Denver is a relatively young city, and its culinary scene reflects its age. Chefs there have a focus on locally sourced, organic produce and seasonal ingredients prepared simply for their patrons. The dishes in most Denver restaurants are approachable yet creative, without any of the stuffiness or pretension found in many east coast restaurants.

The critics at Zagat and Fodor's have chosen Mizuna as one of Denver's top restaurants. Located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, Mizuna draws on chef-owner Frank Bonnano's Italian heritage for many of the dishes, although there are many classic American dishes served as well. Other top-rated Denver food venues include Rioja in Larimer Square and Restaurant Kevin Taylor in the downtown area.

People with a yearning for street food head to Biker Jim's Restaurant. The restaurant, which still operates food carts and trucks around the city, got its start on the streets of Denver, serving hotdogs that are locally produced and completely nitrate-, antibiotic- and hormone-free. Adventurous diners can be seen eating hotdogs made from wild boar, rattlesnake and pheasant, while the more conservative patrons feast on vegan, duck or bacon-wrapped dogs.

Some Denver dining venues lean towards the unusual. At Vesta Dipping Grill, for instance, it really is all about the sauce. The restaurant serves all of its dishes with a complementary dipping sauce, making Vesta a favorite for families with small children. Beatrice & Woodsley on South Broadway have brought the outdoors inside, with a design and architectural touches that are second only to the food.

Denver's restaurants encompass many world cuisines. Trillium on Larimer Street specializes in Scandinavian cuisine, Cuba Cuba Cafe and Bar in the Golden Triangle neighborhood features authentic Cuban food and Domo Restaurant in Lincoln Park is decidedly Japanese. New Saigon on South Federal Boulevard specializes in unusual Vietnamese dishes, best eaten by adventurous foodies.

Read More