Just a stone’s throw from the bustling Lower Town, the Highlands attracts foodies from all over the city. Food halls, burger joints, burger joints, global street food – this area is full of creative eateries.
Highland Tap and Burger
Don’t mistake this for your average burger joint: the food is creative, professionally prepared, and the atmosphere is Colorado-esque. There are plenty of burgers on the menu, of course – everything from mushrooms and black beans to lamb and spicy turkey – and unexpected surprises, such as full-butter roasted artichokes and an entire section dedicated to curry. Here, you’ll find only Colorado beers, which is part of the restaurant’s commitment to supporting local farms and breweries. In keeping with the well-designed menu, the dessert menu is just as thoughtful: try the banana cheesecake tempura or the bread pudding for everyday variations.
2219 W. 32nd Ave.
If you love Italian food, you won’t want to miss Spuntino, where almost all of the food is homemade, from bread, pasta, gelato, and a wide variety of Italian pastries. With an award-winning husband and wife team of chefs/managers, the small staff love to share their passion for food with their guests. You can’t taste Italian food without a wonderful wine list, and you’ll also find some interesting twists on classic desserts. Try the Colorado Honey Cake with bourbon sugar and basil jelly, or the Italian Donuts with coconut sugar, lemon curd and wild blueberry jam.
2639 W. 32nd Ave.
Uncle is known for the long queues of hungry diners waiting outside the restaurant to open at 5pm sharp every day. The noodles here are custom made, the meat, fish and eggs are responsibly raised and sourced, and the ingredients rotate with the seasons. The secret of ramen is in their long-boiled broth, which cannot be rushed to taste. There are pork belly, duck, kimchi, chicken and vegetarian options. The buns were also excellent, especially the soft shell crab. Wash it all down with a drink from the sake menu.
2215 W. 32nd Ave.
Craft cocktails, hand-cut steaks, an extensive wine list……. This chic, sophisticated restaurant is a favorite in the Lower Highlands. The space itself – remodeled in 2017 – is small, but relaxed and full of modern flair. The menu features all the standard steakhouse dishes: salad selections, a la carte, side dishes, juicy aged beef, and some burger and seafood dishes. Flat iron steaks, chops and New York strips can be topped with garnishes like truffle butter, green pepper sauce or crab. The appetizer menu offers more dishes than usual: try a leg of beef with marinated fennel apples and pine nut puree, or a ricotta cheese with crispy Italian sausage.
3200 Tejon St., Low Country Kitchen
Low Country Kitchen
It’s not easy to find good Southern food in Colorado, but thankfully, there’s a Low Country Kitchen in Denver that keeps many Southerners happy. If you’ve never had good country cuisine, you’ll have a treat because this bright, bustling restaurant is run by people who grew up in the South, so they really appreciate the time – and love – that goes into this type of cooking. Classics on the menu include baked eggs, shrimp, Mississippi catfish, jambalaya, poached peanuts, cornbread, greens, crackers and gravy. The most important, however, was the avocado milk fried chicken. There are also some fresh and delightful small plates like the Grilled Colorado Lamb Biscuits and Open Fried Green Tomato B.L.T. with pork belly, pimento cheese and frisée.
1575 Boulder St.
Located in the former morgue, Linger is the second concept restaurant from renowned chef/owner Justin Cucci, who is known for his innovative plant-based cuisine. While meat is definitely on Linger’s menu, vegetarians and vegans will also have plenty of options at this trendy hot spot. Think pork belly buns with roasted pineapple jam, honey braised duck wings, duck hummus and tempura avocado. Also, here’s a small but potent (pun intended) list of cocktails. Go upstairs for a stunning view of downtown Denver, then upstairs for the quirky full-length Lite-Brite Bar.
2030 W. 30th Ave.
Candela Latin Kitchen
The 3,000-square-foot bistro offers fresh Latin American, Mexican and Caribbean cuisine. The menu features a casual treatment of traditional dishes such as fig and caramelized onion mushroom tacos, Mexican sea bass tacos, and chicken wings marinated in aji-mad sauce. Tropical cocktails are made with fresh juices, and there’s a respectable selection of beer, wine and sangria that you can enjoy on the open bar patio. Bonus: Candela has two happy hours – one for the after-work crowd, and one from 10pm to midnight.
1691 Central St.