At 10Best, we're always on the lookout for Denver's best restaurants, and while we appreciate places that have a broad culinary range, we can't help but adore restaurants that specialize in a given cuisine. When we're in the mood for Vegetarian food in Denver, we head to WaterCourse - a reader favorite - or we count on New Orient's solid track record and consistently great dishes. You'll find these places - and any of the restaurants on our list - to be fantastic options for Vegetarian cuisine, and if you're looking to concentrate your efforts, start with the vibrant Littleton area.
Denver's finest vegetarian fare can be found at WaterCourse Foods, including treats from their own bakery and a few organic wines. Main course options include country-fried seitan with mashed potatoes and vegetables, zesty Andalusian pasta, a tamale plate, and a Thai peanut stir-fry. The Uptown neighborhood restaurant includes an outdoor patio and room for large parties. (303-832-7313)
When folks in southeast Denver crave homemade Vietnamese cooking, they opt for this gem, where both food and service earn high marks. Fresh seafood is a specialty, and the menu is populated by the likes of shrimp fritters, Vietnamese paella, and a two-fish plate (mahi-mahi and swordfish) flavored with lemongrass and sun-dried tomato sauce. A word to the wise: Save room for fried bananas or rum-spiked flan. (303-751-1288)
Located in the hip historic northwest Highland neighborhood in a converted 1950s service station, Root Down is Denver's hip answer to unique, sustainable casual dining. The first time you dine at Root Down, you'll uncover one of Denver's innovating and sustainable restaurants.
Whether for Saturday or Sunday brunch, daily lunch or dinner, the patio and deck is always a bustle of crowds. Their sustainable dining experience is one of the most interesting in Denver. Fresh herbs and vegetables are harvested from the roof-top and patio gardens.
Choose from creative dishes with creative names, such as Devils on Horseback – Date & Goat Cheese stuffed Peppadews, wraped in Serrano Ham, Smoked Paprik-Sherry Gastrique. Other tasty menu items include Long Farm Pork Chops and Organic Butternut-Ricotta Gnocchi! The soup (Organic Carrot & Thai Red Curry OR Zucchini & Poblano) is always worth ordering. (303-993-4200)
Suburban Denver has no lack of ethnic eateries, and Vietnamese and Thai restaurants seemingly stud every strip mall from Aurora to Arvada. Although many people find it difficult to identify the city's "top places," this unassuming Thai restaurant invariably makes its way onto most lists. The friendly waitstaff is quick to offer newcomers a suggestion or two, and the spectrum of choices ranges from apple salad with coconut and sliced onions to pad Thai and a handful of pungent curry dishes. Take-out is available. (720-981-7600, 720-981-7700)
Probably better known for its fantastic breakfasts, WaterCourse also serves delicious, filling lunches. The high-ceilinged, pleasant room quickly becomes noisy as the lively noontime crowd files in, so be prepared to wait unless you're willing to grab a chair at the community table. The place serves vegetarian food done right, neither aspiring to imitate meat nor lacking in flavor. The tempeh scaloppini plate, served with mashed potatoes and greens, is mouthwatering. If you still have room, opt for a slice of vegan chocolate cake. (303-832-7313)
Traditional Thai cuisine in a casual, unpretentious setting is what this eatery is known for. The waitstaff – as courteous as they are quick – are more than happy to guide first-timers toward dishes that suit their particular tastes. For such novices, tangy chicken satay and a spring roll or two are a more-than-solid introduction. Folks who don't mind spicier fare should sample a curried dish. (303-794-1115)