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Where to Score Vegetarian Dishes and Tasting Menus

Root Down
Root Down
Photo: Adam Larkey

Until more recently, finding a vegetarian tasting menu amidst restaurants catering to carnivores was a challenging task, but now, certain restaurants are rising to the occasion and catering to both. Here’s Eater’s guide to eight vegetarian-friendly restaurants that offer vegetarian tasting menus and dishes while not compromising for the likes of unappetizing soggy tofu, fake cheese or broccoli.

Fuel%20Cafe.jpgFuel Cafe: 3455 Ringsby Court #105. Denver, CO.
Price: $30 and under.
Described as “garage-chic” with gray brick walls, chalkboard menus and cement floors, chef/owner Bob Blaire's Fuel Cafe offers eclectic food in the TAXI development (it used to be Yellow Cab’s headquarters) part of town. Blaire changes the menu based off of his mood (literally) and the season, leaving room for creative dishes largely inspired by the restaurant's urban garden. Fuel Cafe's lunch, dinner and happy hour menus offer a variety of vegetarian dishes like their ALT (avocado, tomato and lettuce) or their grilled and raw rainbow carrot salad with white quinoa, goat cheese, arugula, garlic chips, thyme and sherry mustard vinaigrette. Be sure to snag a table outside on the patio if the weather is nice. Reservations: Online. For large parties call: (303) 296-4642.

Rootdown.jpgRoot Down:1600 W. 33rd Ave. Denver, CO.
Price: $30 and under.
Chef/owner Justin Cucci runs Root Down in a restored 1950’s garage in Denver’s hip LoHi neighborhood. Root Down’s ambiance is accented with retro decor like vintage scales and old rotary phones mounted to the wall, and the view of downtown Denver doesn’t make for a bad reason to visit in itself. On the vegetable-forward menu, Root Down notes on the menu which items are available gluten-free and/or vegan. In their own words: “We created a dining spot where all dietary needs will be accommodated; including vegetarian, raw and gluten-free.” Root Down has fun dishes like BBQ bourbon tempeh, veggie burger sliders with jalapeno jam and rhubarb risotto . The restaurant also hosts raw dinners on the first Tuesday of every month. Try to get a spot outside on the patio overlooking the city. Reservations: Online. For parties of 9 or more reserve here.

Fruition%20Eater.jpgFruition Restaurant:1313 E. 6th Ave. Denver, CO.
Price: $30 and under.

Chef Alex Seidelco-owns Fruition with seasoned maitre 'd Paul Attardi , and together they run an exquisitely seamless and nationally recognized, 50-seat neighborhood bistro that specializes in elegant comfort food. Seidel and Attardi's dedicated to sourcing local runs so deep that they also operate Fruition Farms, which provides herbs, vegetables, fruit, chickens and sheep dairy to supply their restaurant. On average, at least two to three of the starter courses are vegetarian, like the Fruition Farms ricotta crema served with preserved Meyer lemon oil and a seasonal salad. To truly accommodate vegetarians, they also offer the "grazing vegetarian" option off the entree list, which includes two dishes of the night for $24. Reservations: Recommended. Online or call: (303) 831-1962.

Cafe%20Aion.jpgCafe Aion:1235 Pennsylvania Ave. Boulder, CO.
Price: $35 and under.

Chef/owner Dakota Soifer’s, Mediterranean-style, rustic tapas restaurant Cafe Aion sits humbly on Boulder’s “The Hill” University neighborhood. Cafe Aion is known for tapas, and 12 of the 20 tapas on their menu are vegetarian. The tapas range from Aion fried cauliflower with saffron yogurt/cumin/lemon to quinoa salad with Turkish apricots/almonds/preserved lemons. Don't miss Cafe Aion's vegeable tagine with fennel, artichokes, peas and pistachios. For one of the best seats in the house, sit by the large bay window overlooking the dining room and bustling kitchen. Reservations: Online or for more parties of 7 or more call: (303) 993-8131.

black%20cat%20boulder.jpgBlack Cat Farm Table Bistro:1964 13th St. Boulder, CO.
Price: $30-60

Right off Pearl Street in downtown Boulder sits chef/owner Eric Skokan's the cozy farm-to-table bistro, Black Cat. Skokan's 120-acre farm, just North of Boulder, allows the menu to change daily. From produce to meat, the menu is driven by locally-sourced food, and Black Cat offers tasting menus that always include vegetarian options. For those who don’t want the extensive tasting menu, the Black Cat kitchen will accommodate special dietary requests. Reservations: Recommended. Online or for special requests call: (303) 444-5500.

Z%20Cuisine.jpgZ Cuisine:2239 & 2245 West 30th Ave. Denver, CO.
Price: $35 and under.

In the Highlands neighborhood, chef/owner Patrick Dupays runs Z Cuisine, a French Bistro and Parisian Wine Bar that offers an intimate and inviting French dining experience. Z Cuisine offers a blackboard menu that changes according to what's available at the market, emphasizing the season's best local offerings. As a French restaurant, they’re surprisingly flexible in offering vegetarian food like their chef’s table tasting menu every Wednesday. Z Cuisine is open for dinner service Wednesday-Saturday. Reservations: Not accepted.

Potager.jpgPotager:1109 Ogden St. Denver, CO.
Price: $30 and under.

Teri Rippeto, executive chef/owner of Potager in Capitol Hill supports well over 15 local farms and purveyors. She also maintains a vegetable and herb garden behind the restaurant, which elevates her monthly rotating menu that emphasizes fresh, seasonal and housemade/grown ingradients. Typically, you can find close to half of their seasonal menu reflecting vegetarian options ranging from simple salads and homemade gnocchi, to a seasonal vegetable minestrone. The staff is attentive and knowledgeable, and the ambiance is fit for both casual and special occasion dining. Reservations: Not accepted.

Colterra.jpgColterra:210 Franklin St. Niwot, CO.
Price: $30 and under.

In quaint downtown Niwot sits Colterra (“cultivate the earth” in Latin) from chef/owner Bradford Heap. Offering Southern French and Northern Italian cuisine, Colterra is in a small historic house, surrounded by a gated garden and outdoor patio under the trees. The farm-fresh menu always offers a vegetable tasting entree each season to reflect the local produce. In addition to the vegetable tasting entree, Colterra caters to vegetarian requests. Reservations: Online or call: (303) 652-0777.

· Eater Guides [EDen]

Café Aion [Photo: Jake The Craftsman]

Black Cat Bistro [Photo: Boulder Weekly]

Fruition Restaurant

1313 E 6th Avenue, Denver, CO 80218 303 831 1992

Root Down

1600 West 33rd Avenue, , CO 80211 (303) 993-4200 Visit Website


210 Franklin Street, Niwot, CO 80544 303 652 0777 Visit Website


1109 North Ogden Street, , CO 80218 (303) 246-7073 Visit Website

Cafe Aion

1235 Pennsylvania Avenue, , CO 80302 (303) 993-8131 Visit Website


1452 Northeast Alberta Street, , OR 97211 (503) 335-3835

Z Cuisine & A Cote

2239 W 30th Street, Denver, CO 80211 303 477 1111 Visit Website