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These underrated restaurants make a range of cuisines in a variety of settings
Range [official photo]

The Most Underrated Restaurants in Denver

These 13 eateries should be on any food lover’s radar

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These underrated restaurants make a range of cuisines in a variety of settings
| Range [official photo]

Some restaurants are touted as the best in town, year after year. Those golden children of the cuisine scene are in the spotlight time and again, racking up the (often well-deserved) accolades. However, with a city as diverse and cultured as Denver, many others places somehow get missed, despite the quality of their eats. Here, Eater has collected a group of Denver’s most underrated restaurants — those that are worthy of attention, but somehow slip under the radar.

Know of another great and often overlooked restaurant? Send us a tip, or leave a note in the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. GQue BBQ

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5160 W 120th Ave Unit K
Westminster, CO 80020
(303) 379-9205
Visit Website

In Westminster, there’s a barbecue joint worth the trek. Jason Ganahl, the proprietor of GQue, spent years tasting the country’s best smoked meats as a professional barbecue judge before setting off to compete himself. At GQue, he brings all the classic flavors of barbecue to life with dishes such as pulled pork, ribs, apple slaw, mac and cheese, and pit-smoked beans. He’ll also spin a fine yarn about the behind-the-scenes action at a bbq competition.

GQUE
Smoked meats rule at GQue in Westminster
GQue [official photo]

2. OTOTO

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1501 S Pearl St
Denver, CO 80210
(303) 733-2503
Visit Website

Sushi Den and Izakaya Den’s little sister, Ototo, often gets forgotten about in the shade of the other two wildly popular restaurants. But Ototo offers authentic Japanese meals from ramen to sashimi. It’s also one of the few local restaurants to offer robata grill options.

A bowl of ramen at Ototo on South Pearl Street
Ototo/Facebook

3. City O' City

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206 E 13th Ave
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 831-6443
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Gone are the days of meatless meaning flavorless rabbit food; City O’ City makes creative breakfasts (see kimchi pancakes), lunches (cauliflower chorizo tacos), and dinners (think fried “chicken” and waffles with a bourbon glaze), plus a well-curated cocktail list and late-night bites.

City O’ City

4. Damascus Grill

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1399 W Littleton Blvd
Littleton, CO 80120
(303) 797-6666
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With Damascus Grill’s three locations across the metro area, finding traditional Middle Eastern food is no longer a chore. The Kassir family, owners of the trio of restaurants, hail from Syria and bring the flavors of their home country to Denver. On the menu: hummus, baba ghanoush, stuffed grape leaves, kebab, falafel, and more favorites from the Middle East.

Hummus at Damascus Grill
Damascus Grill [official photo]

5. Bistro Barbès

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5021 E 28th Ave
Denver, CO 80207
(720) 398-8085
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Park Hill’s jewel box of a restaurant only seats 30 guests, lies off the beaten path, and is often overlooked. Chef Jon Robbins previously worked as the chef de cuisine at Mizuna as well as at Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris. While there, he was inspired by the North African immigrants in his neighborhood, whose traditions melded well with French flavors. This is a perfect date-night destination, but happy hour is a true value.

A seasonal Brussels sprouts salad at Bistro Barbès
Bistro Barbès/Facebook

6. Melita's Greek Cafe & Market

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1035 Lincoln St
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 629-1624
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Tucked away on Lincoln Street, this unassuming Greek diner has been a Denver staple for decades. Go for gyros, dolmas, falafel, souvlaki, and baklava, plus a handful of American dishes. See also a grocery section full of imported Mediterranean goods.

Gyros at Melita’s Greek Cafe
Alan Hill/Melita’s

7. there...

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3254 Navajo St
Denver, CO 80211
(720) 500-3254
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Telluride’s popular après-ski destination There opened a Denver LoHi outpost in 2016, bringing a diverse menu designed for grazing and sharing. Korean-inspired bulgogi pairs with crab or oysters on the half shell, plus a lineup of tostadas piled with atypical toppings such as Wagyu tartare.

Ling cod at There
There [official photo]

8. Brasserie Ten Ten

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1011 Walnut St
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 998-1010
Visit Website

Dining at this Boulder French bistro feels like stepping into a Parisian eatery. Menu items include the classics such as French onion soup in a quaint crock, elegant cheese boards, and trout amandine. Brunch offers sweet crepes and savory mussels, omelettes, and croque madame sandwiches, plus unique twists on morning cocktails. Try the fraise du matin: pinot gris, simple syrup, and muddled strawberries.

Foie gras at Brasserie Ten Ten in Boulder
Brasserie Ten Ten [official photo]

9. Zeal

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1710 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302
(720) 708-6309
Visit Website

Boulder’s Pearl Street has always been a hot spot for restaurants, and Zeal combines healthy, organic fare in a hip yet casual atmosphere. There are plenty of options for those with gluten or dairy sensitivities along with meat eaters and vegans alike. Offerings include meatballs and zucchini noodles in tikka masala sauce, build-your-own bowls, and kale and beet salad. Also try the cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices.

A healthy and hearty stew at Zeal in Boulder
Zeal/Facebook

10. range Restaurant

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918 17th St
Denver, CO 80202
(720) 726-4800
Visit Website

Downtown’s Renaissance hotel used to be a bank. Its three-story atrium is full of hand-painted murals, adorned with Corinthian columns and coffered ceilings, and space for private parties in the former steel vaults. At Range, founding chef Paul Nagan created contemporary twists on Colorado cuisine, such as green chile shrimp and grits, Colorado white pozole, and the field and stream board, featuring a bison brat, duck prosciutto, Elevation chorizo, and trout dip.

A salad at Range in the downtown Denver Renaissance hotel
Range [official photo]

11. Lo Stella Ristorante

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1135 Bannock St
Denver, CO 80204
(303) 825-1995
Visit Website

A block from the Denver Art Museum, Lo Stella brings the authentic flavors of Northern Italy to the Mile High City. The family-owned restaurant’s other location is in the Italian coastal village of Portofino, and its specialties are a laundry list of Italian classics. Find veal ossobuco, homemade pastas in family sauces, pizzas topped in buffalo mozzarella, and beef carpaccio.

Lo Stella is the Denver outpost of an Italian-born family restaurant
Lo Stella/Facebook

12. Bittersweet

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500 E Alameda Ave
Denver, CO 80209
(303) 942-0320
Visit Website

Bittersweet is one under-the-radar gem in Denver, and it brings classic American bistro fare to the table. Lamb shank, scallops with agnolotti, smoked duck, panna cotta, and tagliatelle all make appearances in an elegant, creative, and upscale presentation.

Find modern presentations of classic dishes at Bittersweet bistro
Bittersweet/Facebook

13. Acres

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3999 S Broadway
Englewood, CO 80113
(303) 593-1003
Visit Website

This South Broadway eatery offers a menu that changes almost daily, with unique twists on familiar dishes. Suddenly, beef cheek empanandas, gnocchi mac and cheese, and fried red tomato caprese are approachable but offer something interesting, too.

Homemade pasta at Acres in Englewood
Acres/Facebook

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1. GQue BBQ

5160 W 120th Ave Unit K, Westminster, CO 80020
GQUE
Smoked meats rule at GQue in Westminster
GQue [official photo]

In Westminster, there’s a barbecue joint worth the trek. Jason Ganahl, the proprietor of GQue, spent years tasting the country’s best smoked meats as a professional barbecue judge before setting off to compete himself. At GQue, he brings all the classic flavors of barbecue to life with dishes such as pulled pork, ribs, apple slaw, mac and cheese, and pit-smoked beans. He’ll also spin a fine yarn about the behind-the-scenes action at a bbq competition.

5160 W 120th Ave Unit K
Westminster, CO 80020

2. OTOTO

1501 S Pearl St, Denver, CO 80210
A bowl of ramen at Ototo on South Pearl Street
Ototo/Facebook

Sushi Den and Izakaya Den’s little sister, Ototo, often gets forgotten about in the shade of the other two wildly popular restaurants. But Ototo offers authentic Japanese meals from ramen to sashimi. It’s also one of the few local restaurants to offer robata grill options.

1501 S Pearl St
Denver, CO 80210

3. City O' City

206 E 13th Ave, Denver, CO 80203
City O’ City

Gone are the days of meatless meaning flavorless rabbit food; City O’ City makes creative breakfasts (see kimchi pancakes), lunches (cauliflower chorizo tacos), and dinners (think fried “chicken” and waffles with a bourbon glaze), plus a well-curated cocktail list and late-night bites.

206 E 13th Ave
Denver, CO 80203

4. Damascus Grill

1399 W Littleton Blvd, Littleton, CO 80120
Hummus at Damascus Grill
Damascus Grill [official photo]

With Damascus Grill’s three locations across the metro area, finding traditional Middle Eastern food is no longer a chore. The Kassir family, owners of the trio of restaurants, hail from Syria and bring the flavors of their home country to Denver. On the menu: hummus, baba ghanoush, stuffed grape leaves, kebab, falafel, and more favorites from the Middle East.

1399 W Littleton Blvd
Littleton, CO 80120

5. Bistro Barbès

5021 E 28th Ave, Denver, CO 80207
A seasonal Brussels sprouts salad at Bistro Barbès
Bistro Barbès/Facebook

Park Hill’s jewel box of a restaurant only seats 30 guests, lies off the beaten path, and is often overlooked. Chef Jon Robbins previously worked as the chef de cuisine at Mizuna as well as at Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris. While there, he was inspired by the North African immigrants in his neighborhood, whose traditions melded well with French flavors. This is a perfect date-night destination, but happy hour is a true value.

5021 E 28th Ave
Denver, CO 80207

6. Melita's Greek Cafe & Market

1035 Lincoln St, Denver, CO 80203
Gyros at Melita’s Greek Cafe
Alan Hill/Melita’s

Tucked away on Lincoln Street, this unassuming Greek diner has been a Denver staple for decades. Go for gyros, dolmas, falafel, souvlaki, and baklava, plus a handful of American dishes. See also a grocery section full of imported Mediterranean goods.

1035 Lincoln St
Denver, CO 80203

7. there...

3254 Navajo St, Denver, CO 80211
Ling cod at There
There [official photo]

Telluride’s popular après-ski destination There opened a Denver LoHi outpost in 2016, bringing a diverse menu designed for grazing and sharing. Korean-inspired bulgogi pairs with crab or oysters on the half shell, plus a lineup of tostadas piled with atypical toppings such as Wagyu tartare.

3254 Navajo St
Denver, CO 80211

8. Brasserie Ten Ten

1011 Walnut St, Boulder, CO 80302
Foie gras at Brasserie Ten Ten in Boulder
Brasserie Ten Ten [official photo]

Dining at this Boulder French bistro feels like stepping into a Parisian eatery. Menu items include the classics such as French onion soup in a quaint crock, elegant cheese boards, and trout amandine. Brunch offers sweet crepes and savory mussels, omelettes, and croque madame sandwiches, plus unique twists on morning cocktails. Try the fraise du matin: pinot gris, simple syrup, and muddled strawberries.

1011 Walnut St
Boulder, CO 80302

9. Zeal

1710 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
A healthy and hearty stew at Zeal in Boulder
Zeal/Facebook

Boulder’s Pearl Street has always been a hot spot for restaurants, and Zeal combines healthy, organic fare in a hip yet casual atmosphere. There are plenty of options for those with gluten or dairy sensitivities along with meat eaters and vegans alike. Offerings include meatballs and zucchini noodles in tikka masala sauce, build-your-own bowls, and kale and beet salad. Also try the cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices.

1710 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302

10. range Restaurant

918 17th St, Denver, CO 80202
A salad at Range in the downtown Denver Renaissance hotel
Range [official photo]

Downtown’s Renaissance hotel used to be a bank. Its three-story atrium is full of hand-painted murals, adorned with Corinthian columns and coffered ceilings, and space for private parties in the former steel vaults. At Range, founding chef Paul Nagan created contemporary twists on Colorado cuisine, such as green chile shrimp and grits, Colorado white pozole, and the field and stream board, featuring a bison brat, duck prosciutto, Elevation chorizo, and trout dip.

918 17th St
Denver, CO 80202

11. Lo Stella Ristorante

1135 Bannock St, Denver, CO 80204
Lo Stella is the Denver outpost of an Italian-born family restaurant
Lo Stella/Facebook

A block from the Denver Art Museum, Lo Stella brings the authentic flavors of Northern Italy to the Mile High City. The family-owned restaurant’s other location is in the Italian coastal village of Portofino, and its specialties are a laundry list of Italian classics. Find veal ossobuco, homemade pastas in family sauces, pizzas topped in buffalo mozzarella, and beef carpaccio.

1135 Bannock St
Denver, CO 80204

12. Bittersweet

500 E Alameda Ave, Denver, CO 80209
Find modern presentations of classic dishes at Bittersweet bistro
Bittersweet/Facebook

Bittersweet is one under-the-radar gem in Denver, and it brings classic American bistro fare to the table. Lamb shank, scallops with agnolotti, smoked duck, panna cotta, and tagliatelle all make appearances in an elegant, creative, and upscale presentation.

500 E Alameda Ave
Denver, CO 80209

13. Acres

3999 S Broadway, Englewood, CO 80113
Homemade pasta at Acres in Englewood
Acres/Facebook

This South Broadway eatery offers a menu that changes almost daily, with unique twists on familiar dishes. Suddenly, beef cheek empanandas, gnocchi mac and cheese, and fried red tomato caprese are approachable but offer something interesting, too.

3999 S Broadway
Englewood, CO 80113

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