If you were to tell someone that Denver was actually a hub for eating at great restaurants without spending too much, you would probably be met with looks of bewilderment. Denver doesn’t really have any relevance to food. Or does it? I’m going to list my experiences at my favorite restaurants in Denver, to help anybody on the fence about taking a vacation here.
First up on the list is my favorite Italian restaurant in general, Panzano. Even if you don’t enjoy Italian, this restaurant is sure to have something on their menu that you will enjoy. If you’re really into great pasta, definitely stop by here. Panzano is located somewhat near Denver’s High Points. The menu is very diverse, and all of their meals are very filling. It’s a great place to bring your kids, because they could also just share a meal if you don’t want to pay for two.
You’ll absolutely be able to afford two, however, because the prices are just as great as the food. You won’t have to worry about unsanitary tables or anything like that, so your kids won’t have to sit with their hands in their laps the whole time. Even the bathrooms were super clean, which sounds kind of strange. For all you adults who eat at Panzano, there’s also a nice selection of wines.
Perfect spot for a date night, just don’t bring your kids to that. If you’re itching to learn more, make sure to read the many positive reviews that my friends and I have left online after dining at Panzano. Don’t be afraid to ask to look at their kitchen, either. The owner is extremely friendly and constantly goes around the restaurant, making sure that everyone is enjoying their stay.
Tables is not only one of Denver’s finest restaurants to dine at, but might also happen to be the most visually stunning. On the interior, at least. The first time I ate at this restaurant, I ordered the ratatouille. Partially because I saw the couple sitting next to me eating it, but also because I’ve been dying to try it ever since the movie came out in 2007. A lot of the food on the menu sounds too classy and sophisticated to be reasonably priced, but I was honestly shocked the first time I looked at the menu. In a good way, of course. I’m dying to make a few table puns, but I won’t.
Speaking of tables, theirs are very clean. I don’t think that counts as a pun. In any case, unsanitary is not a word that would ever apply to Tables. Tables is found in between North Park Hill and South Park Hill in Denver, which isn’t terribly far from some great scenery if you don’t mind the walk. There’s a great selection of things to order, a lot of which wouldn’t spoil while you took a walk. I really appreciated that they let me sit outside, even when the restaurant was really packed and there weren’t many seats available.
The patio area is very nice looking, and I would go to Tabes just to sit in the patio and read a book or something. You know a restaurant has a good aesthetic if people pay just to be inside your restaurant without ordering anything. Or it might be a passive aggressive way of saying the food wasn’t very good. If it seems like I only have positive things to say about Tables, that’s because I genuinely enjoy it. Don’t believe me? Look at all of their amazing reviews on Google.
If you haven’t yet had a chance to try Mediterranean, definitely make sure to check out Rioja. It sounds like a Mexican restaurant, but don’t let the name fool you. I always appreciate when a restaurant is willing to take risks, and serve a unique selection of food that people aren’t accustomed to. I know that most people won’t try it purely because they’ve never had Mediterranean food before, but I highly encourage everyone to try it.
My favorite dish at Rioja is the artichoke tortellinis, but everyone else I’ve eaten with at Rioja said their food was amazing as well. And I know a lot of picky eaters. Rioja’s right next to Larimer Square in Denver, close to the Four Seasons Hotel. The owner and wait staff are so friendly and caring that they have started to recognize me as a regular, which I know some restaurants won’t even do after I’ve been going for multiple years. Last time I felt so comfortable that I asked the owner if I could take a peek at their kitchen, and watch the chefs do their work.
The whole kitchen was very clean, and the chefs acted very professional even under stress during rush hour. I couldn’t find any dirt, not even in their kitchen exhaust hood. That’s one of the most essential parts of a kitchen, so I’m sure Rioja is in cahoots with a very good Denver hood cleaning business. After eating at this very good restaurant, make sure to leave your thoughts in another one of their positive reviews.
Last but not least, there’s Guard and Grace. All the feel of a high-end restaurant that resembles something you would see in New York City, where all the dishes cost close to a hundred dollars. This time around, you’ll be eating by Denver’s Mariott City Center. Guard and Grace has a very high-class feel, stemming both from the very professional waiters and the artsy decor. I liked that the artwork wasn’t too abstract, and it was just kind of passive and helped tie the room together.
Again, great menu. Ever since the first time, I have always ordered their burrata, wedge salad, prime filet mignon, truffle mac and cheese, Brussel sprouts, sticky toffee cake, or the G&G dessert. All great choices, and they don’t cost too much so you can feel free to pick and choose whatever you want. The wait staff is very friendly as well, always making sure your glass is full and your food tastes good.
They don’t pester you too much, but they find a way to balance it and whenever I needed something they always seemed to show up immediately. In addition, the food arrived way faster than it does at most restaurants. Good job, Guard and Grace! After you’re finished writing your amazing review for the place, maybe it’ll even end up right next to mine?