Denver, Colorado is a great destination for foodies looking to explore and discover new restaurants. From barbecue to sushi, Italian to Texan, there are plenty of hidden gems to uncover. Whether you're seeking a casual spot to grab a bite or an elegant lounge with live jazz, Denver has something for everyone. Let's take a look at some of the best hidden gem restaurants in Denver. If you're craving classic BBQ flavors, GQue is the place to go.
Owner Jason Ganahl spent years tasting the best smoked meats in the country as a professional barbecue judge before opening his own restaurant. At GQue, you can savor pulled pork, ribs, apple salad, mac and cheese, and smoked beans. It's also a great spot to learn about the backstage action at a barbecue competition. Ototo is often overlooked in the shadow of its two wildly popular siblings, Sushi Den and Izakaya Den. But Ototo offers authentic Japanese food, from ramen to sashimi.
It's also one of the few local restaurants offering robata-style grill options. Zeal is another great option in Boulder's Pearl Street area. Here you can find healthy, organic food in a modern and casual setting. There are plenty of choices for those with gluten or dairy sensitivities, as well as for meat-eaters and vegans. Dishes include meatballs and zucchini noodles in tikka masala sauce, dishes to prepare your own dishes, and kale and beetroot salad.
You can also try cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices. Tavernetta is an Italian and Mediterranean restaurant with elegant and refined dishes. From handmade pasta such as lobster noodles and anolini with dandelion to seafood such as halibut and sea bass, there's something for everyone. Don't forget to check out their extensive wine list from around the world. Happy Camper is another great addition to the list, with a gorgeous outdoor patio and an attractive menu. The design includes a perfect green lawn, folding chairs, fire pits, and common wooden benches and tables for eating.
The menu focuses on pizza but they also have a large list of snacks at the bar. Nocturne is the perfect place if you're looking for a lounge with live jazz. Located in RiNo, head to the elegant turquoise art deco door with gold details and let yourself be carried away to a dark underground room. Enjoy cocktails like the Lady of Lavender Mist with London Dry gin, creamy sherry, lavender, chamomile, rosemary and lemon syrup or a glass of crisp wine. For authentic Texan barbecue right here in Denver, visit Rolling Smoke BBQ. They are dedicated to keeping the Texas barbecue tradition alive by only using authentic Post Oak delivered from Texas.
Order a meat-heavy sandwich like Ron Swanson with half a kilo of brisket, pork, turkey and pork belly or enjoy barbecue chips or mac and cheese. Chef Jon Robbins previously worked as a chef de cuisine at Mizuna as well as in Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris. He brings his expertise to Mad Greens which is one of the most affordable restaurants in downtown Denver. You can find several locations around the city but the most accessible one is right in the center of the city on 16th Street. The Denver Biscuit Company is another very popular place to eat in Denver so try to visit it during the week to avoid the crowds. They offer delicious breakfast sandwiches as well as lunch options like fried chicken sandwiches or salads. Lechuga's is one of the best cheap restaurants in Denver serving up Italian food with quality and service that have been hard to come by in recent years.
The restaurant first opened its doors in 1927 so they've had plenty of time to perfect their menu. Sign up for the waiting list well in advance to make sure you're already queuing up when you arrive at the restaurant.