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Best Restaurants in RiNo, Denver Right Now

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4 weeks ago

Perhaps there’s something in the altitude, but it’s no secret that Denver is a foodie city. With a seemingly endless supply of exciting new restaurant openings, market stalls, breweries and food truck parks, you won’t go hungry visiting Denver.

Whether you’re visiting Denver for a long weekend, or here just for one day on your way to the Rocky Mountains, you’ll want to make sure you eat right. While Downtown Denver may be the heart of the city, in my opinion the slightly upmarket and artsy RiNo (River North Art District) is where you want to be eating.

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Denver is an extremely progressive and liberal city with most restaurants catering to all sorts of dietary requirements. Vegans, vegetarians and the gluten-free among us will have no trouble finding something delicious to eat at the best restaurants in RiNo.

Before you eat: RiNo

RiNo forms part of Denver’s urban renewal project. If you’ve visited many U.S. cities, you’ll often find the downtown area is not exactly where you want to be after dark. RiNo forms quite a large area, stretching from the magnificent North American Art Deco Union Station eastwards towards the Denver Central Market.

Beyond some of Denver’s best restaurants, you’ll also find some of the best street art in the region, small popular breweries (including our favorite, Our Mutual Friend Brewing) and lots of vintage stores. For more on RiNo (and Denver in general), don’t miss our ultimate 1 day in Denver itinerary.

Best Restaurants in RiNo, Denver

Denver Central Market

Who doesn’t love a good urban market? An old warehouse turned gourmet foodie hub, Denver Central Market epitomizes the new, trendy energy of RiNo. You’ll find a handful of small restaurants here, with everything from world-class pizza at Vero to the best fish tacos this far north of Baja California at Tammen’s Fish Market.

And when you’re done High Point Creamery offer some of Denver’s best ice cream. High Point Creamery offer some truly exciting and daring flavors including Earl Grey with Shortbread Cookies and Basil Blackberry Swirl (which surprisingly works well).  

If you’re looking for a unique foodie souvenir to bring home, don’t miss Temper chocolates and confectioneries. These guys make Denver-quality chocolate on-site at the Denver Central Market (it’s like Swiss-quality – only different). You’ll want to try the salted dark chocolate.

Fish N Beer

This tiny restaurant will quickly transport you from RiNo to Nantucket or Cape Cod. One of the major perks of being in the center of North America is that you can pick and choose your influences. Fish N Beer‘s seasonal menu manages to balance both ‘Philly meets Maryland’ pretzels and fish with Baja Mahi fish tacos that will quickly take you to Mexico.

As the second half of Fish N Beer suggests, your meal is paired with 16 taps of craft beer and a surprisingly innovative cocktail menu. In the dry Denver summer, there’s nothing fresher than fish, chips and a cold beer. In case it wasn’t yet clear, Fish N Beer is one of the hidden best restaurants in RiNo, Denver.

Hop Alley

We love a restaurant with a good story. Hop Alley was apparently a moniker used for Denver’s Chinese immigrant community until their dispersion following anti-Chinese legislation in the 1880s.

Today, Hop Alley (the restaurant) reclaims this slur in one of Denver’s best Asian-fusion restaurants. Best of all, Hop Alley is housed in a former soy sauce factory. You’ll want to make sure you try the chilled tofu with bang bang sauce, any of the dumplings (because who doesn’t love dumplings) and the Beijing rolls.  

For those of us who love a good cocktail, don’t miss Hop Alley’s creative cocktail menu with drinks named after the Chinese zodiac! If you’re visiting for a special occasion, consider a spot at the Chef’s Counter: a set menu for six seats not available in the main dining hall. The Chef’s Counter is only available on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays – make sure to reserve well in advance.

Safta

It’s not often we would share a hotel restaurant, but this is truly one restaurant worth breaking the rules for. Housed in the trendy Source Hotel (a great place to stay in RiNo), Safta offers a modern Israeli-style restaurant in the heart of RiNo.

Meaning ‘grandmother’ in Hebrew, it’s no surprise that the menu here is full of heart. You’ll want to make sure you go heavy with the starters: the mushroom hummus, whipped feta, cheese borekas and duck matzo ball soup are clear favorites. However, it’s the main course where Safta shines with clear inspiration from traditional flavors including half-harissa chicken and pomegranate braised lamb shank.

This may be a big call, but Safta may even be the best Middle Eastern restaurant in Denver.

SuperMegaBien

Despite the fun name, this up-market restaurant oozes sophistication. SuperMegaBien offers a menu I’ve been waiting a long time for: Latin American dim sum. Think lots of little plates, smoky-crispy flavors, yuca, corn, chilies and cheeses.

The menu here is small, but you’ll find that the ‘dim sum’ options are extremely unique and diverse. The menu draws from the best of Latin America, with specific labels on each dish with its origins (both city and country). I can’t say no to a good Colombian arepa, and the Arepas de Queso at SuperMegaBien combine multiple types of cheese with the explosive flavors of their homemade poblano-pepita pesto.


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