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At Frasca Food & Wine, four-course Monday night tasting dinners cost $50
Ryan Dearth/Eater

How to Eat Cheap(er) at Denver's Finest Restaurants

And not spend an entire paycheck on one meal

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At Frasca Food & Wine, four-course Monday night tasting dinners cost $50
| Ryan Dearth/Eater

Fine dining establishments in Denver and Boulder can be unattainable at best, but many of the classiest joints also offer ways to indulge at a discount. At these 14 locales, there exist steals in the form of single dishes, happy hour specials, weekly tasting menus, and more. Whether in a white tablecloth dining room or at a sushi bar or steakhouse, here are some ways to go all out without draining the bank account.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Flagstaff House Restaurant

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1138 Flagstaff Rd
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 442-4640
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A special occasion kind of place, this Boulder staple does have a lodge-like bar and mountain-view terrace for those wanting just a glass of wine and a snack. Charcuterie, tartare, and paella run from $12-$16. Beers start at $6, cocktails at $10, and wines by the glass at $12.

Ryan Dearth/Eater

2. Steakhouse No. 316

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1922 13th St
Boulder, CO 80302
(720) 729-1922
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Diners at Boulder’s fancy new steakhouse will hardly recognize the former Conor O’Neill’s Irish pub. The century-old space has been completely redone with red velvet seating, gold chandeliers, and white tablecloths. For the feel of luxury without the full price tag, sit at the sizable bar that comes with its own food menu — bison burgers ($16), steak sandwiches ($19), and steak and fries ($20).

Ryan Dearth/Eater

3. Frasca Food and Wine

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1738 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 442-6966
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Boulder’s award-winning Northern Italian restaurant Frasca offers a $55, four-course tasting menu on Monday nights. On any other night of the week, casual customers can just grab a seat at the bar. A glass of house wine for $12 and the Frico Caldo for $10 are good places to start.

Ryan Dearth/Eater

4. Bamboo Sushi

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2715 17th St
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 284-6600
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At the LoHi outpost of this Portland-based sustainable seafood spot, diners can sit at the sushi counter and name their price for a chef’s omakase tasting experience. With a budget set, sushi chefs will prepare creative nigiri, sashimi, and rolls for every price point. See also happy hour specials from 5 to 7 p.m. daily.

Lucy Beaugard/Eater

5. ChoLon

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1555 Blake St #101
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 353-5223
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The French onion soup dumplings are still the stars of the show at this fancy modern Asian restaurant. Order them during happy hour for $10, along with discounted pork belly buns ($13) and Wagyu beef skewers ($11).

ChoLon [official]

6. Rioja

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1431 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 820-2282
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Chef Jennifer Jasinski's James Beard Award-winning cuisine can be experienced on a budget with a bar spot at Rioja. The bar menu is offered from 4 p.m. daily. Dishes highlight different Mediterranean countries and range from $5-$19. On the dinner menu, appetizer-sized pastas cost $10-14.

Adam Larkey

7. Urban Farmer Denver

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1659 Wazee St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 262-6070
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Meat dishes at Denver’s newest steakhouse can easily add up. For a good overview of the offerings, a small group of diners could go in on the New York steak tasting ($75) and a few sides for $7 or $10. Those on a date could order just the table-side tartare or foie gras for $20. There’s also happy-hour and late-night beef sliders for $5.

Adam Larkey/Eater

8. Guard and Grace

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1801 California St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 293-8500
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The posh Downtown steakhouse hosts a social hour Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. where deals abound. Beers start at $3, well drinks cost $6, and dishes like the smoked cod rilettes and charcuterie and cheese plate are $7 and $8 respectively.

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9. Mizuna

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225 E 7th Ave
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 832-4778
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Chef Frank Bonanno's flagship restaurant is a great special occasion place, but it also works on any night for a cocktail at the intimate bar. The $24 lobster mac and cheese is a meal in itself.

10. bittersweet

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500 E Alameda Ave
Denver, CO 80209
(303) 942-0320
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Bittersweet's refined yet unfussy dishes are on special every Thursday night with a four-course tasting menu that costs $50 and includes wine pairings. The menu changes weekly, but guests can always expect seasonal ingredients. Some of the possible offerings include lamb bratwurst, bone marrow, Iberico pork, and a baked Alaska.

Bittersweet [official]

11. Izakaya Den

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1487 S Pearl St
Denver, CO 80210
(303) 777-0691
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The izakaya pub menu at this premiere Japanese food destination can make for a less expensive upscale experience on Old South Pearl Street. Miso eggplant is priced at $7 and gyoza at $6, and a visit during happy hour means discounted drinks too. Note: The happy hour menu is only available for bar seating.

James Florio

12. Fruition Restaurant

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1313 E 6th Ave
Denver, CO 80218
(303) 831-1962
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James Beard Award-winning chef Alex Seidel’s flagship restaurant is still a neighborhood staple on 6th Avenue. For a cheaper meal, there’s $13 carbonara and a handful of $5-$7 appetizers — veal cheek, foie gras, and Maine lobster among them.

Fruition [official]

13. Barolo Grill

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3030 E 6th Ave
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 393-1040
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The a la carte menu at this Cherry Creek Italian institution features salads and appetizers that start at $12 and pastas that range between $21 and $26. Wines by the glass start at $10. The bar is a good place to perch with wine and a few of the small plates.

Barolo Grill [official]

14. Matsuhisa Denver

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98 Steele St
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 329-6628
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This Cherry Creek outpost of the famed sushi restaurant offers starters like edamame ($5), black cod lettuce cup ($6), and the Nobu lobster taco ($7). Tempura, which comes with two pieces, starts at $3, and a bowl of chicken udon is $17. A small carafe of Junmai sake costs $15.

Adam Larkey

1. Flagstaff House Restaurant

1138 Flagstaff Rd, Boulder, CO 80302
Ryan Dearth/Eater

A special occasion kind of place, this Boulder staple does have a lodge-like bar and mountain-view terrace for those wanting just a glass of wine and a snack. Charcuterie, tartare, and paella run from $12-$16. Beers start at $6, cocktails at $10, and wines by the glass at $12.

1138 Flagstaff Rd
Boulder, CO 80302

2. Steakhouse No. 316

1922 13th St, Boulder, CO 80302
Ryan Dearth/Eater

Diners at Boulder’s fancy new steakhouse will hardly recognize the former Conor O’Neill’s Irish pub. The century-old space has been completely redone with red velvet seating, gold chandeliers, and white tablecloths. For the feel of luxury without the full price tag, sit at the sizable bar that comes with its own food menu — bison burgers ($16), steak sandwiches ($19), and steak and fries ($20).

1922 13th St
Boulder, CO 80302

3. Frasca Food and Wine

1738 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
Ryan Dearth/Eater

Boulder’s award-winning Northern Italian restaurant Frasca offers a $55, four-course tasting menu on Monday nights. On any other night of the week, casual customers can just grab a seat at the bar. A glass of house wine for $12 and the Frico Caldo for $10 are good places to start.

1738 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302

4. Bamboo Sushi

2715 17th St, Denver, CO 80211
Lucy Beaugard/Eater

At the LoHi outpost of this Portland-based sustainable seafood spot, diners can sit at the sushi counter and name their price for a chef’s omakase tasting experience. With a budget set, sushi chefs will prepare creative nigiri, sashimi, and rolls for every price point. See also happy hour specials from 5 to 7 p.m. daily.

2715 17th St
Denver, CO 80211

5. ChoLon

1555 Blake St #101, Denver, CO 80202
ChoLon [official]

The French onion soup dumplings are still the stars of the show at this fancy modern Asian restaurant. Order them during happy hour for $10, along with discounted pork belly buns ($13) and Wagyu beef skewers ($11).

1555 Blake St #101
Denver, CO 80202

6. Rioja

1431 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80202
Adam Larkey

Chef Jennifer Jasinski's James Beard Award-winning cuisine can be experienced on a budget with a bar spot at Rioja. The bar menu is offered from 4 p.m. daily. Dishes highlight different Mediterranean countries and range from $5-$19. On the dinner menu, appetizer-sized pastas cost $10-14.

1431 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80202

7. Urban Farmer Denver

1659 Wazee St, Denver, CO 80202
Adam Larkey/Eater

Meat dishes at Denver’s newest steakhouse can easily add up. For a good overview of the offerings, a small group of diners could go in on the New York steak tasting ($75) and a few sides for $7 or $10. Those on a date could order just the table-side tartare or foie gras for $20. There’s also happy-hour and late-night beef sliders for $5.

1659 Wazee St
Denver, CO 80202

8. Guard and Grace

1801 California St, Denver, CO 80202
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The posh Downtown steakhouse hosts a social hour Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. where deals abound. Beers start at $3, well drinks cost $6, and dishes like the smoked cod rilettes and charcuterie and cheese plate are $7 and $8 respectively.

1801 California St
Denver, CO 80202

9. Mizuna

225 E 7th Ave, Denver, CO 80203

Chef Frank Bonanno's flagship restaurant is a great special occasion place, but it also works on any night for a cocktail at the intimate bar. The $24 lobster mac and cheese is a meal in itself.

225 E 7th Ave
Denver, CO 80203

10. bittersweet

500 E Alameda Ave, Denver, CO 80209
Bittersweet [official]

Bittersweet's refined yet unfussy dishes are on special every Thursday night with a four-course tasting menu that costs $50 and includes wine pairings. The menu changes weekly, but guests can always expect seasonal ingredients. Some of the possible offerings include lamb bratwurst, bone marrow, Iberico pork, and a baked Alaska.

500 E Alameda Ave
Denver, CO 80209

11. Izakaya Den

1487 S Pearl St, Denver, CO 80210
James Florio

The izakaya pub menu at this premiere Japanese food destination can make for a less expensive upscale experience on Old South Pearl Street. Miso eggplant is priced at $7 and gyoza at $6, and a visit during happy hour means discounted drinks too. Note: The happy hour menu is only available for bar seating.

1487 S Pearl St
Denver, CO 80210

12. Fruition Restaurant

1313 E 6th Ave, Denver, CO 80218
Fruition [official]

James Beard Award-winning chef Alex Seidel’s flagship restaurant is still a neighborhood staple on 6th Avenue. For a cheaper meal, there’s $13 carbonara and a handful of $5-$7 appetizers — veal cheek, foie gras, and Maine lobster among them.

1313 E 6th Ave
Denver, CO 80218

13. Barolo Grill

3030 E 6th Ave, Denver, CO 80206
Barolo Grill [official]

The a la carte menu at this Cherry Creek Italian institution features salads and appetizers that start at $12 and pastas that range between $21 and $26. Wines by the glass start at $10. The bar is a good place to perch with wine and a few of the small plates.

3030 E 6th Ave
Denver, CO 80206

14. Matsuhisa Denver

98 Steele St, Denver, CO 80206
Adam Larkey

This Cherry Creek outpost of the famed sushi restaurant offers starters like edamame ($5), black cod lettuce cup ($6), and the Nobu lobster taco ($7). Tempura, which comes with two pieces, starts at $3, and a bowl of chicken udon is $17. A small carafe of Junmai sake costs $15.

98 Steele St
Denver, CO 80206

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