With 300 or so days of sunshine each year, Denver is the perfect town for stepping out of a meeting and walking in search of a good meal. The Colorado Convention Center sits on 14th Street, a hop, skip and a jump from some of the city's best restaurants.
• 1400 Stout St., (720) 214-9100
• Estimated walk from the convention center: 1 minute
With more than 40 craft beers on tap and a menu of small plates and large, this friendly eclectic eatery is a favorite of the Blue Bear crowd.
Shareable bites include sushi rolls, oysters and deviled eggs; and there's a nice array of salads on the menu, such as honey chicken chopped salad and grilled salmon salad. Among the tasty signature entrées are green-chile chicken macaroni and cheese, blackened Rocky Mountain trout, and shrimp cavatappi pasta. Stout Street Social has private space for up to 100 people for dinner or up to 140 for a reception. View the entire menu.
• 1431 Larimer St., (303) 820-2282
• Estimated walk from the convention center: 7 minutes
Mediterranean is on the menu at this establishment on one of the city's main dining thoroughfares. The first restaurant from James Beard Award--winning chef Jennifer Jasinski, Rioja is a tried-and-true Denver staple.
Among the starter choices are the Rioja house salad with arugula, dates and gorgonzola in an almond vinaigrette, and white gazpacho made up of Hawaiian deep-sea crab, mint-compressed cucumber, toasted almonds and dill.
Hand-made pastas are available to share or as an entrée; among the main dishes available recently were seared duck breast with a ginger-ale-poached apple and watercress in an apple-cider reduction on smoked farro verde; grilled striped Baja bass in a chamomile beurre blanc with roasted tricolor carrots, buttered radishes and hazelnut-carrot-top pesto; and the Vegetarian Four Squares, a tasting of four seasonal dishes. Semi-private event space is available for up to 34 people. View the entire menu.
• 1100 14th St., (720) 889-2128
• Estimated walk from the convention center: 4 minutes
Priding itself on using the freshest fare from local farmers, ranchers, distillers and craft producers, the five-year-old Nickel aims for comfort and friendliness throughout. A whole side menu is dedicated to charcuterie and is designed for diners to pick and choose which meats they want on their board to be served with house-pickled vegetables, nuts and seasonal jam.
Among recent entrées were 28-day dry-aged New York strip with wild mushrooms and bourbon-fried peaches; sablefish served with a ginger-maple polenta, orange glaze and bonito flakes; and stuffed poussin with bacon, okra and kimchi-creamed corn. The establishment holds up to 75 for a dinner and 150 for a reception. View the entire menu.
• 1560 Wazee St., (303) 623-3127
• Estimated walk from the convention center: 15 minutes
This "relaxed" American Bistro is run by people dedicated to serving delicious food sourced from American farmers. In the historic Sugar Building on the 16th Street Mall, the Kitchen dishes up sharing plates for starters such as roasted beets, Gulf shrimp hushpuppies, grilled BBQ pork skewers and crispy fish lettuce "tacos."
Among the recent main dishes were curried vegetables and brown rice with golden raisins, toasted almonds and cilantro-mint chutney; striped bass with roasted Yukon gold potatoes, toasted-almond romesco, shaved fennel, basil and charred lemon; and pork chops and roasted pears served in a smoky pork jus. View the entire menu.
• 1801 California St. #150, (303) 293-8500
• Estimated walk from the convention center: 9 minutes
Big and spacious, this modern steak house features grills in plain view, charcuterie boards, an oyster bar and a stellar 4,000-bottle, temperature-controlled, floor-to-high-ceiling glass-walled wine cellar. Located at street level of the 56-story Brookfield Building, Guard and Grace serves certified Angus and local grass-fed cuts of beef in 4- to 22-ounce portions, along with fish, chicken and lamb entrées, plus artisanal cheeses and vegetarian selections. Three private areas can accommodate small groups or up to 70 people for dinner and up to 125 for a reception. View the entire menu.