clock menu more-arrow no yes

25 Classic Restaurants Every Denverite Should Try

They range in age from 18 to over 100.

View as Map

In honor of Classics Week, these are 25 of Denver's most classic restaurants, including some truly old specimens, some ethic gems, and some still very hot white table cloth establishments.

"Classic," of course, can mean many things. On one hand, it can be a historic spot that opened in the 1800. On the other hand, it can just be a restaurant that has been around seemingly forever, and locals can't imagine life or a certain neighborhood without it.

Laid out in this map, there are restaurants and bars from the whole range of "classics." The youngest one of them is 18 years old and the oldest over a century.

Note: Map points are not ranked; they are in alphabetical order.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Fort

Copy Link
19192 highway 8
Morrison, CO 80465
A classic Colorado restaurant with a deep history and stunning view close to Red Rocks. Opened in 1963, this Western-themed spot focuses on fine buffalo, beef, game and seafood,

2. El Taco De Mexico

Copy Link
714 Santa Fe Dr
Denver, CO 80204
(303) 623-3926
Visit Website
No fuss, just great traditional Mexican food in a casual environment. El Taco de Mexico opened in 1985 and its cult following keeps growing. Don't miss the Chile Relleno Burrito smothered and the Huevos Rancheros.

3. Wazee Supper Club

Copy Link
1600 15th St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 623-9518
Visit Website
The four decade old spot has witnesses the transformation of LoDo yet managed to survive and still remain a local and tourist attraction. Just last year, President Barack Obama ate pizza there during a Denver stop.

4. Avenue Grill

Copy Link
630 E 17th Ave
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 861-2820
Visit Website
Twenty seven years ago, this 17th Street spot opened as a traditional San Francisco style neighborhood restaurant. Martinis are still very hot here.

5. Barolo Grill

Copy Link
3030 E 6th Ave
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 393-1040
Visit Website
White table cloths, impeccable service, and a superb wine list are among the secrets to success of this restaurant. Open in 1992, Barolo Grill remains one of the best in the city.

6. Blue Bonnet

Copy Link
457 S Broadway
Denver, CO 80209
(303) 778-0147
Visit Website
In 1968, Arlene and Philip Mobell bought the Blue Bonnet, which one of the the first post-prohibition bars, and turned it into the classic Mexican eatery it is today. Still family-run, the restaurant is famed for its very friendly service and great Margaritas.

7. Blue Parrot

Copy Link
640 Main St
Louisville, CO 80027
(303) 666-0677
Visit Website
At 96, this Louisville staple located on Main Street is the oldest Italian restaurant in Colorado.

8. Brown Palace Hotel

Copy Link
321 17th St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 297-3111
Visit Website
There is a lot to love about this century-old hotel in Downtown Denver. Whether it's tea in the lobby, a beer at Ship's Tavern, or a fancy meal at Palace Arms, there seems to be a spot for every occasion.

9. Flagstaff House Restaurant

Copy Link
1138 Flagstaff Rd
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 442-4640
Visit Website
A family-run business, the Flagstaff is a Boulder classic that boasts some of Colorado's best wine cellars.

10. Gaetano's

Copy Link
3760 Tejon St
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 455-9852
Visit Website
Famed for its old school once-mob-related history, this staple in the Highland still serves classic Italian food to the neighborhood.

11. Imperial Chinese

Copy Link
431 S Broadway
Denver, CO 80209
(303) 698-2800
Visit Website
Restaurateur Johnny Hsu has owned the Imperial Chinese Restaurant, located at 431 S. Broadway, for 26 years. The spot is still a go-to favorite for classic Americanized Chinese fare.

12. Jax Fish House Denver

Copy Link
1539 17th St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 292-5767
Visit Website
Nearly two decades ago, much before the dining boom of LoDo, restaurateur Dave Query took a chance and opened a fish house at 17th and Wazee. Happy hour here is still one of the best in town.

13. Lechuga's

Copy Link
3609 Tejon St
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 455-1502
Visit Website
When this restaurant changed hands last year, fans of its old school Italian food were fearful that this staple that began in the 1960s as Carbone's Bakery was going to close following in the steps of places like Pagliacci's and Longo's. That was not case; stuffed meat cannolis are still offered to guests.

14. My Brother's Bar

Copy Link
2376 15th St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 455-9991
Visit Website
Claimed as the oldest bar in Colorado, this spot is marked on Platte Street by only an address, no name on the door. Its staple is the J.C.B., a double burger laid spiked with a layer of jalapeño cream cheese.

15. New Saigon

Copy Link
630 S Federal Blvd
Denver, CO 80219
(303) 936-4954
Visit Website
Opened in 1987, this Vietnamese eatery on Federal is a Denver staple that seems always packed to the brim with guests. Don't miss the bakery addition next door.

16. Pete's Central 1

Copy Link
300 S. Pearl St
Denver, CO
The family-owned and operated restaurant started serving Greek food in the Wash Park neighborhood in 1981.

17. Potager

Copy Link
1109 Ogden St
Denver, CO 80218
(303) 832-5788
Visit Website
Before farm to table was all the rage, chef Teri Rippeto opened Potager in the busy Capitol Hill neighborhood. 18 years later, the restaurant is still full every night. Don't miss the cheese souffle, it's great in every seasonal iteration.

18. Racines

Copy Link
650 Sherman St
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 595-0418
Visit Website
Owned and run by David Racine and Lee Goodfriend, Racines is 31 years old. This true old-school joint serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

19. Rosa Linda's

Copy Link
2005 W 33rd Ave
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 455-0608
Visit Website
The neighborhood changed around it but Rosa Linda's remained the same warm Mexican eatery that the Agguire family has run since 1984.

20. Sam's No. 3

Copy Link
1500 Curtis St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 534-1927
Visit Website
When the diner opened in nly Sam’s No. 3 in the 1960s, it had 19 stools and a grill in the front window that vented to the sidewalk. Now there are three locations and a loyal following.

21. Sushi Den

Copy Link
1487 S Pearl St
Denver, CO 80210
(303) 777-0826
Visit Website
The Kizaki brothers are often credited for bringing reliable, high-quality sushi to Denver. Their three decade old institution located on Old South Pearl Street is still one of the city's best overall restaurants.

22. The Buckhorn Exchange

Copy Link
1000 Osage St
Denver, CO 80204
(303) 534-9505
Visit Website
When people say Rocky Mountain oysters, they are probably thinking of this late nineteenth century institution. The dining room displays some serious taxidermy and the meaty menu ranges from cornish hen to bison and elk.

23. The Cherry Cricket

Copy Link
2641 E 2nd Ave
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 322-7666
Visit Website
A trucker bar in the '50s, the Cherry Cricket remains a popular watering hole in the posh Cherry Creek North neighborhood. Its burgers are famous and its beer specials cheap.

24. White Fence Farm

Copy Link
6263 W Jewell Ave
Lakewood, CO 80232
(303) 935-5945
Visit Website
This fried chicken temple opened in Lakewood in 1973 and has since added to its lineup a gift shop, petting farm, duck pond and entertainment stage. Don't miss the pickled beets; they are killer.

25. Wynkoop Brewing Co.

Copy Link
1634 18th St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 297-2700
Visit Website
Founded in 1988 by Colorado two-time Governor John Hickenlooper, Wynkoop Brewing Company is a beer palace and a landmark of the Mile High City.

Loading comments...

1. The Fort

19192 highway 8, Morrison, CO 80465
A classic Colorado restaurant with a deep history and stunning view close to Red Rocks. Opened in 1963, this Western-themed spot focuses on fine buffalo, beef, game and seafood,
19192 highway 8
Morrison, CO 80465

2. El Taco De Mexico

714 Santa Fe Dr, Denver, CO 80204
No fuss, just great traditional Mexican food in a casual environment. El Taco de Mexico opened in 1985 and its cult following keeps growing. Don't miss the Chile Relleno Burrito smothered and the Huevos Rancheros.
714 Santa Fe Dr
Denver, CO 80204

3. Wazee Supper Club

1600 15th St, Denver, CO 80202
The four decade old spot has witnesses the transformation of LoDo yet managed to survive and still remain a local and tourist attraction. Just last year, President Barack Obama ate pizza there during a Denver stop.
1600 15th St
Denver, CO 80202

4. Avenue Grill

630 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80203
Twenty seven years ago, this 17th Street spot opened as a traditional San Francisco style neighborhood restaurant. Martinis are still very hot here.
630 E 17th Ave
Denver, CO 80203

5. Barolo Grill

3030 E 6th Ave, Denver, CO 80206
White table cloths, impeccable service, and a superb wine list are among the secrets to success of this restaurant. Open in 1992, Barolo Grill remains one of the best in the city.
3030 E 6th Ave
Denver, CO 80206

6. Blue Bonnet

457 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80209
In 1968, Arlene and Philip Mobell bought the Blue Bonnet, which one of the the first post-prohibition bars, and turned it into the classic Mexican eatery it is today. Still family-run, the restaurant is famed for its very friendly service and great Margaritas.
457 S Broadway
Denver, CO 80209

7. Blue Parrot

640 Main St, Louisville, CO 80027
At 96, this Louisville staple located on Main Street is the oldest Italian restaurant in Colorado.
640 Main St
Louisville, CO 80027

8. Brown Palace Hotel

321 17th St, Denver, CO 80202
There is a lot to love about this century-old hotel in Downtown Denver. Whether it's tea in the lobby, a beer at Ship's Tavern, or a fancy meal at Palace Arms, there seems to be a spot for every occasion.
321 17th St
Denver, CO 80202

9. Flagstaff House Restaurant

1138 Flagstaff Rd, Boulder, CO 80302
A family-run business, the Flagstaff is a Boulder classic that boasts some of Colorado's best wine cellars.
1138 Flagstaff Rd
Boulder, CO 80302

10. Gaetano's

3760 Tejon St, Denver, CO 80211
Famed for its old school once-mob-related history, this staple in the Highland still serves classic Italian food to the neighborhood.
3760 Tejon St
Denver, CO 80211

11. Imperial Chinese

431 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80209
Restaurateur Johnny Hsu has owned the Imperial Chinese Restaurant, located at 431 S. Broadway, for 26 years. The spot is still a go-to favorite for classic Americanized Chinese fare.
431 S Broadway
Denver, CO 80209

12. Jax Fish House Denver

1539 17th St, Denver, CO 80202
Nearly two decades ago, much before the dining boom of LoDo, restaurateur Dave Query took a chance and opened a fish house at 17th and Wazee. Happy hour here is still one of the best in town.
1539 17th St
Denver, CO 80202

13. Lechuga's

3609 Tejon St, Denver, CO 80211
When this restaurant changed hands last year, fans of its old school Italian food were fearful that this staple that began in the 1960s as Carbone's Bakery was going to close following in the steps of places like Pagliacci's and Longo's. That was not case; stuffed meat cannolis are still offered to guests.
3609 Tejon St
Denver, CO 80211

14. My Brother's Bar

2376 15th St, Denver, CO 80202
Claimed as the oldest bar in Colorado, this spot is marked on Platte Street by only an address, no name on the door. Its staple is the J.C.B., a double burger laid spiked with a layer of jalapeño cream cheese.
2376 15th St
Denver, CO 80202

15. New Saigon

630 S Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80219
Opened in 1987, this Vietnamese eatery on Federal is a Denver staple that seems always packed to the brim with guests. Don't miss the bakery addition next door.
630 S Federal Blvd
Denver, CO 80219

Related Maps

16. Pete's Central 1

300 S. Pearl St, Denver, CO
The family-owned and operated restaurant started serving Greek food in the Wash Park neighborhood in 1981.
300 S. Pearl St
Denver, CO

17. Potager

1109 Ogden St, Denver, CO 80218
Before farm to table was all the rage, chef Teri Rippeto opened Potager in the busy Capitol Hill neighborhood. 18 years later, the restaurant is still full every night. Don't miss the cheese souffle, it's great in every seasonal iteration.
1109 Ogden St
Denver, CO 80218

18. Racines

650 Sherman St, Denver, CO 80203
Owned and run by David Racine and Lee Goodfriend, Racines is 31 years old. This true old-school joint serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
650 Sherman St
Denver, CO 80203

19. Rosa Linda's

2005 W 33rd Ave, Denver, CO 80211
The neighborhood changed around it but Rosa Linda's remained the same warm Mexican eatery that the Agguire family has run since 1984.
2005 W 33rd Ave
Denver, CO 80211

20. Sam's No. 3

1500 Curtis St, Denver, CO 80202
When the diner opened in nly Sam’s No. 3 in the 1960s, it had 19 stools and a grill in the front window that vented to the sidewalk. Now there are three locations and a loyal following.
1500 Curtis St
Denver, CO 80202

21. Sushi Den

1487 S Pearl St, Denver, CO 80210
The Kizaki brothers are often credited for bringing reliable, high-quality sushi to Denver. Their three decade old institution located on Old South Pearl Street is still one of the city's best overall restaurants.
1487 S Pearl St
Denver, CO 80210

22. The Buckhorn Exchange

1000 Osage St, Denver, CO 80204