Denver Series – Favorite Restaurants
I’ve been wanting to do this Denver series for a while now and finally got around to it! I’ll be doing 2 other posts that include my favorite places to stay and favorite things to do in Denver, so stay tuned for those!
I’ve lived in Colorado my whole life, but this city changes daily. New restaurants pop up all.the.time so I’ll definitely edit this post as new ones come up! This is a list of my favorite restaurants that all serve gluten free and sometimes even paleo items on their menu. When you come to Colorado, you’ll quickly see that it’s pretty damn easy to eat gluten free here! I’m not celiac but I still stay away from gluten all together and these are the places I’ve gone and never had an issue at! I’ll be sure to mention if it is a completely GF facility!
Rivers and Roads Coffee – This amazing and beautiful coffee shop makes almost everything in house, even their coffee syrups. But their menu is what really stands out. They offer gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and paleo options available daily and they even have a completely gluten-free specified fryer for any of their delicious treats and snacks. So far, I’ve tried an amazing gluten free berry cream muffin, a donut whole, and their gluten free cheddar biscuit breakfast sandwich made me want to pass out from happiness. Hands down the best breakfast sandwich I’ve ever had. And the owners of this shop are so incredibly kind. If you’re in Denver, go support this small business. They deserve all the love in the world!
Whole Sol – This 100% organic smoothie bowl spot is THE BEST!! They don’t overdo everything with unneeded sugars, they just let the ingredients speak for themselves. Everything in their bowls is organic, gluten-free, & dairy-free. And it’s run by really amazing people which makes me even more excited to order from them!
Quiero Arepas – Quiero Arepas started as a food truck and then grew into a space in Avanti in the LoHi. It’s a completely gluten-free truck/restaurant sharing Venezuelan-inspired food. Arepas have my heart, but their arepas are a step above the rest! They make their arepas from non-GMO masa and don’t fry them so they are light, fluffy AND crispy! Try my favorites like the Reina Pepiada or the Pabellón! And be sure to get a side of their sweet plantains and try a fresh cracked coconut or one of their amazing fruit juices!
Ohana Island Kitchen – If you’re a poke bowl fan, this small Denver restaurant is a must! It’s the best poke I’ve had in Denver! They have a limited menu, but what they offer is incredibly fresh and flavorful. You’ll find tuna poke bowls with the most delicious seasoning on top of the rice. And if rice isn’t your thing, you can always get your poke with kale.
Modern Market – This fast-casual restaurant makes eating healthy on-the-go so much easier! I go there weekly to get a chicken plate with potatoes and arugula salad. But they also have great GF pizza and wraps to choose from. And really good GF cookies. They are also available at DIA in Concourse B and C! So next time you’re in the airport, you don’t have to make a sh*tty decision and go to McDonald’s. No way, man!
Root Down – One of my favorite restaurants to take my gluten free and paleo friends to! They have a restaurant in the Highlands, but I honestly prefer their location in DIA in Concourse C more. Any time I go to the airport, which is pretty often, I get there early and get brunch before I leave town! I almost always get their burger with no bun and a side of sweet potato fries!
Bacon Social House – This restaurant in Highlands has a ton of gluten free and paleo options! Their benedicts are amazing and they have a side of GF bacon tots that are out of control! You can also get a platter of different kinds of bacon! Whenever I get a benedict, I ask for mine on sautéed greens and it’s so dang good! I really love their space and they have a nice outdoor patio with new shops popping up all around it! It’s a very up-and-coming neighborhood!
Patxi’s Pizza – Amazingly awesome gluten free pizza! Keep in mind that this facility is not GF, so this won’t work for you if you are celiac. But they have one of my all-time favorite GF pizzas. It’s thin crust and gigantic! I’ve eaten a pretty large amount of this entire pizza and never have had a stomach ache from it. But be careful, this pizza is addicting. And it’s on the more expensive side so it’s not the best addiction for the wallet.
Ester’s – I was pleasantly surprised when I had their gluten free pizza at Ester’s since I’m not a fan of the rest of their menu. They don’t have many GF options and it’s a neighborhood restaurant so it’s littered with children, but their fluffy GF pizza is AWESOME. Highly recommend trying their pizza with figs and prosciutto. It’s bomb.
Deby’s Gluten Free – I’ve only had the opportunity to eat from this little shop once, but it is amazing and COMPLETELY gluten free. They have specific hours so plan ahead and go early if you want donuts! They also have a ton of pastries, bread and other savory items to choose from! I had their cinnamon bread and it was the best GF bread I’ve probably ever had!
Olive & Finch Eatery – They have 2 locations now and I definitely recommend going to the Cherry Creek location because it has a little more parking and seating. This restaurant and bakery hash amazing hashes and a few GF baked goods to choose from. When I use to live right next to it, I would run there for to-go dinner sometimes and get their paella and it was SO GOOD.
Potager – This is officially one of my favorite restaurants in Denver (updated 2021)!! This restaurant is phenomenal, I love it with every piece of my heart. The dishes are so incredibly fresh, the flavors are out of this world, and you can get most things gluten free. Plus the staff and the owners truly care about their guests and their experience. Go here. You won’t regret it. And get the chicken!!
Vital Root – This is a completely vegan restaurant and even though I’m not vegan, I LOVE this spot. It’s in a great neighborhood with lots of walkable spots and shops, and they make being vegan incredible! I highly recommend the Korean BBQ Veggie “Wings” and the Falafel Wrap!
Ash’Kara – If you like Mediterranean food, you’ll love this restaurant. Their hummus is my favorite in Denver, especially when topped with their marinated feta and cauliflower shawarma! Incredible!
Guard & Grace – I think this is the best steakhouse in Denver! Just let them know that you are GF and they can help you with the menu! Definitely get the GF apple pie because it’s amaaaaazing! And get the beet cocktail!
The 9th Door – I’m not a huge fan of small plates but these Spanish-inspired small plates pack a punch. Love this place for a girls night out or for happy hour.
Sushi Den/Izakaya Den – Sushi Den and Izakaya Den are connected by the same kitchen but have slightly different menus. I prefer Izakaya Den and their atmosphere, especially their upstairs bar. They have a ton of sushi with GF options! Plus awesome cocktails!
The Plimoth – This new american style restaurant brings some delicious flavors and textures to the table. It’s not specifically gluten free there, but you can easily ask your server to help you navigate the menu to find what works for you and your dietary needs!
The Wolf’s Tailor – Best meal in Denver. Hands down. If you want an incredible meal, this spot cannot be beat. It’s a fixed menu and you pay ahead of time, and it ain’t cheap, but it’s ABSOLUTELY worth. It’s 5 or 6 courses and you can get each course paired with a cocktail, wine, or mocktail. I’ve only tried the mocktail pairings and they are true perfection. If you’re in Denver, you need to go here. They know what they are doing.
- Snooze – The best GF pancakes ever and a ton of gluten free options! You can also mix and match your benedicts!
- Devil’s Food – I use to live right by this restaurant and went there constantly…and still do, honestly! Build your own scramble and definitely get the sausage on the side! They also have a bakery with a few GF options.
- Ophelia’s – This restaurant is a sister restaurant to Root Down so they have tons of GF options. They also have delicious cocktails and you can eat there for dinner. AND they have concerts and shows at night to make it an even more fun experience! I went to a 90’s dance party there and it was amazing!
- Hashtag – I don’t venture over to the Stapleton area very much, but this restaurant makes me want to go there all.the.time. So happy a reader recommendation this restaurant and told me to get the “Just the tips” has because it was unbelievable!
Coffee Shop Favorites:
- Corvus Coffee – Obsessed with this coffee shop! They have their own homemade cashew almond milk for your coffee preference!
- Kaladi Coffee – Their coffee is AMAZING. They are right by Denver University so they are pretty busy, but they are definitely worth the wait.
- Carbon – Love the atmosphere in this coffee shop! They also have food and cocktails!
- The Molecule Effect – I love this coffee shop mostly for it’s location. It’s in the Santa Fe Art District where there are a ton of shops and stores plus lots of art to look at!
- Steam – Love the neighborhood that this coffee shop is in and the inside is adorable. Get the GF Financier. It’s fantastic.
- Wildflower – This place SLAPS. They have amazing non-alcoholic floral elixirs, which I LOVE, but their grilled artichokes paired with their Croquetas de Patata are must-haves. I also love their Scottish salmon. We go back to this place over and over because it’s so damn good.
- Safta – This middle eastern/mediterranean restaurant will knock your socks off. This interior is beautiful and the food is even better. DO NOT miss the pita bread paired with the whipped feta and the hummus. It’s phenomenal. But you truly cannot go wrong here!
- The Rotary – This is another spot I need to get a photo of so it can go at the top of my list above. This lunch spot is AMAZING. Clean ingredients, gluten free/vegan/dairy free options, and the most delicious meats and side dishes. You can build a bowl any way you like and no matter what you choose, it will be fresh and absolutely wonderful!
- Denver Central Market – A huge space with all sorts of restaurants and shops. They have a coffee shop, bakery, chocolate, meat and seafood counter, pizza, and a handful of other stores. I love going their for lunch because everyone can choose from whatever they want instead of just one menu. My favorite is Green Seed for a giant amazing salad or curry!
- Super Mega Bien – This is a Latin American Dim Sum restaurant that has a menu filled with gluten free entrees and a cart that comes around with tons of gluten free small plates!
- Work & Class – Absolutely love this place. It’s super small and they don’t take reservations so get their early or just be prepared to wait outside for a while. Definitely get the lamb and fried plantains!
- Park Burger – This is one of my go-to restaurants for a good burger and fries. I ask for my burger on greens and always get a side of sweet potato fries!
- Señor Bear – This latin-inspired restaurant is fairly new to Denver in a super cute neighborhood of LoHi. I just recently tried the carnitas, their chicken and the albacore tuna ceviche and all three were amazing. I HIGHLY recommend getting the ceviche, it was phenomenal. And try their homemade agua frescas and even add a shot of your favorite alcohol to them!
- Barolo – Delicious Italian food that you can pair with their incredible wine list.
- Perdida – Just opened in the 2021 in the Wash Park neighborhood and it’s been a breath of fresh air in that older Gaylord block. Great ambience, pretty good food, and tasty drinks!
- Ototo – Sister restaurant to the restaurants above, just right across the street. I go here for small plates and ramen. Obsessed with their ramen on a snowy night. They have a ton of GF options – definitely get the Hamachi Carpaccio.
- Cuba Cuba – Love this restaurant! It was my first introduction to Cuban food and I instantly fell in love with plantains because of them. Definitely go to the restaurant instead of the fast-casual restaurant (Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria) because it’s a really cool restaurant tucked within two connected houses. Amazing drinks, plantain chips, and definitely get the Lechon Asado (which I made in my latest cookbook inspired by them) or the Ropa Vieja!
- Tacos Tequila Whiskey (previously called Pinche Tacos) – This is by far my favorite place for tacos in Denver. Every single taco I’ve had there is outstanding. You can’t go wrong! Go to the location in Highlands, it’s a little bigger space so there is less of a wait.
- Hopdoddy – I had Hopdoddy the first time when I was in Austin and I was SO happy to find them in Union Station in Downtown. Their burgers are crazy amazing!
- El Five – Tapas with the best view in town and super delicious cocktails!
- Mermaids Bakery – GF cupcakes available, and they are nice and big! Get their early or order ahead of time!
- Happy Bake Shop – GF cupcakes available.
- Milk & Cake – GF cupcakes and frozen yogurt bar! Just tried this place recently and it was some of the best frozen yogurt I’ve ever had! Plus you can add a GF cupcake to your frozen yogurt. That’s winning right there.
- D Bar – They have a huge dinner menu with a ton of GF items, but I usually go there just for dessert! Get the molten chocolate cake!
- Little Man Ice Cream – I’m not a huge ice cream person, but they never fail! And the location is in this iconic giant tin milk jug with a super cute courtyard, so it’s just a fun place to hang out. Not GF but they definitely have options.
- Sweet Action Ice Cream – Their ice cream is amazing and the owner use to work out at my gym so I know how cool she is and how much she loves what she does. They aren’t GF but they have some options to choose from.
- Gluten Escape – I first tried this place out when my sister-in-law bought me an entire cake for my birthday. And it was AMAZING!! The cake was rich, fluffy and moist (don’t get made I used that word) and the frosting was just right.
- Toro – This Latin restaurant not only has great food, but they have their Mercado Margarita which is my FAVORITE margarita in Denver!
- Forget Me Not – I just went here (2021) and it’s an adorable spot in Cherry Creek with really great drinks!
- Wildflower – I haven’t been here, but I’ve heard great thing for cocktails here
- Death & Co – This spot has multiple bars in one place (I prefer on the rooftop, I like the drinks up there better) and they have a really fun menu and ambiance.
- B&GC – I know nothing about this bar, but it seems fancy and exclusive, so it might be fun to go to!!
- Union Lodge No1 – One of my favorite cocktail bars in Denver. It feels like you’re in a speak easy and everyone is back in the prohibition era. They also have old school cocktails that they make the old school way. It’s a super fun experience!
- The Tatarian – I haven’t been here, but their website is rad so hopefully that’s a good sign for their cocktails, too
Places I haven’t been, but I’ve heard are amazing (I haven’t checked these menus out to see if they are gluten free or not):
- Nocturne – Jazz AND delicious food
- Ginger Pig – inspired asian street food
- Fruition – Farm-to-Table
- Hop Alley
- Beast + Bottle – Farm-to-table
- The Populist
- Owl Bear BBQ
- El Jefe – Farm-to-table Mexican food
- Spice Room – Indian food
Hope this list helps you plan your next trip to Denver! Be sure to check out my Favorite Things To Do and Best Places To Stay!
Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.
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48 thoughts on “Denver Series – Favorite Restaurants”
I am headed to Denver in a month and have been searching around for places to go! This is perfect! Thanks!
awesome! have so much fun here!
This is am awesome list! One of the saddest things I have ever done is leave Denver. I miss all the amazing grocery and restaurant options. While we lived there my husband and I frequented Rio Grande. The Park Meadows location is best in my opinion. They started to know exactly what I wanted when we walked in. After beginning a paleo lifestyle I began asking for their Smoked Chicken Tacos in a lettuce wrap. HOLY CRAP… AMAZING!!! We can’t discount what I consider to be the best salsa in town there too. Keep up the great work! YOU ROCK!!
Awesome, thanks. I will get to Denver one day so will refer back to this post. Do you know if any of the restaurants are using cleaner cooking oils (you mentioned some serve paleo food)? I eat gluten free and avoid fried food when I eat out, however still often leave feeling like crap and I think it’s because of the cooking oils. Do you ever have that issue?
every restaurant is different so you’ll have to ask those specific restaurants yourself! i don’t really eat fried food so i don’t have that issue very often. the only time i seem to ever have issues if i have fried brussels sprouts, but i think that’s due to the fat content
Ahhh just a few days late. We just got back from Denver on Tuesday. I was able to scour through your instagram posts for recommendations though. We tried Quiero Arepas, Departure, Just Be Kitchen, Paxti’s Pizza and Root Down. All were amazing!!! I can’t wait to go back and try some of the others and especially more of the bakeries!! Keep the good word coming.
awesome!! glad you found some good ones!
Was in Denver last week and used a lot of your suggestions from another page on your site. So many awesome options! Loved Morning Collective for breakfast!
We just moved to Denver 3 days ago and were on the hunt for places to eat! Can’t wait to try all of your recommendations!
Totally random but I remember you liked Wentworth. Have you checked out season 5 on Netflix? Holy craaaap.
errrmerrrgerrrrd, this season was OFF THE CHAIN! i was pretty upset about B being gone but they still crushed it without her! that show is so amazingly good! i wonder if B got a better part in something else or the plan was to kill her off from the start. she was so damn good!
Thanks Juli!! I live near Boulder and am looking forward to trying out your favs in Denver!! Ever been to Black Cat Bistro in Boulder? So good!!
never heard of it, but i don’t make it up to boulder often enough
This is great!! Thanks for all of the suggestions. My favorite for gf pizza is Raccas. They have a separate wood fired oven to cook it in. Best pizza ever.
never heard of that!
This post came just in time! I am traveling to Denver next month and already had Root Down, Departure, and Just Be, on my list per your suggestions. Any chance you could recommend which neighborhood to stay to be walking distance to some of these places or breweries, etc? (LoHi?) My husband is a beer guy, and I am so with you on the 2 sips of alcohol before moving on to hot tea! LOL! TIA. Love, love, love your blog – not just the paleo awesomeness, but the fashion, skincare tips, and especially, the travel, now!
i would definitely stay in LoHi or downtown that’s close to the highlands, such as four seasons or hotel teatro because you can walk to a ton of different places! i don’t know what your budget is and how nice of a place you want to stay but the hotel at union station is awesome and i’ve heard the crawford, oxford and the maven hotels are all cool!
Sorry butt in, but my hubs and I are visiting Denver and we went to First Draft Taproom and kitchen today. It would be heaven for your beer loving hubs. It’s a serve-yourself taproom with about 50 beers, ciders, a couple wines and even kombucha on tap. We didn’t have any food, but the menu looked delicious.
This list is the best!!! I totally agree that the Root Down DIA location is way better! They just started carrying a nitro cold brew to-go, so after I grab breakfast I always grab one of those on my way to my gate!
I travel for work and am gone 2-3 days every week – I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your hotel workouts! I rarely have time/energy after a full day of meetings to find a crossfit gym to drop into – not to mention I don’t want to pay a $30 uber each way to get to a decent gym! Plus, your travel snacks are always on POINT! The larabar bites have been my sweet tooth lifesaver recently (no room service I don’t need two forks for this chocolate cake, I’m eating it alone in bed THANKS).
It’s been on my list one of these days to drop in at CF Broadway, the workouts always look great! Our gym is currently following CompTrain by Bergeron and it is soul-crushing and awesome, all at the same time haha!
it really is so much better than the denver location lol!
We went to Just Be when we were in Denver last month and I had the same thing! It was so yummy and everyone was friendly. We’re hoping to move to Denver in the near future and that place will definitely be a staple 😉 We stayed in Curtis Park so we were within walking distance of Snooze and Denver Central Market which we visited often. I will be bookmarking this page for when we return (hopefully permanently)
it’s the best place! you’d love it here!
My husband travels to Denver frequently for work and I’m always telling him places to try that you’ve talked about- so much that his co-workers ask when he suggests a restaurant if it’s a Juli Bauer place ????
Thank you- we love all of your recipes!
hahahaha that’s amazing!
My hubs and I are in Denver now and had dessert and drinks at Beast and Bottle. Hoping to go back for dinner one night. Everything was DELICIOUS. You must try it asap!
Agree with the list. I would add: Mercantile, Colt & Gray, and the place El Five.
Corvus is the best damn coffee around I’d say.
i’ve still never been to colt & gray!!
Any suggestions for the Northfield area? I don’t have a car but hope to figure out a way to get to Just BE. Hoping for another suggestion that’s closer though!
i have seriously NO clue about the northfield area! i’m sorry! i rarely go over that way!
Thanks anyway. Made it to Just BE and it was so cute and food was awesome! Walked to Salati and Texas de Brazil in the Northfield area and both were great. Thanks again for all of your suggestions. Excited to try Root Down on my way home at DIA!
Have you been to True Food Kitchen?! So delicious, seasonal menu lots of gluten free and paleo options and they are always willing to work with you. One of my fav places in Denver!
i’m not a huge fan of true food. i’ve been there many times and i’ve never liked anything i’ve had there
THANK YOU so much for this list! I’ve been looking for new recommendations on places to try for those nights when I just don’t feel like cooking. 🙂
So thankful for this! Headed to Denver in October and have my list ready! I’m so jealous of all the GF spots and can’t wait to try the broth bar. We don’t have that here in Indiana. I’m headed to LA next month so if you have ANY recommendations for there, please send them my way! =)
have so much fun in denver!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Long time reader, first time poster. We recently flew into Denver and drove to Vail. We ate at Just Be Kitchen twice. Love that place. I have Celiac Disease, so the fact that it is BOTH gf and paleo was a real game changer. I hardly eat out often, but was completely safe and happy there. I wish I had a restaurant like that close to where I live, both gf and paleo. I so want to move to Denver.
definitely check out deby’s gluten free too!!
Guard and Grace – my absolute favorite place in Denver! We just had Patxis pizza for the 1st time last week. Thanks for this list.
Thanks for these awesome suggestions, Juli! I’ve been writing places down based on your Insta stories and this blog post, as I’ll be visiting Denver over Labor Day 🙂
I am in Denver for my pure barre certification and I tried Cuba Cuba this evening & plan to try a few other spots while I’m out here. Seriously loved the restaurant and so excited to try the others!! Thanks for this post!
yay!! hope you love the other places you check out!!
Thanks for this series Juli! Headed to Denver next weekend from NY – can’t wait to try out some of your favorites!!
have so much fun!!
I’m headed to Denver in about a month. Thanks for putting together this list. We will be staying with a friend living in Denver. We have dinner reservations at Uchi and El Five. Both look amazing. It looks like Denver really has some great spots.
i’ve never been to the Uchi in denver but I’ve been to the one in Austin and it’s delicious!!
Thanks so much for this blog post, Juli! I’m visiting from St. Paul & am hungry!
hope you find some spots you love!