12 Unique Restaurants in Colorado: The Most Unforgettable Eats in The Centennial State

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Colorado
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Welcome to our exploration of the most unique restaurants in Colorado. This guide will take you through a selection of spots that provide unforgettable experiences. From dining in the sky to eating inside a historic airplane, get ready to discover what makes Colorado’s culinary scene stand out.

Colorado, known for its breathtaking mountains and vibrant cities, is also home to some of the most unique dining experiences you’ll ever encounter. From historic diners that take you back in time to futuristic eateries that seem out of this world, this guide is your ticket to exploring the extraordinary.

In this collection, we’re not just talking about food. We’re exploring dining destinations that offer something you can’t find anywhere else. Think of dining in the sky, mysteries unfolding with your dessert, and global cuisines that transport you across continents without leaving your seat. Each restaurant we’re about to dive into brings its own flavor to the table, making your meal an unforgettable part of your Colorado adventure.

So, grab your fork (or your chopsticks, or your spoon) and let’s embark on a culinary tour that promises more than just a meal. It’s an exploration of taste, tradition, and the tales that make Colorado a feast for the senses from the moment you fly in this city.

The top restaurants to visit in Colorado right now

Unique Restaurants in Colorado: 12 Incredible Colorado Eateries

From meals served in the sky to dishes prepared in a historic airplane, each spot in Colorado offers something special. Get ready to uncover the hidden gems of Colorado’s culinary scene as we guide you through some unforgettable dining experiences.

1. Urban Farmer

Welcome to Urban Farmer in Denver, a place where the best food in Colorado comes to life. Right in the historic Oxford Hotel, this spot is all about fresh, farm-to-table eating. Chef Chris Starkus makes sure every dish, from veggies to steaks, is top-notch and full of flavor.

Here, you can enjoy dishes like tasty octopus, earthy roasted mushrooms, or a special steak trio. The cool part? Ingredients come from close by, including honey from bees living on the hotel’s roof and mushrooms grown right in the basement. Even the drinks get a local twist, making every sip a little adventure.

Urban Farmer isn’t just a restaurant; it’s a whole vibe and a true Colorado gem. It’s stylish, welcoming, and celebrates everything great about Colorado’s food. Whether you’re dropping by for a hearty brunch, a cozy lunch, or a memorable dinner, you’re in for a real treat.

Urban Farmer is one of the unique restaurants in Colorado.
Welcome to Urban Farmer, where fresh, farm-to-table cuisine thrives under Chef Chris Starkus.

2. Snooze A.M. Eatery

Snooze A.M. Eatery turned the breakfast game on its head when it opened in Denver in 2006. Founded by brothers Jon and Adam Schlegel, Snooze was born from a simple idea: make mornings fun. Today, with 37 locations and counting, it’s clear they’ve cracked the code. Each spot, buzzing with energy, closes at 2:30 p.m., focusing solely on breakfast, lunch, and brunch.

As one of the unique restaurants in Colorado, Snooze brings something special to the table. It’s not just pancakes and eggs here; it’s about creating experiences. With dishes like the pineapple upside down pancake and benny duos, they mix classic comfort with a twist. And it’s all about community, from sourcing ingredients locally to making sure every guest leaves happier than they arrived.

At Snooze, the vibe is as important as the menu. It’s a place where day drinking is embraced, and the atmosphere is always lively. The founders still play a big role, ensuring Snooze stays true to its roots while expanding across the country. It’s a testament to doing one thing really well: making sure your morning starts with a smile.

Snooze A.M. Eatery redefined breakfast, closing at 2:30 p.m. and focusing solely on breakfast, lunch, and brunch.
Snooze A.M. Eatery redefined breakfast, closing at 2:30 p.m. and focusing solely on breakfast, lunch, and brunch.

3. El Five

At the heart of Denver, there’s a spot that turns dinner into a scene from a movie. El Five sits high up, giving you a view of the city like no other. It’s a mix of old-school cinema charm and a touch of exotic flair, with walls adorned by Turkish and Egyptian movie posters.

It’s one of the top scenic places in Colorado to eat, offering more than just a meal. Here, you’re dining against the backdrop of stunning city views, making every bite an experience. The menu is a delightful journey through the Mediterranean, with tapas that blend traditional tastes with modern twists. Don’t miss out on the Spreads of the Med platter or the unique matzo-ball soup dumplings.

El Five isn’t just about eating; it’s about experiencing. From the flamboyant drinks to the carefully crafted dishes, everything here tells a story. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a night out with a difference, El Five promises a mini-vacation right in the heart of Denver.

El Five offers cinematic dining with city views and exotic flair from Turkish and Egyptian movie posters.
El Five offers cinematic dining with city views and exotic flair from Turkish and Egyptian movie posters.

4. Adam’s Mystery Playhouse

Looking for a place where dinner comes with a side of mystery? Adam’s Mystery Playhouse is Colorado’s go-to spot for a night of fun, food, and detective work. It’s a full-on interactive experience that gets everyone involved in solving a hilarious murder mystery.

Part of the charm of Adam’s Mystery Playhouse lies in its status as one of the best themed restaurants in Colorado. Guests step into a historic mansion, setting the scene for a night of intrigue and laughter. Here, professional actors lead the way, weaving stories filled with comedy and suspense. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, looking for a unique date night, or planning a company party, this place promises an unforgettable experience.

The show is rated PG, making it a perfect choice for families, friends, and team-building events. With a meal to enjoy and a mystery to solve, guests are guaranteed to leave with big smiles. It’s no surprise that Adam’s Mystery Playhouse is celebrated as a top entertainment destination in Denver. Ready for the crime of your life? This is where you’ll find it.

Adam's Mystery Playhouse offers a night of interactive fun, food, and detective work.
Adam’s Mystery Playhouse offers a night of interactive fun, food, and detective work.

5. Root Down

A restaurant transforms dining into an eco-friendly experience in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood. Root Down takes pride in its commitment to sustainability, local sourcing, and ethical practices. This spot has become a favorite for those who care about where their food comes from and how it’s grown.

As one of Colorado’s best restaurants, Root Down sets the bar high. Almost all ingredients are organic, coming either from its own garden or local farms. The menu caters to everyone, offering dishes that are vegetarian, vegan, raw, and gluten-free. From farm-to-table ethics to the use of humane animal proteins, Root Down is all about making a positive impact on the planet.

Whether you’re enjoying a meal on the patio or inside the converted 1950s service station, the experience is unforgettable. With over half of its ingredients sourced locally, Root Down is a movement towards more conscious dining. It’s a place where every dish tells a story of community, sustainability, and culinary excellence.

Root Down offers an eco-friendly dining experience, prioritizing sustainability, local sourcing, and ethics.
Root Down offers an eco-friendly dining experience, prioritizing sustainability, local sourcing, and ethics.

6. Linger

Blending history with global dining in an unforgettable way is Linger, nestled in the Lower Highland (LoHi) neighborhood. The restaurant stands out as a destination for those seeking unique places to eat in Colorado. Its home, a former mortuary, adds a layer of intrigue to its vibrant atmosphere.

The menu at Linger takes guests on a global journey, featuring dishes like the adventurous Cricket and Cassava Empanada alongside the beloved Devils on Horseback. Each plate is a conversation starter, crafted with creativity and flair. The bar doesn’t hold back either, offering unique cocktails such as the Corpse Reviver, with activated charcoal for a touch of the macabre.

The setting is as eclectic as the menu, boasting a bar adorned with Lite Brite and a rooftop that features a converted 1975 GMC RV and a food truck kitchen. This innovative approach to dining and decor has placed Linger on the map as one of America’s Coolest Rooftop Bars. Here, food, culture, and a rich history converge to offer a dining experience unlike any other.

Linger combines history with global cuisine, attracting diners seeking unique experiences in Colorado.
Linger combines history with global cuisine, attracting diners seeking unique experiences in Colorado.

7. The Source

In Denver’s cool RiNo area, there’s a place called The Source that’s brought an old brick building from the 1880s back to life. It’s a treasure chest for anyone who loves good food and cool shops. Imagine finding the best bread, tasty tacos, and even flowers all in one spot. Plus, parking is easy and free, so visiting is a breeze.

Every weekend, The Source spices things up with new pop-up shops. It’s a place where you can always find something different, from Mexican food at Comida to unique finds at Svper Ordinary. It’s more than just a market; it’s a place where the community comes together.

In the list of best places to eat in Colorado, The Source really shines. It’s a spot where food, shopping, and fun mix together, making it a must-visit for anyone in Denver. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, The Source has something special for you.

The Source revitalizes an 1880s brick building into a haven for food and shopping enthusiasts.
The Source revitalizes an 1880s brick building into a haven for food and shopping enthusiasts.

8. Pikes Peak

High up in Colorado, there’s a place where the sky touches the earth and unique treats await. Pikes Peak, known as America’s Mountain, is famous for its breathtaking views and a special culinary delight at the top. The Pikes Peak Summit House serves donuts made from a recipe that thrives at high altitudes.

Visitors find themselves at one of the fun places to eat in Colorado when they reach the summit. These scientifically crafted donuts have been a tradition since 1916. Whether by hike, bike, or drive, reaching the top rewards you with these unique treats.

The new Summit Complex, designed around a massive new donut machine, will produce over 500,000 donuts a year. The quality and unique flavors, including cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom, make these donuts unforgettable. This destination is a must-visit for its combination of natural beauty and culinary innovation, ensuring every visit is memorable.

The Summit House serves high-altitude donuts, a culinary delight amidst breathtaking views.
The Summit House serves high-altitude donuts, a culinary delight amidst breathtaking views. | Image Source: https://www.pikes-peak.com/

9. The Airplane Restaurant

For a dining adventure that’s truly out of this world, Colorado Springs is home to a restaurant where you can enjoy your meal inside an actual airplane. The Airplane Restaurant is a unique spot that takes the concept of themed dining to new heights, literally. Inside a fully intact Boeing KC-97 tanker, guests can enjoy a meal surrounded by aviation history.

This place is among the coolest restaurants in Colorado, offering guests a chance to dine in an environment that’s anything but ordinary. The Airplane Restaurant isn’t just about the novelty; it’s a tribute to the aircraft’s storied past, from refueling missions across the globe to troop transport duties. Saved from being lost at sea and ending its service in the Texas Air Guard, this plane found its final calling as a distinctive eatery in 2002.

The menu flies high with American classics, from juicy burgers to hearty steaks and pasta dishes. Themed favorites like the Philly Flyer and Air Tower Nachos add to the fun, making it a hit with both kids and adults. With the cockpit open for exploration and the walls adorned with aviation memorabilia, it’s a dining experience that’s both educational and entertaining.

The Airplane Restaurant offers a truly unique dining experience inside a fully intact Boeing KC-97 tanker.
The Airplane Restaurant offers a truly unique dining experience inside a fully intact Boeing KC-97 tanker.

10. Davies’ Chuck Wagon Diner

In Lakewood, a diner with a cowboy theme and a big fiberglass horse on top has been serving up classic American meals since 1957. Davies’ Chuck Wagon Diner, originally built in New Jersey and shipped to Colorado, is a slice of history where guests can step back in time.

Among hidden gem restaurants in Colorado, this diner stands out for its unique backstory and dedication to preserving the past. After 38 years under the same owner, it recently changed hands, but the legacy and love for the community continue. The new owner plans to keep the diner’s charm while making some updates to bring back its original glory.

The menu is full of favorites like burgers, steaks, and milkshakes, with some new additions planned. It’s a place where regulars are known by name, and the walls are lined with photos and memorabilia that tell stories of the past.

Davies' Chuck Wagon Diner serves classic American meals amidst a cowboy-themed ambiance.
Davies’ Chuck Wagon Diner serves classic American meals amidst a cowboy-themed ambiance.

11.  Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

Gifted by Boulder’s sister city in Tajikistan, Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse is a Persian teahouse and masterpiece of art and architecture. It tells the story of two cities connecting across the globe, offering a peaceful spot for locals and visitors to gather.

The journey of this teahouse to Boulder is as fascinating as its intricate designs. Crafted by Tajik artisans, it was shipped in pieces and reassembled, becoming a beloved landmark. It’s a place where every detail, from the hand-carved ceilings to the vibrant oil paintings, tells a story of cultural exchange and craftsmanship.

Among unique Colorado restaurants, the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse truly stands out. Here, you can explore over 100 types of tea, enjoy dishes from around the world, and relax by the Fountain of Seven Beauties. It’s more than a dining spot; it’s a bridge between cultures, offering a taste of Tajikistan in the heart of Boulder. Whether you’re sipping the famous Teahouse Chai or exploring the artwork, this teahouse is a treasure waiting to be discovered.

Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse serves as a symbol of global connection and offers a tranquil gathering place.
Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse serves as a symbol of global connection and offers a tranquil gathering place.

12. The Crypt

The Crypt, born from a love of punk music and a history that ties back to the ’80s, is making waves. Before it even opened, mysterious fliers from decades past began appearing, hinting at its deep roots in the local music scene.

This place is quickly becoming one of the fun restaurants in Colorado. With a mostly vegan menu that doesn’t skimp on creativity, it’s a dive bar where everyone can find something they love. From vegan Reubens to late-night snacks, the focus is on quality, homemade food that’s affordable and inclusive.

The Crypt isn’t just about food and drinks; it’s a celebration of community and history. With decor inspired by death culture and a commitment to being a space where “weirdos” can be themselves, it’s a unique addition to Denver’s dining scene. Whether you’re there for the punk vibes, the vegan eats, or just to soak in the atmosphere, The Crypt promises an experience unlike any other.

The Crypt, rooted in '80s punk and mystery, makes waves before opening, hinting at its deep roots in the local music scene.
The Crypt, rooted in ’80s punk and mystery, makes waves before opening, hinting at its deep roots in the local music scene. | Image Source: https://thecryptdenver.com/

Frequently Asked Questions About the Unique Places to Eat in Colorado

Got questions about eating out in Colorado? Our Colorado restaurant guide FAQ section has all the answers you need.

What food is Colorado famous for?

Colorado is known for its love of game meat, like bison and elk. It’s also famous for Palisade peaches, Rocky Ford melons, and Olathe sweet corn. Don’t forget the green chili, a spicy favorite that locals adore. These foods reflect Colorado’s rich agricultural heritage and its blend of cultures. From food festivals to local farmers’ markets, these items are celebrated across the state, offering a taste of the vibrant things to do in Colorado.

What food can you only get in Denver?

Denver is unique for its Denver omelet, a hearty breakfast favorite. Also, Rocky Mountain oysters are a must-try for the adventurous eater. These dishes, along with craft beers from Denver’s many breweries, offer a taste of the city’s bold flavors and innovative spirit. Denver’s culinary scene is a mix of traditional recipes and modern twists, making it a standout in the best restaurants and one of the top places to live and visit in Colorado.

How many Michelin star restaurants are in Colorado?

Colorado has made its debut in the esteemed MICHELIN Guide, receiving recognition for its vibrant culinary scene. The state boasts five One-MICHELIN-Star restaurants, showcasing high-quality cooking that’s worth a stop. These establishments, located from Denver to Boulder and into the mountain towns, highlight the diverse and rich flavors Colorado has to offer. This recognition marks a significant milestone for Colorado’s dining landscape, emphasizing the creativity and excellence of its chefs and restaurants.

Where can I find the best cheap eats in Colorado?

For cheap eats in Colorado, look no further than food trucks, local diners, and street food markets. Cities like Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs offer a variety of options that won’t break the bank. From tacos and burgers to international cuisines, these spots serve up delicious meals at affordable prices. Many of these eateries source ingredients locally, ensuring fresh and flavorful dishes.

Denver Central Market on a rainy evening
Denver Central Market on a rainy evening

What are some must-visit fine dining restaurants in Colorado?

Colorado’s fine dining scene includes establishments like Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, known for its Italian cuisine, and The Penrose Room in Colorado Springs, offering a luxurious dining experience. These restaurants, along with others across the state, provide exquisite menus, exceptional service, and an atmosphere perfect for special occasions. They showcase the best of Colorado’s local produce and culinary talent.

What makes a restaurant unique in Colorado for dinner?

Unique restaurants in Colorado for dinner often feature breathtaking views, historical settings, or innovative concepts. Places like the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse offer a cultural experience alongside their meals. Others, set in the mountains, provide diners with scenic overlooks. What makes these restaurants stand out is their ability to merge Colorado’s natural beauty and history with exceptional culinary offerings.

How do I choose a restaurant in Colorado?

When choosing a restaurant in Colorado, consider what type of experience you’re looking for. If you want to try local flavors, look for places that specialize in Colorado cuisine. For a more upscale evening, check out fine dining in Colorado options. Reviews and recommendations can also guide your choice. Think about location, menu variety, and any dietary preferences you have.

Can I find international cuisine in Colorado?

Yes, Colorado offers a wide range of international cuisines. From authentic Mexican and Italian to Thai and Ethiopian, there’s something for every palate. Cities like Denver and Boulder are hotspots for global flavors, hosting unique restaurants in Colorado for dinner that bring the world’s culinary traditions to the Rocky Mountains. These eateries provide a chance to explore diverse cultures through food.

What’s the best way to find hidden gem restaurants in Colorado?

To discover hidden gem restaurants in Colorado, start by asking locals for their recommendations. Social media and food blogs focused on Colorado can also lead you to lesser-known spots. Exploring different neighborhoods on foot or by car can uncover places that aren’t widely advertised but are loved by those in the know. Remember, some of the best dining experiences come from unexpected discoveries during your stay in Colorado.

Final Thoughts On Unique Colorado Restaurants

Our journey through some of the most unique and delightful dining spots has come to an end, but the adventure doesn’t have to stop here. With our Colorado restaurant guide, you’ve got a treasure map to explore the state’s culinary wonders.

From high-altitude donuts to dinners in an airplane, Colorado’s dining scene is as varied as its landscape. Remember, this guide is just the beginning. Colorado’s food story is constantly evolving, with new flavors and experiences around every corner in this Southwest USA gem.

The top restaurants in Colorado for all types of travelers
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