Denver’s 12 Top Restaurants for Outdoor Dining

Credit: Acova

Take in a breath of fresh air while dining at these 12 Denver restaurants, all with outdoor seating that’s a step above. While not all the spots offer year-round alfresco seating, some have equipped the space with heaters and shelter so the days of eating outside are stretched as long as possible. From a rooftop food truck on top of an old mortuary to a large indoor-outdoor patio complete with ping pong to small but elegant street-side seating, these restaurants offer diners another side when it comes to the idea of eating out.

Happy Camper (LoHi)

Credit: Happy Camper

This hotspot opened in 2020 in an airy lot perfect for alfresco imbibing and dining, all with a camping theme. Aside from the great outdoors, this LoHi venue is a beer, cocktail, and comfort food sort of place, with a long wait unless you have a reservation. The energetic concept comes from Chicago, where the two original locations are going strong. With that connection, it’s no surprise pizza is a big deal here, and there are so many types to try, as well as build-your-own. Also on the menu, find items such as pulled pork nachos, elote dip, kale cobb salad and chicken-lime soup. Order pick up or delivery as well, though you’ll miss out on the whimsical decor and party-like vibe, complete with a ton of twinkle lights, picnic tables, and fake grass. Outdoor warmers keep diners cozy when it’s cold.

Mizu Izakaya and Sushi (LoHi)

Since 2016, Mizu Izakaya has brought fresh and flavorful Japanese food to LoHi, something that’s made it a local favorite as well as a destination spot. Surrounding the restaurant diners will find a roomy outdoor seating space that’s covered and has airy curtains to let down when the sun is bright. In the warmer months the windows open onto the patio, making part of the inside feel nice and breezy. When it’s colder out, diners can still sit outside comfortably thanks to portable heaters and steaming bowls of miso soup or pork kimchi ramen. While sushi is the house specialty, the izakaya also serves sizzling skewers, Kobe beef fried rice, an array of roasted fish dishes, duck bao bun, and more. Make sure to check out the drink list, too — the sake menu is vast and the craft cocktails showcase and balance Japanese ingredients well.

Il Posto (RiNo)

Denver locals love to be outside, and at Il Posto it’s easy to dine alfresco on plates of perfectly executed chicken Milanese, house-made burrata, and pappardelle with Berkshire pork ragu under a toasty heater.  Chef-owner Andrea Frizzi opened this RiNo eatery in 2016, taking recipes from his own family and Italian upbringing. It’s the kind of place that’s comforting while also feeling modern and sleek. The inside of the restaurant is worth checking out, but sitting outside is one of the best options, especially when the weather remains pleasant. After all, there aren’t many places around to watch the crowd go by while sitting outside, Negroni in hand with a plate of charcuterie on the way. Check out the special experience available at this restaurant: half-off any bottle of wine valued up to $100 every Wednesday. Book by heading to the Experiences section here.

Briar Common Brewery (Jefferson Park)

Head to this Jefferson Park brewpub for a craft beer, burger, and a great view from the rooftop patio. Since 2013, this neighborhood spot has been serving house-made beer and American comfort fare. As one might expect, the beer list proves extensive, with options such as dunkle, imperial stout, and IPA. Pair a pint with buffalo cauliflower, a fried chicken sandwich, curry salmon, BLT salad, or a reuben sandwich. There’s partial covering to keep the sun from bearing down on diners, but keep in mind that there aren’t any heaters. Downstairs find a casual outdoor biergarten where customers can bring their dogs and order food and drinks from the walk-up window.

Ace Eat Serve (Uptown)

Credit: Ace Eat Serve

Serve up not only steamy bowls of ramen and spicy tiger wings, but a couple rounds of ping pong, too, at this Uptown restaurant. Ace Eat Serve, often referred to as just “Ace,” has graced the neighborhood since 2012, bringing tasty modern Asian food to the area. Housed in what used to be a mechanic’s garage, this large, open space is ideal for a casual night out, big parties, and year-round outdoor dining on the partially covered, heated patio. There are the ping pong tables, but even if you don’t want to play, there’s enough excitement to be had by diving into chef Thach Tran’s plates of Sichuan shrimp wontons, variety of bao buns, kimchi fried rice, and more. The bar program also stands out, with sake, craft cocktails, wine, and beer filling it out. Check out the special experience available at this restaurant: wings & whiskey Wednesdays with ping pong. Book by heading to the Experiences section here.

Kisbee on the Roof (Cherry Creek)

You don’t have to be a guest of the Jacquard Hotel in order to enjoy its rooftop cafe, though staying the night does mean access to the rooftop pool. Even without a dip in those cool, crystalline waters, it’s worth visiting this spot for a clear view of downtown Denver and the mountains, which only gets better during sunset. Order a glass of sparkling wine or a tiki-inspired cocktail and relax at one of the high-top community tables, bar, or at one of the simple seats surrounding the space. Kisbee on the Roof is open everyday, but times vary. No matter when you go, try the signature cheeseburger with tomato jam, arugula salad with goat cheese and dried cherries, and rock shrimp ceviche. If the mood is right, go all out for the Champagne and caviar spread that features a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, osetra caviar, black truffle chive dip, and truffle salted potato chips. The patio cafe isn’t open during bad weather, and since there aren’t heaters, it can get chilly in the spring and fall. Check out the special experience available at this restaurant: rooftop igloo with mountain views. Book by heading to the Experiences section here.

Linger (LoHi)

Head to the roof of this LoHi eatery and take in an amazing view of downtown, which dazzles even more during sunset. From that vantage point, it’s hard to believe this restaurant is built in what used to be a mortuary. But there’s nothing dead about the vibe, drinks, or food. The menu is made up of street fare inspired by global flavors and bites from small stands one might see while traveling. The outdoor menu is similar to what’s served inside, but it’s more concise since the dishes are coming out of the food truck situated right there on top of the roof. Think wagyu sliders, potstickers, sweet potato waffle fries, Korean barbecue tacos, and Mongolian barbecue duck buns. Unfortunately the patio is seasonal, but enjoy frozen rosé and Painkillers there while the weather is nice.

Acreage by Stem Ciders (Lafayette)

Credit: Acreage

Located near Denver, this cider house and restaurant overlooks the foothills with one of the best views around.  Get the full vista by sitting at one of the dozens of picnic tables on the patio, where the restaurant offers partial service (diners use the QR code to view the menu and order right from their phones). Try the barbecue smoked almonds, roasted apple salad, wood-fired mussels, and crispy pork shoulder with herb and corn grits. The menu changes with the season, though a lot of the proteins remain the same. And, since the restaurant is run by Stem Ciders, there’s a full list of tasty ciders to choose from, too, including Harvest Peach, Paloma, A Salted Cucumber, Rosé, and classic dry and off-dry. As a bonus, there’s a playground and huge lawn surrounding the outdoor seating, perfect for kids to run around while waiting for their meal.

Tamayo (LoDo)

Take in the mountain view or watch the city go by while dining upstairs on the covered deck of restaurateur Richard Sandoval’s Tamayo, the popular chef’s first venture in Denver that opened in 2001. Over the years this spot has constantly delivered innovative modern Mexico City fare to locals and visitors, and it’s a favorite among the lunch crowd and theater goers. Located in LoDo, diners can eat lunch, weekend brunch, or dinner inside on the first floor or upstairs on the airy, heated patio as long as there isn’t a special event going on. Order the crab-topped guacamole, birria tacos with braised lamb, chicken tinga enchiladas, and a side of caramelized plantains. Don’t forget the house-made churros at the end, which come with cinnamon-chocolate and caramel sauces for dipping. The drink list is equally impressive, with tequila and mezcal as the main spirit of choice.

Stoic & Genuine (Downtown)

Credit: Stoic & Genuine

Some of the freshest seafood can be found at chef Jennifer Jasinski’s downtown restaurant. Order a plate of oysters and glass of bubbles and enjoy it alfresco on the patio overlooking Union Station. This outdoor spot is only open when the weather is nice, and there are shade options for super sunny days. Otherwise, diners can enjoy Thai green curry mussels, raw seafood towers in varying sizes, crispy whole haddock, and two different kinds of lobster roll, all in the comfort of the cozy indoor space.

the plimoth (City Park)

As far as farm-to-table goes, the plimoth was one of the first in Denver to really dedicate its menu to this concept. The restaurant opened in 2014 in City Park and has remained a neighborhood staple ever since. The menu changes with the season, and chef-owner Peter Ryan works with many local farms to get the freshest and best produce on the table. Try the French onion soup with cave-aged gruyere, fried eggplant with brie fondue, grilled Colorado lamb ribs, and orange-lavender sorbet. When the weather is nice, sit outside along the street on the brick-laid patio under ropes of soft lights. There aren’t many outside tables, so secure an alfresco dining spot by reserving it in advance.

Acova (Sunnyside)

Credit: Acova

With sturdy wooden tables, long community seating, a lot of space, and plants scattered throughout, Acova boasts one of the best patios in Denver. To start, order the tomatillo beer cheese dip with roasted pretzel bites, spicy deviled eggs with prosciutto, and smoke-brined, flash-fried chicken wings. The entree menu has a lot to offer, too, including many types of burgers and sandwiches, lobster macaroni and cheese, and gluten-free honey fried chicken. For those with dietary concerns, there are notes on each dish dictating gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. If it’s chilly outside, add on a bowl of pork posole green chili and cuddle up under the heater. While reservations can be made for inside the restaurant, all outdoor seating is first come, first serve.

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