Denver's Finest Must-Try Italian Restaurants

4 Best Italian Restaurants In Denver 2024 – Must-Visit Spots

Italian food is one of the best examples of how a cuisine can adapt to the locals. We are all aware of the fact that the Italian dishes we eat would cause disapproval in its home country. Nevertheless, the American-Italian variant is easily the most popular cuisine in the US, no matter how we look at it.

There are almost no individuals who can say they do not like the Italian cuisine. Knowing the best spots where it is possible to get high-quality food is always helpful, especially for those who travel a lot.

Before you go further, check out my guide for visiting Denver when you are in the city for just a couple of days.

Since I have this experience as well, I would like to share my opinion on the best Italian restaurants in Denver, so that the individuals who pass through town will know what locals think.

4. Tavernetta

Tavernetta

Tavernetta is easily among my top picks when it comes to Italian restaurants in the city.

  • Address: 1889 Sixteenth St. Denver, CO 80202
  • Working Hours:
    • Monday – Friday: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm;
    • Weekends: 3:00 pm – 10:00 pm.
  • Phone: (720) 605-1889

The first time we visited, figuring out how to get inside was a bit of a puzzle, but once we did, we were immediately swept up into its vibrant atmosphere. The place was alive with energy – patrons laughing, servers bustling about, and managers ensuring everything ran smoothly. The vibe was so inviting, we hadn’t even sat down and already felt welcomed.

Our server, Quinn, was excellent from the get-go. As we settled in and started perusing the menus and the extensive wine list he handed us, he promised to bring us “a little something” while we decided. Expecting perhaps an amuse-bouche, we were pleasantly surprised when he returned with glasses of sparkling rosé instead.

 

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The wine list was a connoisseur’s dream, especially for lovers of sparkling wines and champagnes, which seemed to span more pages than I’ve seen anywhere in recent, or even distant, years. I chose a Nebbiolo, which, to my surprise, was quite reasonably priced given the upscale ambiance of Tavernetta.

Dinner began with a shared scallop crudo, a dish so perfectly executed it set a high bar for the courses to follow. Daniela, ever the enthusiast for unique dishes, opted for white asparagus next. I managed to steal just one spear before she playfully warded me off, claiming the rest for herself.

My choice was the Carpaccio alla Cipriani, which was not only the best tasting but also the most beautifully presented carpaccio I’ve ever had.

For our main course, we both couldn’t resist the evening’s special: house-made buccatini with a butter and saffron sauce. Each bite was a little piece of heaven, confirming our belief that Tavernetta was something special.

3. Spuntino

For many years, we lived just about three blocks from where Spuntino stands today. The location has seen its share of restaurants come and go, but none have made an impression quite like Spuntino.

  • Address: 2639 W 32nd Ave, Denver, CO 80211-3380
  • Working Hours:
    • Monday – Tuesday: Closed;
    • Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday: 5:00 pm- 9:00 PM;
    • Friday – Saturday: 5:00 pm- 9:30 pm.
  • Phone: (303) 433-0949

Our most memorable visit was for New Year’s Eve dinner. Spuntino outdid themselves with a six-course menu that was nothing short of imaginative and delicious. Each dish was a revelation, starting with the Verlasso salmon, adorned with pakora bits and a zest of lemon that danced on the palate.

Then came a pasta dish that was a true testament to culinary artistry, featuring blue crab and crunchy bread crumbs – a combination that was both surprising and delightful.

A quail with Indian spicing that was so tender it was falling off the bone, followed by lamb that was both tender and delicious, left us marveling at the chef’s ability to infuse such depth of flavor into every bite.

The wine pairings were nothing short of amazing, enhancing each course with a precision that only true experts could achieve. It’s no wonder, with Chef Reddy and Elliott at the helm – co-owners who bring their passion and expertise to every aspect of Spuntino.

2. Il Posto

Il Posto Italian dining

Il Post is not the place I visit often, but whenever I do, I am blown away with literally everything this one has to offer.

  • Address: 2601 Larimer St Corner of Larimer and 26th, Denver, CO 80205-2218
  • Working Hours:
    • Sunday – Monday: Closed;
    • Tuesday – Thursday: 5:00 pm – 8:30 pm;
    • Friday – Saturday: 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm.
  • Phone: (303) 394-0100

The service at Il Posto is nothing short of superb. From the moment you walk in, you are greeted with warmth and professionalism. The staff, led by the lovely manager, make sure you experience will be memorable. Their attention to detail and genuine care for dining experience is evident.

As for the food, it is, as always, delicious. The beet salad is a refreshing start, with sliced al dente beets that is just perfect. The white anchovy Caesar salad and the freshly baked bread are equally impressive.

The smashed fingerling potatoes and the flank steak, which is served as a small plate but is quite filling when combined with another dish, is a standout choice. The gnocchi, rich and flavorful with a Mercano almond pesto, and the orecchiette with its holy trinity of lamb rags, are both exceptional.

For the meat-lover in our party, the NY strip is a hit, and we all love a bottle of Valpolicella that kept spirits high without breaking the bank.

The atmosphere, combined with an excellent selection of cocktails and wines, makes Il Posto a must-visit for anyone in Denver.

1. Panzano

Panzano is easily the best Italian restaurant in the city, not just for me but for a lot of people I know. We visit Panzano once a month, and we will keep returning, that’s for certain.

  • Address: 909 17th St, Denver, CO 80202
  • Working Hours:
    • Monday – Friday: 07:00 am – 10:00 am, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm, 4:00 pm- 9:00 pm.
    • Saturday: 08:00 am – 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm- 9:00 pm.
    • Sunday: 08:00 am- 2:00 pm.
  • Phone: (303) 296-3525

The atmosphere at Panzano is lively and engaging, yet it never crosses into being too loud. It strikes the perfect balance, making it an ideal spot for both romantic dinners and celebrations.

Despite a couple of disappointing dishes on one visit, where the pasta sauces didn’t quite hit the mark for us, the response from the management was commendable. They were understanding and compensated us with dessert and wine, which speaks volumes about their commitment to customer satisfaction.

 

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Our visits have seen us there often around the end of their happy hour, which concludes at 6pm. It’s interesting to note how most customers seem to leave about half an hour after happy hour ends, but not us. We’re usually too engrossed in the culinary journey that Panzano offers.

Speaking of foods, the chef’s special filet mignon is a dish I find myself reminiscing about often. It’s possibly the best filet mignon I’ve ever had, cooked to perfection and bursting with flavors that are both bold and balanced.

Following the main course with their Tiramisu, on the waitress’s recommendation, was a decision I’ll never regret. It’s an award-winning quality dessert that perfectly rounds off the meal.

Final Thoughts

There are lot of Italian restaurants you can find in Denver, but finding the ones that will just hit the mark for you is not easy, especially if you are not local.

With that in mind, I am certain you will find the recommendations I’ve provided you with to be of use.

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