I have spent my whole life in Denver, so I’m pretty accustomed to the cuisine here. After trying basically every restaurant in town (I’m an adult), I decided to compile a list of all the restaurants that have caught my eye.
First of all, I have to talk about Vesta. It’s both a restaurant and a wine bar, so you probably shouldn’t bring the kids to this one. Vesta is located nearby Denver’s Lodo (lower downtown) neighborhood, perfect for walking around if you decide to take your food to go. There isn’t really a whole lot of outside scenery to look at while you walk, and I doubt you will after I explain how nice the interior of the restaurant is. If you really wanted to, you probably could, because all of the food is affordable.
I always love a restaurant that puts out quality food at a reasonable price, just looking out for regular people like you and me. Everyone’s been to that one restaurant where you can’t even afford to buy sodas they cost more than a regular meal anywhere else. You wouldn’t be able to tell Vesta apart from one of the highest-class restaurants in New York City upon entering, because if there’s one thing this restaurant gets right it is aesthetic. It’s really roomy overall, even during the busy times. I’m a little claustrophobic and don’t like being crowded as if I was eating at the dance floor of a nightclub.
In addition, the waiters are helpful for newcomers. They all recognize me as a regular, so the chefs always know what to make when I enter. That’s another thing I enjoy. When the chefs or wait staff recognize customers, it makes your dining experience more personal because they don’t just see you as numbers on a spreadsheet. I’m a sucker for small, family-owned restaurants, so if you are as well then definitely check out Vesta. Unsurprisingly, I left my thoughts in a great online review but there’s so many amazing reviews that I doubt you’ll find mine.
Next up, if you like Latin food, I recommend eating at Candela Latin Kitchen. Found near Hirshorn Park in Denver, it’s a perfect little restaurant for taking your food to go and eating at the park. There’s a skate park in the other direction as well, if you’re on the younger side or still haven’t grown up yet. To this day, I still have a tough time deciding what my favorite item is on the menu. Guacamole fans will not be disappointed, because this restaurant offers some amazing plantain chips to go with theirs.
All of the ingredients just taste fresh, and if I don’t forget by the next time I stop by then I’ll ask the owner where he gets the ingredients from. Both the wait staff and the owners are very friendly and helpful, and the owner will act as a waiter whenever the restaurant gets swamped. It’s generally pretty busy during all times of the day, but there have been a few occasions where the waiters just couldn’t manage. In any time of need, the owner will step up to the plate. In my personal opinion, I think he’s actually the best waiter there.
Here’s a story about one of my experiences at Candela Latin Kitchen: one time I was eating with my friend who works for a Denver hood cleaning company, and he was looking to drum up business for any additional revenue he could find. I asked the owner if we could take a look at the kitchen, and my friend would give a free exhaust hood inspection. As friendly as the owner is, he was still a little apprehensive. After thinking about it for a minute, he agreed. Now Candela Latin Kitchen has a permanent friend in my friend’s Denver hood cleaning business. He and I both left good online reviews afterwards, which were definitely not influenced in any way.
Turtle Boat has everything you would dream of in a Denver seafood restaurant: great food, great service, and great sanitation. This restaurant is found in the Overland neighborhood of Denver, which also includes some very green areas to walk around. Turtle Boat has a lot of windows that fill the restaurant with natural light, so I wouldn’t encourage anyone to leave unless their plate was clean.
I never know what to order because the menu has a lot of choices, so it’s kind of overwhelming at first. Luckily for me, the waiters always know what everyone is ordering and enjoying so they can offer plenty of suggestions. If you weren’t already into Poki bowls, I’m sure you will be by the time you leave. As for those who aren’t into seafood, you can still dine here. Turtle Boat offers plenty of alternatives for people who have allergies or just plain don’t like fish.
Don’t fret about ordering multiple dishes, because anything you can spot on the menu is affordably priced. I’ve brought the whole family here a few times after big events, and they loved it each time. A few of them left great reviews online, with no negative feedback. That’s how you know a restaurant is doing it right.
Last but not least, there’s Onefold. You might even say that I saved the best for last, if you’re into really good breakfast. This restaurant might be more of a cafe, because they specialize in breakfast and brunch. High-end breakfast and brunch, mind you. Onefold is just down the street from Denver’s City Park, so if you don’t mind a short little walk there’s plenty to look at while you walk around and eat.
You’ve never tasted tender belly bacon like this, with a side of scrambled eggs and hashbrowns. The hashbrowns here are killer, and sometimes in the morning when I’m too lazy to make breakfast I’ve thought about just coming to Onefold and only ordering their hashbrowns. Left a positive online review here after day one, and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.