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3 1/2 days in Denver Area

Coming into the Denver airport in September with no itinerary. Dining options can drive the decisions! Tentatively want to spend time in Denver, Boulder and Estes Park, but am flexible according to where the best food (and scenery) can be found. Don't have an unlimited budget, but am open to options from fine to funky. We tend to like historic downtown areas, coffeehouses and bookstores. Any thoughts appreciated!

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  1. You MUST go to the Tattered Cover - I say this as a book nut. The one by the 16th St Mall is the big one, but I go to the one at Colfax because it's closer. They have decent food at both, but not a place I'd choose for lunch when looking to experience something unique. I haven't been here long, but if you like beer and interesting food, Euclid Hall is a great time. A co-worker and I dined there when he was visiting on business, and we both agreed that it was an excellent meal - and reasonably priced, too. The beer was good, the poutine we had as our appetizer was very decadent, our entrees were nicely sized and well-executed (we both got the steak) and dessert was just fun. We got three of them since we couldn't decide. But like I said - haven't been here long, and I tend to gravitate toward the divey usually. Euclid Hall isn't divey, but it's really the only nice place i've managed to fit in.

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    16th St Cafe
    302 N 16th St Ste A, Canon City, CO 81212

    1. Come to Niwot on your way to Estes Park, we are between Boulder and Longmont. There is a small Japanese place Sachi Sushi in the Niwot Market 7980 Niwot Road, just off the Diaganol (119) highway. If you can make it on a Sunday he makes the best Ramen in all of Colorado, really. The historic downtown area is quaint and easy to see. For fine dining, Colterra gets rave reviews, they grow their own vegies and have a wonderful outdoor patio.

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      Colterra
      210 Franklin St., Niwot, CO 80504

      1. Jack-N-Grill on Federal Blvd. for kick-butt NewMex Mex.

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        Jack-N-Grill
        2524 Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80211

        1. Definitely do the Tattered Cover if you're into book stores. You might enjoy the Oxford Hotel in downtown, near the Tattered Cover as well as Union Station. You also might want to take the 16th st mall shuttle to the Brown Palace for another historic Denver locaton. The Molly Brown House is near downtown as well and has an interesting history as does the building housing Euclid Hall.

          For dining, the best restaurant in the area is Frasca in Boulder. Call ahead for reservations. It won't be cheap, but it's incredible. They have two master sommeliers on staff (as no other restaurant in the world has) and the chef was James Beard nominated for Best Chef Southwest as well as on Top Chef Masters. Flagstaff is another high-end option in Boulder with great food and a beautiful view of Boulder. In Denver for high end, I'd do Z Cuisine, (get there early as it's small and they don't take reservations) Fruition, Rioja, ChoLon or TAG. Another interesting place, albeit a bit more priced as the high end joints is the Buckhorn Exchange. They had liquor license #1 in the state of colorado, serve all kinds of game, have all kinds of animals throughout the place and make good Rocky Mountain Oysters. ;)

          I love the recommendation for Euclid Hall - it's high-end pub food and fantastic as is their beer list. I'd call it medium priced. Biker Jim's is one of my favorite spots for cheap eats. He has a cart on 16th St and a new restaurant on 21st and Blake or Market I believe? He sells all kinds of wild game sausages and has been featured on Anthony Bordain's No Reservations and soon to be on Ludo Bites. My Brother's Bar right outside of downtown (15th and Platte) has an interesting history, no sign, (listen for the classical music playing) great burgers, (get the buffalo burger) and a nice beer selection. I love a Polish bar outside of downtown on Colfax called Kinga's Lounge for perogies and their meatballs are heavenly. If you have a rental car, take a trip down to Federal, South of downtown. You'll see a variety of Mexican (real Mexican) restaurants that will be good, but the true treasure is the Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants around Alameda. Lao Wang Noodle House is in a tiny strip mall and run by the cutest old couple from Taiwan and they make excellent soup dumplings. (forgot the traditional name) There's also a Pho 95 which is considered some of the best pho in town and Little Saigon which is a great Vietnamese restaurant. If you want dim sum, Kings Land and Star Kitchen are the better places and are in this area as well.

          Finally, in the Highlands are a number of other good restaurants, albeit a bit higher priced. (Z Cuisine is located near hear, just outside of downtown) You should however visit Little Man Ice Cream.

          Sorry, I don't know as much about Boulder or Estes Park even though I've eaten there a number of times. There is however good ethnic food in Boulder.

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          Buckhorn Exchange
          1000 Osage St, Denver, CO 80204

          Rioja
          1431 Larimer Street, Denver, CO 80202

          My Brother's Bar
          2376 15th St, Denver, CO 80202

          Lao Wang Noodle House
          945 S Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80219

          Rocky Mountain Restaurant
          26 S Tejon St Ste 206, Colorado Springs, CO 80903

          Little Saigon Cafe
          3500 S College Ave Unit 17, Fort Collins, CO 80525

          Star Kitchen
          2917 W Mississippi Ave, Denver, CO 80219

          Kinga's Lounge
          1509 Marion St, Denver, CO 80218

          Little Man Ice Cream
          2620 16th St, Denver, CO 80211

          16th St Cafe
          302 N 16th St Ste A, Canon City, CO 81212

          3 Replies
          1. re: MyNameIsTerry

            Downtown Boulder: In addition to Frasca, good downtown eateries include Q's in the historic Hotel Boulderado, SALT Bistro (interesting menu, design-your-own cocktail option, The Pinyon (storied fried chicken), The Mediterranean (aka The Med for popular tapas, individual pizzas and more), The Kitchen (and the less expensive The Kitchen [Next Door]), Trattoria on Pearl (good Italian food & run by the nicest people on earth), Centro (Latin American food an great, lively vibe), Happy (Asian fusion + the award-winning Bitter Bar in back), Sherapa's Adventurers' Cafe (Nepalese food in an old Boulder house), Bacaro (small plates menu; mostly Italian), Rueben's Burger Bistro (good burgers on pretzel buns), ug The Rib House (good BBQ & great beans), Shug (new Southern restaurant) and Lucile's (Louisana specialties; breakfast and lunch only). Also downtown, five good sushi restaurants of different styles (Sushi Tora, Japango, Hapa Sushi, Sushi Zanmai and Vasa).

            In Estes Park, definitely avoid the local brew pub (beer way better than the food) and almost everything in Elkhorn Ave (the main street). Best moderately priced eateries are the Rock Inn and the pub at Mary's Lake Lodge. Best fine dining, the dining room at Mary's Lake Lodge. Both are on Mary's Lake Rd., not downtown. If you love historic buildings, don't miss the Stanley Hotel (Stanley, as is Stanley Steamer); also the setting of "The Shining" (not filmed there, but that's what Stephen King described in his book). I haven't eaten there in eons, but it is supposed to be pretty good.

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            Sushi Zanmai
            1221 Spruce St, Boulder, CO 80302

            Mary's Lake Lodge
            2625 Marys Lake Rd, Estes Park, CO 80517

            The Rock Inn
            1675 State Highway 66, Estes Park, CO 80517

            Centro
            950 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302

            Japango
            1136 Pearl St Ste 110, Boulder, CO 80302

            1. re: ClaireWalter

              I forgot about the Stanley Hotel! A must visit in Estes Park. It's where Stephen King stayed when he came up with the idea for the Shining. Great bar there although I've never eaten there.

              A hotel scene in Dumb and Dumber was filmed there too. ;)

            2. re: MyNameIsTerry

              I was just in Denver and LOVED Euclid Hall. It was deliious and CHEAP! $12.50 for a big entree? $3.50 for sides? Geez, I haven't eaten that well for that little in ages. The chicken and waffles were great, as was the chicken schnitzel sandwich. Desserts and cocktails were well done also. As others said it's modernized diner/pub food so don't expect anything upscale.

            3. heading to Denver mid Sept 4 day trip as well and will be looking for dives to divas. here's what someone sent to me:

              Rioja.
              http://www.riojadenver.com/

              Barolo Grill
              http://www.barologrilldenver.com/

              Bistro Vendome
              http://bistrovendome.com/

              Beatrice and Woodsley
              http://beatriceandwoodsley.com/

              Buckhorn Exchange.
              http://www.buckhorn.com/
              Has buffalo, rocky mountain oysters, rattlesnake; been around a long time.

              Cholon Modern Asian Bistro.
              http://www.cholon.com/denver/

              Euclid Hall.
              http://euclidhall.com/

              Root Down.
              http://www.rootdowndenver.com/

              Olivea.
              http://www.olivearestaurant.com/

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              Buckhorn Exchange
              1000 Osage St, Denver, CO 80204

              Rioja
              1431 Larimer Street, Denver, CO 80202

              Bistro Vendome
              1420 Larimer Street, Denver, CO 80202

              Barolo Grill
              3030 E 6th Ave, Denver, CO 80206

              Root Down
              1600 W. 33rd Avenue, Denver, CO 80211

              2 Replies
              1. re: edible complex

                Fruition and Duo are good high-end restaurants as well as Table 6 and Il Posto.

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                Table 6
                609 Corona St., Denver, CO 80218

                Il Posto
                2011 E. 17th St, Denver, CO 80206