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Overhead tablescape at Kini’s
A spread at Kini’s.
Kini’s

The Ultimate Guide to Dining in Cherry Creek

The fine dining hub holds a few surprises

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A spread at Kini’s.
| Kini’s

In this ultra-casual town, Cherry Creek is about as fancy as it gets: special-occasion and boutique restaurants for the jet and leisure sets abound. But the neighborhood isn’t all $30 salads and $75 filets: Classic burgers, hearty hand pies, and dynamite dumplings are all on the menu within its borders. These 16 best bets, ordered geographically from north to south, range from a taqueria to a top-tier sushi spot. (While a couple of bars with notable food menus are included among them, cocktail cravers should also consider Halcyon hotel hideaway B&GC and Moroccan-inspired haunt Chez Roc.)

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Barolo Grill

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This intimate white-cloth institution on the northern edge of the neighborhood has spent 30 years building one of the most spectacular Italian wine cellars in Colorado if not the whole nation — and the tasting 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

Fortune Wok to Table

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Upstairs, one of the city’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 stellar: Steamed or fried dumplings, noodles, rice plates, 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

Machete Tequila + Tacos

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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 features the likes of crispy tripe, grilled lobster with smoked avocado, sweet potatoes, and tortillas flavored with hibiscus tea or squid ink, while the latter incorporates coconut, cucumber, blood orange, chiles, and more.

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

The Pasty Republic

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U.K.-style hand pies are the sole specialty of this cheery daytime counter joint, which turns out nearly 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 warming dessert options like peach cobbler.

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

La Merise

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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, naturally, with a wine list that runs the gamut from Provençal rosé and Alsatian Riesling to Burgundy and Bordeaux.

crêpe Florentine
La Merise’s crêpe Florentine.
Ruth Tobias

Le Bilboquet Denver

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Where La Merise is quaint, Le Bilboquet is glitzy: The lavish decor is an invitation to indulge, while the modern-leaning French menu all but insists upon it. Foie gras mousse, Wagyu tartare, and duck confit go without saying; so does a mostly French wine list that rarely dips below $100 per bottle. But the people-watching alone is worth the price of admission — and so are humbler surprises like the poached egg–topped lentil salad.

Le Bilboquet’s dining room
Le Bilboquet’s dining room.
Alex Montoya

Ay Papi

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Mojitos, daiquiris, and piña coladas galore make this light, bright sibling of Forget Me Not (see below) feel like a beachy getaway — and the broadly Latin American dishes, which span several cuisines and foodways, only boost the mood. Graze on guava cheese dip with plantain chips or go for the gusto of a fabulous sandwich like the vegetarian Cubano with smoked pineapple, Muenster, and avocado.

Ay Papi’s light, bright interior Ruth Tobias

Quality Italian

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This handsome New York transplant has it all: a cosmopolitan atmosphere, centerpiece main dishes like chicken-parm pizza for two and baked lasagna with filet meatballs, and a splashy brunch service featuring bottomless Bellinis. Come dessert, don’t sleep on the cannoli.

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

A sibling of Quality Italian, this breezy slice of the Mediterranean in the Mile High City revels in the flavors of Greece, serving up such stunners as flaming kasseri cheese with toasted pumpkin seeds, calamari and artichokes with lemon aioli, wood-roasted fish of all kinds, and grilled lamb chops with smoked cherries and pine nuts; enhancing the vibe are Greek wines and evocative cocktails like the vodka-based Zephyr with pomegranate, fig, and orange blossom.

Kini’s dip tower includes ember-roasted eggplant, beet muhammara, whipped goat cheese, and more
Kini’s dip tower includes ember-roasted eggplant, beet muhammara, whipped goat cheese, and more.
Kini’s

Local Jones

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Cherry Creek residents have taken to this chic but 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 Swedish meatballs in shiitake-mushroom gravy or buttermilk-fried chicken with pomegranate molasses — and to a bar that whips up kicky cocktails like the H. Heart Beet, featuring beet-infused gin, ginger beer, and walnut bitters.

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

Forget Me Not

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Occupying an old florist’s shop, this high-energy hot spot 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, tinned-seafood platters, and the signature lobster crunch wrap.

Forget Me Not interior Eric Donzetta

The Cherry Cricket

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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, mac-and-cheese and chiles rellenos, and perhaps most famously, peanut butter and grape jelly. About 30 craft beers make the ordering process all the more bamboozlingly fun.

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

Blue Island Oyster Bar

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With its nautical charm, the decor of this 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, tuna tacos and roasted scallops, and still more. Come for lunch, stay for the lengthy and generous happy hour — after all, it feels like vacation in here.

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

Toro Latin Kitchen & Lounge

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In true Richard Sandoval style, the kitchen of this stylish hideaway in the Hotel Clio laces its pan-Latin cuisine with Asian influences, resulting in the likes of lobster quesadillas with avocado-yuzu puree, sweet-and-sour lomo saltado, achiote-marinated salmon with dashi-braised bok choy and bacon morita jam, and pork belly tacos with kimchi slaw — the latter a feature of Toro’s prix fixe “bottomless brunch” on weekends. Cocktails 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

Olive & Finch

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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 Green Eggs and Sam (scrambled eggs, provolone, spinach, roasted tomatoes, and pesto on focaccia); the Cashman (roast beef, caramelized onions, brie, roasted red peppers and garlic, arugula, and horseradish aioli on a baguette); and, when available, the mini–Funfetti birthday cake.

A strawberry tart from Olive & Finch
A strawberry tart from Olive & Finch.
Olive & Finch

Matsuhisa

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As swanky as you’d expect, the Denver outpost of Nobu Matsuhisa’s seminal restaurant serves all the legendary chef’s greatest hits — including uni shooters, rock-shrimp tempura, new-style sashimi, and miso black cod — in a warmly serene space where Champagne and Burgundy by the glass and three-figure bottles of sake are par for the celebratory course.

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

Barolo Grill

This intimate white-cloth institution on the northern edge of the neighborhood has spent 30 years building one of the most spectacular Italian wine cellars in Colorado if not the whole nation — and the tasting 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

Fortune Wok to Table

Upstairs, one of the city’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 stellar: Steamed or fried dumplings, noodles, rice plates, 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

Machete Tequila + Tacos

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 features the likes of crispy tripe, grilled lobster with smoked avocado, sweet potatoes, and tortillas flavored with hibiscus tea or squid ink, while the latter incorporates coconut, cucumber, blood orange, chiles, and more.

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

The Pasty Republic

U.K.-style hand pies are the sole specialty of this cheery daytime counter joint, which turns out nearly 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 warming dessert options like peach cobbler.

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

La Merise

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, naturally, with a wine list that runs the gamut from Provençal rosé and Alsatian Riesling to Burgundy and Bordeaux.

crêpe Florentine
La Merise’s crêpe Florentine.
Ruth Tobias

Le Bilboquet Denver

Where La Merise is quaint, Le Bilboquet is glitzy: The lavish decor is an invitation to indulge, while the modern-leaning French menu all but insists upon it. Foie gras mousse, Wagyu tartare, and duck confit go without saying; so does a mostly French wine list that rarely dips below $100 per bottle. But the people-watching alone is worth the price of admission — and so are humbler surprises like the poached egg–topped lentil salad.

Le Bilboquet’s dining room
Le Bilboquet’s dining room.
Alex Montoya

Ay Papi

Mojitos, daiquiris, and piña coladas galore make this light, bright sibling of Forget Me Not (see below) feel like a beachy getaway — and the broadly Latin American dishes, which span several cuisines and foodways, only boost the mood. Graze on guava cheese dip with plantain chips or go for the gusto of a fabulous sandwich like the vegetarian Cubano with smoked pineapple, Muenster, and avocado.

Ay Papi’s light, bright interior Ruth Tobias

Quality Italian

This handsome New York transplant has it all: a cosmopolitan atmosphere, centerpiece main dishes like chicken-parm pizza for two and baked lasagna with filet meatballs, and a splashy brunch service featuring bottomless Bellinis. Come dessert, don’t sleep on the cannoli.

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

Kini's

A sibling of Quality Italian, this breezy slice of the Mediterranean in the Mile High City revels in the flavors of Greece, serving up such stunners as flaming kasseri cheese with toasted pumpkin seeds, calamari and artichokes with lemon aioli, wood-roasted fish of all kinds, and grilled lamb chops with smoked cherries and pine nuts; enhancing the vibe are Greek wines and evocative cocktails like the vodka-based Zephyr with pomegranate, fig, and orange blossom.

Kini’s dip tower includes ember-roasted eggplant, beet muhammara, whipped goat cheese, and more
Kini’s dip tower includes ember-roasted eggplant, beet muhammara, whipped goat cheese, and more.
Kini’s

Local Jones

Cherry Creek residents have taken to this chic but 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 Swedish meatballs in shiitake-mushroom gravy or buttermilk-fried chicken with pomegranate molasses — and to a bar that whips up kicky cocktails like the H. Heart Beet, featuring beet-infused gin, ginger beer, and walnut bitters.

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

Forget Me Not

Occupying an old florist’s shop, this high-energy hot spot 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, tinned-seafood platters, and the signature lobster crunch wrap.

Forget Me Not interior Eric Donzetta

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, mac-and-cheese and chiles rellenos, and perhaps most famously, peanut butter and grape jelly. About 30 craft beers make the ordering process all the more bamboozlingly fun.

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

Blue Island Oyster Bar

With its nautical charm, the decor of this 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, tuna tacos and roasted scallops, and still more. Come for lunch, stay for the lengthy and generous happy hour — after all, it feels like vacation in here.

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

Toro Latin Kitchen & Lounge

In true Richard Sandoval style, the kitchen of this stylish hideaway in the Hotel Clio laces its pan-Latin cuisine with Asian influences, resulting in the likes of lobster quesadillas with avocado-yuzu puree, sweet-and-sour lomo saltado, achiote-marinated salmon with dashi-braised bok choy and bacon morita jam, and pork belly tacos with kimchi slaw — the latter a feature of Toro’s prix fixe “bottomless brunch” on weekends. Cocktails 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

Olive & Finch

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 Green Eggs and Sam (scrambled eggs, provolone, spinach, roasted tomatoes, and pesto on focaccia); the Cashman (roast beef, caramelized onions, brie, roasted red peppers and garlic, arugula, and horseradish aioli on a baguette); and, when available, the mini–Funfetti birthday cake.

A strawberry tart from Olive & Finch
A strawberry tart from Olive & Finch.
Olive & Finch

Related Maps

Matsuhisa

As swanky as you’d expect, the Denver outpost of Nobu Matsuhisa’s seminal restaurant serves all the legendary chef’s greatest hits — including uni shooters, rock-shrimp tempura, new-style sashimi, and miso black cod — in a warmly serene space where Champagne and Burgundy by the glass and three-figure bottles of sake are par for the celebratory course.

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

Related Maps