How to Eat Like a Local in Denver

No trip to Denver is complete without enjoying the Mile-High restaurant scene.

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No trip to Denver is complete without enjoying the Mile-High restaurant scene. If you want to avoid the packs of tourists in the 16th Street Mall and LoDo areas, take note of the places the locals love best — and show up with an appetite!

Larimer Square

View of a sidewalk in Larimer Square in Denver during a warm day shows visitors walking and sitting on restaurant patios shaded by umbrellas

Larimer Square is where locals go to taste what some of the nation’s best chefs are cooking up. You can’t go wrong with any of the eateries in this little slice of foodie heaven. Whether you’re in the mood for casual Italian (Osteria Marco), New American (Milk & Honey), tapas (Rioja), or seafood (Ocean Prime), you can find something for every craving — and every budget. To sum it up, Larimer Square is a hands-down favorite when you want great food and a fun atmosphere.

Beatrice & Woodsley

You’ll feel like you’re in a cozy Colorado cabin from the moment you step foot inside Beatrice & Woodsley. Located on Broadway outside downtown, this intimate restaurant has a spot on Zagat’s list of most romantic restaurants in Denver for good reason. Its rustic, low-lit interior sets the mood, but the food is the main event. From small, shared plates like lamb terrine to artful dinner entrees like ricotta pistachio gnocchi, your taste buds are in for a treat. (Bonus: They also serve brunch.)

Work & Class

Interior of Work & Class Restaurant in Denver’s Five Points Neighborhood, Colorado shows rows of chairs at tables set for customers, with a teal bar in the background and wood paneling on the wall

Want good food and no fuss? Work & Class in Denver’s revitalized Five Points neighborhood is the place. Serving a blend of American and Latin American cuisine, it’s the kind of place where you can really let your hair down and just eat. Work & Class aims for what they call a “crazy delicious” menu, with dishes such as roasted goat (cabrito), whole-fried Idaho trout, and blue corn empanadas — and nearly everything is gluten free. As the name suggests, this is a place for working folks, so your wallet can handle the pressure.

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Root Down

A vegan rye burger with fresh vegetables prepared and sitting on a wooden table, near other burgers and leafy greens nearby in Denver, Colorado

Healthy and delicious go hand-in-hand at Root Down. This local favorite made a name for itself by using organic, natural, locally sourced ingredients, with 20 percent of its vegetables coming from its own gardens and more than 50 percent of ingredients coming from within Colorado. Feast on Colombian arepas, veggie burger sliders, and parsnip gnocchi.

Punch Bowl Social

External view of Denver’s Punch Bowl Social on Broadway, illuminated at night.

Where can you find karaoke, bowling, table games, pool, a vintage arcade, and a solid menu all in one place? Denver’s Punch Bowl Social has it all and then some. Popular with locals, this gem offers comfort food — think chicken and waffles, beer braised brats, and cubanos — morning, noon, and night. With its hip, garage-feel interior and fun activities around every corner, the complex offers everything you need to relive the good old days.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Denver off the tourist path? Be sure to check out our Facebook page for more travel inspiration.

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