Mangia! Indulge Your Love of Italian in Denver

Hundreds of Italian immigrant families made their way to Denver in the late 1800s and early 1900s, bringing with them their recipes, a love of good food and a belief that meals with friends and family should be made with fresh ingredients, such as homegrown herbs and tomatoes. Many Italians settled in northeast Denver and in the neighborhood known today as the Highlands. There are still amazing Italian restaurants in this area of Denver, some on this list, including Hops & Pie, which honors not just Denver’s Italian tradition but its love affair with craft beer. Frasca, in Boulder, is one of the metro area’s most renowned and awarded restaurants and one of its best restaurants period! Frasca offers dishes inspired by the Friuli region of northern Italy, to be accompanied by a stellar selection of excellent wines. Also focused on northern Italian cuisine is Panzano in the heart of downtown, where Chef Elise Wiggins has been serving delectable food since 2004. Osteria Marco is another fine eatery from Chef Frank Bonanno, this one serving hand-tossed pizzas and rustic fare with an emphasis on house-cured meats. From traditional pizzas to hand-folded pastas stuffed with gourmet ingredients, Denver’s Italian restaurants offer exceptional variety in terms of style, ambience, menus and drink selections. There’s no reason not to try them all. As celebrity Italian chef Lidia Bastianich says, “Tutti a tavola a mangiare!” Everyone to the table to eat!

Alamo Placita
Carmine's On Penn
Photo courtesy of Seen Photography


Carmine's has been a neighborhood staple for years, a place where large families and large groups of friends can gather and enjoy a family-style Italian meal. There's nothing trendy or nouveau about it, and it's not the place for single diners...  Read More

Capitol Hill
Luca d'Italia
Photo courtesy of Rachel Nobrega


This is part of the Bonnano family of restaurants and definitely upscale. Chef-cured salumi and burrata are among the highlights on this menu that takes its cues from diverse regions of Italy, Sicily in the south to Piedmont in the north. The...  Read More

Barolo Grill
Photo courtesy of Barolo Grill


"Yearly visits to Italy inspire the cuisine, wine list and the pace as well as the ambience," says the management here. The cuisine--contemporary northern Italian rooted in the regions of Piedmont, Tuscany and the Veneto--is complemented by a...  Read More



"Progressive, sexy and friendly with an urban twist, but not too pushy or hipster scene," says Andrea Frizzi, chef and owner. "We've withstood the test of time and all the trends that have come and gone since we opened in 2007." There's no need...  Read More

North Denver
Hops & Pie
Photo courtesy of Tom Kolicko


It's not just pizza. Consider the award-winning IPA mac & cheese made with smoked ham hocks, IPA, English peas and a cheddar-and-cream reduction that takes five hours to perfect. There's also a roasted pear salad with toasted pine nuts and...  Read More

North Denver
Photo courtesy of Spuntino


Set in the Highlands, a neighborhood first populated by Italian immigrants in the 19th century, husband-and-wife-owned Spuntino straddles that fine line between neighborhood staple and special place for celebrations. It's warm, welcoming and...  Read More

Marco's Coal Fired Pizzeria
Photo courtesy of Marco's Coal-Fired Pizza


Welcome to Napoli! Well, almost. This pizza carries the coveted Vera Pizza Napoletana Certification, meaning the hand-built brick ovens were imported from Naples, as are the Antico Caputo Molino 00 flour, San Marzano tomatoes and many of the...  Read More



A recent remodel brought a freshness to Panzano, which has always been a pleasant place to dine. With a design inspired by the Italian streetscapes and terracotta tile roofs of Renaissance Florence, the restaurant is light-filled and stylish, an...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Frasca


Frasca celebrates the cuisine of Friuli in the very northeast corner of Italy, bordering Austria and Slovenia. Since its inception, the owners have championed local farmers and put an emphasis on the finest, freshest ingredients--long before...  Read More

Osteria Marco
Photo courtesy of Scottie Davison


Part of the Bonnano family of restaurants, which includes Mizuna and Luca d'Italia, among others, Osteria Marco stands out in part for its focus on house-cured meats and handmade cheeses. It's also a whole lot more affordable than either Mizuna...  Read More


Meet Christine Loomis

Christine has written about every aspect of travel, from romance and adventure to family and wellness. She is also lucky to have had three major home states through the years: New York,...  More About Christine