Denver's Best for Homemade Pasta

When it comes to Colorado pasta, that's amore
August 5, 2016
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by Zagat Staff

A bowl of pasta is quintessentially Italian. As Italian as, say, Tuscan wine. Or bad driving. But when you think about Colorado, homemade pasta does not spring to mind — despite the Italian boom seen in Denver in recent years. Visit any of these spots to take part in the trend.

Frasca Food and Wine
Italian · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.7

"Sublime in every way" , this “special-occasion” “favorite” in Boulder "lives up to the hype" thanks to Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson's "transcendent" Northern Italian prix fixe menu (à la carte is also available), which is "perfectly paired" with "informed, articulate sommelier" Bobby Stuckey's "world-class" wine list; a staff that has "hospitality down to a science" and "minimalist modern" decor only add to its appeal, so while "long lead times for reservations" and "high" prices are part of the package, most deem it "well worth the wait" and expense – after all, “memories are made here.”
Luca
Italian · Capitol Hill · $$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.5

Another of Frank Bonanno's "successes" , this "fine-dining" "destination" on Capitol Hill turns out "imaginative" Italian "plates of beauty" paired with equally "fab" wines by an "excellent" staff in a "quaint and inviting" space; of course, it also delivers "expensive" checks, but they're "worth every penny" when "romantic" evenings are in order.
Barolo Grill
Italian · Cherry Creek · $$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.6

"Yes, I'll have that – and oh, I'll have that" respond fans of the "dreamy” Northern Italian menu at this Cherry Creek “standard-bearer" that's "innovative" too, tended by servers for whom “diner satisfaction is paramount” in an "elegant" yet "cozy" setting suited to "romance" ; the “extensive” , “exceptionally interesting wine list” only enhances the “special-occasion” aura (though granted, so will the “not inexpensive” bill).
Panzano
Italian · Central Business District · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.2 · Service 4.5

"Consistently" "scrumptious" Northern Italian fare – including "superb" freshly baked breads and "imaginative" gluten-free options – is the draw at this "casually elegant" Downtown "jewel" in the "trendy Hotel Monaco" ; an "incredible" staff "flat-out rocks" , "treating all ages and appetites appropriately" , and "not-to-be-missed" happy-hour "bargains" only add to the "pleasure."
Spuntino
Italian · West Highland · $$

“A perfect spot for an intimate family dinner or date night” , this charmingly low-key LoHi cafe run by a young married team features “delicious” modern Italian fare that delivers “incredible" value considering that everything from the salumi to the gelato and after-dinner liqueur is housemade; an old-world-focused wine list, barrel-aged cocktails and craft beers complete the “fresh, inventive” picture.
DiFranco's
Italian · Capitol Hill · $

With just one communal table and a few additional seats, this tiny, unpretentious Italian cafe and deli in the Capitol Hill garners great buzz for its simple, lovingly crafted salads, sandwiches and pastas, all featuring local ingredients and prepared in an open kitchen behind the order counter. There's also a small selection of beer, wine and baked goods.
Coperta
Italian · Five Points · $$

From sibling team Paul and Aileen Reilly (Beast + Bottle), this buzzy Five Points kitchen specializes in cuisine and wine from Southern Italy, including daily changing "spuzzulia" platters and handmade pastas. The crisp yet homey three-room setup features a cocktail bar up front, a central mozzarella counter and vintage accents.
Sarto's
Italian · Jefferson Park · $$

"A welcome addition" to Jefferson Park, this "creative Italian" go-to has made its name on the Venetian-style cicchetti offered at the chef's counter, along with the rest of the "very good" , moderately priced menu served by a "spot-on" staff; the gray-and-white marbled dining room is sleekly sophisticated, decorated with subtle but "fun" allusions to the name (which means 'tailor').
Bar Dough
Italian · LoHi · $$

This LoHi Italian haunt from chef-owner Max MacKissock (ex The Squeaky Bean) boasts creative pizzas fired in a showpiece, hand-tiled imported oven, plus handcrafted pastas, small plates and entrees. Lined with a tufted burgundy banquette, the long and narrow space features an open kitchen and a marble-topped bar turning out clever cocktails, housemade sodas and an all-Italian wine list, all of which can also be sipped on the roomy patio.