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9 of the Best Food Spots in Denver

Insider Guides Food + Drink
by Tim Wenger Oct 20, 2016

Accompanying the cultural boom in Denver is a budding food scene powered by modern restaurants and an increasing number of world-class chefs. The best part? You don’t have to head downtown to find them all. Here are nine spots making Denver a great place to eat this fall.

Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.

1. Vital Root

 Vital RootDenver, United StatesThe latest offering from Edible Beats, Vital Root is farm-to-table vegetarian cuisine served in a fast casual setting right in the heart of Highlands. If you’ve been to Root Down, picture a similar meal served quick enough that you’re parking meter won’t expire and with a good chunk knocked off the price tag. The cocktails are pre-made and ordered at the counter, but don’t worry- they’re not skimping you on any booze.

2. Denver Central Market

 The Denver Central MarketDenver, United StatesEuro-style is rubbing off hard on Denver right now. Our newest food hall is bringing concepts and established businesses together- 13 of them to be exact, including a bakery, a butcher and cheese shop, and fresh concepts from some of Denver’s hottest chefs. This will put RiNo firmly on the foodie’s map, adding a little more diversity to a neighborhood already soaked in craft beer.

3. Terminal Bar

 Union Station Terminal BarDenver, United StatesThe Terminal Bar is as much of a local hotspot as it is a stop for tourists arriving via train to Union Station. The beer hall concept and German influence are being mixed with amazing tastings and special events. It is not uncommon to see the seating area outside the actual bar roped off with a fully catered event in progress. I suggest getting down there before holiday party season starts, otherwise, it could be mid-winter by the time you’re able to get the full experience.

4. Adrift Tiki Bar

 AdriftDenver, United StatesI’ve always dig this place. Maybe it’s the wooden statues staring me down while I drink the fruitier cocktail in town. Or the fact that grilled chicken tastes undeniably better on a stick. Either way, the place is getting a shake-up under new owner Paul Tamburello. I predict it’s going to fit in more with South Broadway’s hipster scene, not just serve as an oasis catering to diners and reveled looking to whisk themselves away from their landlocked location.

5. Clyde

 Clyde Restaurant, Wine Bar & Design StoreDenver, United StatesWe all shed a tear for Le Central when the place closed doors last September. Over the past year, I’ve wondered what will happen to the iconic building every time I drive by, but it looks like it’s landed in good hands. Ever thought about shopping at an -on-site design shop while waiting for a table? That’s what will be going down at Clyde. I think it’s safe to say that any lingering ‘cow town’ labels can now be thrown out the window.

6. Sports Authority Field (Or Whatever It’s Going to be Re-Named) at Mile High.

 Sports Authority Field at Mile HighDenver, United StatesTo chase Breck Brew’s United In Orange Pale Ale, you can now enjoy slaw made with Palisade Peaches on top of your Southwest Chicken Sausage while watching the Broncos. We’ve got the second highest ticket prices in the NFL following last season’s Super Bowl Victory, but it’s all good- the team is taking the extra money and turning their stadium into a culinary hotspot for the sports-inclined.

7. Illegal Pete’s

 Illegal Pete’s ColfaxDenver, United StatesEven if you aren’t a victim of Chipotle-phobia, Illegal Pete’s is worth a visit. Their new location on East Colfax (in the old Mama’s Cafe building) gives them an anchor on this key side of town. I’ve been a dedicated supporter of Pete Turner and Virgil Dickerson’s endeavors to highlight and grow Denver’s incredible music community for several years now, and the fact that I can do that by eating the city’s best hand-held burrito makes it a no-brained when the fast casual Mexican bug bites. There’s no better place to go before (or after) a concert.

8. Himalaya House

 Himalaya HouseGolden, United StatesHimalaya House, opened in late 2014, has finally worked through the kinks and is just coming into its stride over the past few months. I’m not bullshitting you here- they serve the best Indian, Nepalese, and Tibetan food in the Denver area. Period. Plus, they are located right off 6th Avenue so when you’re on your way back downtown from the mountains it isn’t even necessary to go out of the way. The atmosphere is, on all accounts, designed to let the food do the talking. Keep this in mind when you’ve got the post-skiing munchies but don’t feel like dealing with a packed out après bar.

9. Hop Alley

 Hop AlleyDenver, United StatesFinally, we can enjoy upscale Chinese without having to go to P.F. Chang’s. You know this place is good because they are constantly Instagramming pictures of their food and that’s actuall how it looks at the restaurant. As we move into cooler temperatures it’s ok to move inside to enjoy a meal.

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