Ten best restaurants at Denver International Airport

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Lori Midson
Things started looking up when Root Down opened at DIA.
With the horrors of holiday travel just beginning, you might find yourself with time -- lots of time -- at Denver International Airport in the days ahead. Fortunately, the food at DIA has never been better, thanks to a conscious effort to improve the restaurant offerings there. As a result, DIA was recently named the country's airport with the healthiest food. But we also appreciate the healthy pours at some DIA bars, as well as the servers who will let you sit, and sit, while you wait for your plane to be called. So next time you're stuck at the airport, skip McDonald's and grab a seat in one of the ten best restaurants (listed here in no particularly order) at DIA.

See also: How healthy is DIA's food on a traveler's wallet?

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10) New Belgium Hub
Concourse B, near gate B80
Besides hosting a selection of the Fort Collins brewery's brews, New Belgium Hub has a solid sandwich and entree menu. Now if only you have enough time to run down the concourse to reach this spot.

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9) Tamales by La Casita
Concourse C, center area
Get a true taste of Denver at Tamales by La Casita, which serves up much of the same great menu that the Sandoval family has been offering generations of fans in northwest Denver. You can grab tamales to go for a great hostess gift, but if you have time you'll definitely want to eat at La Casita, where you can wash down a plate of tamales (get it with both red and green chiles for a Christmas treat) or even Frito pie with a local brew or two...or three.

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8) Denver Chophouse
Concourse A, center area
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the Denver Chophouse offers some of the hearty fare you'll find at the original restaurant in downtown Denver, as well as a full bar serving some local brews.

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7) Que Bueno
Concourse B, near gate B29
We've spent many hours -- and many, many dollars -- waiting for delayed United flights while washing down a big burrito with Mexican beer. The set-up is a variation on Chipotle, as you mix and match ingredients at the counter -- but be warned, that hot salsa is fiery.

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6) Cru A Wine Bar
Concourse B, near gate B51
Cru, which has outposts in Larimer Square and Park Meadows, is part of a Texas-based chain -- but its airport selections, which include pizzas and sandwiches as well as wine, have earned accolades across the country.

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5) Elway's
Concourse B, center area
The airport version of the Denver steakhouse features the same great cuts of meat, same strong drinks, even the same chicken-fried steak breakfast burrito. And if you forgot to buy your beloved a gift in town, check out the Elway's paraphernalia here.

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4) Udi's Cafe
Concourse B, near gate B24
If you want fresh and healthy, Udi's is the place to go. This link in the home-grown chain offers the same sandwiches and salads you'll find in town, with an emphasis on local ingredients and some gluten-free options as well.

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3) Wolfgang Puck
Concourse B, mezzanine
Wolfgang Punk has made a name for himself around the world with his inventive fare that emphasizes quality ingredients. And this airport restaurant is no exception, with a full bar and pizza, sandwiches and full entrees that could make you forget you're eating in an airport. Then again, the mezzanine level location helps, removing you far from the madding crowd.

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2) Pour La France
Main terminal, west side, level 6 and Concourse B, center area
Pour La France once had restaurants dotted across the country, including Denver. Today the only ones left in the U.S. are at Denver International Airport. These two spots have been at DIA since the place opened, and we hope they never leave: The fare is tasty and quick if you need to grab something to go, but delicious to savor at a table if you have time to spare.

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1) Root Down
Concourse C, center area
Root Down upped the ante on airport restaurants when it opened this fall. The decor is stunning, with an old-aviation feel, and the kitchen has the same "field to fork" mentality that you'll find at the original Highland location. Want to give visitors a healthy appreciation of Denver? Have them hit Root Down for breakfast, lunch or dinner.


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7 comments
kokomo
kokomo

The NB Hub is in an awful location.  You are basically i Kansas by the time you can get to it, and it is bottle choke point hallway.

TheJeff
TheJeff

Wouldn't it be more accurate to title this article "The Ten Least Awful Restaurants at Denver International Airport?"

Angela Faes
Angela Faes

Who actually ate and drank at these restaurants? How were they rated? Any chance it has to do with HMS Host?

iamwhaleman
iamwhaleman

Boulder's beer is great, but the food is atrocious. They don't have burgers, as you claim, and the nachos are Taco Bell-caliber (and $9!). Woe to those who are stuck outside security at DIA.

monopod
monopod

I ate at the DIA Root Down last week before a flight.  Gotta say that I wasn't impressed, unfortunately.  The chorizo tacos were a pile of unremarkable and dry chorizo on a three-bite corn tortilla with a microscopic amount of pickled onion on top for $4 per taco ($12 for three, no sides), and the turkey burger was also dried out (though the bun was good).  It took nearly a half hour to get our food.  My daughter's grilled cheese had almost no cheese in it, and had clearly been sitting for a while since the cheese was no longer soft when she got it.  At least the drinks were tasty (especially the Don Draper).  Overall a disappointment for the money (the bill was around $80 with tip for three of us), especially since one of my favorite restaurants is in an airport so I know it's possible to do it better (Frontera Torta in O'Hare - not just the best tortas, but some of the best sandwiches of any kind I've ever had).   

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