Named after a charming coastal town in Greece, Kini’s on the ground floor of the Clayton Members Club & Hotel in Cherry Creek envelopes you in a sense of laid-back luxury. The bustling hotspot exudes the same contemporary Grecian vibes you’d encounter at the charming restaurants on every corner in the Cyclades.
The venue is a first-of-its-kind concept from the Quality Branded restaurant group, the New York company behind the Quality Italian steakhouse at the nearby Halcyon Hotel, Cretans Mediterranean wine bar just across the Clayton lobby, and the Chez Roc speakeasy around the corner.
In Kini’s light-filled dining room—a blend of light woods, vibrant blues, and a cornucopia of dangling greenery—diners dig into Mediterranean classics. From the semi-open kitchen with a wood-fired oven flows an array of inspired dishes from a menu specializing in roasted fish and meats, with some impressive plates for two, including the dry-aged tomahawk rib steak from Double R Ranch. Whatever you’re craving, you’ll want to start your dining trip with the flaming kasseri cheese, delivered with a side of theatrics in the form of fiery flare—a deliciously fun way to warm up on a winter’s night. The rich, buttery cheese is flamed tableside with ouzo, giving it a subtle anisette flavor while delivering a last-second blast of intense heat that ensures it’s melty and sizzling when you scoop it onto the rosemary focaccia that accompanies it.
To wash it down, Kini’s offers a selection of classic cocktails. You can’t go wrong with the negroni, and Kini’s is golden, literally, and made with turmeric- infused Tanqueray. As for the wine list, it’s got a variety of surprising yet approachable varietals from Greece, Italy, Spain, and California, while the beer list highlights a lager from Athens alongside local ales, stouts, and ciders.
While the cuisine is refreshing and the decor inviting, it’s the service and congenial atmosphere that really make Kini’s a worthy dining destination. On my second visit to the restaurant, I sidled up to the bar and asked for the dessert menu, to which the charming bartender replied, “Do you trust me?” Implicitly, of course. And by the time I left, I had convinced three of the groups around me to also order the sticky toffee pudding he brought out. If you go, you’ll want to do the same.