Denver Food Scene And Craft Breweries

denver street art

So maybe Monday’s post on Top US destinations for a girls trip was a little prelude. I recently went on a short 2.5 day trip to Denver, which let me preface by saying is hardly enough time to truly experience the city. Denver surprisingly has a lot more than meets the eye, and like for example New York City, not everything you would like to see or do is necessarily walking distance from each other. Nonetheless, we made the best of our time there, even when it meant eating two dinners to not miss out on the amazing food and craft beer culture.

Now the Denver food scene I find gets some mixed reviews. Some find it to be “trash”, and others acknowledge cities major gems and signature dishes like Green Chile. This post is a little bit of a dive in on where we ate, and the breweries we checked out during this trip.

denver rino district

Before we dive straight into the food, I also did want to include a little about the RiNo art district of Denver. This trendy art district is one of the places to be. With lots of urban charm, this area is like Wynwood Miami meets Williamsburg, with a little of a hipster industrial but of course artsy feel. There are lots of art galleries, food halls and markets to choose from. There is also a huge area where many of the cities breweries are located. There is definitely tons to see and do, and just walking along the streets makes for a perfect instagram worthy photoshoot. It is very easy to spend an entire day exploring this section of Denver alone.

Rino is decorated with block after block of beautiful street murals.

denver rino district
denver rino district

Now on to some of the restaurants we visited.

Forest Room 5

Forrest Room Five Denver

Forest Room 5 is definitely worth the visit for the experience alone. It is so fun and unique to dine or have a drink in what feels like the forest, or even a landfill ( a pretty landfill), with old ” junk” and trinkets lying around. I mean that in the best way. Under the twinkling lights there are firepit tables outside amongst the trees and even cute spaces like dining in a Native American teepee.

It is hard to include a menu or reccomendations as the menu is constantly changing both seasonally and for what is available. We ordered a Steak Sandwich and the Green Chile Mac And Cheese. As mentioned before, Green Chile is definitely a Denver staple and we had it as much as we can. Not only is it delicious in general, but this mac and cheese was probably my favorite preparation of it. The steak sandwich was good, although you could do without it and explore another menu option. While tasty, the sandwich filling to bread ratio really didn’t make it worth it. I also definitely recommend my cocktail. I forget the name but it was a bourbon based drink.

Forest Room 5

Root Down

Root Down Denver
Spiced Ground Lamb, Bacon, Aged Cheddar, Harissa Aioli, Slaw, Sweet Potato Fries & Mint Garlic Yogurt
Crispy Bacon, Carnaroli Rice, Black Quinoa, Roasted Squash, Hazelnuts, Creme Fraiche & Carrot-Ginger Puree

Root Down was a very well reccomended restaurant by everyone we spoke to. In my opinion, this restaurant brought me to flavor town and is absolutely worth visiting. This restaurant is one in which you know, the chef in the back knows what he/she is doing. The risotto was so delicious and unique with such a complexity of flavors making every bite different. On the hunt for some Colorado lamb, we had the lamb burger here and were not dissapointed in the slightest. It was so flavorful and really not like any of the typical burgers you’d come across.

Root Down Website

Cherry Cricket Burgers

Cherry Cricket Burgers
1st place denver burger battle, people’s choice 2021! 1/2 pound cricket burger, pimento cheese, crispy panko crusted poblano pepper, pork belly, cherry pepper raspberry sauce, brioche bun
1st place denver burger battle 2019! 1/2 pound cricket burger, white cheddar, house-made chile relleno, chef ronaldo’s award-winning denver style pork green chile, brioche bun

Cherry Cricket Website

If youre looking for a more casual bite, Cherry Cricket reminded be of a Dave N Busters aesthetic. But these burgers, were deliicious to say the least. We went for the award winning burgers, and they had green chile, obviously. They really were insanely good.

Snooze A.M Eatery

Another spot we heard about time and time again was Snooze for brunch. Be warned, lines can run down the block and you could have quite the wait ahead of you. However I can honestly say it was 100% worth it. This brunch food was far from basic and both the Habanero Eggs Benedict and the Pancake Flight were absolutely delicious. The eggs benedict was again complex in flavor with a tasty sweet savory aspect to them that was really lovely. The pancake flight was also just amazing, each was really decedent and delicious. Our favorite had to be the “fan favorite” pineapple upside down pancake.

The Buckhorn Exchange

Buckhorn is easily just as much a museum as it is a restaurant and is a dining experience that I highly recommend experiencing. The establishment has been open since 1893 and has quite the story behind it. With it’s rich history and decor, it is now home to countless historical artifacts, its vast wild game collection, and not to mention some delicious and unique food options. There is so much history behind The Buckhorn Exchange that is really interesting, I definitely recommend reading up on it and visiting when in town.

One of Colorados signature dishes, other than Green Chile, is Rocky Mountain Oysters. While a part of me just wants to recommend it without disclosing what it really is, I will leave you with…. they are not actually oysters. But they are good. Now it is definitely not one of my favorite dishes I had at Buckhorn nor Denver, but while you can do without them, if you’re into having the “full experience”, you also will enjoy them too. I really liked the duck breast as well and found it to be a tasty appetizer. A flavorful bite and a nice portion size. My friend found it a little gamey but I liked it so I guess it is up to personal preference.

What I love about Buckhorn is the unique options you have for quality meat, and that you can turn it into a combination platter to try more than one. For entrees, the most recommended dish was the Bison Prime Rib. Delicious with an amazing seasoning and so tender. I highly reccommend it as well. While I wish we went for something more along the lines of elk, since it was particularly hard to find and definitely a “local” game, we chose the quail. I really enjoyed it but with all the bones found it a little hard to share.

Sams No 3

Sams No 3 Denver
Diced ham, bacon,, sausage, gyro meat, onion, tomato, bell pepper, mushroom.

Sams No 3 was mentioed on the Food Network show Diners Drive Ins And Dives so I had to see what all the fuss was about. We ordered the reccomended dishes from the show, the Kitchen Sink Burrito with Green Chile and an extra bowl of Green Chile. I’ll be honest. It was good, no complaints at all. However it was nothing mind blowing and I didn’t feel this excitement or satisfaction like I felt with some of the other meals I have had. Partially because Sams No 3 is in general a diner, which is not uncommon in New York. As a casual diner spot, it has a massive menu and tons of other options too, so regardless it is a safe bet and you can’t go wrong.

Sams No 3 Website

Craft Breweries

Denver is definitely a hub for craft beers with over 100 brewery options to choose from. There are even excursions you can take with a tour group and go on a little beer crawl. We kind of did it on our own and mostly in the RiNo area. Don’t ask me my favorite they were all great and delicious.

I guess some notes to further describe the breweries would be:
Rock Bottom had a bit of a restaurant vibe to it as well, and while we didnt eat the food sure looked good. Odell is a smaller spot but the cozy vibe makes you really get to know the staff well and talk beer. Finally Stem Cider is really wonderful for a change up from the beer and cider lovers will definitely not be dissapointed.

Shop Similar Styles

Keep in mind, these were taken a little earlier in the season and Colorado and Denver do get cold. The styles were cute so I did wan’t to share some similar options but just maybe bring an extra jacket or layering piece.😉

See below for more on Denver.
Also if you have visited I would love to hear more about your experiences and favorites from the city.

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