Denver’s Best for Group Dining

Here are the top tables to please a crowd
November 26, 2017
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by Zagat Staff

Your uncle only eats burgers, your sister has sworn off sugar, your old college roomie insists on hitting hot spot after hot spot. What’s a well-meaning holiday host to do? Give thanks for these 14 standouts with group-friendly appeal, guaranteed to lessen the hassles and headaches of the season by catering to a diversity of tastes. 

Tavernetta
Italian · LoDo · $$$

Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson – the team behind Boulder legend Frasca Food and Wine – have brought their award-winning ways with Italian cuisine to Union Station via this destination eatery overlooking the rail-line canopy. The pan-regional menu and notable wine list are presented in a refined yet bustling, art-filled space with multiple rooms, a fireplace lounge, three intimate patios and an exhibition kitchen at its heart.
Rebel Restaurant
American · River North Art District · $$

This New American haunt in RiNo features an adventurous board of meat-centric comfort foods with global twists, all of which are unleashed in a funky setting with ornate tinned walls, handcrafted community tables and a striking copper-topped bar that pours craft beer and clever cocktails.
Departure Denver Restaurant + Lounge
Asian · Cherry Creek · $$$

Top Chef runner-up Gregory Gourdet brings his bohemian brand of Pan-Asian cookery to Cherry Creek with this splashy outpost of a Portland, OR original, serving dim sum, kushiyaki, noodles and more in a modern setting with an air-travel motif. In addition to a central island bar dispensing craft cocktails and premium sake, there's also a rooftop lounge called Departure Elevated, boasting panoramic views.
White Pie
Pizza · City Park West · $

From the fraternal owners of nearby taqueria Dos Santos, this Uptown homage to the pizza parlors of New Haven, Connecticut, turns out oak-fired, thin-crust pies along with salumi, salads, seasonal pastas and a short but smart selection of wine, beer and cocktails. Brick walls, whitewashed woods, marble tabletops and a wine-bottle ceiling sculpture lend the 50-seat space a stylishly cozy feel, while the patio increases capacity by half.
Wayward Restaurant
American · LoDo · $$

From the acclaimed team behind The Way Back, this Riverfront Park successor to the long-standing Zengo offers a streamlined style of New American cuisine, reflected in the small but hyperseasonal menu, while ace bartenders pour thoughtful cocktails, boutique wines and craft beers. The spruce, cool-toned design is equally artful and modern, and includes an intimate lounge.
Mercantile Dining and Provision
New American · LoDo · $$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.5

Alex Seidel (Fruition Restaurant) and his team have "another winner” in LoDo’s Union Station: by day, the “hip” , “high-energy” space functions as a European-style market offering “superb” sandwiches and “top-notch” coffees; by evening, the open kitchen prepares an “inspired” assortment of “complex, artfully executed” New American dishes, delivered (along with "delicious" wines and cocktails) by “agreeable servers who want you to feel welcome” – ensuring you "can't wait" to return.
Work & Class
Southern American · River North Art District · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.2

Chef "Dana Rodriguez is a genius" say fans of the "hip, homey and high-quality" Southern–Latin American menu at this "happening" RiNo hot spot with "solid" service and "fair" prices; the "tight space" in an old shipping container makes for a "boisterous" , even "hectic" atmosphere – no doubt fueled by "stiff drinks" that go down "easy (perhaps a little too easy)" – but "do yourself a favor" and "get there early" to beat the crowds.
Tupelo Honey
Southern American · LoDo · $$

Upscale yet downhome, this outpost of a Southern franchise boasts a primo location on the tracks at Union Station and an acclaimed chef in Chris Kobayashi, who's overseeing a kitchen that turns out extensive menus for brunch, lunch and dinner — ranging from oysters and charcuterie to pancakes and sandwiches to steaks and family-style fried chicken. The bar is equally ambitious, with 54 taps and cocktails that may come in cans, buckets or golden chalices.
Punch Bowl Social Stapleton
Bar · $$

Social is the name of the game at these dining, drinking and gaming emporiums that are family friendly by day and party central after dark; they boast multiple bars, a bowling alley, arcade games, Ping-Pong, shuffleboard and private karaoke rooms to keep the crowds busy (plus a patio with bocce courts in Stapleton), while diner-style gastropubs with a Southern-inspired American menu designed by Hugh Acheson keeps them well fed.
Hearth & Dram
American · LoDo · $$

Suave, au courant wood-fired cuisine complements cocktails from a bar boasting more than 350 whiskeys at this New American destination in LoDo. It's all served against the wood, steel and glass backdrop of the dramatic dining room, which overlooks Union Station.
Bar Helix
Bar · River North Art District · $$

Glittering tilework, graffiti and metallic hues distinguish this sexy slice of RiNo nightlife, where wines, craft cocktails and cult beers accompany seasonal small plates like lump crab rangoons and deviled eggs with beef tartare, as well as caviar service. A small chef's counter divides the cozy back lounge from the slick bar, which is flanked by a folding wall of windows that leads to the patio.
Rioja
Mediterranean · Central Business District · $$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.6

The "passion" of chef/co-owner Jennifer Jasinski shows in every "meticulously thought-out" Mediterranean-inspired dish her "courteous" staff "presents like artwork" alongside an "extraordinary wine list" at this "cosmopolitan" "Larimer Square gem" ; though the "chic" space is always "justifiably jam-packed" , recent renovations have smoothed the "flow" of an experience that's not only "worth" the price, it just "gets better and better."
HashTAG
Breakfast · $

Troy Guard (TAG, Los Chingones) puts his creative stamp on Benedicts, omelets, hash, pancakes and more at this daytime-only joint in Stapleton's Eastbridge Town Center, while the bar does the same for Bloody Marys and coffee drinks. The sunny space brims with energy in shades of bright yellow and blue-gray, plus banquettes, booths and a patio that invites groups to gather.
Linger
Eclectic · LoHi
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.2

There's nothing "macabre" about this "old mortuary" turned "hip" , "happening" eatery in LoHi, where "you'll definitely want to linger" either downstairs in the "hopping" dining room, upstairs in the "sultry" lounge with a Lite-Brite bar or on the "fantastic rooftop" boasting "phenomenal city views" – all while taking "a world tour" of "outrageously delish" Eclectic small plates; other pluses include the "fabulous handcrafted cocktails" , "personable" service and a happy hour that's "lively" enough "to wake the dead."