While the pandemic isn’t entirely behind us, things have improved considerably, and it’s time to plan your next vacation. Colorado is a beautiful haven full of the best the country has to offer in terms of luxurious landscapes, riveting arts and culture, and an excellent culinary scene. Colorado is definitely the place for you if you need a space that feels more serene and needs to get away from the hustle and bustle of big cities while still having access to sophisticated outposts. Also, don’t listen to the naysayers: there is a bonafide foodie culture in this glorious state, and you don’t have to go to the coasts to experience wonderful restaurants. Here are a few of the top places to visit on your next trip to Colorado.

waffle breakfast

1. Buckhorn Exchange

For a little taste of local history, you need to visit the Buckhorn Exchange, one of the best steakhouses in Colorado. It is widely considered to be Denver’s first steakhouse, having opened in 1893, and it holds the title as the city’s oldest restaurant. Here guests can gorge on the finest steaks available with all the fixings – potatoes, salads, roast vegetables, and so on. There is even a gigantic four-pound sirloin steak up for grabs if that sort of thing floats your boat.

2. Cafe Diva

If unlike other tourists, you decide to go to a place that’s a bit less traveled than Denver, then you’re in for a real treat. Especially if you make your way to Steamboat Springs, one of the loveliest areas in this part of Colorado, one of the best French-Asian-inspired restaurants, Cafe Diva, resides in the middle of the popular Steamboat Mountain Village. It consistently makes a list of the best restaurants in Steamboat Springs, and with good reason. This local favorite started out as an inauspicious wine bar in the late nineties, but soon transformed into one of the best restaurants in the area, offering innovative cuisine year in and year out. Drawing inspiration from a fresh, seasonal menu, this is the best place to visit if you’re also on the lookout for flavorful yet healthy cuisine.

3. The Mint

If you’re on the market for yet another historical locale but with a fun twist, then The Mint should be the next stop on your trip. This one sort of floats under the radar, but it provides fun experience diners won’t soon forget. Basically, you cook your own meat on a grill that can be found smack dab in the middle of the restaurant. The place opened in the late 1800s, but its menu offers a lot more than fun historical tidbits – although that’s great, too. The cocktails are great, and the meats are top quality, even though the price points remain pretty forgiving. 

4. Illegal Pete’s 

Fun fact: many of our most beloved chain restaurants actually started in Colorado. If you enjoy Chipotle or Quiznos, consider yourself familiar with some of the best that fast-casual restaurants have to offer. Illegal Pete’s also offers tacos and burritos, but it combines that with a dedication to supporting local artists. Pop over if you want to see musicians touring through cities at Illegal Pete’s locations throughout the state. Also, artists can eat here for free through their Starving Artists program, which is another excellent reason to support this unique establishment. If you want a fast-food experience but with better flavors, a local spirit, and make sure that your money is going to a good cause, then this is the place for you.

5. Denver Biscuit Company

If fresh homemade biscuits are your jam, then you should make a point of visiting the Denver Biscuit Company. This wonderful establishment offers many takes based on the wonders of a warm and flaky biscuit, but they are especially famous for their strawberry shortcake biscuits. Fresh strawberries, light, sweet cream, and a warm biscuit are basically happiness on a plate, so you should definitely visit.

6. Flagstaff House

If you want to experience an award-winning culinary experience in the heart of Boulder, then definitely make the time to visit Flagstaff House. This restaurant offers refined American dining with excellent spins on New American cuisine while offering beautiful views. The innovative menu is seasonal, so always be sure to check what the chef has on offer before making your trip.

fine dining

 The state of Colorado has so much to offer, and fine dining is just one excuse to go there for a visit. Other reasons include access to plenty of arts and culture events, beautiful natural landscapes, and a restful ambiance. History buffs are also bound to enjoy Colorado, so it makes sense to book a flight or train ride as soon as you can.