8 Denver Restaurants That Won’t Ruin Your Diet

Whether you’re hoping to make a lifelong change or have resolved to shed a few pounds and make healthier choices in 2018, going out for a meal can be challenging when you’re watching what you eat.

Living in or near a thriving city like Denver has many benefits—and one of them is the large, diverse foodie scene. Finding your go-to spot for healthy, delicious food may take some time, but you have plenty of options to choose from.

If you’re avoiding animal products…

If you’ve given up meat or chosen to live a vegan lifestyle, eating out sometimes means your only option on the menu is salad. Thankfully, more and more restaurants are beginning to offer vegetarian options—and spots dedicated to vegan fare are popping up all over. Here are a few vegetarian restaurants in Denver to add to your must-eat list.

Watercourse Foods is known for their vegan comfort food, and on their menu you’ll find a wide selection of deliciously prepared entrees. Bonus: they serve breakfast all day and have a variety of gluten-free choices!

Give it a try: You don’t have to give up your favorite finger food when you can grab some of their cauliflower or seitan wings tossed in buffalo, BBQ, or Korean BBQ sauce.

While City O’ City also offers non-vegetarian items, you’ll be happy to see their wide variety of animal product-free dishes.

Give it a try: The kimchi stew is a great way to warm up, while the vegan savory waffle with seasonal veggies and vegan cheese is the perfect Sunday morning treat.

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If you’re going gluten-free…

Those with a gluten sensitivity or who have chosen not do eat wheat-based products know just how difficult it can be to grab a bite to eat. But with a growing number of bakeries, restaurants, and GF-friendly menus available, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a meal out.

The Just BE Kitchen menu is a GF-dream because every single item is gluten free. That means you have your pick of appetizers, breakfast items, comforting entrees, and dessert!

Give it a try: You know we have to recommend the bone broth bar, but try following up with the Wholehearted pork green chili and finishing up with some Adore apple crumble.

Fresh Thymes Eatery, in addition to having a catchy name, offers a tasty selection of gluten-free treats. Their philosophy is to stick with the bounty nature gives us, so you’ll never find preservatives or artificial additives in their food. As an added bonus, they go local and seasonal when possible and work with organic national distributors when they can’t get what they need in town.

Give it a try: Hit up their happy hour between 4 – 6 pm for a nice glass of wine and some of their famous Dragon Tacos served in jicama tortillas.

If you’re giving paleo a try…

Eating like your cave-dwelling ancestors has become a way of life for folks all over the world—and many Denverites have adopted the paleo diet. But while there are a ton of things you can eat, dining out while restricting many staple ingredients found in modern dishes can be tricky. These choices are also great for those opting for lower carb options or who are avoiding added sugars. Here’s your cheat sheet.

Mmm…coffee! A Paleo Bistro is a godsend if you’re suffering from a sweet tooth. Finding paleo-friendly sweets is tough—and sometimes you just don’t want to bake your own goodies. This bistro offers gluten and grain-free treats that are always sweetened naturally, so you can feel good about your choices.

Give it a try: Pick out your coffee drink of choice to pair with a nut-free love muffin or chocolate chunk punkin’ bar. They also offer hearty salads and house-made soups.

Head over to Old Major for a protein boost in the form of locally sourced, lovingly prepared meats, seafood, and vegetables. While their menu has plenty of items that aren’t paleo-friendly, it’s a great place to “pig out” if you’re in the mood.

Give it a try: The Royal Rooster fried chicken is the perfect blend of sweet and spicy, thanks to aged hot sauce and maple syrup. You can also go for anything on their Butcher’s Pride menu and walk away feeling full and content.

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If you’re just looking for generally healthier options…

You don’t have to follow a specific diet to make better food choices—and luckily, there are many healthy restaurants in Denver. Check out some local favorites for enjoying delectable eats without the guilt.

Vert Kitchen is all about bringing “old world” flavors to healthy, organic, and locally sourced ingredients. They offer a variety of items, including traditional breakfast dishes, French brunch staples, soups and salads, and tasty, wholesome sandwiches.

Give it a try: You can’t go wrong with the classic roasted tomato soup and house roast turkey sandwich. If you’re in the mood for a salad that will please your body and your palate, give their power salad with lemon tuna a try.

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If you’re looking for a healthy, anything-but-boring lunch spot, look no further than Fel Fel Mediterranean Restaurant. While it’s the perfect spot for a quick, good-for-you bite to eat, Fel Fel also offers traditional mediterranean flavors to take your lunch to the next level.

Give it a try: Mix and match your plate options until you find your favorite. Chicken shawarma with brown rice, spicy hummus, mediterranean salad, and a pita is a great place to start!

Bon appetit, Denver!