Denver's Most Romantic Restaurants

Old standbys and new hideaways for a special night out
February 4, 2018
by Zagat Staff

Now that you’ve had a chance to see and be seen at our top picks for Sexiest New Restaurants (including Tavernetta, Concourse, Il Posto and El Five), we’re going to turn the lights down low, cue the slow jams and lead you toward some cozier choices for Valentine’s Day (which is every day if you’re doing it right). These 10 haunts have just the nook for you — as do Bar Helix, The Family Jones, Cooper Lounge and Greenlight Lab, by the way, where we'd suggest grabbing a nightcap. (And while this roundup doesn't include Boulder, it should go without saying that Frasca Food and Wine and Flagstaff House are all-time contenders.)

Fruition Restaurant
New American · Country Club · $$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.7

This Country Club "diamond" boasts a menu that reads "like a foodie romance novel" and brings to life a "seductive" approach to "garden-to-table" New American cuisine, by turns "rustic" and "ethereal" , "nuanced" and "startling" (and matched by a "well-thought-out" , "value" -oriented wine list); meanwhile, the "deft" manner of the "astute" staff makes even the "crowded" , "close quarters" seem "charming" – though getting into them at all can be "difficult" : "book far ahead."
Spanish · LoDo · $$

Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch (Rioja, Stoic & Genuine and others) celebrate Spanish and Portuguese cuisine at their second Union Station outing, bringing tapas, petiscos, gin and tonics, sherry and more to LoDo. With mezzanine seating above the open kitchen and a wraparound mural, the high-ceilinged space exudes European class and warmth.
Italian · Five Points · $$

From sibling team Paul and Aileen Reilly (Beast + Bottle), this buzzy Five Points kitchen specializes in cuisine and wine from Southern Italy, including daily changing "spuzzulia" platters and handmade pastas. The crisp yet homey three-room setup features a cocktail bar up front, a central mozzarella counter and vintage accents.
French · Capitol Hill · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.2 · Service 4.7

"Culinary genius" Frank Bonanno's "polished" New American cuisine, "designed to let the beautiful tastes and colors" of the "outstanding ingredients" "shine" through, makes fans of this Capitol Hill "masterpiece" "dizzy with glee" ; sure, its "prices aren't for the parsimonious" and the seating is "cheek by jowl" in its "intimate" confines, but with an "impeccable" floor team and a "stunning" wine list, it'll still "sweep a first date off [their] feet."
Gastropub · Congress Park · $$

Low-key refinement defines Jeff Osaka's Congress Park bistro, where California-influenced New American small plates (from ricotta gnudi to lamb tagine) and large-format daily specials meet a varied wine list plus a well-edited selection of craft beer and cocktails. Art gallery-like in its crisp simplicity, the narrow, L-shaped space boasts a chef's counter, a back bar and a small patio.
Bar · River North Art District · $$

This elegant, two-story venue in the RiNo 'hood features beautifully composed small and large plates with global twists, classic cocktails, eclectic wines and craft beers, all served against a sexy backdrop of cream-hued curved banquettes, exposed red brick, refinished wood-beamed ceilings and a large stage, complete with a baby grand piano, that welcomes live jazz groups throughout the week.
Gastropub · $$

Snug yet light and airy, this polished New American haunt in Aurora's Stanley Marketplace marks the debut of former Acorn sous-chef Caroline Glover, who turns out farm-centric menus of wood-fired, globally influenced fare for brunch, lunch and dinner. The equally well-curated beverage list consists of a handful of craft cocktails and beers as well as about 20 boutique wines by the bottle.
Atelier by Radex
French · City Park West · $$$

Branching out from his longtime Boulder destination Atelier, Radek Cerny brings his luxe brand of French and European cuisine to City Park West. The menu bears similarities to that of the original (lobster ravioli, escargot and such) but the atmosphere is much more bistrolike and airy, with an open kitchen and chef's counter at one end of the dining room and a small sidewalk patio at the other.
Beatrice & Woodsley
American · Speer · $$
Food 4.2 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.1

There's "nothing like" the "whimsical" , "clever" setting of this "aspen tree-lined getaway" decorated to make you feel as though you're "dining in your own personal fairy tale" (it's worth a visit "just to see the bathroom" ); compared with the "stunning" atmosphere, the "progressive" menu of New American small plates strikes critics as "too expensive for what you get" – though the "innovative" drinks delivered by "experienced" servers fuel a "satisfying" happy hour.
Barolo Grill
Italian · Cherry Creek · $$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.6

"Yes, I'll have that – and oh, I'll have that" respond fans of the "dreamy” Northern Italian menu at this Cherry Creek “standard-bearer" that's "innovative" too, tended by servers for whom “diner satisfaction is paramount” in an "elegant" yet "cozy" setting suited to "romance" ; the “extensive” , “exceptionally interesting wine list” only enhances the “special-occasion” aura (though granted, so will the “not inexpensive” bill).