Photo: Somebody People/Chelsea Chorpenning

The 10 Top Rated Restaurants in Denver

by Katie Scott Aiton May 7, 2024

Denver’s food scene is ever-evolving. It’s shrugged off its long-standing cow town reputation with chef-driven restaurants and fun, fast-casual late-night joints. Suburbs have replaced the ranches that once surrounded the city, and although there’s still a hearty steakhouse industry, Denver is one of the more exciting places to eat in the US if you know where to go.

From French dips, white cloth fine dining, pop-ups, and food trucks to more than 100 brewpubs, many with exceptional light bites, there’s a wide variety of cuisine types and price points spread throughout the city’s neighborhoods.

“Be it a burrito smothered in Pueblo green chile, an 18-seat chef’s counter serving a refined tasting menu or one of our 150 metro-area craft breweries, we have something that satisfies every craving,” says Richard W. Scharf, president and CEO of Visit Denver. The evolution of the city’s culinary offerings was recognized last year in the Colorado-based Michelin Guide which celebrated 26 Denver restaurants.

After talking with the restaurant staff, you get a real sense of community spirit here. Tricia Maher, owner of plant-based restaurant Somebody People, shares that Devner’s talented chefs pull together and often work in collaboration. Supporting local small businesses is something this community is proud of. Urban homesteading has brought farming back to the city area, which is showcased in refined farm-to-table seasonal menus.

To help you find the best places to grab a bite, Matador meticulously sifted through reviews on Yelp and Google Maps. Ratings, both out of five, were then added together for an aggregate result of the top-rated places to eat. To ensure the businesses are well established, Matador also only selected restaurants with over 250 reviews. Although customer feedback paints a partial picture, a review-driven list like this can help you navigate the food scene.

If you’re planning a mountain getaway, here are the best restaurants in Denver according to customer ratings.

Temaki Den

Photo: WerkCreative
Photo: WerkCreative
Photo: WerkCreative

Rating: 9.5 (4.8 Google Maps, 4.7 Yelp)

Temaki Den’s nearly perfect score is in part due to the care taken by the kitchen to produce outstanding plates of traditional sushi, service after service. They take pride in their skill set. “We have crafted a dining experience that pays homage to traditional Japanese culinary philosophies and cuisine,” says general manager Kellie O’Brien. Two renowned chefs, Toshi Kizaki and Kenta Kamo, steer the ship with their modern twist on the typical sushi bar we know and love. Popular dishes include spicy tuna temaki, bluefin tsukami-zushi, and salmon oshizushi. Finish the dining experience with the cleansing and zingy yuzu black pepper sorbet or macha affogato.

Temaki Den: 3350 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO 80216

Restaurant Olivia

Photo: Restaurant Olivia
Photo: Restaurant Olivia
Photo: Restaurant Olivia

Rating: 9.4 (4.7 Google Maps, 4.7 Yelp)

Restaurant Olivia is where you go in Denver for pasta. Located in Denver’s Wash Park neighborhood, the menu draws influence from Italian classics and elevates plates with precision and love for home cooking. Each ingredient is carefully sourced from local producers and is organic whenever possible. The drinks menu is also a joy. Playful cocktails like the Spell Bound (vodka, bergamot, lemon, salted green tea, blueberry and hibiscus, tonic) stand next to an interesting Italian wine list of heady Barbera and Montepulciano and mineral-laden whites. There’s an exceptional five-course tasting menu ($115 per person) and wine pairing, or you can order a la carte. The handmade paste is a must. Tortelloni alla vodka with black trumpet mushroom, smoked fontina, and candied garlic, and shells stuffed with warming nduja, salsify, chipotle, and sherry gastrique are two favorites.

Olivia: 290 S Downing St, Denver, CO 80209

Crave Mediterranean Grill

Rating: 9.4 (4.8 Google Maps, 4.6 Yelp)

A step away from the fine-dining experience, but equally as popular, is Crave Mediterranean Grill. This family-run establishment has been in operation for over 20 years. Diners come here hungry for lashings of hummus topped with paprika and olive oil, fragrant rice dish lamb kabsa, tabbouleh, Lebanese fattoush salad, and stacks of steaming pita. Recent diner and Yelp reviewer David raves about the succulent baba ganoush and grilled lamb cooked to perfection and his liking. New Yorker Benjamin says on Yelp his bar is set high due to the Mediterranean dining scene in NYC, but Crave is his “go-to” when in Denver.

Crave Mediterranean Grill: 1000 S Colorado Blvd Ste 103, Glendale, CO 80246

Fish N Beer

Rating: 9.3 (4.7 Google Maps, 4.6 Yelp)

Fish N Beer is no stranger to a “best restaurant” list or props in the press. The seafood restaurant promises the “freshest fish in Colorado,” offering the coastally-challenged state plates of freshly shucked oysters and wood-grilled fish. Five-star Yelp reviewers talk highly of popular dishes such as the crab-stuffed cod, the Alamosa bass with devil butter, roasted fingerling potatoes, and the brown butter pan-seared scallops. There’s also a focus on craft beer with a constantly changing tap list of around two dozen brews.

Fish N Beer: 3510 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205

Hey Bangkok!

Rating: 9.2 (4.5 Google Maps, 4.7 Yelp)

Hey Bangkok! is owned and operated by the owners of the popular Swing Thai restaurants in the city. It’s a locally-owned and family-run business that has been supported by the community of Denver to thrive into a three-venue venture. The success is also in part due to the hard-working staff and family recipes from across Thailand. As the name suggests this outpost has a focus on street food from Bangkok. The menu includes staples like crispy spring rolls, peanut-topped pad-thai, and Thai boneless fried chicken. Come here, if you’re in the mood for punchy flavor and a casual street food dining experience.

Hey Bangkok!: 301 S Pennsylvania St, Denver, CO 80209

Yahya’s Mediterranean Grill and Pastries

Rating: 9.2 (4.6 Google Maps, 4.6 Yelp)

Yahya’s Mediterranean Grill and Pastries is an excellent place if you’re looking for a relaxed place for a group. The chefs and owners have spent time in the Middle East, bringing back inspiration from Turkey, Iraq, and Syria for the comfort food menu. Yelp’s five-star reviews remark on the friendliness of staff and the excellent level of service, even during peak times. There’s also a celebration of vegetables with a superb variety of non-meat dishes such as the popular veggie plate of falafel, tabouli, turmeric rice, baba ganoush, hummus and pita, stuffed grape leaf, and lentil soup.

Yahya’s Mediterranean Grill & Pastries: 2207 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206

Pho & Bar

Rating: 9.2 (4.6 Google Maps, 4.6 Yelp)

Pho & Bar serves traditional Vietnamese food with an imaginative twist. “Our pho is a labor of love, simmered to perfection for hours to achieve that rich, flavorful broth,” say owners and the people behind East Alameda’s Pho Haus, Annie Tran and Aaron Lam. The house pho is what people queue for, but the pho roll of lemongrass beef, pickled veggies, and fresh herbs, Asian buffalo wings, and five-spice fries with sriracha aioli have quickly become cult favorites. The dining space is cozy and inviting, the perfect atmosphere for a bowl of pho with friends or family. Yelp reviewer Joseph recommends both the house pho with a side of rare fillet to add to the steaming noodles.

Pho & Bar: 1600 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80218

Pony Up

Rating: 9.2 (4.6 Google Maps, 4.6 Yelp)

Restaurant and bar Pony Up is a great shout for a late-night dinner (or lunch, for that matter). It’s playful and attracts a cool crowd without being pretentious. The patio space is where you want to be on a warm evening with a cocktail or cold beer between rounds of stand-up shuffleboard (the venue also has entertainment). Pony Up established itself as the place to go for French dips — The Alameda Street Classic of roast beef, sea salt, rosemary, mayo, and beef jus is a classic for good reason. The menu simple, yet perfectly executed. If a sandwich doesn’t hit the spot, you can opt for French onion soup, Japanese style fried chicken, or peanut butter burger.

Pony Up: 1808 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202

Somebody People

Photo: Somebody People/Chelsea Chorpenning
Photo: Somebody People/Chelsea Chorpenning

Rating: 9.2 (4.7 Google Maps, 4.5 Yelp)

The Denver food scene still heavily favors meat, but new-generation vegetarian and vegan establishments are popping up. One of the better places for plant-based food is Somebody People. The gourmet vegetarian dining spot embraces local, seasonal produce and is committed to sustainable practices.

“We end every week with Sunday Supper, a five-course, chef-selected tasting menu served family-style for the table. We look to see what we have in-house from the farms and cook it all up. This helps minimize our food waste (as we’re closed on Mondays) and gives guests a unique experience each week,” says owner Tricia Maher.

Maher also shares that guests are encouraged to bring their own containers so they can take home any leftovers. Current popular dishes include the Esoterra Farm Salad with radishes, house-made sourdough croutons, and red wine vinaigrette, the roasted broccoli with ajo blanco, almonds, and sumac topped with parsley mint salsa, and house-made fresh orzo pasta with English peas, mint, and lemon. Finish with the tiramisu and a Dirty Deed cocktail with award-winning Askur gin.

Somebody People: 1165 S Broadway #104, Denver, CO 80210


Rating: 9.2 (4.7 Google Maps, 4.5 Yelp)

Cart-Driver is a pocket rocket. The Rino location sits inside a transformed 640-square-foot shipping container and serves plates of fresh oysters on the half shell, woodfired pizzas, batch cocktails, and Italian wine. There’s no messing around here. It’s first come, first served, seating patrons inside the container and out on the patio area. Take out is also available. They also have a happy hour from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM and from 10:00 PM to midnight putting it in good company with Pony Up as another great late-night hang. And you’ll feel humbled by your happy hour session. Each month Cart-Driver creates a cocktail and donates 100 percent of sales to a chosen local non-profit.

Cart-Driver RiNo: 2500 Larimer St #100, Denver, CO 80205

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