Be here. Aloha. When Denver netted a link in a first-rate restaurant chain out of Hawaii, we knew the fish was bound to be good. But this good? Roy's Cherry Creek, the sixth in chef Roy Yamaguchi's group, made a big splash when it opened this year inside the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, and it continues to make waves by offering service and food so good that few other restaurants in town can match either. And then there's the food Roy's offers, including such unusual catches as wahoo (also known as ono, it's a saltwater mackerel that's used in sushi) and monchong (also called a pomfret, it's a Pacific Ocean fish with a mellow flavor and oily texture). The kitchen even takes special care with more standard seafood, doing it in ways no one else does. The sea scallops, for example, are soy-charred, which leaves the centers soft and squishy and the flavor heightened. Tiger shrimp are sesame-encrusted and placed atop a ginger-infused plum-lime vinaigrette; swordfish are virtually steamed inside a package of nori until just cooked; and blue nose snapper gets a very light steaming and a delicate Thai-style mushroom broth. There's plenty fishy about the appetizers, too: parmesan-crispy calamari, rare ahi gently blackened around the edges, ceviche made with the freshest of white fish and scallops and enhanced with freshly diced tomatillos. Roy's is a keeper.

Readers' choice: Jax Fish House

Be here. Aloha. When Denver netted a link in a first-rate restaurant chain out of Hawaii, we knew the fish was bound to be good. But this good? Roy's Cherry Creek, the sixth in chef Roy Yamaguchi's group, made a big splash when it opened this year inside the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, and it continues to make waves by offering service and food so good that few other restaurants in town can match either. And then there's the food Roy's offers, including such unusual catches as wahoo (also known as ono, it's a saltwater mackerel that's used in sushi) and monchong (also called a pomfret, it's a Pacific Ocean fish with a mellow flavor and oily texture). The kitchen even takes special care with more standard seafood, doing it in ways no one else does. The sea scallops, for example, are soy-charred, which leaves the centers soft and squishy and the flavor heightened. Tiger shrimp are sesame-encrusted and placed atop a ginger-infused plum-lime vinaigrette; swordfish are virtually steamed inside a package of nori until just cooked; and blue nose snapper gets a very light steaming and a delicate Thai-style mushroom broth. There's plenty fishy about the appetizers, too: parmesan-crispy calamari, rare ahi gently blackened around the edges, ceviche made with the freshest of white fish and scallops and enhanced with freshly diced tomatillos. Roy's is a keeper.

Readers' choice: Jax Fish House

Sushi Den
Sushi Den
Now you have a friend in the diving business. Make that several friends. As Sushi Den shows, it's not enough to have fresh, exotic fish -- although this longtime winner has that in abundance -- you also need a staff that knows what to do with it. This jazzy, cool, see-and-be-seen scene has the best sushi staff in town. As a result, nowhere else is the sashimi better cut, the rice better flavored and molded, the tray more beautifully assembled. Sushi Den knows its raw materials inside and out, and those materials get more exotic every day, now that the restaurant is also a fish distributor, importing directly from Japan and even serving as middleman for restaurants on the West Coast. Although you can enjoy your sushi in the dining room, it's much more fun to sit at the bar and be part of the cutting-edge action.

Readers' choice: Sushi Den

Now you have a friend in the diving business. Make that several friends. As Sushi Den shows, it's not enough to have fresh, exotic fish -- although this longtime winner has that in abundance -- you also need a staff that knows what to do with it. This jazzy, cool, see-and-be-seen scene has the best sushi staff in town. As a result, nowhere else is the sashimi better cut, the rice better flavored and molded, the tray more beautifully assembled. Sushi Den knows its raw materials inside and out, and those materials get more exotic every day, now that the restaurant is also a fish distributor, importing directly from Japan and even serving as middleman for restaurants on the West Coast. Although you can enjoy your sushi in the dining room, it's much more fun to sit at the bar and be part of the cutting-edge action.

Readers' choice: Sushi Den

Got three milks? Then you have the makings of pastel con tres leches, a three-milk cake popular in Mexico that's a cross between a rustic custard and a sopping wet bread pudding, only so much sweeter and better. Fortunately, Seorita's Cantina, an up-and-coming Tex-Mex cafe in LoDo, has imported this worthy dish across the border. Although it's traditionally made with goat's milk, many chefs these days are going with whole milk or heavy cream instead; the other two leches are usually evaporated and sweetened condensed. We don't know what combination Seorita's uses, but the result is undeniable: a super-sweet, creamy, curdy delight that will make a convert out of the most staunch dessert naysayer. Seorita's should milk this one for all it's worth.

Got three milks? Then you have the makings of pastel con tres leches, a three-milk cake popular in Mexico that's a cross between a rustic custard and a sopping wet bread pudding, only so much sweeter and better. Fortunately, Señorita's Cantina, an up-and-coming Tex-Mex cafe in LoDo, has imported this worthy dish across the border. Although it's traditionally made with goat's milk, many chefs these days are going with whole milk or heavy cream instead; the other two leches are usually evaporated and sweetened condensed. We don't know what combination Señorita's uses, but the result is undeniable: a super-sweet, creamy, curdy delight that will make a convert out of the most staunch dessert naysayer. Señorita's should milk this one for all it's worth.

Banzai Sushi
Courtesy Banzai Sushi Facebook
Banzai offers many types of sushi, all of good quality, all expertly prepared, but it really gets on a roll when it contemplates sushi-roll possibilities. The restaurant offers more than a hundred types, divided into nine categories: no fish on the outside; seaweed outside (traditional roll style); crunchy tempura batter on the outside; fish on the outside; eel on the outside; NITRO (those would be the spicy ones); avocado on the outside; whole roll deep-fried; and, when available, harder-to-get sea urchin and bonito. Pick a combination of ingredients -- say, shrimp, asparagus, avocado, gourd and mayo -- and a style (do you want that deep-fried, the shrimp wrapped around it all, or the avocado on the outside?), then let the good times, and the good tastes, roll.

Banzai offers many types of sushi, all of good quality, all expertly prepared, but it really gets on a roll when it contemplates sushi-roll possibilities. The restaurant offers more than a hundred types, divided into nine categories: no fish on the outside; seaweed outside (traditional roll style); crunchy tempura batter on the outside; fish on the outside; eel on the outside; NITRO (those would be the spicy ones); avocado on the outside; whole roll deep-fried; and, when available, harder-to-get sea urchin and bonito. Pick a combination of ingredients -- say, shrimp, asparagus, avocado, gourd and mayo -- and a style (do you want that deep-fried, the shrimp wrapped around it all, or the avocado on the outside?), then let the good times, and the good tastes, roll.

Yoshi Yoshida, who runs Sushi Wave with his wife, Cindy, is a veteran of some of Denver's best sushi bars, and his experience shows. Careful attention to detail, well-crafted sushi, expertly prepared cooked dishes and a warm welcome make this snazzy spot the best overall Japanese restaurant in town. Of course, most folks come looking for sushi, and they'll find it here, brand-spanking-new fresh and beautifully carved; the crunchy-centered, rich salmon-skin roll is one of the best in town. But chef Hiddo Mizouchi also knows what to do in the kitchen, and that's turn out exemplary gyoza, calamari, soft-shell crab and all the classics, including perfect miso soup, with just the right amount of tofu and scallions; supple pieces of filet mignon done teriyaki-style; flavorful grilled calamari steak; steamed fish and udon with the most concentrated broth imaginable. The clean, wavy lines of the decor give the place an upscale look without turning it snooty, and the staff is efficient and friendly. Catch the Sushi Wave.

Readers' choice: Domo

Yoshi Yoshida, who runs Sushi Wave with his wife, Cindy, is a veteran of some of Denver's best sushi bars, and his experience shows. Careful attention to detail, well-crafted sushi, expertly prepared cooked dishes and a warm welcome make this snazzy spot the best overall Japanese restaurant in town. Of course, most folks come looking for sushi, and they'll find it here, brand-spanking-new fresh and beautifully carved; the crunchy-centered, rich salmon-skin roll is one of the best in town. But chef Hiddo Mizouchi also knows what to do in the kitchen, and that's turn out exemplary gyoza, calamari, soft-shell crab and all the classics, including perfect miso soup, with just the right amount of tofu and scallions; supple pieces of filet mignon done teriyaki-style; flavorful grilled calamari steak; steamed fish and udon with the most concentrated broth imaginable. The clean, wavy lines of the decor give the place an upscale look without turning it snooty, and the staff is efficient and friendly. Catch the Sushi Wave.

Readers' choice: Domo

Best Of Denver®

Best Of