The Top Restaurants in Denver.
Denver is famous for its practically endless bright blue skies and views of the soaring Rocky Mountains, but it’s also becoming an increasingly popular place for foodies and just about anyone who appreciates good food. The next time you’re in the Mile High City, be sure to check out these eateries that offer an especially unforgettable experience.
Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox
Ophelia’s is a bordello turned “gastro-brothel” that combines globally-inspired dishes utilizing lots of local, organic ingredients with throwback peep shows and live music. Located in the historic Victorian Airedale building, it captures the spirit of its predecessor with risqué décor like framed soft-core film posters and vintage boudoir photos. It also includes interesting touches like gold crushed velour ottoman seating and black velvet paintings. Deliberately provocative and overtly sexual, it’s a place designed to raise eyebrows while satisfying discerning palates.
While it’s easy to forget this isn’t just an entertainment venue, its menu really is just as seductive as the space. There isn’t a focus on one particular cuisine, rather its menu is extremely diverse, with Colorado, American, French, Greek, Asian and even Venezuelan influences. The beverage lineup is internationally-and locally-driven too, with some two dozen craft beers, an extensive wine and champagne list, and plenty of creative cocktails.
The Fort is a less than 30-minute drive from downtown Denver. The frontier-themed replica of historic Bent’s Fort in southern Colorado is worth the trip for the views of the red rocks alone, but most come here to sample regional classics. The menu, focused on “New Foods of the Old West,” brings back popular 19th-century recipes, while adding a modern twist. You’ll find exotic American dishes like buffalo steaks, Rocky Mountain oysters and grilled quail, as well as a few unexpected items like duck quesadillas and bison eggs (pickled quail eggs wrapped in buffalo sausage).
This historic restaurant, which opened its doors over a half-century ago, offers a truly western experience. The building itself is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Irish Snug
If you’re looking for a taste of the Emerald Isle, the Irish Snug on Capitol Hill is considered by many to be one of the best places to find it. Not only will you enjoy a perfectly-poured Guinness, but a menu with Irish favorites like corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, fish ‘n’ chips and even the traditional Irish breakfast.
The atmosphere is decidedly Irish too, with the upstairs pub, the part officially known as the Irish Snug, coming complete with signature snugs (small hidden areas designed for privacy) and a behind-the-bar will filled with a variety of whiskeys and other spirits. Under the Snug is the downstairs area, which features cozy conversation areas, comfy couches, flat-screen TVs and a snooker table. The pub is filled with plenty of craic (the Irish word for fun or good times) with entertainment offered seven days a week, including Pub Quiz Team Trivia, live music and session bands.
Lola Mexican Fish House
When it’s margarita time, head to the Lola Mexican Fish House. Not only was its bar, stocked with over 200 tequilas, named one of the “Top Five Places to Drink Tequila” in North America, it features fresh table-side guacamole and a menu with featuring dishes inspired by Mexico’s coastal regions. Think barbecued octopus, oysters on the half shell, lobster tamales, shrimp ceviche and blackened ahi tacos. Surprisingly, this is one of the best places in the city for brunch too. Try the chicken and waffles with chorizo gravy, the sweet coconut bread and the mouth-watering horchata pancakes smothered in a sweet cream cinnamon syrup.
Lola’s is also a popular place to be for happy hour, packing the place with patrons who take advantage of the fantastic deals on tecate, tequila and snacks. It’s the place for a party too – no matter when you arrive, you’re bound to see a group celebrating a special occasion. If it gets a little too chaotic, you can always head out to the deck and enjoying the sunshine while sipping that cerveza.