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Denver Restaurants for tourists

My 4 year old son and I will be tagging along with my husband to a conference in Denver in April. Any suggestions for
1. mom and son to go for breakfasts/lunch that's not too pricey and
2. places for the group to go in the evenings?

I've never been out that way and am looking forward to the experience. I'm from the South but my husband is English and we like a little bit of everything so any suggestions are welcome.

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  1. Classic tourist spots include the Buckhorn Exchange and The Fort. You might also consider the Brown Palace Hotel which has a couple choices in a historic and classy setting.

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    Buckhorn Exchange
    1000 Osage St, Denver, CO 80204

    The Fort
    19192 Hwy. 8, Morrison, CO 80465

    Brown Palace Hotel
    321 17th Street, Denver, CO 80202

    1. Take a look at the website for the Vesta Dipping Grill and see if it appeals to you. It was great a couple of years ago. It's also in an area (Larimer Square, I think they call it), where there are many, many restaurants and shops catering to tourists. Vesta to me was the best of the three or four we tried.

      I also went to a good restaurant downtown that specialized in breakfasts, but can't recall it's name other than remembering that "Egg" was part of the name,

      1. DriverPhil's recs are spot on. My first choice would be the Fort for a dinner.

        Honu2 is probably thinking about the Delectable Egg on Market St for breakfast which is an excellent choice for breakfast & lunch. However, Lucile's on South Logan is my favorite and might be yours, too if you like Cajun/Creole. Although I love Vesta, it's probably not the best venue for a 4yo. It's pretty loud & trendy.

        And, if your husband is homesick, head over to Pint's Pub at 13th & Bannock. This English pub has around 250 Scotch whiskys available, their own brewed beer and the food is also excellent.

        6 Replies
        1. re: chowmix

          Why do you want to go to touristy restaurants, rather than local favorites?

          Just curious.

          Quite frankly, I would never take a 4-year-old child to the Buckhorn unless you're hip to him being walled in by taxidermy. Literally. And the Brown Palace? That's certainly not the place for a 4-year-old unless your child is as grown up as you presumably are. Aside from all of that, the Buckhorn, Brown and The Fort are three of the most expensive restaurants in the metro area. The Brown does have a bar/tavern, but you can do so much better than that.

          Take your child to Steuben's (Uptown neighborhood, due east of downtown), Marco's Coal-Fired Pizzeria (also great for a group), Sam's #3 (breakfast), Buenos Aires Pizzeria or Rocky Mountain Diner, and for a group dinner, Vesta is great (and fine for kids; the owners have two of their own -- and they're young), as is Rioja, Panzano, Osteria Marco and Tamayo.

          These are all downtown restaurants, by the way.

          1. re: gastronaughty

            Plus the BP bar/tavern is a cigar-chomping bigwig's bar...which is great, but hardly kid-friendly. I don't know about the teatime?

            There's also a Zaidy's downtown; how does it compare to the one in CC, which I just really get a kick out of? Not that anyone comes to Denver for a New York-style deli, but it does have a little local flair...

            1. re: tatamagouche

              Colorado still has smoking in its restaurants?! Wow, that WILL be a change. We haven't had smoking in Florida restaurants in several years now. I forget that some people still do.

              1. re: flgrl

                Churchill's Bar at the Brown Palace is one of very few "cigar bar" exceptions to the no smoking laws. Nearly all Colorado restaurants and bars are smoke free.

            2. re: gastronaughty

              Do you all really think Rioja is okay for kids? I'm asking because I'm always looking for a place that I can take them to (that I will enjoy!).
              Thanks.

            3. re: chowmix

              There is also a Delectable Egg on Court between 16th and 17th. That might be closer for the OP as she said below they will be staying at the Grand Hyatt. I agree, it is an excellent place for breakfast.

              I'll have to try Lucile's...Cajun/Creole sounds good!

            4. Fun for kids (not for the food): Casa Bonita. It's just incredibly cheesy entertainment. Unfortunately you do have to buy a meal to get in. http://denver.about.com/od/restaurant...

              Dixon's on the 16th Street Mall has decent breakfasts and lunches and it's not too pricey. It's close to the Tattered Cover bookstore, which has a great kid's section. Mona's, on 15th near the REI HQ, has good breakfasts as well. Pint's Pub is a good choice for lunch, and it's right around the corner from the Denver Mint.

              Also fun for kids but not for the food: the Downtown Aquarium restaurant.

              Also fun for kids: the Children's Museum. You won't want to eat there, but you might want to visit.

              (I'm noticing a correlation between "fun for kids" and "not great for food" - hmmm.)

              I don't understand all the hatin' on the Buckhorn's decor. I'm a big animal and wildlife lover and it doesn't bother me at all. And kids are not normally squeamish about stuffed animals, in my experience.

              Otherwise these are all good solid, but mostly high-priced recs - I would add Lola, in highlands, just north of downtown, for "coastal Mexican" food and lots of tequilas. It's a nice short walk from downtown via a pedestrian bridge over the highway and then you can view Denver's latest and most controversial piece of public art - National Velvet.

              1. Is your conference downtown or in one of the suburbs and are you staying near the conference?

                1. How about Rocky Mountain Diner? My kids love it!

                  1. My favorite Denver breakfasts are Lucile's and Snooze.

                    1. Thanks for all the suggestions. I definitely prefer local, interesting, affordable and suitable for children to anything else. We're staying at the Grand Hyatt Denver and his meeting is at the Colorado Convention Center. Like I said, I've never been to this part of the country so I really have no idea what to expect and I'm open to pretty much anything.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: flgrl

                        Not sure where you''re from, but if you 4-year-old doesn't get to ride the bus, make a few loops on the free 16th Street Mall bus.

                        Not near downtown but accessible by cab or bus is the Denver Museum of Natural History. Great dinosaurs and T-Rex Cafe for predictable food. Zoo is practically adjacent. Eat at the Samburu Grill. Ditto on food. There's also the excellent Denver Children's Museum. Don't know about food availability, but I'm sure there's something. None of it will meet your Chow-ish standards but the venues are all fun for him.

                      2. Thanks for the suggestions everyone. We had a great time out there last week, but unfortunately scheduling and locations only permitted me to try a couple of places on the list. We managed to hit Delectable Egg for breakfast and Osteria Marco for a dinner. Both places were really delicious and the service everywhere was fantastic. What a lovely, friendly place. Thanks again!