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Where to Find the Best Italian Food in Denver

Where to Find the Best Italian Food in Denver


Italian is one of the most universally pleasing cuisines out there. Everyone can find something to enjoy when the variety of foods includes everything from beet-stuffed ravioli to classic red sauce, spaghetti, and meatballs. Though it’s known for it’s Mexican food, the city of Denver has some of the best Italian food out there. Here's our picks for our favorite Italian spots in the city.

1. Panzano, Denver

The very clever chef Elise Wiggins turns out a mix of authentic regional Italian specialties and her own inventive dishes with a modern twists at Panzano. Start with the fried brussels sprouts in an apple cider reduction, which will please everyone at the table. Consider ordering the ravioli di barbabietola, roasted beet, goat cheese, and tarragon-stuffed raviolis finished in a lemon emulsion and topped with poppy seeds; or go with the veal scallopini with lemon, caper, and sun-dried tomatoes.

2. Barolo Grill, Cherry Creek North

The cuisine of Barolo focuses on the Northern Italian provinces of Piedmont and Tuscany. Consider trying the five-course tasting menu to sample a little of everything from chef Darrel Truett. Some highlights of the tasting menu are the vovo raviolo, homemade pasta stuffed with ricotta, peas and egg yolk, and the lampone con vaniglia e menta: a raspberry semi-freddo with vanilla-mint mousse, raspberry, and crystallized mint. Optional wine pairings to accompany each course truly elevates the experience.

3. Frasca, Boulder

Despite being a media darling, Frasca manages to remain unpretentious while offering a high-caliber experience. Frasca offers guests a chance to taste the food of Friuli-Venezia. Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson and master sommelier Bobby Stuckey have worked closely together to offer flavorful dishes that pair well the terrific wine list, that offers over 200 varieties. Try the gnocchi with lamb shoulder from Buckner Farm, fresh ceci, and green garlic. The Alaskan halibut with herbs, English peas, black rice, and cardamom is also excellent.

4. Luca d’Italia, Denver

Named for the son of owner Frank Bonanno, the cuisine of Luca is intended to be a celebration of the richness of life. The cuisine invokes the food Bonanno grew up with from his mother’s kitchen to many of the finest restaurants in New York. Try the capellini carbonara, with house made guanciale, parmesan crema, and a soft-poached yolk, or the dry-aged NY strip with taleggio gnocchi. Luca is widely revered by locals and media alike, having been named the top Italian restaurant in the western United States by Zagat.

5. Osteria Marco, Denver

Another of Frank Bonanno’s restaurants, Osteria Marco will also deliver a terrific dining experience. This rustic little place may be known best for it’s homemade cheeses and cured meats, but everything from the fig and goat cheese pizza to the lamb meatballs with creamy polenta and ricotta are well worth a try.

Il Posto, which means the “the place," is a truly Italian-style trattoria. The atmosphere is casual with chalkboard menus. The selection changes daily depending on the chef’s finds and whims. The open kitchen creates a fun and exciting dining experience. Watch as chef/owner Andrea Frizzi prepares you a perfect plate of risotto with fennel pollen, almonds, and heirloom tomatoes. Locals adore the place so you may be in for a wait when you visit, but the food is worth the time.

7. Wooden Table, Greenwood Village

The Wooden Table is located in Greenwood Village, a little bit south of Denver proper, in a suburban neighborhood. The place is not only a local favorite but, has received positive press from several Denver publications for the tasty food, good service, and all around pleasant dinning experience. Try the fried ricotta polenta with red sauce and fresh melted mozzarella, or the linguine with Manila clams and house made sausage.

8. Mama Sannios, Wheat Ridge

Mama Sannios is an old school Italian red sauce restaurant. Portraits, photos from Italy, vintage posters and knick-knacks line the walls at this completely casual and family friendly restaurant. Mama Sannios is located in a strip mall, but don’t let that dissuade you, the food is as high caliber as any restaurant in the heart of downtown. Try the spaghetti and meatballs. At Mama Sannios, it’s a classic done right.

9. Zucca, Louisville

Zucca works to celebrate a broad range of cuisine from both Northern and Southern Italy. The restaurant is casual, and filled with local diners relaxing with a glass of wine from the extensive Italian wine list. Try to sit on the patio, as it’s lit up beautifully in the evening. The fettuccine alla vodka rustica, which features fresh pasta, locally-made Italian sausage, and pancetta tossed in a vodka tomato cream sauce will delight any palate. So will classics like parmigiana, creamy herb capellini topped with fried eggplant, or chicken parmesan and mozzarella, finished with a marinara sauce.

10. Firenze a Tavola, Denver

Firenze a Tavola, is another local favorite, and fans make a bit of an uproar when it doesn’t always make the ‘best of’ lists. Interestingly, Firenze a Tavola is sort of two restaurants in one. Upstairs you'll find Parisi's, the fast and casual counterpart to Firenze. Downstairs, is the actual Firenze a Tavola, which offers fine, upscale dining. Both places offer terrific food. The wood-fired pizza is an upstairs favorite and the risotto frutti di mare is a can’t-miss from downstairs.

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4 locally owned, family-friendly places to get Italian food in Centennial

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A pepperoni and meatball pizza, pictured on the bar at GeJo's Original Italian Restaurant on Nov. 15, 2013, in Centennial.

A number of customers enjoy the bar at GeJo's Original Italian Restaurant on Nov. 15, 2013, in Centennial.

The GeJo's logo adorns a wall at the restaurant, pictured Nov. 15, 2013, in Centennial.

Centennial has options when it comes to Italian food. The city is home to some high-quality and very long-standing Italian family restaurants, where the recipes have been relatively untouched for decades and where the food is prepared from scratch. Here are four of the more notable locations to get your authentic pasta fix.

GeJo’s Original Italian Restaurant
Address:7200 E. Dry Creek Road
Hours: 3 p.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday
Contact: 303-862-3248
The scoop: GeJo’s was established in 1968 in Trinidad by Carl and Angelina Galasso. The restaurant was managed by Angelina’s mother, “Granny” Mariano, and was named after her grandsons, Gene and Joe. Current day owner Dino Galasso said, “Our recipes were handed down from ‘Granny’s’ mom, ‘Nana’ Cappelucci, from her kitchen in southern Italy. In the early 1970s, the Galasso family expanded GeJo’s to include several locations in the Denver metro area. Now after 45 years, our family is back. We re-opened GeJo’s Original in February 2011 at one of our favorite locations in Centennial.” Try their WeJo happy hour special from 3 to 6 p.m. daily, which includes a WeJo pizza with up to three toppings and a choice of wine, well or draft selection for $10.95.


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Parm and Beyond: The Best Red-Sauce Restaurants in the Country

Track down chicken Parm, spaghetti with meatballs, and more Italian-American favorites.

Related To:

Revel in Red Sauce

They may not be authentic-of-Italy Italian food, but giant plates of chicken Parmesan and bowls of spaghetti doused with marinara are some of the country's most-popular dishes. These Italian-American spots &mdash often referred to as "red sauce" joints &mdash serve heaping portions, often topped with their own red sauce made from a recipe passed down through generations. Dim lights, white tablecloths and some serious history complement the indulgent dishes you'll find at these top spots across the country.

Carlsbad, California: Spirito's Italian Diner

Don't let the California location fool you: This is true East Coast-style Italian on the West Coast. Anthony Spirito brought his grandfather's legacy for great food from Elizabeth, New Jersey, to this beach town north of San Diego. The kitchen turns out giant portions of chicken limone, Parm and massive ravioli (made only once a week, so when it's gone, it's gone), along with hulking meatballs, and bubbly pizzas made with dough that's prepared twice daily.

Kansas City, Missouri: Anthony's

Passed down from generation to generation, this Kansas City staple is now run by Anthony III, who would make his ancestors proud with his takes on authentic family recipes. Most dishes are served with Anthony's signature sugo, a tomato-based sauce that is made fresh each morning. Murals of Italy decorate the walls, helping to set the mood, and Frank Sinatra can be heard through the speakers outside, so there's a retro appeal before even setting foot inside.

Wilmington, Delaware: Mrs. Robino's

This family-owned Delaware restaurant has served homestyle Italian food since 1940. Mrs. Tersilla Robino first served her now-legendary Italian food outside her house, then moved to a small space that is now the entrance of the restaurant. Today her family serves her original recipes in a dining room full of old black-and-white family photos. Dishes include the famous Tour of Italy, which combines spaghetti, meat ravioli and cheese ravioli, all topped with giant meatballs and chunks of sausage. The Veal Spizzato, served over housemade spaghetti and red sauce, is another local favorite.

Los Angeles: Dan Tana's

Since the early 1960s, tuxedo-clad waiters at this L.A. legend have dished out Italian grub to tables of families (and celebrities) sitting in oxblood leather banquettes with checkered tablecloths and Chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling. The celebrity draw has been so strong that a few dishes are named after them, like the Penne Arabiata, a la Michael Kane. The almost-table-size chicken Parm lures many to the restaurant, which is charmingly set in a little yellow house.

Akron: Luigi's

What started as a steakhouse and late-night spot evolved into one of Akron's most-famed Italian restaurants when the staff realized that customers were descending for the Italian specialties rather than the meats. Luigi's changed focus to baked pastas with red sauce and whole-milk mozzarella and its famous Italian tossed salad with homemade Italian dressing, piled high with shredded cheese upon request. The atmosphere is no frills: Old bowling photos and trophies adorn the walls, and there's a mural of Italy toward the back.

Philadelphia: Dante & Luigi's

Established in 1899, this Italian Market District staple is a Philadelphia landmark and one of the oldest still-operating Italian restaurants in the United States. The current space spans two converted townhouses, with many of the buildings' finishings restored to their original aesthetic. Every component is handmade, including the stocks and the croutons in the salads. The pasta with Italian gravy is a true labor of love: Made with veal, pork and beef, it's simmered for seven hours in a gigantic pot, resulting in a meaty, rich sauce.

Hoboken, New Jersey: Augustino's

This cash-only intimate Jersey-style spot is a favorite &mdash so much so that advanced reservations for the tiny space are a must. The meal starts with a bright tomato-and-onion bruschetta to whet the appetite. The dining room feels like Nona's living room it's decorated for big holidays with lights and signs, and it's occupied by servers who have been around for decades and greet regulars like family. Portions are massive, including pork chops with hot peppers and steak pizzaiolo. The chicken Parmesan &mdash a house favorite &mdash overtakes the whole plate, with thinly pounded chicken breasts slathered with traditional red sauce and mounds of melted mozzarella.

Philadelphia: Villa di Roma

This lauded East Coast spot dishes up red sauce so popular it&rsquos even jarred to sell at the restaurant. The chefs at this Italian market spot know their way around a marinara, serving it up on signature baked ziti dishes and on top of hand-packed meatballs. Word on the street is the waitresses are just as saucy, adding a little East Coast attitude, albeit friendly service, to the mix.

Indianapolis: Mama Carolla's

This quaint Indianapolis Old-World Italian spot feels like walking into an Italian grandmother's house. The restaurant, which is actually housed in an old model home, serves up many a red-sauce dish, including house specialties like manicotti (stuffed with ricotta and covered in sauce) and their hearty rosemary chicken lasagna with a tomato butter sauce.

Boston: Giacomo's

Although the restaurant now has multiple locations in Boston, the original North End location of Giacomo's, in Boston's Italian district, still packs the house every night with lines rounding the block. The tiny cash-only, no-reservation spot combines two of Boston's finest dishes, serving some of the best seafood pasta in town: housemade fusilli loaded with lobster, shrimp and clams. There are several different sauces, but the most popular are the namesake Giacomo red sauce and the spicy fra diavalo.

Denver: Gennaro's

For more than a half-century, this Italian-American spot has served pizzas, colossal calzones and saucy pastas in a tiny hole-in-the-wall space. Here you'll find chunky vegetable minestrone and heaping portions of baked ziti with hearty meat sauce and five melted cheeses, both served with garlicky Parmesan breadsticks.

Chicago: La Scarola

You have to literally squeeze your way into this Chicago institution, which packs a hefty wait on weekend nights, but it's worth it. The manager will likely give you a shot of tequila for your patience. The walls are covered with autographed photos of celebrities and sports icons who have visited in search of the kitchen's enormous portions of chicken Vesuvio, penne alla vodka with shrimp, and spaghetti with softball-size meatballs.

Baltimore: Aldo's

The menu skews southern Italian at this lauded staple in Baltimore's Little Italy. The ingredients Aldo uses are fresh, and the dishes are made from scratch, like his pastas made with Italian "00" semolina flour and topped with hearty Bolognese or fresh clams and chile flakes. A house specialty is the Bellini cocktail, modeled after the original at Harry's Bar in Venice. The dining room nods to Italian architecture, with Roman columns and a resemblance to sunny streetside Roman cafes.


Dear Loyal Grammy’s Customers,

Ready to get out and about? Or still want to stay hunkered down at home? Either way Grammy’s has you covered, do what makes you feel best. Grammy’s is open for dine-in, carry-out, curbside pickup, and delivery (within 5 miles).

We are very concerned with the health of our community and our business. We are taking extreme measures to be sure everything in the restaurant and our delivery vehicles is sanitized.

If you desire delivery, we are on still the DoorDash platform, however we encourage you to save yourself some delivery fees and commission by calling us directly and one of the Corder family will deliver your food, free of charge. Delivery area will be within five miles of us!

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for keeping us going during this, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel thanks to you all! Love and prayers, the Corder family. ❤️


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4) Parisi Italian Market and Deli
4401 Tennyson Street
303-561-0234
Parisi knows that some Italian dishes are built on dried pasta and others go best with fresh, housemade styles. That's why you'll find three tagliatelle dishes, four kinds of ravioli and four different gnocchi dishes alongside those made with dry spaghetti and penne. The longtime Berkeley favorite dresses its house pastas simply and serves them cooked to a firm bite with a pronounced egg flavor.

3) Patsy's Inn
3651 Navajo Street
303-477-8910
Patsy's is one of our favorite Italian joints as much for the history and warm, welcoming service as for the food, which leans toward the milder side of old-fashioned cooking. But the fat homemade spaghetti is the first thing we start with, topped by a single, soft-as-butter meatball. The firm coils of spaghetti, made from a recipe that hasn't changed much in the restaurant's ninety-plus-year history, come nested on a plate bearing the Patsy's logo.

2) Sarto's
2900 West 25th Avenue
303-455-1400
If you can score a seat at this Jefferson Park eatery's cicchetti bar &mdash essentially a chef's counter where guests are treated to tailored small plates and à la minute creations &mdash you'll have a chance to sample exquisite bites like tortellini bulging with mushroom and guanciale wallowing in a rich and smoky pork brodo. If not, or if you prefer a more traditional table, the regular menu's daily selection includes a trio of cloud-light plin (pinched Piedmontese agnolotti), fine capellini and toothsome rolls of cavatelli.

1) Spuntino
2639 West 32nd Avenue
303-433-0949
Cindhura Reddy and Elliot Strathmann have been running Spuntino for just over a year, serving impeccably fresh Italian fare with a spirit of adventure. Spuntino's fall menu includes several dishes featuring Colorado game, but between an appetizer of elk tartare with cured egg yolk and a secondi of a crisped brik dough parcel stuffed with braised El Regalo Ranch goat and mascarpone, dig into a primi of hand-cranked pasta. Reddy &mdash the chef of the couple &mdash offers a variety of bigoli, garganelli, tagilatelli and gnocchi in both traditional and eclectic options.

Keep Westword Free. Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.


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Keep reading to find out who did, as well as see all the other winners in the Best of Denver 2021 Readers' Poll we've included the editorial picks in those categories, too. (For the full descriptions of those winners, along with many more editorial awards in categories that were not on the poll, go to westword.com/best-of.) Bon appétit!

Best Breakfast
Eat! Food & Drink
Readers' choice: Snooze: An A.M. Eatery

Best Brunch
The Bindery
Readers' choice: Palenque Cocina Y Agaveria

Best Bottomless Brunch Deal
The Lobby
Readers' choice: The Buffet at Monarch Casino

Best Diner
Pete's Kitchen
Readers' choice: Steuben's

Best Doughnuts
Wake & Bake
Readers' choice: Berkeley Donuts

Best New Coffeehouse
Cabrona Coffee
Readers' choice: Stylus and Crate

Best Bakery
Moxie Bread Co.
Readers' choice: Grateful Bread Company

Best Breakfast Burrito
Tacos Rapidos
Readers' choice: Renegade Burrito

Best Green Chile
El Tejado
Readers' choice: Chile con Quesadilla

Best Tacos
La Calle Taqueria y Carnitas
Readers' choice: Chile con Quesadilla

Best Tamales
Kahlo's
Readers' choice: La Popular

Best Food Truck/Cart
Pho King Rapidos
Readers' choice: Chile con Quesadilla

Best Ice Cream/Gelato Shop
Smith + Canon
Readers' choice: High Point Creamery

Best Sandwich Shop
Dimestore Delibar
Readers' choice: Stack Subs

Best Hamburger
Sullivan Scrap Kitchen
Readers' choice: Snarfburger

Best Chicken Sandwich
Chicken Rebel
Readers' choice: Birdcall

Best Chicken Wings
King of Wings
Readers' choice: Fire on the Mountain

Best Fried Chicken
The Post Chicken & Beer
Readers' choice: Steuben's

Best French Fries
Tacos Tequila Whiskey
Readers' choice: Snarfburger

Best Nachos
Cochino Taco
Readers' Choice: Esters Pub

Best Pizzeria
Blue Pan Pizza
Readers' choice: Hops & Pie

Best Thick-Crust Pizza
Crush Pizza + Tap
Readers' choice: Hops & Pie

Best Thin-Crust Pizza
Cart-Driver
Readers' choice: Esters Pub

Best Barbecue Restaurant
Owlbear Barbecue
Readers' choice: Smokin' Yards BBQ

Best Southern/Soul Restaurant
Welton Street Cafe
Readers' choice: Nola Jane Restaurant & Bar

Best Vegan Restaurant
Somebody People
Readers' choice: City, O' City

Best Vegetarian Green Chile
Santo
Readers' choice: Palenque Cocina Y Agaveria

Best Veggie Burger
Meta Burger
Readers' choice: Snarfburger

Best Chinese Restaurant
Hop Alley
Readers' choice: Meta Asian Kitchen

Best Dumplings
Uncle Zoe's Chinese Kitchen
Readers' choice: Ace Eat Serve

Best Poke
Ohana Island Kitchen
Readers' choice: Poke House

Best Ramen
Ramen Star
Readers' choice: Uncle

Best Thai Restaurant
Taste of Thailand
Readers' choice: Taste of Thailand

Best Korean Restaurant
Dae Gee
Readers' choice: Dae Gee

Best Vietnamese Restaurant
Savory Vietnam
Readers' choice: Golden Bowl

Best Pho
Now Pho
Readers' choice: Pho 95

Best Indian Restaurant
The Madras Cafe
Readers' choice: Spice Room

Best Ethiopian Restaurant
Megenagna
Readers' choice: Konjo Ethiopian Food

Best Central/South American Restaurant (not Mexican)
Cafe Brazil
Readers' choice: Carne &mdash Argentina Street Food

Best German/Eastern European Restaurant
Baba & Pop's Pierogi Kitchen & Bar
Readers' choice: Helga's German

Best Italian Restaurant
Barolo Grill
Readers' choice: Jovanina's Broken Italian

Best Old-School Italian Restaurant
Lechuga's Italian Restaurant
Readers' choice: Gaetano's

Best French Restaurant
Bistro Vendôme
Readers' choice: Coohills Restaurant and Bar

Best Mediterranean Restaurant
Safta
Readers' choice: Jerusalem Restaurant

Best Japanese Restaurant
Izakaya Den
Readers' choice: Osaka Ramen

Best Sushi
Sushi Den
Readers' choice: Sushi Den

Best New Bar
Dirty Laundry
Readers' choice: Nola Jane Restaurant & Bar

Best Happy Hour
Señor Bear
Readers' choice: Palenque Cocina Y Agaveria

Best House Margarita
Dos Santos
Readers' choice: Palenque Cocina Y Agaveria

Best Dive Bar
Nob Hill Inn
Readers' choice: Wild Corgi Pub

Best Wine Bar
Sunday Vinyl
Readers' choice: Noble Riot

Best Cidery
Haykin Family Cider
Readers' choice: Waldschänke Ciders

Best Colorado Distiller
Laws Whiskey House
Readers' choice: Laura Walters at Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse

Best Distillery Tasting Room
The Family Jones Spirit House
Readers' choice: Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse

Best New Brewery Taproom
Wild Provisions Beer Project
Readers' choice: Barquentine Brewing Company

Best Kids' Menu
Acova
Readers' choice: Ace Eat Serve

Best Restaurant Patio
My Brother' Bar
Readers' choice: Nola Jane Restaurant & Bar

Best Rooftop Patio
Linger
Readers' choice: Nola Jane Restaurant & Bar

Best Patio for Pets
Ratio Beerworks
Readers' choice: Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse

Best Seafood Restaurant
Jax Fish House
Readers' choice: Jax Fish House

Best Oysters
Stoic & Genuine
Readers' choice: Oyster Wulff

Best Steakhouse
Guard and Grace
Readers' choice: Monarch Chophouse

Best Food Hall
Milk Market
Readers' choice: Denver Central Market

Best Hotel Restaurant
Super Mega Bien
Readers' choice: Monarch Chophouse

Best New Restaurant
Olivia
Readers' choice: Nola Jane Restaurant & Bar

That's just a taste of what you'll find in the Best of Denver 2021. Ready for the rest? See it here.

Keep Westword Free. Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.


Fans who can't make it out to Frasca now have its Denver sister restaurant, Tavernetta, to dine at with abandon. Hidden behind Union Station, this LoDo oasis offers crowd-pleasing campo di funghi and lobster tagliatelle, as well as delectable small bar bites or cicchetti.

The gorgeous social eatery in the up-and-coming Jefferson Park neighborhood offers dinner and brunch service, plus lunch in its next-door sister pantry, where guests can pick up fresh pastas and sauce to take with them.


Top Italian Delis In The Denver Area

The northeast Denver Park Hill neighborhood has a gem of an Italian deli on 23rd Avenue. Spinelli&rsquos Market is family owned and has the feel of a classic east coast Italian deli, one that your grandparents might have frequented decades ago. The food is authentic and from the first step in the door, you’ll feel right at home. Spinelli&rsquos has hot entrees available for takeout that will give customers the ease and comfort of a home-cooked meal without resorting to fast food. The sandwich menu is extensive and includes Italian meats like Genoa salami, capicola, black forest ham, smoked ham, roast beef, house-roasted turkey, housemade tuna, chicken and egg salad, mortadella and bologna. Like a true Italian deli, Spinelli&rsquos uses marinated vegetables like eggplant, summer squash, portabello mushrooms and peppers. If looking for more than just a quick bite, the grocery section is filled with Italian specialty items like Spinelli&rsquos Italian sauces, semolina pastas, Italian condiments, olive oil, vinegars, local vegetables, fresh breads, coffee, ice cream, gelato and hard-to-find Italian biscuits and cookies.

(credit: Valente’s Deli/Facebook)

Valente’s Deli Bakery & Italian Market
7250 Meade St
Westminster, CO 80030
(303) 429-0590
valentesdeli.com

There are no short cuts at Valente&rsquos Deli Bakery & Italian Market. Since the 1940s, when owner Fred Valente opened the shop, the sausage fillings with fresh pork and seasonings have been made in house by sons Larry and Dino Valente. The meatballs, which year after year get rave reviews, are also a family recipe passed down from Elaine Valente to her daughter Louise. The meatballs, made from ground beef and pork, are available in sandwiches and for home meals. Valenti&rsquos is also a butcher shop that sells only high-quality meats that are cut and ground on site. The deli meats include domestic and imported Italian meats like 18-month aged Tanara Giancarlo prosciutto di Parma. Valente’s makes as many as 16 different breads, six types of rolls and 20 cookies and Italian desserts like tiramisu and cannolis. It also offers two dozen different types of pies. Looking for authentic San Marzano tomatoes or a tin of Lazzaroni amaretti cookies? You won&rsquot be disappointed because this market has every Italian brand you can think of. Large orders and catering is encouraged, just call ahead of time.

(credit: Tony’s Market/Facebook)

Tony&rsquos Market
12001 E Caley Road
Centennial CO, 80111
Plus five other Denver locations
(303) 991-1350
tonysmarket.com

The Rosacci family&mdashTony, Daniel, Mick and Avie&mdashare an Italian food lover’s best friends. It&rsquos easy to spend hours in the store, eating a meal in the bistro and shopping for groceries in the market. Tony&rsquos recently switched out its deli meats from Boar&rsquos Head to Dietz and Watson and sandwiches are available in bistro and for takeout. The bistro is a great place to have lunch or dinner. The menu includes Italian wood-fired pizzas, burgers, salads and happy-hour appetizers with beer and wine. Tony&rsquos is perhaps best known for its extensive fresh meat and seafood selections of only the highest-quality beef, pork, poultry, fish and shellfish. If you can&rsquot make up your mind, Tony&rsquos can do it for you with its bulk packages of sausages, ground meat patties, thick bacon, house-cut steaks and pre-made kabobs. With five locations throughout Denver, you should have no problem finding any Italian dish that comes to mind.

Parisi
4401 Tennyson St
Denver, CO 80212
(303) 561-0234
parisidenver.com

Parisi is not the typical American-Italian deli, it&rsquos more like an authentic Italian trattoria and deli. For instance, although it calls its sandwiches paninis, they are not those thinly-pressed sandwiches that other sandwich shops sell. Parisi&rsquos paninis are just like what you might find at a street-side deli in Italy a little meat and cheese with vegetables like eggplant, bell peppers, lettuce and tomato, sandwiched in a nice bread. Parisi does have pressed sandwiches, authentically called crostones, but these are also served with a little meat, a nice melty cheese like fontina and rich pesto or spread to spice it up. For heartier appetites, Parisi has absurdly good pastas, like spaghetti carbonara and tagliatelle Bolognese, and risottos, like funghi porcini. Try the gelato to go and promenade like the Italians to work off the calories.

Vinnola&rsquos Italian Market
7750 W 38th St
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
(303) 421-3955
vinnolasitalianmarket.com

Vinnola&rsquos is where Wheat Ridge locals gather for a casual breakfast and coffee, lunch, a late afternoon dessert or an early dinner. The first impression of Vinnola&rsquos is that it loves sweet things, made evident by the Italian pastries, desserts and breads. Beautifully-filled cannolis are hard to ignore as you look at the lunch menu. The flavors vary from traditional Italian and Bavarian cream to pistachio cherry and chocolate cherry. Vinnola&rsquos also has a wide selection of biscotti and unique Italian pastries like sfogliatelle, a puff pastry filled with sweet ricotta. The savory menu includes breakfast and lunch hot and cold sandwiches. The meatball and sausage rolls and strombolis are a local favorite as is the homemade lasagna. Whole pizzas and pizza by the slice is available, as is take-and-bake pizza.

Carbone&rsquos Italian Sausage Market & Deli
1221 W 38th Ave
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 455-2893

Carbone&rsquos is old-school good with perhaps the city&rsquos best meatball and Italian sausage sandwiches. It&rsquos a no-frills kind of Italian deli with limited seating and a Jesus statue guarding the place. While you are there, take in the atmosphere. The sandwich makers are family and they will make you feel like you are a part of theirs. If hot sandwiches aren&rsquot for you, you can never go wrong with the traditional Italian sandwich with Italian cold cuts, provolone and peppers. Order it with a splash of olive oil and vinegar. The market portion of Carbone&rsquos has a small selection of Italian food like dried pasta and a refrigerated case for perishable items.


Recipe Summary

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup diced smoked ham
  • 2 tablespoons diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons diced green bell pepper
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ⅓ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

Beat eggs until just combined do not over-beat.

Melt butter in a skillet over high heat. Add ham, onion, and bell pepper. Sprinkle in a nice pinch of salt and a touch of pepper. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until onions start to soften and ham begins to caramelize, about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low and pour in the eggs. Mix briefly with a spatula while shaking the pan to ensure ingredients are evenly distributed. Quickly run the spatula along the edges of the omelet.

Sprinkle Cheddar cheese and cayenne pepper over the omelet. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the top is still wet but not runny, about 5 minutes. Fold omelet in half with your spatula and transfer to a plate.


Struffoli - Traditional Italian dessert

Struffoli is an Italian dessert, a sort of Christmas candy from the Naples region, near the famous volcano Mount Vesuvius. In some ways, it’s a bit like an American funnel cake, except much more refined and not served to you by a man six teeth and three first names. Instead of being strained through a funnel, the struffoli dough is rolled into small balls which are deep fried and then coated with a honeyed, citrus infused glaze. Sweet and sticky outside, light and fluffy inside, these traditional Neapolitan desserts are destined to impress at your next dinner party!


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