Food & Drink

The Best Steakhouses in Denver

Published On 11/27/2013 Published On 11/27/2013
guard and grace meat
TAG Restaurant Group

Can you believe some people still call Denver a cowtown? Well, that’s one designation we simply won’t stand for any longer. We’re a cow metropolis, damn it! And these phenomenal steakhouses show how very far we’ve come without losing our roots on the ranch (or our home on the range). 

Guard & Grace

Downtown

This is one of Denver’s best restaurants, period, so it’s obviously the grand slam of steakhouses. Blind dates on first base, anniversary celebrants on second base, dealmakers on third: they all score big here, as Troy Guard and his team hit homer after homer. It’s not only about the myriad chops on offer (including a filet mignon flight); the kitchen conceives everything on the seasonal menu with care and flair, then executes it just as beautifully -- breads, salumi, starters, seafood, sides, exquisite desserts, and all. The same goes for the bar crew and the wine director, whose list spills with treasures, not just trophies. And the service hits the sweet spot: deft, but not deferential. Damn, we just talked ourselves into going back right now. 

Butcher's Bistro

Butcher's Bistro

Ballpark

We almost never get steak here, because we’re too busy stuffing our faces with burgers, sandwiches, cassoulet, sausages galore, pork rillettes, spinach croquettes, shrimp toasts, bison testicles, beef hearts on toast, and whatever else we’ve never tried before. There’s always something new, and too tempting to pass up. Embarrassing confession: then we buy a couple of rib eyes or porterhouses from the meat counter up front so we can have our steak and eat it too, at home and in private. It’s no confession to say these guys can cook them better than we do, though -- that’s just a mathematical certainty.

Courtesy of Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse

DTC

With so many homegrown beef barns to belly up to, why include even one link in a national chain? It’s not because the steaks are spot-on (though they are), or that the wine cellar is enormous (though it is). It’s because there’s a cigar lounge where you can make like a regular captain of industry, knocking back cognac to the tunes of a live pianist while blowing smoke rings in the air like you just don’t care. (The Cherry Creek branch of Del Frisco’s Grille comes close... but no cigars.) 

Ruth Tobias/Thrillist

Columbine Steak House & Lounge

Valverde

Like Bastien’s, Columbine has been around for decades, and has triumphed in our old-school steakhouse ranking. Unlike Bastien’s (or any other place on this list), it’s a total chuckwagon. The “dining room” has all the ambiance of a concession stand; the adjacent “lounge” is a dive. The staff are super-cool if you are -- but just know they won’t take any crap, nor will they take plastic. And the chops? The chops are balls-out, plate-sized, grill-marked proof that America’s still all that and a side of Texas toast (plus basic salad and choice of potato). The day this place closes, the Mile High City sinks an inch.

Adam Larkey Photography

EDGE Restaurant & Bar

Downtown

EDGE is just as swanky as you’d expect from The Four Seasons, but it’s a lot sexier, and the seasonal menu lives up to the name, too. Take the beef-fat candle that comes with the bread basket; the gorgeous elk, lamb, and buffalo chops, or the wagyu tomahawk chop that, at $120 for 30oz, is actually a steal; or the sublime deconstructed orangesicle with olive oil cake. And then take another beef-fat candle, because it’s a freaking beef-fat candle. 

The Ritz-Carlton, Denver

Elway's Downtown

Downtown

Is it really that surprising that The King of Colorado's domination translated to domination on the grill? The Cherry Creek flagship's no slouch (and the DIA outpost is as good a reason to miss a flight as any), but the collaboration with The Ritz Downtown has a bit more glitz. Their bone-in filet is the choicest plate, even if the meat isn't actually choice, because clearly Mr. Elway wouldn't accept anything less than all USDA Prime hand-cut steak. If you're worried that won't be enough protein, lamb chops dipped in green chili cheese fondue make for a fine start.

Bastien's

Bastien's Restaurant

City Park

They should spell it “Bastion’s,” because this place is one of the last remaining strongholds of the Rat Pack era on Colfax. With its Googie architecture and supper-clubby vibe, it’s the kind of place where a Rusty Nail or Crown Royal on the rocks just makes sense... where your chop comes sugar-crusted, or chicken-fried, or smothered in onions & cheese, and your sides are included in the price, like God intended... where the cream pie stands sky-high... and where you’ll look only half as goofy in that Goorin Bros. fedora as you usually do.

Shanahan's Steak House

Shanahan's

DTC

Fortunately faring better than the former Broncos coach who gave it a name (those Redskins, oof), Shanahan's fireplace-warmed interior and nearly 6,000-bottle wine cellar still sets the mood for mass meat consumption, like a 22oz bone-in "Cowboy" rib eye, available with a wide array of upgrades, from blue-cheese crust to lobster tail. Do yourself a favor and get the foie gras butter.

Steakhouse 10

Englewood

Here are words that don’t usually apply to steakhouses: “snug,” “quirky,” “adorable.” But they all work for this charmer, which spans two floors with so little wiggle room you feel like you’re sitting in a life-sized dollhouse -- a really, really cool dollhouse, though; the kind with a full bar, fireplaces, and framed stills from Scarface on the walls. The menu, too, is small, but a few Greek and Mexican specialties supplement the usual surf & turf, and if you order a salad, they may inexplicably yet cheerfully bring you a basket of matzoh. For dessert, there’s xango, or cheesecake wrapped in fried, sugar-coated tortillas, because really, why the hell not?

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Ruth Tobias will probably come back as a cow in her next life -- hey, she already has the ruminant stomach. Find out how she fills it @Denveater.

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1. Columbine Steak House & Lounge 300 Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80219 (Southwest)

Columbine has been around for decades, and has triumphed in our old-school steakhouse ranking. The atmosphere in the dining room and lounge match that of a dive bar with a grunge vibe. The staff is friendly and personable, and the steaks are the size of dinner plates, paired with Texas toast, a salad, and a potato. The menu here is old school and all-American, so this is a great place to visit when you are craving some classic dishes.

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2. Butcher's Bistro 2233 Larimer St , Denver, CO 80205 (Five Points)

This butchery-themed eatery gets the meat-party started with snacks like beef-heart crostini and short rib-stuffed potato skins, then seals the deal with tricked-out cheesesteaks for lunch, thoughtfully executed dinner entrées, and the option to choose your own cut from the retail case. Vegetarian tidbits like the spinach croquettes are just as great as the menu's meat options, and the steak offered here is some of the best in Denver. We highly recommend stopping here for lunch or dinner.

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3. Del Frisco's Double Eagle 8100 E Orchard Rd, Greenwood Village, CO 80111

This may be a chain restaurant, but it is still one of the best steakhouses in Denver. Not only are the steaks are spot-on, but the wine cellar is enormous and extensive. There is also a cigar lounge where you can make like a regular captain of industry, knocking back cognac to the tunes of a live pianist while blowing smoke rings in the air like you just don’t care. But first we suggest grabbing a table and feasting from their all-american steakhouse menu.

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4. EDGE Restaurant & Bar 1111 14th St, Denver, CO 80202 (Cbd)

EDGE is just as swanky as you’d expect from The Four Seasons, but it’s a lot sexier, and the seasonal menu lives up to the name, too. Take the beef-fat candle that comes with the bread basket; the gorgeous elk, lamb, and buffalo chops, or the wagyu tomahawk chop that, at $120 for 30oz, is actually a steal; or the sublime deconstructed orangesicle with olive oil cake. They have over 700 bottles of wine to choose from, so deciding what to wash your meal down with will be almost as hard as deciding what to eat.

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5. Guard and Grace 1801 California St, Denver, CO 80202

In a huge, bright space that sprawls out to a patio and includes three private dining rooms, Guard and Grace's expert staff delivers the likes of grilled beef short ribs, raw bar oysters, and solid wine selections. It's not just the myriad chops (including a filet mignon flight) that make it a stunner; the kitchen conceives of everything on the seasonal menu with care and flair then executes it just as beautifully -- breads, salumi, starters, seafood, sides, exquisite desserts, and all. This is one of Denver’s best restaurants, period.

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6. Steakhouse 10 3517 S Elati St, Englewood, CO 80110

Here are words that don’t usually apply to steakhouses: “snug,” “quirky,” “adorable.” But they all work for this charmer, which spans two floors with so little wiggle room you feel like you’re sitting in a life-sized dollhouse -- a really, really cool dollhouse, though; the kind with a full bar, fireplaces, and framed stills from Scarface on the walls. The menu is equally as small, but a few Greek and Mexican specialties supplement the usual surf & turf, and if you order a salad, they may bring you a basket of matzoh. For dessert, there’s xango, or cheesecake wrapped in fried, sugar-coated tortillas. The bartenders here know how to whip up a killer martini, so we recommend ordering one with your lunch or dinner entree.

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7. Elway's Downtown 1881 Curtis St, Denver, CO 80202 (Cbd)

Elway's Downtown location, nestled snugly into The Ritz-Carlton Denver, serves up a seasonally rotating menu and an extensive wine list in an atmosphere as chic and sophisticated as The Ritz Carlton itself. Their bone-in filet is the choicest plate, even if the meat isn't actually choice, because clearly Mr. Elway wouldn't accept anything less than all USDA Prime hand-cut steak. If you're worried that won't be enough protein, lamb chops dipped in green chili cheese fondue make for a fine start.

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8. Bastien's Restaurant 3503 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206 (City Park)

This isn’t just a slice of the jazzy, snazzy mid-century lush life — it’s the whole pie, from the snug mirrored bar to the split-level dining room lined with the black-and-white mugs of (who else?) Marilyn and Frank. You’ve got your goofy martinis, wine glasses filled to the brim, and soft, warm breadsticks. Your throwback snacks; your myriad chops; and finally, speaking of pie — could be banana cream or skillet-baked apple à la mode, depending on the evening.

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9. Shanahan's 5085 S Syracuse St, Denver, CO 80237

Shanahan's houses a nearly 6,000 bottle wine cellar, a 22oz bone-in "Cowboy" ribeye, a killer fireplace, and an unusually wide array of sauce upgrades (do yourself a favor and try the Maine lobster hollandaise). Their menu has a gluten free section for anyone in need of it, and there is a special pre-fixe menu on Sundays. We highly suggest ordering one of their signature cocktails to go along with your steak or seafood entree.

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