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Three different types of sashimi
Sashimi at Matsuhisa.
Ashton Ray Hansen Photography

The Ultimate Guide to Dining in Cherry Creek

The fine dining hub holds a few surprises

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Sashimi at Matsuhisa.
| Ashton Ray Hansen Photography

In this ultra-casual town, Cherry Creek is about as fancy as it gets, abounding in special-occasion spots and boutique restaurants for the jet and leisure sets. But the neighborhood isn’t all $25 salads and $70 filets: Classic burgers, fine fried chicken, and dynamite dumplings are all on the menu within its borders. These 15 best bets range from taquerias to top-tier sushi counters. Restaurants are ordered geographically, from north to south.

Have another favorite? Send us a tip, or share it in the comments.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Barolo Grill

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3030 E 6th Ave
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 393-1040
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This intimate white-cloth institution on the northern edge of the neighborhood has spent nearly 30 years building one of the most spectacular Italian wine cellars in Colorado if not the whole nation — and the menu matches the bottle list luxury for luxury. While the braised duck and torta di formaggio are among its best-loved dishes, newcomers should also keep their eyes peeled for veal, lobster, and truffles to get the full Barolo Grill experience.

Barolo Grill
Barolo Grill
Rachel Greiman/Eater

2. Fortune Wok to Table

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2817 E 3rd Ave
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 321-7788
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Upstairs, one of the city’s, never mind the neighborhood’s, best Chinese restaurants offers a nine-course prix fixe for a minimum of six people by reservation one night a week only. But as special as that may be, rest assured the food downstairs, though simpler, is just as fabulous: Steamed or fried dumplings, noodles, rice bowls, and a seasonal dish or two are all anyone needs to make memories here.

fried beef dumplings with sauce
Fortune Wok to Table’s fried beef dumplings.
Ruth Tobias

3. Machete Tequila + Tacos

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2817 E 3rd Ave
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 333-1567
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An oasis of grit in the chichi expanse of Cherry Creek, this party place is known for its freewheeling approach to tacos and margs: The former feature the likes of braised lamb, grilled lobster tail, roasted beets, and tortillas flavored with hibiscus tea or squid ink, while the latter incorporate coconut, cucumber, chiles, mint, and more.

Six tacos on homemade tortillas
An array of tacos on homemade tortillas at Machete.
Ruth Tobias

4. The Pasty Republic

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2615 E 3rd Ave
Denver, CO 80206
(720) 766-7247
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U.K.-style hand pies are the sole specialty of this cheery counter joint, which turns out about 20 different kinds to cover all tastes and moods. On the classic side are the Shepherd with ground beef, mashed potatoes, cheddar, peas, and more, as well as the Drover with lamb, potatoes, leeks, and mint; on the creative side, there are egg-stuffed breakfast pasties and dessert options including the Swirl with Nutella, peanut butter, and whipped cream cheese.

Savory hand pie with braided edge
The hot pocket known as a pasty.
Ruth Tobias

5. gRind Kitchen & Watering Hole

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300 Fillmore St
Denver, CO 80206
(720) 749-4158
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Long before fried chicken became the official dish of the pandemic, chef Preston Phillips was serving it up — with or without Champagne — to much acclaim. He still is, along with other contemporary takes on downhome staples: fried pickles and hush puppies here, chicken pot pie and cobbler à la mode there, plus plenty of craft beer and bourbon to wash it all down.

Grind Kitchen & Watering Hole
Grind Kitchen & Watering Hole
Rachel Greiman

6. La Merise

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2700 E 3rd Ave
Denver, CO 80206
(720) 596-4360
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Half-hidden below street level, this cozy French charmer has quietly built a following on the strength of classic bistro plates like escargots à la Bourguignonne, trout Grenobloise, and chocolate mousse, not to mention brunchtime crêpes on the shady patio. It all pairs, naturellement, with a wine list that runs the gamut from Provençal rosé and Alsatian Riesling to three-figure Burgundy and Bordeaux.

crêpe Florentine
La Merise’s crêpe Florentine.
Ruth Tobias

7. Quality Italian

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241 Columbine St.
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 532-8888
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This handsome New York transplant has it all: Cosmopolitan atmosphere, splurge-worthy signatures such as the chicken-parm pizza for two and the baked lasagna with filet meatballs, and a splashy brunch service featuring bottomless Bellinis and Bloodies. Come dessert, don’t sleep on the cannoli trio.

Chicken parmesan served pizza style on a tray.
Quality Italian’s famous chicken-parm pizza.
Adam Larkey

8. Local Jones

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249 Columbine St
Denver, CO 80206
(720) 772-5022
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From the ladies who lunch to the singles who mingle, the neighbors have taken to this upscale-casual gathering spot in the Halcyon hotel. That’s largely thanks to a New American menu that strikes the right balance between comfort and creativity — think potato-carrot latkes with smoked salmon or roast quail atop sunflower porridge — and to a bar that whips up cocktails like the Thank Gourd I Found U, featuring rum and salted squash syrup.

Fish crudo, fried cauliflower, and beet hummus with accoutrements
A spread of small plates at Local Jones.
Ruth Tobias

9. Of A Kind

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233 Clayton St
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 957-9209
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The new Clayton Hotel’s contemporary dining room is just what the Cherry Creek crew ordered: a place to see and be seen over a meal of small plates that are definitively sexy. That means hummus topped with chicken shawarma; elaborate salads and vegetarian fare; and elegant entrees like grilled branzino in dill-caper vinaigrette — all paired with clever cocktails like the “pineaperol spritz.”

Multiple shared dishes seen from above
A tablescape at Of a Kind.
Erik Young

10. Forget Me Not

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227 Clayton St
Denver, CO 80206
(720) 259-5369
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Occupying an old florist’s shop, this relative newcomer (it opened last spring) may be a cocktail lounge first and foremost, but it still makes ample use of its kitchen — turning out everything from soft pretzels and Chicago-style hot dogs complete with sport peppers to elaborate caviar service and tinned-seafood platters featuring, say, yellowfin belly or razor clams.

Crudités with fava-bean hummus
Crudités with fava-bean hummus at Forget Me Not.
Kayla Jones

11. The Cherry Cricket

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2641 E 2nd Ave
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 322-7666
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Though it’s long billed itself as the black sheep of Cherry Creek, the fact is that no guide to the neighborhood is complete without this classic tavern, beloved for its endlessly customizable burgers: Nearly 40 a la carte toppings include corned beef and sauerkraut, chicharrones and Fritos, and perhaps most famously, peanut butter and grape jelly. About 30 craft beers make the ordering process all the more bamboozingly fun.

Cheeseburger and onion rings with a pint of beer
A classic cheeseburger and onion rings at The Cherry Cricket.
The Cherry Cricket

12. Blue Island Oyster Bar

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2625 E 2nd Ave
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 333-2462
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Breezy yet chic, the decor of this rather underrated seafood spot whisks its guests to the coast in a snap. Of course, the menu follows suit, brimming with oysters and mussels, crab legs and calamari, clam chowder and lobster rolls, and still more. Come for lunch, stay for happy hour — after all, it feels like vacation in here.

roasted clams with breadcrumbs
Roasted clams at Blue Island Oyster Bar.
Ruth Tobias

13. Toro Latin Kitchen & Lounge

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150 Clayton Ln Ste B
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 253-3000
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In true Richard Sandoval style, the kitchen of this spacious, airy hideaway in the JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek laces its pan-Latin cuisine with Asian influences, resulting in the likes of ponzu-infused tuna ceviche, sweet-and-sour lomo saltado, and pork belly tacos with yuzu-avocado sauce. Cocktails, meanwhile, burst with the bright flavors of passion fruit and pineapple, hibiscus and chiles.

Confit ancho chile stuffed with pork belly stew over red mole
Confit ancho chile stuffed with pork belly stew over red mole at Toro Latin Kitchen & Lounge.
Toro Latin Kitchen & Lounge

14. Olive & Finch

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3390 E 1st Ave
Denver, CO 80206

Gourmet hashes, tartines, sandwiches, and pastries of all kinds, paired with an equally wide array of coffees, juices, and bar drinks, keep this airy, comfy bakery-cafe hopping from early morning to late afternoon. Signatures include the City French (scrambled eggs, ham, brie, and red-pepper aioli on a croissant); the Cashman (roast beef, caramelized onions, arugula, horseradish aioli, and more on a baguette); and, when available, the mini–Funfetti birthday cake.

Slice of three-layer cake on a plate
Never skip dessert at Olive & Finch.
Ruth Tobias

15. Matsuhisa

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98 Steele St
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 329-6628
Visit Website

As swanky as you’d expect, the Denver outpost of Nobu Matsuhisa’s worldwide empire serves all the legendary chef’s greatest hits — including uni shooters, miso black cod, new-style sashimi, and rock-shrimp tempura — in a warmly serene space where (delicious) $30 glasses of Burgundy and $600 bottles of sake are par for the celebratory course.

Monkfish liver in sauce with caviar
Ankimo at Matsuhisa.
Ruth Tobias

1. Barolo Grill

3030 E 6th Ave, Denver, CO 80206
Barolo Grill
Barolo Grill
Rachel Greiman/Eater

This intimate white-cloth institution on the northern edge of the neighborhood has spent nearly 30 years building one of the most spectacular Italian wine cellars in Colorado if not the whole nation — and the menu matches the bottle list luxury for luxury. While the braised duck and torta di formaggio are among its best-loved dishes, newcomers should also keep their eyes peeled for veal, lobster, and truffles to get the full Barolo Grill experience.

3030 E 6th Ave
Denver, CO 80206

2. Fortune Wok to Table

2817 E 3rd Ave, Denver, CO 80206
fried beef dumplings with sauce
Fortune Wok to Table’s fried beef dumplings.
Ruth Tobias

Upstairs, one of the city’s, never mind the neighborhood’s, best Chinese restaurants offers a nine-course prix fixe for a minimum of six people by reservation one night a week only. But as special as that may be, rest assured the food downstairs, though simpler, is just as fabulous: Steamed or fried dumplings, noodles, rice bowls, and a seasonal dish or two are all anyone needs to make memories here.

2817 E 3rd Ave
Denver, CO 80206

3. Machete Tequila + Tacos

2817 E 3rd Ave, Denver, CO 80206
Six tacos on homemade tortillas
An array of tacos on homemade tortillas at Machete.
Ruth Tobias

An oasis of grit in the chichi expanse of Cherry Creek, this party place is known for its freewheeling approach to tacos and margs: The former feature the likes of braised lamb, grilled lobster tail, roasted beets, and tortillas flavored with hibiscus tea or squid ink, while the latter incorporate coconut, cucumber, chiles, mint, and more.

2817 E 3rd Ave
Denver, CO 80206

4. The Pasty Republic

2615 E 3rd Ave, Denver, CO 80206
Savory hand pie with braided edge
The hot pocket known as a pasty.
Ruth Tobias

U.K.-style hand pies are the sole specialty of this cheery counter joint, which turns out about 20 different kinds to cover all tastes and moods. On the classic side are the Shepherd with ground beef, mashed potatoes, cheddar, peas, and more, as well as the Drover with lamb, potatoes, leeks, and mint; on the creative side, there are egg-stuffed breakfast pasties and dessert options including the Swirl with Nutella, peanut butter, and whipped cream cheese.

2615 E 3rd Ave
Denver, CO 80206

5. gRind Kitchen & Watering Hole

300 Fillmore St, Denver, CO 80206
Grind Kitchen & Watering Hole
Grind Kitchen & Watering Hole
Rachel Greiman

Long before fried chicken became the official dish of the pandemic, chef Preston Phillips was serving it up — with or without Champagne — to much acclaim. He still is, along with other contemporary takes on downhome staples: fried pickles and hush puppies here, chicken pot pie and cobbler à la mode there, plus plenty of craft beer and bourbon to wash it all down.

300 Fillmore St
Denver, CO 80206

6. La Merise

2700 E 3rd Ave, Denver, CO 80206
crêpe Florentine
La Merise’s crêpe Florentine.
Ruth Tobias

Half-hidden below street level, this cozy French charmer has quietly built a following on the strength of classic bistro plates like escargots à la Bourguignonne, trout Grenobloise, and chocolate mousse, not to mention brunchtime crêpes on the shady patio. It all pairs, naturellement, with a wine list that runs the gamut from Provençal rosé and Alsatian Riesling to three-figure Burgundy and Bordeaux.

2700 E 3rd Ave
Denver, CO 80206

7. Quality Italian

241 Columbine St., Denver, CO 80206
Chicken parmesan served pizza style on a tray.
Quality Italian’s famous chicken-parm pizza.
Adam Larkey

This handsome New York transplant has it all: Cosmopolitan atmosphere, splurge-worthy signatures such as the chicken-parm pizza for two and the baked lasagna with filet meatballs, and a splashy brunch service featuring bottomless Bellinis and Bloodies. Come dessert, don’t sleep on the cannoli trio.

241 Columbine St.
Denver, CO 80206

8. Local Jones

249 Columbine St, Denver, CO 80206
Fish crudo, fried cauliflower, and beet hummus with accoutrements
A spread of small plates at Local Jones.
Ruth Tobias

From the ladies who lunch to the singles who mingle, the neighbors have taken to this upscale-casual gathering spot in the Halcyon hotel. That’s largely thanks to a New American menu that strikes the right balance between comfort and creativity — think potato-carrot latkes with smoked salmon or roast quail atop sunflower porridge — and to a bar that whips up cocktails like the Thank Gourd I Found U, featuring rum and salted squash syrup.

249 Columbine St
Denver, CO 80206

9. Of A Kind

233 Clayton St, Denver, CO 80206
Multiple shared dishes seen from above
A tablescape at Of a Kind.
Erik Young

The new Clayton Hotel’s contemporary dining room is just what the Cherry Creek crew ordered: a place to see and be seen over a meal of small plates that are definitively sexy. That means hummus topped with chicken shawarma; elaborate salads and vegetarian fare; and elegant entrees like grilled branzino in dill-caper vinaigrette — all paired with clever cocktails like the “pineaperol spritz.”

233 Clayton St
Denver, CO 80206

10. Forget Me Not

227 Clayton St, Denver, CO 80206
Crudités with fava-bean hummus
Crudités with fava-bean hummus at Forget Me Not.
Kayla Jones

Occupying an old florist’s shop, this relative newcomer (it opened last spring) may be a cocktail lounge first and foremost, but it still makes ample use of its kitchen — turning out everything from soft pretzels and Chicago-style hot dogs complete with sport peppers to elaborate caviar service and tinned-seafood platters featuring, say, yellowfin belly or razor clams.

227 Clayton St
Denver, CO 80206

11. The Cherry Cricket

2641 E 2nd Ave, Denver, CO 80206
Cheeseburger and onion rings with a pint of beer
A classic cheeseburger and onion rings at The Cherry Cricket.
The Cherry Cricket

Though it’s long billed itself as the black sheep of Cherry Creek, the fact is that no guide to the neighborhood is complete without this classic tavern, beloved for its endlessly customizable burgers: Nearly 40 a la carte toppings include corned beef and sauerkraut, chicharrones and Fritos, and perhaps most famously, peanut butter and grape jelly. About 30 craft beers make the ordering process all the more bamboozingly fun.

2641 E 2nd Ave
Denver, CO 80206

12. Blue Island Oyster Bar

2625 E 2nd Ave, Denver, CO 80206
roasted clams with breadcrumbs
Roasted clams at Blue Island Oyster Bar.
Ruth Tobias

Breezy yet chic, the decor of this rather underrated seafood spot whisks its guests to the coast in a snap. Of course, the menu follows suit, brimming with oysters and mussels, crab legs and calamari, clam chowder and lobster rolls, and still more. Come for lunch, stay for happy hour — after all, it feels like vacation in here.

2625 E 2nd Ave
Denver, CO 80206

13. Toro Latin Kitchen & Lounge

150 Clayton Ln Ste B, Denver, CO 80206
Confit ancho chile stuffed with pork belly stew over red mole
Confit ancho chile stuffed with pork belly stew over red mole at Toro Latin Kitchen & Lounge.
Toro Latin Kitchen & Lounge

In true Richard Sandoval style, the kitchen of this spacious, airy hideaway in the JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek laces its pan-Latin cuisine with Asian influences, resulting in the likes of ponzu-infused tuna ceviche, sweet-and-sour lomo saltado, and pork belly tacos with yuzu-avocado sauce. Cocktails, meanwhile, burst with the bright flavors of passion fruit and pineapple, hibiscus and chiles.

150 Clayton Ln Ste B
Denver, CO 80206

14. Olive & Finch

3390 E 1st Ave, Denver, CO 80206
Slice of three-layer cake on a plate
Never skip dessert at Olive & Finch.
Ruth Tobias

Gourmet hashes, tartines, sandwiches, and pastries of all kinds, paired with an equally wide array of coffees, juices, and bar drinks, keep this airy, comfy bakery-cafe hopping from early morning to late afternoon. Signatures include the City French (scrambled eggs, ham, brie, and red-pepper aioli on a croissant); the Cashman (roast beef, caramelized onions, arugula, horseradish aioli, and more on a baguette); and, when available, the mini–Funfetti birthday cake.

3390 E 1st Ave
Denver, CO 80206

15. Matsuhisa

98 Steele St, Denver, CO 80206
Monkfish liver in sauce with caviar
Ankimo at Matsuhisa.
Ruth Tobias

As swanky as you’d expect, the Denver outpost of Nobu Matsuhisa’s worldwide empire serves all the legendary chef’s greatest hits — including uni shooters, miso black cod, new-style sashimi, and rock-shrimp tempura — in a warmly serene space where (delicious) $30 glasses of Burgundy and $600 bottles of sake are par for the celebratory course.

98 Steele St
Denver, CO 80206

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