Denver’s breathtaking mountainscapes and vibrant nightlife options mean a memorable date is never out of reach. Come February, romance fills the air—and the restaurants—in the Mile High City.
A proposal-worthy steakhouse downtown is known for extra-intimate velvet booths. In Central Park, a lively cantina is a popular group hang venue, thanks to shareable plates of Mexican soul food. At a renowned oyster spot in Cherry Creek, elegant seafood feasts draw plenty of couples.
No matter how you’re celebrating love, these romantic restaurants have a table for you. Read on for a guide to 12 Denver restaurants serving up date night-worthy meals and backdrops.
For a first date
Bao Brewhouse (LoDo)
With its bustling, bi-level space and flavorful regional Chinese menu, Bao Brewhouse fits the bill for a stylish first date. Choose from the tea room or the taproom, depending on your mood; the former offers a more intimate perch for shareable plates and craft cocktails. At the latter, expect a beer-forward drinks menu and hand-helds such as maple-miso chicken skewers and the restaurant’s namesake buns, stuffed with sweet-soy pork belly or fried tofu. No matter which setting you choose—and no matter how your date goes—the food is sure to be a home run.
El Five (LoHi)
Be sure to make a reservation for a coveted perch at this popular LoHi lounge, where a combination of good eats, creative cocktails, and a stunning city view make a first date sing. The menu is all about Mediterranean small plates (smoked burrata with Calabrian chile and guanciale, Moroccan lamb sausage with feta and hummus). If you’re not just here to nibble, opt for a heartier meal, such as paella. In the warmer months, the outdoor patio is open for diners. Otherwise, book a table in the glamorous dining room, where sultry, vintage movie posters from mid-century Egypt make great conversation starters.
The Family Jones Spirit House (LoHi)
Woo your date at this award-winning tasting room and distillery. Housemade signature spirits including gin, rye, and bourbon play starring roles in cocktails such as an Earl Grey-accented riff on the bee’s knees. The bubbly drinks go well with imaginative bar snacks including curried red lentil dip, a seasonal charcuterie board, and smoked chicken salad. If the evening is going especially well, consider taking a bottle to-go to stretch your date a little longer.
For a second date
Little India Restaurant & Bar (Capitol Hill)
Once the first date goes well, kick things up a notch with dinner at this sleek but easygoing Indian spot. Low lights and hanging curtains add to the charm here. Get to know your date over baked-to-order clay oven delicacies, served with freshly made mint and tamarind chutneys; Little India is also known for many vegetarian and gluten-free options, should you or your companion have dietary restrictions. Pair the memorable meal with a cooling glass of white wine, a cold Indian lager, or a tall glass of sweet mango lassi.
Blue Island Oyster Bar & Seafood (Cherry Creek)
The seafood menu at Blue Island Oyster Bar is impressive but understated, just like an ideal second date. The offerings here include blackened scallops over Bibb lettuce with blue cheese and bacon, peel-and-eat shrimp with spicy mustard, Maine lobster mac and cheese, and truffle butter-grilled king crab legs. Plus, seasonal oysters and seafood from Blue Island Shellfish Farms in Long Island, New York, arrive on a daily basis. Add on a martini or glass of Champagne, and a feast here is sure to up the ante on any early-in-the-game date.
For an intimate and cozy night out
Jovanina’s Broken Italian (LoDo)
Snuggle up at a table for two at this Italian LoDo favorite—the spot by the wood-fired oven is the sweetest seat in the house. Rest assured, even if that’s taken, the whole space exudes romance thanks to flickering candles and exposed brick walls. Add a menu of comforting dishes such as elk bolognese with fresh pasta and rosemary mascarpone and seared scallops with saffron risotto and black truffle, and you’ve got all the components for an intimate dinner. Bonus points for Jovanina’s booze-free drinks (there are traditional cocktails, too), including the Just Say No, made with pineapple, orange, lemon, rooibos tea, and a red bitter soda.
For an anniversary or romantic milestone
As the flagship restaurant of the boutique Life House Hotel, Wildflower is an area favorite for celebratory romantic meals. The quaint restaurant and cocktail bar has a menu shaped by seasonal, Colorado-centric ingredients. Creative dishes such as herb- and flower-laced focaccia, quail pibil with nopales, and grilled artichokes with gigante beans, grapes, fennel, and olive tapenade are tributes to the Mexican and Italian immigrants who built the surrounding neighborhood. As its name suggests, the interiors are filled with subtle tributes to wildflowers, resulting in a sultry, anniversary-friendly setting. Vintage club chairs fitted out in floral-patterned velvet and plenty of dried floral displays in glass vases channel a Victorian homestead.
Le Bilboquet (Cherry Creek)
Exquisite French plates, refined service, and fine wines keep couples flocking to this Cherry Creek fine-dining stalwart. Much like the restaurant’s sibling locations in New York, Atlanta, and Palm Springs, the Denver edition dishes out French classics such as duck confit and steaks as juicy as a great romance for lunch and dinners. Add an order of beef tartare or a pile of crispy fries for the full French effect.
For a group date
Comida Cantina (Central Park)
Grab your best friend and their beau for a night of tacos and good times. Chef and owner Rayme Rossello’s festive eatery makes a vibrant backdrop for a leisurely group hangout. The menu features Mexican soul food for all diets, such as loaded quesadillas with spicy shrimp or pork carnitas, pimento cheese-stuffed jalapeños, mushroom burritos, griddled tacos, enchiladas, and more. Pair any dish with a jar of the house margarita, or spice things up with the pineapple habanero version.
For an evening of eatertainment
Players Pub (South Broadway)
Anyone bold enough to bring a date to this low-key but lovable arcade and snack shop is in for a winning evening. Wings, burgers, and sandwiches (don’t miss the boozy sauce pairings) come with a side of Skee-Ball, Pac-Man, and Mario Kart. On Wednesday nights, you can roll the dice to choose your drink price; those who score big often win perks such as complimentary food and drinks, including fruit- and candy-infused vodka shots—plus the full attention of your date.
For an adventurous and transportive date
Matsuhisa Denver (Cherry Creek)
In addition to an avant-garde selection of sushi and sashimi, renowned chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa’s Japanese-Peruvian menu here includes crowd favorites such as the miso-cod plate, king crab tempura, and lobster ceviche. From its Zen garden entrance to its ornate, cut-out screens and custom-designed chopsticks, Matsuhisa, a stunning 7,800-square-foot escape, delivers an enchanting experience worthy of any romantic milestone.
For a proposal-worthy place
EDGE Restaurant & Bar (Downtown)
Wagyu steak, whole lobster, and oysters make this sexy downtown lair the ideal restaurant for not just an excellent meal, but a place to pop the big question. For an extra-intimate seat, reserve one of the velvet circle booths in the opulent dining room. And don’t worry about dietary restrictions—executive chef Craig Dryhurst accommodates all, so diners can just focus on each other throughout the swanky meal. As an added bonus, the restaurant is inside the Four Seasons Hotel, so your epic night can continue upstairs.
Freelance journalist Linnea Covington lives and eats in Denver, the best place for green chili and epic hikes with fantastic sandwiches.
Tried them all? Check out other options here.