family also adopted a black bear cub (called Sissy) that ended up staying at The Fort for nineteen years! She would welcome visitors and was even immortalized in a children’s book.

Nowadays, the Forts menu puts a modern spin on the regional game that mountain men and Indian tribes ate. Some of their specialties include buffalo, elk, and quail, and they offer over 80,000 buffalo meals each year.

The restaurant claims to be influenced by ancient recipes and aims to restore cuisine trends from the 1800s into the present day. The Fort is a unique dining experience in Denver.


Illegal Petes: A Denver Mexican food favorite

303-623-21691530 16th Street Mall #101

You may not realize it, but Chipotle was founded in Denver, Colorado. Although they’ve become a national favorite, genuine Denverites will tell you there’s a bigger, better, more legendary dog in the fast-casual burrito business. It is Illegal Petes, my friends.

Illegal Petes serves up mission-style Mexican meals, including burritos, tacos, and quesadillas. But, here you may add fried fish, queso, pesto sauce, or fried potatoes to your burrito. Since everything is FRESH, it takes a bit longer to cook, but the Baja fish everything is to die for.

In addition to the amazing cuisine, Illegal Petes boasts a full bar and late-night hours to accommodate the late-night clientele. It’s no surprise that this Colorado hotspot has a cult following. Go no farther than the Denver restaurant list for delicious Mexican cuisine.


Little Man Ice Cream: Denver’s Finest Ice Cream

+1 303-455-38112620 16th St

Little Man is a newborn compared to the other restaurants on our list, having started in 2008. Yet when it comes to excellent ice cream in Denver, it doesn’t get much better than this.

It is not unusual to see a line wrapping all the way up the block at this distinctive milk-jug-shaped establishment with innovative flavors. Visitors travel to this location in droves for fresh, homemade ice cream and waffle cones.

And, although the tastes change, you’re guaranteed to discover something you enjoy. A particular fan favorite is the salted Oreo! Satisfy your sweet taste at this Colorado institution.


Charlie Brown’s Piano Bar is Denver’s oldest piano bar.

Grant St., +1 303-860-1655980

Charlie Browns, another historic establishment on our list, has been in operation since the Prohibition Period. And when you come in now, you can see it hasn’t altered much over time. The décor is a little old, with antiques and references to its prohibition connection.

You may be shocked to learn that Charlie Browns is Denver’s oldest piano bar. They even have nightly sing-alongs!

Seafood feasts, Greek delicacies, or the usual burgers and pizza. chicken In terms of cuisine, steak is available.

Anything you purchase will be of high quality. Is there anything better than live music and sing-a-longs with a dynamic crowd?


Pete’s Kitchen: Traditional Greek Cuisine

+1 303-321-31391962 East Colfax Avenue

Pete Contos (RIP) came to Denver in the 1950s as a Greek immigrant. He started working in local restaurants, and by 1962, he was his first of many restaurant owners, establishing a legacy in Colorado that is still alive and well today.

Although you can’t go wrong at all of Pete’s eateries, Pete’s Kitchen is a Colorado restaurant favorite. Although the menu is diner-style and contains a broad range of things, its Greek specialities are not to be missed. Gyros, souvlaki, and kebabs are all certain to be tasty. Petes is the place to go in Denver if you want to eat great Greek cuisine.

When it comes to dining at Denver restaurants, there is no lack of fantastic options. Yet, if you want to learn more about the history and importance of Denver eateries, you can’t go wrong with any of these local landmarks.


Which of these historic Denver eateries do you want to try the most? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!

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