Colorado's best places to eat: AAA's coveted 2018 Diamond List

Just in time for Restaurant Week, seven Denver restaurants make the cut


DENVER (Feb. 21, 2018) – Coloradans looking to experience the latest and greatest culinary trends needn't look far: Today, AAA announced that 20 Colorado restaurants have earned AAA's Four or Five Diamond Rating – two of the most coveted, well-known, and respected distinctions in fine dining.

Just 0.2 percent of the more than 31,000 AAA Inspected & Approved restaurants are Five-Diamond rated. To qualify for the distinction, a restaurant will consistently provide leading-edge cuisine of the finest ingredients, uniquely prepared by an acclaimed chef and served by expert service staff in truly extraordinary surroundings.

Colorado is home to just one Five Diamond restaurant: The Penrose Room at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.

Statewide, 19 restaurants earned AAA's Four Diamond award. This exclusive group offers distinctive, creatively prepared cuisine, skillfully served in a notable environment. Nationally, only 2.1 percent of AAA Inspected & Approved restaurants made the Four Diamond list for 2018.

"Notching a Four or Five Diamond award in 2018 demonstrates a unique, nuanced appreciation of restaurant guests' increasing culinary sophistication and higher expectations," said AAA Colorado spokesman Skyler McKinley. "Guests want to learn about cooking techniques, ingredient sourcing, and the hottest trends. They are, in short, looking for a wide-ranging dining experience that includes being at once educated and entertained."

New to the Four Diamond list this year is Vail's Game Creek Restaurant,  located just above the Game Creek chair lift at Vail Ski Resort. This mountainside restaurant, modeled after a European chalet, features elevated dining in an elegant yet unpretentious atmosphere with classic ski lodge décor. Its seasonal prix fixe menu offers three or four courses and a five course chef's tasting option, which features regional fare such as rabbit, bison, or Colorado lamb. Uniquely, it is accessible only by snowcat in the winter or a 4-wheel drive shuttle in the summer.

Denver residents looking for an astounding experience closer to home, meanwhile, would be well-served by any of the city's seven Four Diamond restaurants. And there's no better time to try many of them than during Denver Restaurant Week from Feb. 23 through March 4. Colt & Gray, Edge Restaurant & Bar, Palace Arms, and Panzano are all offering multi-course dinners at special price points during the 10-day event.

"No longer does world-class necessarily mean formal attire and opulent surroundings," McKinley said. "It means a memorable, engaging experience – one that might not be reflected in a consumer review on a ratings website. That's where AAA's Diamond Ratings can help the discerning diner get their money's worth."

AAA began field inspections of lodgings and restaurants in 1937, then went to a formal rating system in 1963 that in 1976 evolved into the Diamond Rating system for lodgings. (The Diamond Ratings for restaurants started in 1985.) The AAA inspectors who assign these ratings have a wide range of hospitality experience – their resumes include stints as hotel managers and food and beverage experts – that gives them an authoritative perspective. Inspectors provide an unmatched first-person, on-site view of emerging trends. To see the complete lists of 2018 AAA Four and Five Diamond restaurants, visit

About AAA Inspections
For more than 80 years, AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property evaluations. AAA offers the only rating system using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant evaluations guided by member priorities. With a far greater inventory than any other rating entity, AAA's rating system covers the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments and inspector insight in AAA's trip planning products: the  AAA Mobile app, the online AAA Travel Guides and Travel Planner and the AAA TourBook guides available to members at AAA offices.

About AAA Colorado
More than 660,000 members strong, AAA Colorado is the state's most prominent advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services - as well as member-exclusive savings. For more information, visit