Unique Restaurants in Denver: 12 Coolest Denver Places to Eat

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Denver
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Are you looking for the most unique restaurants in Denver, Colorado? Here’s your ultimate guide to the best places to eat in Denver.

Situated against the majestic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, Denver stands tall as a gastronomic haven. Every corner of this vibrant city, from the bustling streets of LoDo to the charming avenues of Capitol Hill, resonates with culinary creativity and innovation.

Denver’s reputation as a food lover’s paradise is well-deserved. The city is home to an impressive array of unique restaurants, each with its own story to tell. Dive deep into the heart of Denver’s culinary scene, and you’ll find establishments that pay homage to the city’s rich history, showcase its cultural diversity, and push the boundaries of traditional cuisine.

In the heart of Denver, dining is an adventure. The city playfully challenges what you know about food, offering a delightful mix of the familiar and the unexpected. Fancy a classic diner experience with a twist? Denver’s got you covered. Craving sushi that rivals Tokyo’s best? Look no further. And for those who love surprises, there are spots in the city that will make you rethink the very concept of a restaurant. From quirky eateries that serve dishes with a side of history to avant-garde venues that are culinary playgrounds, Denver ensures every meal is a story worth sharing.

So, as you prepare to embark on this curated culinary journey through Denver’s most unique restaurants, remember that each listing is more than just a recommendation—it’s an invitation to experience the very best of Denver’s gastronomic offerings. Here’s all you need to know about the most unique restaurants in Denver, CO.

The top restaurants to visit in Denver right now
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Unique Restaurants in Denver, Colorado: 12 Incredible Denver Eateries

Are you ready to discover the most unique restaurants in Denver? As mentioned earlier, there’s a wide variety of places to eat in Denver that will please everyone. Keep reading to find out where to eat in Denver, Colorado for a unique dining experience.

Are you looking for wood-fired pizzas with a twist? Or would you prefer a dessert that doubles as a theatrical performance? Whatever your palate desires, Denver can accommodate your needs. Here’s your in-depth guide to the most unique restaurants in Denver.

1. The Buckhorn Exchange

Step into The Buckhorn Exchange, and you’re immediately transported to Denver’s Wild West days. As the city’s oldest eatery, its walls showcase century-old photographs, Native American artifacts, and an impressive collection of mounted animals.

What truly sets this place apart is its adventurous menu. Here, you can savor exotic meats like buffalo, elk, and even alligator. For the brave-hearted, there’s the famed Rocky Mountain Oysters, a local delicacy that’s a must-try. Each dish, while unique, is crafted to perfection, appealing to both newbies and seasoned food enthusiasts.

Surprisingly, dining at The Buckhorn Exchange won’t empty your pockets. With options for every budget, it’s a haven for both those seeking affordable delights and others ready for a gourmet splurge.

In a city filled with contemporary dining spots, The Buckhorn Exchange offers a refreshing blend of history and culinary innovation. As one of Denver’s most unique restaurants, it’s advised to pre-book a week or two in advance to secure a table.

The Buckhorn Exchange is one of the unique restaurants in Denver.
At The Buckhorn Exchange, Denver’s oldest eatery, step into the Wild West with historic photos, Native American artifacts, and mounted animals.

2. Linger

Now, here’s a dining experience that’s truly one-of-a-kind. Linger, set in a converted mortuary, offers a quirky yet chic backdrop for a meal you won’t soon forget. Located in Denver’s vibrant LoHi neighborhood, this eatery boasts panoramic views of the city skyline and the Rocky Mountains.

At Linger, the menu takes you on a worldwide journey. From Asian delicacies to African flavors and American classics, every dish celebrates street food, refined and presented with flair. Each bite offers authenticity, ensuring a dining experience that’s both diverse and memorable.

Yet, the allure of Linger extends beyond its menu. The rooftop bar, a favorite among locals and visitors, offers unparalleled views of Denver’s skyline against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a crafted cocktail and watch the city come alive as the sun sets.

For anyone seeking unique places in Denver to eat, Linger is a top contender. It promises not just a meal, but an immersive experience that blends culinary artistry with breathtaking vistas.

Linger's menu embarks on a global culinary journey, featuring Asian, African, and American street food.
Linger’s menu embarks on a global culinary journey, featuring Asian, African, and American street food.

3. Root Down

In the heart of the Lower Highlands, Root Down stands as one of Denver’s best restaurants. Housed in a converted 1950s gas station, the restaurant’s design is as innovative as its menu, with repurposed materials creating a chic, eco-friendly ambiance.

Root Down is committed to serving dishes that are organic, fresh, and sourced from local farmers. This dedication shines through on every plate, from the vibrant vegetable-centric dishes to the sustainably sourced meats. The flavors are pure, allowing the quality of the ingredients to take center stage.

One of the highlights of dining here is the ever-evolving seasonal menu. It ensures that guests are always treated to something new, a reflection of Denver’s bountiful produce throughout the year. Pair your meal with a selection from their extensive wine list, featuring biodynamic and organic options, for a complete gastronomic experience.

If you’re on the hunt for the best places to eat in Denver that prioritize both flavor and sustainability, Root Down is a clear winner. It’s a place where culinary passion meets environmental responsibility, offering a dining experience that’s both delicious and conscientious.

Root Down occupies a converted 1950s gas station, its menu's innovation is mirrored in the chic, eco-friendly ambiance fashioned from repurposed materials.
Root Down occupies a converted 1950s gas station, its menu’s innovation is mirrored in the chic, eco-friendly ambiance fashioned from repurposed materials.

4. Avanti F&B

For those seeking unique restaurants in Denver, Avanti F&B offers a fresh take on dining. Situated in the LoHi neighborhood, this modern food hall brings together a diverse collection of culinary concepts under one roof. It’s like embarking on a global gastronomic tour without ever leaving Denver!

The beauty of Avanti F&B lies in its variety. From mouth-watering Venezuelan arepas to authentic Italian pizzas and gourmet burgers, there’s something to tantalize every palate. It’s a haven for food enthusiasts, allowing them to sample the best food in Denver from multiple vendors, all in a single visit.

Beyond the food, the venue boasts a dynamic atmosphere, complete with communal seating and panoramic views of the downtown skyline. It’s the perfect spot for social gatherings, where sharing dishes and discovering new flavors becomes a communal experience.

A trip to Denver wouldn’t be complete without a meal at Avanti F&B. It encapsulates the city’s vibrant food scene, making it one of the coolest places to eat in Denver. With its eclectic offerings and lively ambiance, every visit feels like a culinary celebration.

Avanti F&B: This contemporary food hall curates a varied array of culinary concepts.
Avanti F&B: This contemporary food hall curates a varied array of culinary concepts.

5. El Five

Boasting some of the best views in Denver, El Five presents a dining experience that’s both elevated in flavor and location. Occupying the fifth floor of a building, diners are treated to sweeping views of the city skyline and the distant Rocky Mountains.

El Five specializes in Mediterranean tapas, drawing inspiration from regions like Spain, the Middle East, and North Africa. Each dish, from the delectable lamb sausage to the savory paella, showcases a harmonious blend of traditional recipes with a modern twist. The flavors are bold, fresh, and undeniably authentic.

The restaurant’s ambiance complements its culinary offerings. With floor-to-ceiling windows and chic interiors, it’s a space that exudes sophistication. The outdoor patio, a favorite spot among visitors, is perfect for sipping on a signature cocktail while soaking in the breathtaking views.

El Five has earned its reputation as a top destination in the Denver restaurant guide. With its blend of Mediterranean flavors and unmatched vistas, it offers a dining experience that’s both flavorful and visually stunning, making it a standout choice among the unique places in Denver to eat.

El Five: Elevated dining with city skyline and Rocky Mountain views from its fifth-floor perch.
El Five: Elevated dining with city skyline and Rocky Mountain views from its fifth-floor perch.

6. Work & Class

In the bustling RiNo district of Denver, Work & Class offers a refreshing break from the upscale and often pricey dining scene. With its motto of “square meal, stiff drink, and fair price,” this eatery is all about delivering quality without the hefty price tag.

Work & Class prides itself on serving hearty, honest food. The menu features a mix of American and Latin flavors, with dishes like slow-roasted pork, braised lamb, and mouth-watering fried chicken. Every dish is crafted with love, using fresh ingredients, and the portions are generous, ensuring you leave with a satisfied belly and a smile on your face.

The ambiance is relaxed and unpretentious. With its open kitchen, rustic decor, and communal seating, it feels like you’re dining in a friend’s cozy home rather than a restaurant. The staff, friendly and attentive, add to the warm and welcoming vibe.

For those searching for cheap eats in Denver, CO, Work & Class is a top pick. It’s a testament to the fact that great food doesn’t have to come with a high price tag, making it a favorite among locals and travelers alike.

Work & Class: Embracing the mantra "square meal, stiff drink, and fair price," this establishment focuses on quality without the premium cost.
Work & Class: Embracing the mantra “square meal, stiff drink, and fair price,” this establishment focuses on quality without the premium cost.

7. The Bindery

At The Bindery, dining is an adventure with delightful surprises. Imagine a place where every dish offers creativity and zest, turning meals into memorable experiences. Truly, it’s one of the coolest Denver restaurants!

The menu boasts a mix of global hits. From Italian-inspired handcrafted pastas to modern spins on American classics, it’s all about fun flavors here. And if you’ve got a sweet tooth, their bakery corner is pure happiness, with fresh breads and pastries that are hard to resist.

The space itself is laid-back and lively. High ceilings, cool decor, and a buzz of happy chatter set the mood. It’s the kind of place where you’d want to hang out with friends, share a laugh, and make some memories.

Situated in the heart of Denver’s vibrant LoHi district, The Bindery offers a prime location with views of the city’s skyline. The price point is moderate, making it accessible for both casual dinners and special occasions. Whether you’re planning a date night or a catch-up with friends, it offers value without compromising on quality.

In the sea of dining spots in the city, The Bindery shines as a go-to restaurant in Denver. It’s less about formalities and more about enjoying good food in good company.

The Bindery is one of the unique restaurants in Denver.
The Bindery: Where dining becomes a creative adventure, crafting memorable experiences.

8. Little Man Ice Cream

Is this the best dessert spot in Denver? You bet! In Denver’s LoHi neighborhood, Little Man Ice Cream stands tall, and not just because of its iconic 28-foot cream can structure. This place is a delightful nod to the past, blending vintage charm with modern flavors.

At Little Man, the ice cream menu is as diverse as the city. Classic flavors coexist with inventive ones like lavender and honeycomb, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Each scoop is crafted with care, using locally sourced ingredients that guarantee freshness and quality.

Beyond its delicious offerings, Little Man has a mission that’s close to its heart. With every ice cream purchase, they contribute to global food initiatives, turning a simple treat into an act of kindness.

Visitors and locals alike flock to this spot, not just for the ice cream, but for the experience. It’s a blend of nostalgia, tasty treats, and community spirit, which makes it one of the unique restaurants in Denver that cater to the sweet-toothed.

Little Man Ice Cream in LoHi fuses vintage charm and modern flavors beneath its iconic 28-foot cream can structure.
Little Man Ice Cream in LoHi fuses vintage charm and modern flavors beneath its iconic 28-foot cream can structure.

9. The Source

The Source is more than a dining destination – it’s a collective that brings together some of Denver’s finest food artisans. Located in a refurbished 1880s foundry building in the RiNo district, this marketplace-style venue offers a diverse range of gourmet experiences.

From artisanal bakeries and craft coffee roasters to innovative eateries and cocktail bars, The Source is a food lover’s paradise. Each vendor is handpicked, ensuring a curated selection of the best food in Denver. Whether you’re in the mood for wood-fired pizzas, fresh oysters, or a craft brew, there’s a stall that’s sure to satisfy your cravings.

The industrial-chic design of the building, with its exposed brick walls and high ceilings, adds to the venue’s charm. It’s a space where the old meets the new, creating a vibrant atmosphere that’s both trendy and cozy.

For travelers and locals exploring unique restaurants in Denver, The Source stands out as a must-visit. It’s a gastronomic hub that celebrates Denver’s rich culinary scene, offering a taste of the city’s best under one roof.

The Source: Housed in a renovated 1880s foundry in RiNo, this marketplace unites diverse gourmet experiences under one roof.
The Source: Housed in a renovated 1880s foundry in RiNo, this marketplace unites diverse gourmet experiences under one roof.

10. Cart-Driver

Tucked away in a repurposed shipping container in Denver’s RiNo district, Cart-Driver is a delightful surprise for pizza enthusiasts. This isn’t your typical pizza joint, though. It’s a compact space bursting with character and flavors that defy its size.

At Cart-Driver, wood-fired pizzas are the star of the show. They’re inspired by Northern Italy’s street food scene, with a thin, crispy crust and toppings that are both classic and inventive. Think prosciutto and fig or clam and garlic – every pizza is truly delicious!

The best part? Indulging at Cart-Driver won’t break the bank. With a price point that’s friendly on the wallet, it’s a spot where you can savor gourmet flavors without the gourmet price tag.

Beyond the pizzas, the ambiance is relaxed and lively. With communal seating and an open kitchen, it feels like a mini pizza party every time you visit. If you’re on the hunt for the coolest places to eat in Denver that offer value and a twist on classics, Cart-Driver is your go-to.

Unlike your typical pizza place, Cart-Driver is a compact space bursting with character and flavors that belie its size.
Unlike your typical pizza place, Cart-Driver is a compact space bursting with character and flavors that belie its size.

11. Beatrice & Woodsley

Step into Beatrice & Woodsley and you might momentarily forget you’re in the heart of Denver. This restaurant, with its aspen tree trunks and rustic wooden decor, transports diners straight into a fairy-tale forest setting.

Nestled on South Broadway, Beatrice & Woodsley offers a menu that’s as enchanting as its ambiance. Drawing inspiration from Colorado’s rich culinary heritage, dishes are crafted using locally sourced ingredients. From wild game to fresh mountain trout, the flavors are both authentic and innovative.

The restaurant’s design is a true spectacle. Chainsawed tree trunks, lanterns, and sheer drapes create an ethereal atmosphere, making every meal feel like a woodland retreat. It’s a refreshing escape from the urban hustle, right in the middle of the city.

Beatrice & Woodsley is a gem in Denver’s culinary crown. With its dreamy forest vibes and mouth-watering dishes, it’s easy to see why it’s on many lists of best restaurants in Denver. Every visit feels like a mini-vacation, whisking you away to a whimsical woodland, all while staying in the heart of the city.

Enter Beatrice & Woodsley and momentarily forget you're in Denver. With aspen tree trunks and rustic decor, this restaurant transports diners into a fairy-tale forest.
Enter Beatrice & Woodsley and momentarily forget you’re in Denver. With aspen tree trunks and rustic decor, this restaurant transports diners into a fairy-tale forest.

12. The Inventing Room Dessert Shop

Imagine a place where desserts aren’t just served; they’re performed. Welcome to The Inventing Room Dessert Shop, Denver’s most theatrical sweet spot. Here, science meets sweets in a dazzling display of culinary wizardry.

At the heart of this dessert haven is the concept of molecular gastronomy. Liquid nitrogen ice creams that billow with smoke, exploding whipped cream, and bubbling potions are just a few of the marvels you’ll encounter. Every treat is an experiment, and guests enjoy a show as chefs craft each dessert right before their eyes.

The space itself feels like stepping into a modern-day Willy Wonka factory. Bright colors, interactive displays, and the occasional burst of smoke create an atmosphere of wonder and excitement. This unique Denver restaurant is all about experiencing the magic of dessert creation.

For those who’ve ever dreamed of a place where food and fantasy collide, The Inventing Room Dessert Shop is it. Touted as one of the most unique places to eat in Denver, it promises an adventure that tantalizes all the senses, making it the perfect grand finale for our list!

At The Inventing Room Dessert Shop, Denver's desserts become performances as science and sweets merge in a dazzling culinary show.
At The Inventing Room Dessert Shop, Denver’s desserts become performances as science and sweets merge in a dazzling culinary show.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Most Unique Restaurants in Denver, CO

Are you searching for more information about where to eat in Denver? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about Denver’s most unique restaurants.

What is the most famous food in Denver?

Denver’s diverse food offerings earn it renown, but one dish that stands out is the Denver Omelette. This hearty breakfast dish, packed with bell peppers, onions, ham, and cheese, has become a staple in many breakfast spots across the city. Additionally, with the city’s growth, dishes like gourmet burgers, craft beers, and green chili have also gained popularity.

What is the official state dish of Colorado?

The official state dish of Colorado is the Rocky Mountain Oysters. Contrary to the name, they’re not seafood. They are, in fact, deep-fried bull testicles, and they’re a delicacy in many parts of the state. Restaurants frequently serve them as appetizers alongside a side of cocktail sauce.

How many Michelin star restaurants does Denver have?

Currently, Denver does not have any Michelin-starred restaurants. The Michelin Guide, which awards stars to exceptional dining establishments, has not yet covered the city of Denver. The guide is limited to certain cities and regions, primarily in Europe, Asia, and select cities in the United States like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.

However, Denver does have a vibrant food scene with many restaurants that are highly rated by other organizations and publications. From farm-to-table eateries to high-end steakhouses and a variety of international cuisines, the city offers a rich culinary landscape that is worth exploring even without the Michelin recognition.

Where can I find unique places to eat in Denver?

There’s a wide array of unique restaurants in Denver. From eateries set in repurposed spaces like The Source and Beatrice & Woodsley to culinary adventures like The Inventing Room Dessert Shop, there’s no shortage of distinctive experiences. Exploring neighborhoods like LoHi and RiNo will also lead you to some hidden gems.

Shops and Restaurants Along Platte Street, Denver
Shops and Restaurants Along Platte Street, Denver

Are there affordable yet unique places in Denver to eat?

Absolutely! Denver offers a range of dining options that cater to various budgets. Places like Cart-Driver offer gourmet experiences without the hefty price tag. The city is also home to numerous food trucks and markets that serve delicious and unique dishes at wallet-friendly prices.

What’s the best way to explore Denver’s best restaurants?

One of the joys of Denver’s culinary scene is its diversity. Joining a food tour can be a great starting point. However, exploring on foot, especially in food-centric neighborhoods, and seeking local recommendations can lead you to some unforgettable dining spots.

Is Denver known for any particular type of cuisine?

While embracing a wide range of cuisines, Denver particularly stands out for its New American and Southwestern dishes. The city’s location allows for a fusion of flavors from the Midwest and the West, resulting in a unique culinary identity. Green chili, for instance, is a beloved staple in many local dishes.

Are there any themed or uniquely designed restaurants in Denver?

Yes, there are! Denver is home to several restaurants that offer not just great food but also a unique ambiance. The Inventing Room Dessert Shop is a prime example, where desserts come to life in a theatrical display of culinary science. Another standout is Beatrice & Woodsley, which transports diners to a fairy-tale forest setting right in the heart of the city. These establishments, among others, make dining in Denver a visually and gastronomically delightful experience.

Wrapping up Denver’s Unique Restaurants

Denver is a city that never ceases to amaze, especially when it comes to its culinary delights. From the bustling streets of LoHi to the artistic corners of RiNo, every neighborhood offers a taste of something extraordinary. It’s a place where food isn’t just sustenance; it’s an experience, a story, and sometimes, even a magical journey.

Whether you’re a local or a traveler passing through, the Mile High City promises a dining adventure that’s hard to forget. Dive into the world of molecular gastronomy at The Inventing Room Dessert Shop, or relish the rustic charm of Beatrice & Woodsley. And let’s not forget the myriad of flavors waiting to be explored, from classic Denver Omelettes to innovative global dishes.

So, the next time you find yourself wandering the streets of Denver, let your appetite lead the way. With a plethora of unique restaurants in Denver, every meal becomes a cherished memory. Here’s to delicious discoveries and the joy of exploring Denver’s vibrant food scene!

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