Considering that the Mile High is one of the most fit cities in the nation, this list of gluttonously glorious iconic Denver dishes may surprise you. (But, then again, it makes total sense…the more we exercise, the more we can eat.) From Mexican and Southern-inspired fare to food with its roots in the wild west, these mouthwatering Mile High must-haves will definitely leave you wanting more. Stop whatever you’re doing and go get you some (or all) of these iconic dishes to eat in Denver!
1. Rocky Mountain Oysters at the Buckhorn Exchange
One of the most infamously iconic dishes in the Mile High is undoubtedly Rocky Mountain "oysters." This Colorado delicacy (aka deep-fried bull testicles) are a right of passage for Denverites and tourists alike. Buffalo Exchange and the Fort are serving up some of the ballsiest versions of this Western treat, so go get 'em!
2. Elk Jalapeño Cheddar Dog at Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs
Denver's self-proclaimed sausage czar has been handing out gourmet dogs at his cart at the 16th Street mall for more than a decade and now has three carts and two brick-and-mortar locations in Ballpark and Highlands Ranch. His wildly unique gourmet dogs have received many accolades, especially his elk jalapeño cheddar dog, which was featured on Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." Every Denverite needs an elk dog smothered in cola-soaked caramelized onions (or any of his other funky toppings like Harissa roasted cactus or bacon red onion marmalade). Whew dog!
3.. Smothered Burrito at El Taco De Mexico
The smothered burritos at El Taco De Mexico are SO good that regulars have actually been known to eat one for breakfast, wait for the fullness to wear off, then eat one for dinner. (Both stuffed to the gills, smothered with green chile, and topped with melted cheese, of course!)
4. Green Chile Cheese Fries at the Original Chubby's
Want to know what else we like to smother in green chile and cheese? Fries...swimming in all sorts of meaty, melty, spicy gloriousness. It's one of my personal faves and just what the doctor ordered after an epic hike or night out on the town. (Tip: Order them extra spicy for extra yummy goodness.)
5. Cheeseburger at the Cherry Cricket
Did you know the cheeseburger was actually invented in Denver in 1935!? Sure, there are other cities that make the same claim to fame, but we've got a monument (at 2776 N. Speer Blvd.) to prove it. Duffy's Cherry Cricket has been slinging some of the most mouthwatering cheeseburgers in town since 1945, and the kitchen is open daily from 11am-Midnight for your chowing pleasure. (Also try Bad Daddy's Burger Bar, My Brother's Bar, and Big Smoke Burger for more magnificent meatiness.)
6. Buffalo Steaks at the Fort
Speaking of meat, this award-winning restaurant in Morrison has been tantalizing foodies with their wonderful wild game since 1963 and "serves more buffalo steaks than any other independently owned restaurant in the country." Go get wild at the Fort and chow down on some tender buffalo (and Rocky Mountain oysters)!
7. Tortas at Las Tortas
The tortas (aka Mexican-style sandwiches) at Las Tortas are the best thing since sliced bread! They are warm and toasty and filled with delectable meats, veggies, and cheese and are pure heaven. Ole! Ole!
8. Chicken and Waffles at Steuben's
This scrumptious Southern-style dish has been popping up all over brunch menus in Denver in recent years, and Steuben's does it right with their juicy, whole fried chicken breast and drumstick atop a fluffy waffle with syrup on the side. (Pro Tip: Be sure to get a side of gravy for more dipping pleasure and a boozy milkshake for pleasure's sake.)
9. Tacos at La Calle Taqueria y Carnitas (& Others)
It's probably impossible to choose the "best" taco in Denver, as all of them have something unique and wonderful to offer. However, La Calle Taqueria y Carnitas is hands-down serving up some of the most delicious, authentic street tacos in town! They've got all your traditional favorites like Lengua, Carnitas, and Barbacoa, and don't miss out on their Avocado Salsa Verde. (Also notable are Tacos Tequila Whiskey, El Taco Veloz, Las Margs, Los Carboncitos, Socorro's, and La Abeja.)
10. EVERYthing at the Denver Biscuit Company
I could eat at Denver Biscuit Company every day if my waistline would allow it, and every bite of food I've ever had there is nothing short of divine. On any given day there's a line around the block of eager eaters waiting to sink their teeth into this Southern-inspired fare, because Coloradans know comfort food cures what ails you!
Did we miss any of your favorite iconic dishes to eat in Denver? Let us know in the comments!