Downtown Denver Resturaunts
A friend and I will be visiting Denver in May (coincidently during Cinco de Mayo). We'll be there for two dinner, two lunches (or one brunch and one lunch). We are looking for the "must try" resturaunts. We will not have a car, so it needs to be within walking distance of the 16th Street Mall. I would appreciate input as we're "foodies" and have never been to the Mile High City.
I second most of the recommendations.
Fruition is not walking distance from the mall- but is an easy cab ride and worth the trip.
Rioja has a wonderful weekend brunch.
In May the weather is usually gorgeous, so the patio at Via would be a great choice - especially for lunch or happy hour.
Or stock up on special little snacks at Cooks Fresh Market http://www.cooksfreshmarket.com/directions.html on 16th and Glenarm and take the shuttle to the end of the line and head to Confluence Park by REI to watch the kayakers. After that, walk over to The Savory Spice Company and stock up on smoked sea salt. Finally, don't miss Wen Chocolate's handmade chocolate truffles - they are exquisite!!
There are also several cooking schools downtown that feature classes with leading Denver chefs. Check out Cooks Street http://www.cookstreet.com/ or Mise en Place http://www.miseenplaceschool.com , both easy walking distance from 16th St Mall.
Rioja, Bistro Vendome, and Panzano all have great weekend brunches. For dinner, I'd choose Rioja and Fruition (the latter will require a short cab ride but is worth it). Osteria Marco is another great option (opened last October). Definitely get the burrata cheese and a few other small plates to share.
Rioja, Bistro Vendome, and Osteria Marco are almost within spitting distance of each other on Larimer between 14th and 15th (so an easy stroll from the 16th Street Mall). Tamayo is in the same block as well. Panzano is on 17th Avenue near Champa in the Hotel Monaco (also not far).
RLM has rounded up the usual suspects, tho' it bears mentioning that Fruition, excellent as it is, is not downtown, which is what dbt5795 was seeking.
If you're looking for someplace snazzy for drinks, you might consider Zengo, same ownership as Tamayo and in the Platte Valley a short walk from the western end of the free 16th Street Mall shuttle. We are eating at Via on Tues (Denver Restaurant Week) and I'll post a thumbs up or thumbs down and a longer blog post too. It's at 18th an Wynkoop, two long blocks from 16th Street.
This is a link to Denver Restaurant Week, however it should show the page for downtown restaurants. The nice thing is, if you click on a restaurant it can link to you the webpage and you can look at the menus.
Restaurant Kevin Taylor, Rioja, Bristro Vendome, Panzano, and Tamayo showcase some of the city's best chefs. Any and all are great depending what kind of food you are looking for.