Wellness is trendy, meaning there are loads of local restaurants marking up their menus with healthy buzzwords to attract the masses to their tables. But which ones nail it and which ones miss the mark? We’ve sorted through the crowd to find you the healthiest and tastiest options our city has to offer.
Just BE Kitchen is known for its 100% gluten- and grain-free menu, but this place is more than just a paleo paradise, it’s a clean-eaters dream. The cozy spot sits right by REI in LoHi and is teeming with good vibes. The menu changes seasonally, but they hang onto a few customer faves year round, like a cleaned-up chicken caesar salad or wrap (with almond flour croutons or wrap and cashew dressing!) and a green chili burrito (with sweet potato hash and an almond flour tortilla). They’ve also got a bone broth bar, a legit lineup of bullet coffee options, and even a bar full of grain-free spirits and low-sugar wine.
Whole Sо̄l Blend Bar at Union Station boasts a 100% gluten-free menu loaded with super-nourishing bо̄ls (that’s a super-fancy smoothie bowl), salads, and toasts (served on local Kim & Jake’s bread!). No matter your mood, meal, or craving, you’ll find something impossibly healthy to satisfy at Whole Sо̄l.
True Food equals real food. And no matter what diet you follow, you probably agree that real food isn’t the way to go. True Food’s open kitchen in Cherry Creek looks like you wish yours did: bright colors, prepped produce, and clean counters. All food follows Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory approach to eating, and all allergens are clearly marked. The menu changes with the seasons — you’ll never make a bad choice.
Fooducopia sources most of its ingredients from its own 26-acre organic farm. The chef even brings fresh eggs to the Wash Park restaurant daily from his own pasture-raised chickens. Other local farms and ranches supplement the supply and are proudly supported by Fooducopia. The menu changes with the season, which translates into a creative and thoughtful menu that reflects the best of what Mother Nature has to offer.
Modern Market is shaking up the notion that fast food is unhealthy. Their food is made with simple, whole ingredients purchased from local farmers, ranchers, and select suppliers that share their values. And it’s made in just minutes. At one of their many spots around Denver, you can try one of their loaded salads (with healthy house-made dressing), a fresh sandwich (on gluten-free bread, if you please), or a balanced plate (build your own with a protein and veggie sides). Wash it all down with some local kombucha and you can be out the door in 10 minutes (and only spend $10).
Superfood Bar is a relative newbie to the healthy scene in Denver. Bringing their love from New Orleans, they set up shop in LoHi with the mission to make healthy eating accessible to everyone while supporting the local economy by sourcing only the best local and organic ingredients. Their 100% gluten-free and vegan menu is packed with insanely nutrient-dense raw juices, smoothies, salads, and wraps. You’re gonna feel real good leaving this place.
Denver Central Market is full of some seriously cool local makers (and one hell of a bar). Green Seed brings the healthiness to the space with their loaded salads and bowls made with their own fresh produce. Pair your eats with a fresh juice or smoothie and you’ve got a seriously delicious and nutritious meal. Keep the healthy going and grab some of their produce to go so you can build another bowl at home!
Watercourse has been serving up vegan eats in Capitol Hill since 1998. We’re pretty sure that’s before vegan was hip. Even in Colorado. Watercourse doesn’t rely on fake meats and cheeses to fill out their menu. Instead, they pack it full of deliciously tasty and original dishes that keep both vegans and carnivores coming back for more. And nothing keeps you coming back quite like the Southern Plate, with crispy cauliflower, kale salad, and (vegan) mac and cheese. Oh, and breakfast served all day.
The Corner Beet is a quaint, airy café in Capitol Hill. They specialize in fresh, cold-pressed juices and simple, 100% organic vegetarian bites. They have a variety of delicious juice combos you can pair with a scrumptious salad or some tasty toast. Or mix up the juice game with a superfood latte, CBD tea, or golden milk. We promise you’ll leave feeling nourished and refreshed.
Vert combines recipes from chef and owner Noah Stephens’ European travels, love for good food, classic French skills, and back-to-basics techniques. The menu is simple, delicious, and sourced primarily from local farmers and vendors. Vert made its home on South Pearl in Wash Park, but you’ll also find its grab and go boxes at Natural Grocers and a handful of other spots around Denver.
Vital Root is the newest addition to the Root Down family, so you know it’s legit. They’ve a menu full of flavor-packed eats, pulling inspo from cultures around the world—from Mexican to Korean—and catering to all types of diets, from vegan to paleo. At this Berkeley gem, healthy definitely isn’t boring. And if you’re short on time, swing by their grab-and-go cooler for good-for-you bites on the run.
This Five Points joint focuses on local, organic ingredients with loads of options for any kind of diet. They’ve been doing healthy the old-fashioned way since the 1970s, and they do it well. But Mercury Cafe (“the Merc”) is much more than a restaurant — they’ve got a calendar full of events, like weekly open mic nights, free community yoga and meditation, and lots of live music.
**Updated May 2019.