Denver Weekend - LoDo/Cherry Creek
I'll be heading to Denver in May to celebrate my girlfriend's brithday. We're going to be staying Friday-Sunday at the JW Marriott Cherry Creek.
I'm looking for any and all suggestions for great restaurants in the area - breakfast, lunch, dinner. Especially looking for a nice place for a great birthday dinner.
I'm not planning to rent a car, so the preference would be for places that easily accessible to the area, either by walking or cab.
And if you happen to have any favorite clubs/bars for going out afterwards, I'm all ears.
Well, last weekend was the big weekend. We had 3 great days in Denver - they certainly went by quickly.
We got in about noon on Friday. The first thing we see when we look out our window is a big rotating neon sign for the Cherry Cricket. An awesome burger!
Friday afternoon was spent walking around Larimer Square and LoDo. We were planning a late dinner at Rioja that evening and had even stopped by to check out the menu. But as reservation time got closer, we were running out of steam - little sleep the previous night, early morning flight and a long day of walking all caught up to us. We decided to stay closer to home and went to North instead.
I've been working in Phoenix all year, so I have eaten in some of the Fox restaurants already. We were actually pretty happy with our meal at North. We had a 9:30 reservation and the place was wide open, quite a contrast to the crowd we saw as we walked by late afternoon/early evening. We ended the night with a few drinks at Luxe and then hit the wonderfully comfortable bed at the JW.
We slept in and got a late start on Saturday. First up was brunch at the Egg Shell, then off to shopping at Cherry Creek Mall. Saturday dinner was at Sushi Sasa - something my girlfriend found and selected for her birthday dinner. They were slammed with parties that night which resulted in us waiting a little over a half hour after our reservation time to be seated. However, they treated us very well, giving us a free round of drinks as we sat on the front pation and enjoyed the crisp evening air. We had a great dinner of Dynamite Shrimp, Bluefin and North Atlantic Salmon sashimi, and other assorted sushi. the meal was capped of by not-at-all molten chocolate lava cake that was provided compliments of the management. We really enjoyed our meal and I can't say enough about the hospitality as well. The remainder of Saturday night was spent partying in the basement of the Jet Hotel.
Nothing special on Sunday. Had a relaxing afternoon meal at the Cherry Creek Grill. We were looking at going a couple of other places on Steele, but everything else was closed on Sunday. Houston's always puts out a good meal.
All in all we had a great time. Definitely wish we had more time to try out more of these restaurants. We researched just about everything mentioned here. Thanks to everyone for your help!
Rioja is a must try and that would be my recommendation for bday dinner, it would be a quick cab ride for you and is downtown. They also do brunch, though I have never tried.
I've heard Bistro Vendeme is awesome for brunch as well.
Mizuna is another wonderful dinner place - I like the Dazzle/Mizuna rec.
Tula would be a good choice for lunch or dinner (though they are closed on Sunday). I know the chef and he is very talented and takes great pride in his food. The service was pretty awful in the beginning, but hopefully they have addressed that.
I'm not a big fan of North or Ocean.
Cherry Cricket has awesome burgers if you want to go casual.
Zaidys is a New York style deli with awesome breakfasts.
Another favorite of mine is Lucille's - a cajun breakfast place that would be a short cab ride away.
There is an awesome gelato place between 2nd and 3rd on Detroit.
You will have fun!! The bar at JW actually serves some of the best (strongest) drinks around so take advantage of that.
Just as a follow- up I don't disagree with the above suggestions but since he is staying in CC North and doesn't have a car I thought by "area" he meant walking distance. But of course none of the places are really that far of a cab ride and I just realized he has "LoDo" in the title of the post. Not very observant today I guess!
There have been several posts recently for favorite places in Denver if location is not a concern.
I also had another thought for a very nice b-day dinner. Barolo Grill. Northern Italian. very close by and I think most would agree its been considered one of the better restaurants in Denver over the last 15 years or so. Maybe 8 blocks away:
Thanks for all the comments so far. I've been checking out websites and everything looks great! I'm sure we'll be spending a majority of our time in either Cherry Creek or LoDo. No doubt shopping will be on the agenda and we really want to check out LoDo to see what downtown Kansas City might eventually look like in a few (or more) years.
We'll definitely be taking cabs to dinner (I understand walking long distances in skinny high heels is not desirable), but would like to keep it within a reasonable distance of the hotel so that we can maximize our fun time.
If you are willing to cab it to downtown please please do yourself a favor and go to Snooze on 22nd and Larimer for Brunch. Its terrific.
Also Brix has a basement which provides some big fun with a dance floor that isn't as pretentious and many of the nightclubs in town and walking distance (its on 3rd Avenue and St.Paul) to your hotel.
You will love your stay there. Its a nice place, but I am biased. The Mirepoix bar in the hotel I have to agree is top notch and they will mix you a nice cocktail and treat you right. Make sure to work with the concierge for dinner reservations if you can't get them on your own, call the hotel before hand, they are amazing and will definately make the magic happen for you and the birthday girl!
I love the Roo Bar myself but it isn't a club so much as a bar with really loud music and pool tables by the way. But Booger and ColoradoFun are right, it is not pretentious at all.
If you are looking for a nutshell dynamic of LoDo without much walking, hit the Larimer Square area (http://www.larimersquare.com). They have just about everything represented in that three square block area: nightclubs, Rioja, gelato stores, bars, a comedy club, upscale and downscale Mexican food, steak and buffalo restaurants, mid level cafe dining (the Market - its an institution), shopping, and in a nook behind that area (ask about Writer's Square) there is a place called Red Square which is delightful, modern russian classics with a full vodka menu.
Have a great time here, you are going to love it and wish you had more than Friday through Sunday!
While there are a lot of restaurants in the Cherry Creek North area, they are usually not my favorites. Many of them emphasize style over substance, so are beautiful but the food doesn't live up to the space. That said, Crepes 'n' Crepes is one of my favorite breakfast and brunch spots as is Zaidy's.
In the downtown/LoDo area, which is a short cab ride, your options are better. Some places to consider are Rioja, Bistro Vendome (particularly for brunch), Vesta.
IMO, the best options for you guys are going to be scattered in the neighborhoods that are roughly in between Cherry Creek North and downtown. Through there, you have so many good options: Aix, Steuben's, Parallel 17, Limon, Mezcal, Cafe Star, Potager, Fruition, Luca D'Italia, Mizuna, Table 6.
For the birthday dinner, I'd do either Mizuna or Fruition.
I'm not much of a club goer, but, if you like jazz, you may want to check out Dazzle (it would be a really good choice in combination with Mizuna on the birthday night). There is also a very cool loungey place just up or down the street from Dazzle called DC-10.
I think thats a great way to celebrate a birthday! I totally disagree with the above statement. For a small area there is an amazing variety of good to great restaurants.
Not sure if you are looking for a certain type of place or food?
I do have several suggestions (all within very easy walking distance)
EggShell on 3rd and Josephine
Java Creek (small but tasty)
Paradise bakery (they might also serve breakfeast)
For dinners my top few choices would be
Elways (High end steak place accross First Ave from the Marriott) need reservations for weekend dinner:
TULA: "modern" Mexican. one of my favorite places and I think one of the best places in Denver although tends to have a love it or hate it following, primarily I think because service was not good when they first opened. I don't think they have a web site. Here is a recent review:
North. Fun place. Good option for lunch. Attached to Marriott. Small chain.
Soleil - small plates mediterranean. Great place if you like to share and wine. Nice patio.
Sketch Food and Wine: Late night service, DJ sometimes. Longest walk - maybe 6 blocks. Even though it is more bar like they have really good food. http://www.myspace.com/sketchfoodandwine
Campo -have not been in a while. Probably best Italian in Cherry Creek. although there are a couple of other choices.
Finally Ocean if you are in the mood for seafood. I would agree that maybe this place is more concerned with style. But the one time I went I thought the fish was excellent although a little expensive.
If I had to choose I would go with Tula and Soeliel for dinner and North for lunch. For wine I would definitly head to Sketch. For the b-day dinner if you like steak I would go to Elways.
Also- Bar wise - addition to Sketch for wine there is
Brix- Neighborhood bar type atmosphere with good food
Roo Bar for drinks/pool - hard to find- ask directions
Cherry Cricket- owned by current Mayor, good beer selection and great burgers.
Squealing Pig Irish Pub.
Not really any clubs in the area but relativly close by is the "SoCo" area- Funky Bhudda, DC-10, The Church. Lotus, Andrews Pub.... You would need a cab but not more then 10 minute drive.
You are right on with these recommendations. For Cherry Creek, I think you really hit the high spots.
One thing to mention, is North, (and I would bet Ocean, although I don't know) certainly have a very social atmosphere (not quite clubs, but definitely lively upscale bars). Megiac will no doubt figure this out, since the JW is on the same block.
Zaidy's has live music (Klezmer style - Jewish deli music called the Borsch Brothers) on Sat nights. It is a good deli, and if you want a fun experience to start the night with, this might be a unique experience. The food is good there also.
Roo Bar, is downstairs in the middle of Fillmore Plaza (no sign, just ask, or follow the other people entering right next to Janus). It is a very low key (which can be different from the Yuppie scene in CC sometimes) drinking establishment. It has a great vibe, a ton of regulars. We always have fun when we go there (The Cricket, and Brix are also Yuppie free zones).
ColoradoFun, you hit CC on the head with this post (there are plenty of other posts with LoDo info).