Long before it became known for any fine dining, Denver was a fast-casual hub. This is the city where Chipotle, Noodles & Company, and Qdoba — among many other national chains — got their start. Perhaps that’s why so many local restaurants bring their A-game when it comes to delivery and takeout. Here are some of the best of them to order on DoorDash.
James Beard Award–winning chef Alex Seidel is known for special-occasion restaurants, but he opened Chook as a casual alternative for weeknights. Choose your rotisserie chicken — light or dark meat; quarter, half, or whole bird — and add on mashed potatoes with shallot butter, plus a feta and cucumber salad. The Chook for Two is a deal for date night.
This is the spot for some of the best breakfast burritos and brunch congee in town, on one all-around super-fun morning menu. The secret is in the duck fat–fried potatoes, which you’ll find inside those burritos, and in the duck broth and confit, which you’ll taste in that savory chili oil–topped rice porridge.
While the poke bowl might be the best-known menu item at Ohana, this Hawaiian restaurant also deserves recognition for its full-plate lunch. The Mini Mix Plate comes with juicy kalua pork alongside sticky rice, creamy macaroni salad, and bright mango-lime kale salad.
Big Mission-style burritos are the backbone of Illegal Pete’s, which got its start nearly 30 years ago on The Hill in Boulder and is now a staple all across Colorado. Besides burritos, you’ll want to order bowls with all of the fixings, or tacos filled with grilled steak or carnitas slow-cooked with Mexican Coke. Don’t skip out on a side of chips with both guac and queso.
Denver’s only New Haven–style pizza place has been serving perfectly blistering crusts since 2017. Order the namesake pie with crème fraîche, garlic, bacon, and mushrooms, plus a sunny-side up egg at its center. The Paulie Walnuts is another decadent white pie topped with mashed potatoes, bacon, and candied walnuts.
Ciabatta rolls are baked daily at City Bakery, and sandwiches are made to order behind the deli counter at this delicatessen’s two Denver locations. The Curtis, a tangy Reuben with house-made Thousand Island dressing and named for the original location in Curtis Park, is one of the finest sandwiches on offer. The beef pastrami sandwich with horseradish and the Italian sandwich with salami, pepperoni, and Asiago cheese are also perennial favorites.
Debate about the best Denver pho usually begins and ends with Pho Duy; the broth here is simply unbeatable. Go big with a bowl of the combination pho — Tai, Nam, Gau, Gan, Sach — which features a trio of steaks as well as tendon and tripe. Add some shrimp-and-pork spring rolls to your order, or go for vegetarian versions of the spring rolls and pho, both packed with tofu and veggies.
Call it tavern-style, call it cracker-thin, call it square-cut. Whatever you call it, this is the pizza to order for a party or an all-night snackathon. The small slices are best topped with pepperoni or Italian sausage. Cheesy garlic bread and house salad sprinkled with mozzarella round out this throwback dinner order.
Here, everything in the bowl is prepared from scratch — a rarity in the ramen world. For your first order, make sure to try the house ramen with pork belly in umami tonkotsu broth. (Don’t forget to add a soft-cooked egg.) Vegetarians will love the shoyu ramen topped with corn, bamboo shoots, and a potato pierogi.
This new Thai restaurant serves pitch-perfect versions of massaman, pad see ew, and tom kha gai. Once you’ve tried those standbys, move on to specialties such as the hor mok talay, a red curry custard bobbing with steamed shrimp, squid, and scallops.
This Capitol Hill institution serves Syrian and Middle Eastern specialties and, notably, the smoothest hummus in town. Platters featuring shish kabobs, gyros, shawarma, or falafel are the best for trying a bit of everything. Round them out with hummus, baba ghanoush, tzatziki, and either tabbouleh or fattoush for some greenery.
Now with two locations in Denver, this neighborhood Indian restaurant serves up rich curries and stews, including a number of signature vegetarian dishes. Try the baingan bharta, made with mashed roasted eggplant, or the buttery daal makhani, a hearty, slow-cooked pot of lentils.
This Larimer Street spot is always packed, but the to-go food is just as good from this playful barbecue and taco restaurant. Order any of the smoked meats to build your own tacos. One winning lineup starts with cilantro-and-lime coconut rice, continues with salsa macha–topped queso, and ends with mojo pork shoulder piled with fried plantains and pickled red onions.
Self-taught chef Tommy Lee has created Denver’s most beloved modern Chinese restaurant in Hop Alley. It’s perennially on a waitlist, but at home you can try crowd-pleasers like la zi ji, super-spicy fried chicken tossed with Szechuan peppers; and gai lan, Chinese broccoli grilled with schmaltz and oyster sauce and seasoned with duck salt.
A modern American diner, Steuben’s is your go-to for cheesesteaks, patty melts, and buckets of buttermilk-brined fried chicken. If you order anything between bread, be sure to pair it with the fries and a malt or milkshake.
A nondescript Colfax corner storefront masks one of Denver’s top Thai noodle houses. Try the tom yum noodle soup in a spicy sweet and sour broth, and the kra pao kai, which takes stir-fried chicken to the next level with Thai chiles and holy basil.
It’s easy to overlook Denver’s homegrown burger restaurant, what with In-N-Out and Shake Shack around. But Park Burger is a solid neighborhood staple where you can order quarter-pound patties on up to double-stacked cheeseburgers, all topped with a variety of house fixings from fig jam to béarnaise aioli. The Parmesan truffle fries are always good for sharing.
A lovely little neighborhood juice bar, this breakfast and lunch spot has plenty of options for vegetarians, vegans, and diners with other dietary restrictions. Order from the house latte menu featuring beneficial ingredients like turmeric, ashwagandha, and maca. Or get your vitamins via cold-pressed juices and a veggie-packed bowl or salad.
Don Gragg, a local fine-dining chef, has turned into a fast-casual master at this rotisserie chicken shop. At The Rotary, he serves up Brazilian churrasco-style chicken and perfectly seasoned side dishes. Chicken is prepared healthfully with roasted vegetables and brown-butter rice, but thick-cut potato chips topped with Parmesan also pair well as a starter.
Lorena Cantarovici started her Argentinian empanada business in Denver in 2011. Now she operates three local pastry shops, selling the namesake handheld treats for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert. To get your day started, order a trio of steak and eggs, chorizo, and potato and scrambled eggs.
An Indian buffet and craft brewpub in one, there’s no mistaking Yak & Yeti. But you don’t have to stand in line for food or wait at the bar for a beer. Order a fruit lassi, try the Tibetan momo — pillowy dumplings — and be sure to get enough chickpea papadams and house chutneys to snack on before your vindaloo or korma.
Chef Zach Spott’s counter at Denver Central Market serves a mean box lunch. The specialties here span the globe in terms of influence, from Southeast Asia to the American South. You’ll love the Vietnamese lettuce wraps with a choice of protein and fixings, from rice noodles to citrusy nuoc cham. The mezze platter is built for sharing with an assortment of spreads, dips, and olives alongside fresh pita.
In 2022 brothers Luis and Heriberto Gutierrez opened their Italian American restaurant with dishes that are actually built for takeout. So it’ll be your new go-to for chicken piccata and linguine al pesto. If dessert is in the cards, go for peach bread pudding soaked in orange caramel.
Sushi doesn’t necessarily travel well. But chef Steven Lee’s rolls translate seamlessly to delivery; they’re entirely vegan, made from various tempura veggies, krab salad, and other clever ingredients. Start with the Dancing Green Roll with squash, avocado, cucumber, and cilantro aioli, and don’t forget to add a fried tofu onigiri, complete with plant-based Spam.
The bagels will transport you back east, and the sandwiches will have you craving more lox and gravlax in your diet. If you’re not just here for a baker’s dozen, try Ronnie’s Favorite sandwich on an everything bagel and with a trifecta of Scottish smoked salmon, whitefish salad, and dill cream cheese, plus cucumber to cut through the richness.
The ultimate Denver sub sandwich can be found at Snarf’s, and it’s either a two-hander of Italian deli meats layered with shredded lettuce, hot peppers, and provolone or a two-hander of veggies — avocado, tomato, lettuce, sprouts — made vegetarian unless you order it with bacon.
What started as a one-off Boulder restaurant has grown into a small empire of fast-casual Neapolitan pizzerias. The key to Locale’s consistency is in the dough and the Italian gas ovens. A pro order consists of one Mais white pie topped with ham and corn, one sausage and Broccolini pizza, a simple Antica Salad, and a pair of creamy butterscotch budinos.
There’s something so exhilarating about browsing a menu of ice cream flavors. And Sweet Cow’s daily changing options make the process that much sweeter. Order pints of butter pecan or cookies and cream to start. For your next delivery, branch out to coffee or oatmeal cookie.
Spice Room by Kal Pant
Courtesy of Snarf’s Sandwiches
Sweet Cow by Maureen O'Neill
Corner Beet by Steven Williams
Courtesy of Stueuben's Uptown
Lunchboxx by Annie Dent
White Pie by REN Creativ
Park Burgers by Stephan Werk
Ohana Island Kitchen by Louie Colburn