Stoic & Genuine
1701 Wynkoop St., LoDo
Tucked away in Union Square, this top-notch, multi-coastal seafood house and oyster bar flies in fresh seafood daily. The space is kind of narrow, but the high ceilings, exhibition kitchen, and 40-seat patio more than make up for it; and their fresh raw bar, craft cocktails, and perfectly shucked oysters are the real reason to pay a visit. If you can, try to take advantage of their happy hour, where you can get the same amazing oysters at $2 a pop.
1701 Wynkoop St., LoDo
This spot, on the eastern edge of the newly renovated Union Station building downtown, is part white-tablecloth restaurant and part takeaway market. The sit-down portion serves a roughly Italian menu (caramelized potato gnocchi, parsnip tortellini, burrata with beets and citrus confit) with a few American menu items thrown in (broccoli cheddar soup, crispy chicken with vegetable pot pie) in a dining room that features Union Station's signature high ceilings and tall windows that look out onto the plaza. In the takeaway section, you'll find a deli counter with imported cheeses and sliced-to-order prosciutto, plus pastries, a coffee bar, and office-lunch-style sandwiches and salads—including an Italian sandwich that's in the running for Denver's best.
The Squeaky Bean (Closed)
1500 Wynkoop St., LoDo
The Squeaky Bean originally started as a tiny little spot in LoHi, growing most of the restaurant's greens in raised beds on nearby lots. When they expanded to their much larger space downtown, the farm grew too, and it now occupies three acres (including two year-round greenhouses) at Warren Tech High School, where the farmers and co-owners run an educational program for students. While we're always excited to support a social enterprise, the real reason to come to Squeaky Bean is for the food, which is some of the city's most ambitious: The menu includes a steak tartare with quail eggs and pickled horseradish, an excellent chicken liver mousse, Maine lobster with cauliflower and grapefruit, and miso-marinated eggplant and squash with tomato jam. If you're there for lunch (it's very conveniently located for business meetings), be sure to order the burger, which is arguably the city's best.