Denver's Most Popular

The people have spoken
July 18, 2016
·
by Zagat Staff

Zagat users’ favorite restaurants in Denver based on our most recent survey.

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."
Sushi Den
Sushi · Platt Park · $$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.4

"If you can't go to Tokyo" , this "homey" Platt Park "institution" "will do" – after all, "Denver's premier" sushi bar still "lives up to the reputation it's been building" since 1984, "thrilling your tongue" with "exquisite" raw fish, "perfectly battered tempura" and other Japanese specialties provided by a "courteous" staff; there's "always a line to get in" , but the "crowds" (and slightly expensive tabs) are worth it for a "true" dining experience.
Izakaya Den
Japanese · Platt Park · $$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.4

The Kizaki brothers "know what they're doing" – and they've "done it again" with this "spectacular" Sushi Den offshoot in Platt Park offering the same "incredibly fresh seafood" for which the "mother ship" next door is famous, alongside an "uncommonly" "adventurous" selection of Asian-fusion small plates, all "served with aplomb” – and sake – by an "efficient" , "accommodating" staff; meanwhile, the "simply stunning" two-story setting, featuring a "heavenly" upstairs lounge with a retractable roof, is even "better" than that of its sibling, "without the waits.”
Acorn
Bar · River North Art District · $$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.5

“Get ready to share – and be wowed” by – “astounding” New American small plates with “huge flavors” “that light up your mouth” at this RiNo sibling of Boulder’s acclaimed OAK at fourteenth; though the somewhat “noisy” setting in “popular” “warehouse” -turned-marketplace The Source is “hipster heaven” , you’ll “never feel slighted” by either the “dynamic, attentive servers” or the “master mixologists” at the bar.
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).
Luca
Italian · Capitol Hill · $$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.5

Another of Frank Bonanno's "successes" , this "fine-dining" "destination" on Capitol Hill turns out "imaginative" Italian "plates of beauty" paired with equally "fab" wines by an "excellent" staff in a "quaint and inviting" space; of course, it also delivers "expensive" checks, but they're "worth every penny" when "romantic" evenings are in order.
ChoLon
Asian · LoDo · $$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.4

LoDo is "lucky to have" chef Lon Symensma, whose "talent is on display" in every "exquisite" Southeast Asian morsel (including "brilliant" French onion soup dumplings) that this "sleek" spot sends out of its open kitchen; fetched by "knowledgeable, efficient" servers and accompanied by "standout" cocktails, the "artistic" , "adventurous" small plates are "made to share" – and you may as well, since the "throbbing" noise level promotes getting close, while the prices, being "a little steep" , favor bill-splitting.
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."
Mizuna
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."
Panzano
Italian · Central Business District · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.2 · Service 4.5

"Consistently" "scrumptious" Northern Italian fare – including "superb" freshly baked breads and "imaginative" gluten-free options – is the draw at this "casually elegant" Downtown "jewel" in the "trendy Hotel Monaco" ; an "incredible" staff "flat-out rocks" , "treating all ages and appetites appropriately" , and "not-to-be-missed" happy-hour "bargains" only add to the "pleasure."
Root Down
American · LoHi · $$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.3

From the "adventurous" , "farm-fresh" New American plates that "won't cost an arm and a leg" to service that "bends over backwards" against the "cool-funky" backdrop of a "converted filling station" , "everything is done extremely well" at Justin Cucci's "high-energy" hall of postmillennial "hippiedom" in LoHi – so it's no wonder you'll need "good luck getting in" ; P.S. there's a newer offshoot in Denver International Airport's Terminal C.
The Kitchen
American · LoDo · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.2 · Service 4.4

Having “set the standard” for the “farm-to-table experience” in Boulder, this “lovely” , “ecologically minded” “institution” “still delivers” on the promise of “elegant” yet “wholesome” seasonal American dishes paired with “fantastic” wines by a “helpful” , “professional” staff; though no less “trendy” , the LoDo offshoot has “its own personality” (not to mention a raw bar), as does the Fort Collins branch with its “neighborhood feel.”
ELWAY'S
Steakhouse · Central Business District · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.3

"Melt-in-your-mouth steaks" "score big" at the "clubby" Cherry Creek flagship of the namesake football legend's chophouse mini-chain, but the real "highlight" may be its "meat-market" bar scene, comprising "big-spending" "cougars" , "sugar daddies" and "local celebrities" who can afford the "Super Bowl prices" (though there's "value" to be found on the "extensive wine list" ); similar perks, including "smooth" service, await at the "glitzy, ritzy" Downtown branch, the "bustling" Vail offshoot and the outpost in DIA's Concourse B, a "wonderful" option for jet-setters.
Elway's Cherry Creek
Steakhouse · Cherry Creek
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.3

"Melt-in-your-mouth steaks" "score big" at the namesake football legend's chophouse mini-chain, but the real "highlight" at its "clubby" Cherry Creek flagship may be the "meat-market" bar scene, comprised of "big-spending" "cougars" , "sugar daddies" and "local celebrities" who can afford the "Super Bowl prices" (though there's "value" to be found on the "extensive wine list" ); similar perks, including "smooth" service, await at the "glitzy, ritzy" Downtown branch, the "bustling" Vail offshoot and the outpost in DIA's Concourse B, a "wonderful" option for jet-setters.
Bistro Vendôme
French · Central Business District · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.3

Bienvenue – "you are now in Paris" swear fans of chef/co-owner Jennifer Jasinski's "delightful" "slice of the Left Bank" in a Larimer Square courtyard, as appealing for upscale, "intimate dinners" – think steak frites "you can't beat" – as for the "satisfying" Sunday brunch; if it offers "few surprises" for foodies these days, part of its "staying power" may be found in the "fetching" "jardin fragrant with blooming foliage" , "the place to be" as you sample the "stunning wine list."
The Fort
Steakhouse · $$$$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.3

"If you want to pretend you're back in the Wild West" , this "replica of Bent's Old Fort" in Morrison is a "fun, educational experience" centered on a regional American menu featuring steak and a "wide variety of game dishes" brought by servers "dressed as pioneers" against a "beautiful panorama of Denver" ; locals sniff that it's "too touristy" and "overpriced" , but if you're "on the hook to give out-of-towners" a taste of "history" , it's "worth it."