The Mile High City is famous for a few things: proximity to the great outdoors, excellent craft breweries and, of course, legal marijuana. But special brownies are hardly the only exciting edibles in town. Whether you’re looking for a post-hike taco or some of the country’s best farm-to-table fine dining, here are 16 Denver dishes you shouldn’t miss.
The 16 Things You Need to Eat When You Visit Denver
Cheese Souffle At Potager
A super-seasonal spot with a fresh, constantly-changing menu. But we always count on there being a roast chicken dish and some sort of astonishingly delicious cheese soufflé. You’ll want them both, but especially the soufflé, with which Instagram-worthy cheese-pull dreams are made.
1109 Ogden St.; 303-832-5788 or potagerrestaurant.com
Braised Duck At Barolo Grill
This swanky Italian spot specializes in romance (white tablecloths, fabulous wine, the whole shebang). And if your date doesn’t have you swooning, this duck—smothered in a rich wine reduction with Kalamata olives and crispy roast potatoes—certainly will.
3030 E. Sixth Ave.; 303-395-1040 or barologrilldenver.com
Cacio E Pepe At Bar Dough
Creative, wood-fired pizzas are the name of the game at Bar Dough, but don’t pass up this dreamy brunch offering. And yes, that is an egg on top. We’re never eating a regular bowl of spaghetti again.
2227 W. 32nd Ave.; 720-668-8506 or bardoughdenver.com
Fresh Bacon At Rioja
We love everything at Rioja, the magical hot spot from James Beard Award-winning chef Jennifer Jasinski. But this pork belly dish with cardamom and a curried chickpea puree is always one of our favorite ways to start a meal here (or anywhere).
1431 Larimer St.; 303-820-2282 or riojadenver.com
Korean Fried Chicken Sliders At Cholon
These spicy, remarkably grease-less little sandwiches are available only at lunch and are certainly worth a special midday trip. But there’s plenty to love on the dinner menu, too. (The outrageous sweet onion and Gruyère soup dumplings come to mind.)
1555 Blake St.; 303-353-5223 or cholon.com/denver
Chile Relleno Burrito At El Taco De Mexico
Nearly everything at Denver’s most authentic taqueria comes with the option to smother in green chile (a Denver specialty). Take the option every single time, people. You won’t be disappointed.
714 Santa Fe Dr.; 303-623-3926 or eltacodemexicodenver.com
Potato-wrapped Oysters Rockefeller At Fruition
For a decade, Fruition has been one of Denver’s most beloved restaurants. The menu changes all the time, but two things never budge: the spaghetti carbonara and these oysters, which come on a pile of spinach, bacon and Parmesan-leek emulsion. (Oh, and by potato-wrapped, they actually mean potato chip-wrapped. Yum.)
1313 E. Sixth Ave.; 303-831-1962 or fruitionrestaurant.com
Ronnie’s Favorite At Rosenberg’s Bagels And Delicatessen
An East Coast transplant’s dream come true: authentic New York bagels and silky smoked fish. We’re partial to the decadent Ronnie’s Favorite, with dill cream cheese, cucumber, Scottish smoked salmon and whitefish salad.
Multiple locations in Denver; 720-440-9880 or rosenbergsbagels.com
Kale And Apple Salad At Acorn
This is the gold standard of kale salads: crunchy and tangy with plenty of candied almond, Grana Padano cheese and great feelings of virtue to help justify the house-made brioche doughnuts you’ll be getting for dessert.
3350 Brighton Blvd.; 720-542-3721 or denveracorn.com
Pad Thai Pig Ears At Euclid Hall
We appreciate any menu divided into Because We Have To, Because We Want To and Because We Can. These crispy little treats, served with an addictive tamarind chili sauce, are Because We Can, and go perfectly with one of the bar’s signature beer cocktails.
1317 14th St.; 303-595-2455 or euclidhall.com
The Franklin At Denver Biscuit Company
With a buttermilk fried chicken breast, thick sliced bacon, cheddar cheese and sausage gravy, this is definitely Cheat Day fare. But trust us: For a decadent hangover-buster, it doesn’t get any better than this.
3237 E. Coflax Ave.; 303-377-7900 or denbisco.com
Salted Oreo Ice Cream At Little Man
You can’t miss Little Man Ice Cream—the building is shaped like a giant milk jug, and there’s always a line fully down the block. If you have an hour to spare, though, it’s worth the wait, especially the salty-sweet take on cookies and cream.
2620 16th St.; 303-455-3811 or littlemanicecream.com
Chilaquiles At Lena
Diving into this dish is quite possibly the best way to start a Denver weekend morning. The secret is the handmade corn tortillas (also the succulent chunks of braised chicken, the tangy tomatillo salsa, the hunks of queso fresco and the rich, oozing egg yolks).
24 Broadway; 720-550-7267 or lenadenver.com
Butter Poached Lobster Mac And Cheese At Mizuna
Consistently rated one of the best restaurants in the country, Mizuna is and always has been elegant A.F. You can't go wrong in Frank Bonanno’s temple of haute cuisine, but this ultra-decadent starter is particularly memorable.
225 E. Seventh Ave.; 303-832-4778 or mizunadenver.com
Nigiri Sushi At Sushi Den
Denver may be a land-locked city, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get excellent sushi. Here, the fish is flown in daily, and it's melt-in-your-mouth fresh and expertly prepared. Don't forget to save room for a piece of the flambéed banana cream pie.
1487 S. Pearl St.; 303-777-0826 or sushiden.net