Denver is a travel hub and destination gateway. So, reason is that the dining options cater to a wide palette of tastes. Denver compares well with excellent plant-based dishes throughout the city. More and more people are including plant-based meals in their diet. And, when traveling, plant-based options are likely to have fewer calories, and the business dinner won’t keep you up that late.
Bang up the elephant
Just on the east end of downtown Denver, Bang Up to the Elephant is a hidden vegan gem. You would expect the vibe somewhere in Thailand, on a jungle road, not in a central metropolitan area. The funky bar sets the tone with its beams and colorful seats. Each booth feels like dining in an old temple or ruin. The dirty banana cocktail, which combines spiced rum, coffee liqueur, vanilla and a banana, is a great starter. Balance the sweet with the spicy with the appetizer of edamame and dried peppers. The coconut–curry the main course mixes chickpeas with jackfruit or tofu, pickled onions, and coconut rice with cornbread.
Bistro of Cholon
Not far from Denver International Airport, Cholon is a good stopover for getting in and out of Denver. Chef Lon honed his modern Asian cuisine in New York, then opened restaurants in Denver. You can expect an elegant atmosphere, an intimate bar and Asian cuisine with fresh flavors. Crystal shiitake mushroom balls go upmarket with a truffle emulsion. Spring Vegetable Fried Rice with Asparagus, Rhubarb and Mushrooms with Tofu is an iteration of an Asian staple. Finish it off by tantalizing the taste buds with spiced donuts and Vietnamese coffee ice cream.
South of Denver in Lone Tree is a family-run Italian restaurant with a surprising array of vegetarian options. Cranelli’s has an intimate bar, with an establishment focused on food and good times. Strawberry Pecan Salad combines berries with spinach, romaine and candied pecans. They’re famous in Denver for their garlic knots, the perfect accompaniment to salad or entree. Plenty of main dishes make creative use of cheese as a protein supplement. Eggplant parmigiana shines with its optimal crispy texture, cheese and pasta side dish.
Tacos, Tequila, Whiskey
By far the best vegetarian taco selection in Denver is Tacos, Tequila & Whiskey in the Highlands neighborhood, just northwest of downtown. It’s a fun fiesta with a cool bar, outdoor seating, and an indoor space where the tacos shine. Yes, there are plenty of options for carnivores as well. The taco hongos combines grilled crimini mushrooms, cotija cheese, coriander creamed corn, and ancho-chile cream. And for something totally different for the taste buds, try the Walnut Chorizo Taco, which adds Monterey Jack cheese, tropical pico, red cole slaw, and tomatillo salsa. Wash them down with a pinch of Paloma combining tequila, grapefruit and lime, agave nectar, squirt and a salty edge. Wait, there’s more with the homemade churros and chocolate sauce. Attentive staff add to the experience.
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real food kitchen
The Cherry Creek area is full of restaurants, but if you want to feel good about a good meal, then True Food Kitchen is the best choice. First, you have plenty of seating options, from group tables to kitchen side observation, bar stools and traditional tables. While the ambiance hits all energy preferences, the food is outstanding. It starts with seasonal specialties and ingredients, so expect some menu nuance. The watermelon salad starts with almonds, tomatoes and cucumbers, and a little chili. The vegan double cheeseburger has golden veggie arcs all over the good taste with portobello, walnut and beets as the main ingredients. All starters combined will allow for any protein you wish to match, so meat eaters and vegetarians can get the same dish with individually specified protein.
Just east of the Cherry Creek Mall, Native Foods is all plant-based, but don’t let that fool you in terms of taste or menu options. The restaurant also offers take-out and take-out, so an easy stop for a meal on the way to your next destination. Start with the Spicy Cauliflower Dip, which sits on a bed of cabbage, carrots, and scallions. Get your hot-to-trot burger with the poppin' jalapeno burger, which features two patties combined with diced jalapenos and jalapeno-pimento cheese and a side dish.