Denver’s foodie scene is akin to an umami bomb waiting to explode over your tastebuds. Exciting menus offer modernized classic cuisine driven by artisan chefs who transform locally sourced ingredients into tantalizing delights of yummy goodness.
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The unassuming side street entrance for El Five feels like you are entering a secret club. A few steps in and you are whisked up the elevator to the fifth floor. The low lighting gives way to a magnificent panoramic view of the city skyline; a parade of twinkling lights on a beautiful night. El Five is one of the hotest restaurants in got-to-try Denver’s foodie scene.
What to Order at El Five
A beautiful selection of tapas makes it difficult to choose how many small plates you can realistically eat. The Goat Cheese Croquettas and Smoked Burrata are two of my favorites. When it comes to entrees, the Paella will knock your socks off. The menu sports four hefty and shareable paella options–Carne, Seafood, Coliflor, and Carbon Culture Mushroom.
In the heart of Larimer Square, Osteria Marco brings a hearty slice of Italy to Denver. The restaurant is easy to find, just look for the brass pig jutting out over the door, reminiscent of medieval European signage, it sets the tone for an evening of elevated Italian classics.
What to Order at Osteria Marco
It is almost impossible to pass on the house-made Burrata, it will be the benchmark you use to measure all future Burratas. Bread lovers must order the Osteria Ciabatta served with a rich basil pesto. My favorite dishes are Luca’s Wild Mushroom Fusilli served with Oyster and Cremini Mushrooms, Parmesan, and Truffle Oil or the Radiatore Bolognese.
The James Beard Award winner Jennifer Jasinski’s Rioja, offers an eclectic menu featuring elevated Mediterranean cuisine. The dishes bring bright flavors bursting with umami to your table.
What to Order at Rioja
If you have never tried bone marrow, this is the spot to rectify that culinary sidestep. The Roasted Bone Marrow with lavender sourdough bread, pickled rhubarb, and black garlic caramel will make you a convert. The Vegetarian Four Squares, is the prettiest dish of seasonal goodies; it delivers a balance of textures and flavors not usually present in a vegetarian plate. Non-vegetarians will adore the Grilled Wagyu Tri-tip accompanied with a spicy XO Sauce, black garlic, shiitake mushrooms, and pickled cabbage.
The Pig & The Sprout
The cozy and chic The Pig & The Sprout is the perfect spot to meet up with friends for an evening of small plate sharing, adult beverages, and great conversation. The menu offers over a dozen small plates (half vegetarian) along with full plated entrees.
What to Order at The Pig & The Sprout
The Brisket Poutine is an amped up version of the Canadian favorite, crispy fries are smothered with brisket, gravy, and cheese curds. The Jackfruit Bahn Mi Spring Rolls with jackfruit, cucumber, carrot, jalapeno, cilantro, and a spicy teriyaki sauce is an exploding flavor bomb.
The Happy Camper
When you want to hang with the 21+ crowd, The Happy Camper is a kick-back, wear your best flannel shirt, eatery. Juxtaposed with the urban Denver skyline is the backyard campsite decor, perfect for meeting up with friends.
What to Order at The Happy Camper
Pizza and adult beverages are the main fare at The Happy Camper. Joining the classic pizzas are some creative options. The Mr. Pickles comes topped with dill pickles, bacon, and ranch sauce. Another unique pizza is the Josh, piled high with pulled pork, pineapples, jalapenos, and barbeque sauce. Pair your slice with a Frosé or one of their signature cocktails for a great casual night out.
What to Order at City, O’City
One dish you must try is the 1/2 Chicken & Waffles made with chicken-fried cauliflower served over a waffle with bourbon maple syrup and carrot bacon.
The real magic happens late night when you can satisfy your after-party cravings with three different types of French fries–regular with housemade ketchup, Poutine with gravy and cheese curds, and Chipotle Kimchi with all the usual spicy suspects.
Denver Central Market
Rockies, Denver, Colorado
When you can’t decide what to eat, head to Denver Central Market. An assortment of vendor stalls will tempt you with culinary deliciousness. Some of my favorites are Vero Italian for a pizza craving, Culture Meat & Cheese for artisan cheese, Tammen’s Fish Market for a chilled ceviche. Izzio Bakery & Cafe for pastries that will make you swoon, and High Point Creamery to satisfy your ice cream craving rounding out your Central Market visit.
Denver’s Foodie Scene Serve Up Delishiousness
I have only touched on a few of my favorite spots in Denver’s foodie scene. There are hundreds of delicious meals served up by dedicated staff with a diversity of flavor profiles. Denver is the perfect spot for a foodie getaway — A little wine, a perfect nosh, and a great time with friends.
PIN FOR LATER!
Don’t you just hate it when your phone battery is in the dreaded red zone? I always carry Fuel Rods with me. They give me a battery boost, they are rechargeable, and they work with iphones and androids.
Travel health insurance when you are heading out of the country is an important consideration. Many policies don’t fully cover you outside of the US. I use Safety Wing for my international travels. I use the one-time coverage option for individual trips – luckily I haven’t had to use it, but it’s comforting to know I have it in place. And, if you are traveling in a country that may require you to be airlifted for proper medical attention, Medjet is the best option for evac insurance.
If you know me, you know I love a glass of wine (or two). My favorite mail order wine company is Naked Wines. I order a case every month or so – no judgment please. I love that they work with small independent winemakers and I get to choose what wine I want and when I want it delivered.
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