2601 Larimer St., RiNo
After nine years at its original location in Uptown, Il Posto has recently re-opened in this two-story space, double the size, in the RiNo area. The sculptural light installation, 12-seat bar topped with a slab of Carrara marble, dark wood floors, and impressive views of Downtown are certainly a sleek departure from the old space, but Chef Andrea Frizzi’s Italian menu continues to impress—take, for instance, the beef candle, a bone marrow appetizer that melts into a dip, or more classic Italian standbys like their house-made burrata with huckleberry jam and lavash cracker. The menu may be relatively small, but you can’t go wrong, whether it’s their made-to-order risotto or classic calamari.
3163 Larimer St., RiNo
Nestled among the bars, breweries, and art galleries occupying the former warehouses of Denver’s flourishing RiNo (Riverfront North) Art District, the Populist has plenty of urban charm. Chef Power regularly rotates the concise menu, made up of New American dishes, to ensure a different experience almost every visit, and the communal tables and small plates are meant to encourage a shareable dining experience. Menu favorites include the Korean croquettes, leek fonduta agnolotti, and the grass-fed burger, and we like to order salt and vinegar popcorn to munch on as soon as we sit down.
2500 Larimer St., RiNo
The second restaurant from restaurateur Kelly Whitaker, Cart-Driver occupies an unimaginably tiny shipping container tucked into a cozy corner of RiNo. Like at Basta, his restaurant in Boulder, Whitaker specializes in perfect-crust pizza, and here, the only other menu items to distract you are fresh oysters and a small handful of appetizers. There's a lovely patio and simple, all-you-need cocktail list, plus prosecco on tap, so it makes a great happy hour spot when you want to do a bit of snacking. (That said, they're open until midnight every night.)
2335 E. 28th Ave., RiNo
Located north of Park Hill in a neighborhood where there aren't many other restaurants, the Plimoth feels a little off the beaten path, and since the interior is cozy and dimly lit, that has the effect of making it feel a little romantic, too. The menu (which changes frequently depending on what's available) is a French/Italian hybrid that makes great use of adventurous vegetables in dishes like a cracklin' chicken with red corn polenta, apple, mushroom, rutabaga, celeriac, and butternut squash; a pork loin with clams, broccolini, and yellow-eye beans; and pavlova made with preserved Colorado cherries.
2528 Walnut St., RiNo
Filled with houseplants, open-air in the summer, and entirely whitewashed save for warm wood stools, chairs, and benches, Stowaway is easily one of the most pleasant dining spaces in Denver. The best part: The food doesn't disappoint. Everything's healthy-ish, with vegetable-focused dishes like the kale, squash, and farro salad, and a butternut squash and spinach sandwich with hard-boiled egg and pickled beetroot, plus the cheekily named killer whale granola and a warming chai-spiced porridge. There's a great coffee bar where locals pick up takeaway meals (you can order online so they're ready when you arrive), and they're closed Tuesdays—adorably, for adventure.