Light-colored woods and stylish contemporary furnishings give Tavernetta an appealing Northern European vibe. Unlike Frasca, its acclaimed sister restaurant in Boulder, Tavernetta draws inspiration not from one region of Italy but from areas across the country, with added inspiration from neighbors Austria and Slovenia, among others. Cloud-like gnocchi and deeply flavorful rigatoni are standouts, but whatever seasonal dishes are on the menu will likely be memorable. For couples seeking a romantic interlude, there are options for two to share, along with an exquisitely curated wine and "aperitivi" list. Among the wines is a very limited selection of glasses priced under $15, but then Tavernetta is a place to splurge, to savor, to indulge and to find utter satisfaction in a meal artfully conceived and flawlessly served and presented. If you just want drinks and appetizers or dessert, find seating for two by the lounge fireplace, Tavernetta's most romantic spot.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Tavernetta elevates Italian food in Denver to a heavenly altitude and adds a compelling element to Union Station-area dining options
Christine's expert tip: Arrive early in happy hour to get a seat by the fireplace, perhaps the most romantic spot in the restaurant.
Tucked into a cozy corner in Union Station, Ultreia exudes warmth with its Old World murals and intimate interior. The menu celebrates foods of the Iberian Peninsula, a region that has given us chorizo, Caldo Verde, Jamon Iberico, delectable Spanish olive oil and Manchego cheese. More truffles are produced in Spain than in France. Basque and Moorish flavors influence the cuisine and sherry and port are staples to pair with any dish, not to mention Spanish and Portuguese wines. Nowhere in the world is the gin tonic (no "and" in the name in Spain) more elevated than in Spanish bars, and Ultreia honors that with a fine collection of gin and gin cocktails. After dinner, order two glasses of Madeira, Portugal's divine fortified wine. Be prepared for intriguing food and drink combinations and expect stellar service in an ambiance with European charm. Date night? Sí!
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Ultreia brings an appealing cuisine and inviting ambiance to the restaurant offerings in Union Station, and it's a perfect dining option for two.
Christine's expert tip: Ultreia has just 50 seats, so arrive early to ensure a table or to sit at the bar. In warmer weather, patio seating is available.
For[a]ged opened in 2019 with a menu that ranges from an impressive raw bar to steaks, salmon and vegetarian entrees. The name is a play on the words foraged, related to the freshest of natural ingredients, and forged, a nod to the chef's collection of knives, including some he made himself, displayed on the walls and in use in the kitchens. Chef Duy Pham and his son are culinary artists, each nigiri and hand roll plate as much an exquisite artistic presentation as delectable bite. Couples should settle into one of the plush green velvet booths upstairs, or, if splurging and watching the chefs as they create photo-worthy plates sounds romantic, book a chef's table at the raw bar with up to 18 courses. Wherever you sit, ask what fresh ingredient isn't on the menu as the chef brings in fish from all over the world each day.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: For[a]ged elevates nigiri, sashimi and hand rolls in Denver, but also adds steak and pork belly to the menu, providing something for every diner.
Christine's expert tip: For[a]ged has a private dining space with two tables for 12.
What's more romantic than wine and music? That's what Sunday Vinyl offers in a cozy location just outside Union Station overlooking the tracks, and it's no accident that it evokes the sophistication and camaraderie of the best wine bars in Europe. With 20 to 25 wines by the glass and a menu featuring snacks to entrees, this is an anytime place for couples and others to gather, afternoons to late evenings. The space was designed with acoustics in mind, and what's noticeable immediately on entering is the rich quality of the sound. But whatever is playing, guests can still talk and hear each other. The thoughtfully curated collection of vinyl comes from every genre and, like the wine list, from across the world. Somewhere in the mix you'll likely hear old favorites. For a well-priced wine and bite, go for Happy hour, 9 p.m. to close.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: What could be more romantic than wine and music? Sunday Vinyl hits just the right note.
Christine's expert tip: The kitchen at Sunday Vinyl serves food until closing.
Undeniably one of Denver's highly romantic restaurants, Mizuna is open for dinner only, giving chefs plenty of time to create one extraordinary dining experience each day. Every aspect of the restaurant has been thoughtfully conceived. At Mizuna, you won't find the loud clamor that seems so popular in many restaurants today so go ahead and sweet talk your companion. Mizuna embraces a warm yet minimalist aesthetic. A handful of conservatively appointed tables dot the intimate dining room; soft lighting and professional, unobtrusive service complete the elegant scene. The menu creatively combines unusual tastes and textures resulting in such mouthwatering offerings as pheasant and decadent lobster mac 'n cheese made with poached Maine lobster. At least one vegetarian dish is among the entrees as well. The menu changes monthly though some favorites remain available. The wine list is extensive but a sommelier is on hand to guide you.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: A French-inspired menu, exemplary service and an intimate setting featuring linen tablecloths and soft lighting make Mizuna one of Denver's most romantic spots to dine.
Christine's expert tip: The wine list is comprehensive and extensive. You may want to peruse it online before arriving for dinner.
It's almost the definition of romantic: Champagne, chocolate, music and intimate spaces where a couple can enjoy each other's company. Denver's only Champagne bar, Corridor 44 is an elegant space for sipping flutes of Champagne and nibbling on cheese plates, salads, chocolate and other small bites. It draws crowds and exudes a hip lounge aesthetic, yet it's also a spot where romance and conversation aren't overwhelmed by surrounding noise. A private room is perfect for small celebrations with friends. The name comes from the 44-foot corridor within the space, and that's one of the best places to book a table if romance is in the air. Early in the evening, world music might be played, followed by lounge tunes and then more typical club sounds as the night deepens.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Corridor 44 is Denver's sweet spot for Champagne, chocolate, music and cozy spaces where romance can flourish.
Christine's expert tip: If you're looking for a private spot for a celebration with friends, Corridor 44's private room is good choice.
The new owners of the space that was Cafe Marmotte in the Wash Park neighborhood have turned it into a sweet spot for all things pasta. The interior has a fresh, light look but all of the warmth and intimacy remain.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Olivia Restaurant has nicely refreshed the former Cafe Marmotte space without sacrificing warmth and intimacy and the pasta-focused menu will not disappoint.
Christine's expert tip: Before or after dinner, add to the romance of the evening with a walk in Washington Park, just two blocks to the south.
Gauzy curtains, an abundance of natural wood and warm lighting set the scene for lovers at Beatrice and Woodsley. The romantic aesthetic is enhanced by a story of two young lovers, Beatrice from a French winemaking family that moved to California in the 1800s, and Woodsley, from a family of coopers that made barrels for the fledgling industry. True or not, their story informs the restaurant, evoking all the romance of young love. As for the menu, there's a focus on the best quality and sustainable products and a mix of meat and vegetarian dishes along with a nice wine list. Service can be unhurried so relax and linger. This is an ideal setting for bridal parties (consider the tea served for 12 or more by reservation), rehearsal dinners or anniversary celebrations. The Cellar seats up to 28 in an utterly romantic atmosphere or the entire restaurant can be reserved.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Beatrice and Woodsley is by design romantic, named for two young lovers who lived happily ever after. The logo is a heart with an arrow.
Christine's expert tip: Woodley's excellent Nosh & Tails happy hour runs Monday-Friday from 5-6:30 p.m.
With its inviting patio tucked into a secluded courtyard off Larimer Square and an intimate interior with Old World touches, Bistro Vendome captures the essence of a Parisian bistro in its ambiance and menu. Cozy, dark and warm, Bistro delivers romance at every turn. Expect French classics (some rotating) as well as fish, vegetable and pasta dishes. Consider the ever-changing, always divine grilled cheese for happy hour (apple and brie is a fave). This is a place where a couple can linger over dinner, then move if they choose to the bar for a selection of French wines, a glass of port or other after-dinner sipper and linger some more. On warm summer evenings, the patio is the sweet spot for a leisurely romantic rendezvous.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Bistro Vendome is arguably Denver's most romantic restaurant, from its location to its decor, food and service.
Christine's expert tip: Check for specials, such as Wine Series dinners focusing on different regions of France and Monday Movie Nights, which pairs dinner with French and/or food films.
Chandeliers and candlelit tables define LeRoux's elegant and romantic space. Even the bar gets candles as evening arrives. Several seating areas provide intimacy for a romantic occasion or simply a dinner at which conversing is not made impossible by the cacophony experienced at so many restaurants today. It feels a bit old school in that regard, a return to what fine dining used to be, yet it's also casual and contemporary. Dishes are prepared meticulously, a perfect melding of complex and delicate flavors in an exquisite presentation. The chicken liver mousse might be the best in Denver, and if you want a show-stopper, go for the Wagyu beef tartare presented with a flourish of smoke. The saffrony bouillabaisse piled with mussels, scallops and octopus surprises with a tweak of peppery heat but everything on the menu is meticulously prepared and presented.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Intimate and candlelit with superb service, Le Roux is a perfect spot for a romantic dinner.
Christine's expert tip: Leave the car at home. This restaurant is super convenient for public bus and light-rail transportation.