During a recent trip to Colorado, I was lucky enough to try eight popular Denver area restaurants during a food tour on my first full day in the city! Here’s a recap of my food tour experience:
Our Taste of Denver Food Tour leader was Brian, and we had a fun group of 7 for our afternoon food tour through downtown Denver! After a previous day of light snow, we got lucky with sunny weather in the mid 60s, which was perfect for leisurely walking. After brief introductions, we got the tour started pretty quickly.
Blue Agave Grill
We began the tour at Blue Agave Grill, where we were given a whole fish taco along with chips & salsa. That could have been a light lunch in and of itself, but we still had 7 more stops to go (we got a bonus stop on top of the usual itinerary).
The taco was great, and Blue Agave’s modern southwest-inspired menu was tantalizing! It definitely made the list of places to eat on a return visit.
After Blue Agave, we went to EVOO and, although I initially thought we were getting short-changed stopping in an oil shop, I was completely blown away by the selection of vinegar & oils here! These were by far the freshest olive oils and most delectable balsamic I’ve ever tasted. Who knew I’d fall in love with a dark chocolate balsamic vinegar and blood orange olive oil?!
If you’re ever in the area, I’d recommend checking this place out! It’s family-owned and the owners are extremely knowledgeable about their products and can help you make mixes as well. And they do ship their products.
Two Fisted Mario’s Pizza
This place was the bonus spot on the tour. It was kind of a divey pizza place that would only sound enticing if you’re starving and out late, but I think that’s what they were going for. The inside was pretty bare bones, and the pizza was a good pizza, just not great.
We were each given a small slice of cheese pizza on this stop. It would have been nice to have had an option for some toppings though and might have made for a better experience of the place.
Just walking up to Avelina from the outside, I already loved the vibe! It’s got an indoor/outdoor bar and very upscale, modern decor without feeling stuffy.
Our tour party was seated by the kitchen, and we were given a Wild Boar Pappardelle as our dish to sample. I also ordered a prosecco, since we had a little more time at this stop than some of the others, and I enjoyed both our dish and the drink immensely. Like Blue Agave, this is one I’d put on the list to come back to on a return visit for sure.
Apparently, we just missed the lunch rush here and were able to enjoy a fairly quiet restaurant on this stop. We were given a healthy sampling of chili and two beer samples — one smaller sample of beer was the Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout and the larger sample of the Mile High Pale Ale.
The chili was delicious, though very filling for such a small portion. I can’t imagine ordering a normal size! The pale ale was my favorite of the two beers, though I enjoyed trying the stout.
Located inside Union Station, Mercantile is a ridiculously beautiful spot, full of enticing goodies! We were given a cracker with sheep’s milk cheese and apricot jam, which was tasty, but after seeing all of the other options, it would have been nice to either get 2-3 each or sample some other cheese or pasty items.
The floor tile was amazing and the entire place is decorated in a modern farmhouse style, which is a perfect fit for the menu of items available to purchase.
I can definitely see coming to mercantile to pick up coffee and pastries before heading out on the train, or sitting in to enjoy the atmosphere & a quick bite.
Zoe Ma Ma
Our tour leader said they usually have samples of the noodle soup here, but that today we’d be getting potstickers. As much as I love potstickers, I would have preferred the noodle soup, but the potstickers were ok. I’d rate the variety of dipping sauces a lot higher than the potstickers.
It was a cute place to grab some “super yummy street food” that doesn’t take long to prepare. I wouldn’t go out of my way to come by again, but if I did, I’d definitely try the noodle soup!
The ice cream from milk box was AMAZING and what better way to end a good tour than with dessert! I tried samples of the Raspberry Love and Butter Pecan flavors. The texture of the ice cream was exceptionally smooth and creamy, and the flavors were amazingly rich.
It wasn’t particularly hot when we visited, but I imagine this ice cream tasting even more fantastic on a hot summer day while taking a break to cool off inside of Union Station with a couple of scoops.
Overall Thoughts on the Tour
I thought overall this was a good tour as far as the places and foods offered, though could use a couple of improvements in the area of service and booking offerings.
My first complaint is that our guide made us feel fairly rushed and didn’t allow much time for photos in between stops. Seeing as this is touted as a combination food and sightseeing tour, either add an extra half hour or so to the tour to allow for photos or nix the sightseeing part. I was irritated to expect to have time for photos, and being told we needed to hurry things along.
My second complaint is the lack of consistency in who was offered the optional add-on. I booked the Taste of Denver Food Tour through TripAdvisor and was disappointed to find out that others who booked directly through Denverfoodtours were offered a drink package that those of us who booked through TripAdvisor were not offered.
If you’re in Denver and have a few hours to see the city, I highly recommend checking out this tour! Even with my issues with feeling rushed and missing out on the tasting add-on, this food tour’s a great way to get a sampling of the city & the best food it has to offer in a limited amount of time and to meet new people when you’re traveling alone.