Denver's booming culinary scene is a food lover's paradise of easy-to-get-to neighborhood eateries, and Italian restaurants weigh heavily in the mix. There are many unique things to do in Denver. You can keep it casual at a relaxed eatery like Cart-Driver, or head to the sophisticated Borolo Grill for an elegant fine dining experience. No matter which Denver neighborhood you are visiting, there is likely to be an amazing Italian restaurant nearby.

1. Barolo Grill

Barolo Grill
© Barolo Grill

Barolo Grill in Cherry Creek North is an award-winning restaurant that specializes in creating Northern Italian food found in the provinces of Tuscany and Piedmont. Their modern Piemontese menu is reinvented seasonally by Chef Darrel Truett, who uses in-season regional ingredients from local farmers and artisans.

He blends traditional and contemporary cooking techniques to turn out exquisite dishes that can be easily paired with owner and wine director Ryan Fletter’s beautifully curated wine list, which features quaint family-run wineries that adhere to earth-friendly farming practices. At Barolo Grill, guests will experience a Northern Italian fine dining experience with an elegant ambiance.

3030 E 6th Avenue, Denver, CO, Phone: 303-393-1040

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2. Panzano

© Panzano

Panzano is centrally located in the heart of Denver just a few blocks from the trendy 16th Street Mall and the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The four-diamond, award-winning restaurant offers modern Northern Italian cuisine with a focus on organic, seasonal ingredients in every dish.

This is the go-to Italian cuisine for vegetarians and those with gluten sensitivities. Their motto “those who eat well, live well” is reflected in their health-conscious Italian menu, featuring everything from antipasti such as their zuppa di zucca to their secondi like anatra arrosto. Panzano is a good choice for any occasion, from pre-theater dinners to weekend brunches.

909 17th Street, Denver, CO, Phone: 303-296-3525

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3. Restaurants Near Me: Cart-Driver

Restaurants Near Me: Cart-Driver
© Cart-Driver

Cart-Driver in the Rino Art District of Denver was inspired by the carrettiera, a person in Southern Italy who distributed farm goods to villagers from a horse-drawn cart and served dishes to people along the way. Sharing is the core principle behind the name and is what remains at the heart of this 640-square-foot shipping container turned restaurant.

This new-age restaurant with its old-world charm allows guests to indulge in premium wood-fired pizzas and seasonal market plates at communal tables. There are signature Italian-inspired spritzers and local craft brews, too. Here, diners can exchange life stories in a warm and welcoming environment over a hot Cart-Driver pie.

2500 Larimer Street, #100, Denver, CO, Phone: 303-292-3553

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4. Restaurants Near Me: Gaetano's

Restaurants Near Me: Gaetano's
© Gaetano's

Gaetano’s restaurant has a notorious history, from the wild, wild, west era to bootlegging moonshine during the Prohibition to a local eatery for charismatic mobsters who drew in the crowds. The Smaldones and their three sons owned this iconic restaurant for more than three decades, doing whatever it took to keep it thriving.

In recent years, it was sold to the Breckenridge and Wynkoop family, who breathed new life into it while also preserving its rich history. Guests can dine in what feels like another time, thanks to the black-and-white photos adorning the walls and authentic hand-made Italian dishes like cappelacci de pera.

3760 Tejan Street, Denver, CO, Phone: 303-455-9852, (website link)

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5. Italian Restaurants in Denver, Colorado: II Posto

Italian Restaurants in Denver, Colorado: II Posto
© II Posto

II Posto, which means “the place” in Italian, has a cosmopolitan vibe. Chef and owner Andrea Frizzi along with his two chefs de cuisine, Wes Park and Mario Pacheco, have created a sensational dining experience featuring a completely new menu each day.

Their “in the moment” cooking philosophy inspires dishes based on available fresh ingredients, the mood of the day, and even the weather. Guests may never know which dishes will be on the menu at this dynamic restaurant, but they can rest assured that only the best Colorado farm-fresh, organic ingredients will be used to create this Northern Italy-inspired menu.

2601 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205

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6. Cucina Colore

Cucina Colore
© Cucina Colore

Cucina Colore was established in 1994 in the Cheery Creek North neighborhood of Denver. It presents a modernized version of Italian cuisine in a casual-chic ambiance and redefines Italian cuisine with a bold, creative, and contemporary menu.

Guests should expect only the freshest ingredients in a variety of salads, sandwiches, wood-fired pizzas, pastas, and traditional main dishes with a twist. The atmosphere is bright and lively thanks to their wood-burning pizza oven and open kitchen concept. Menu favorites include the sautéed mussels appetizer, any of their wood-fired pizzas (which you can order gluten free), and the garganelli. Buon appetito!

3041 E Third Avenue, Cherry Creek North, Denver, CO, Phone: 303-393-6917

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7. Italian Restaurants in Denver: DiFranco’s

Italian Restaurants in Denver: DiFranco’s
© DiFranco’s

DiFranco’s is an unassuming and laidback counter service-style Italian restaurant. Though the eatery is small, they’ve made a big splash on the Denver foodie scene, receiving accolades that include Denver’s 30 Under 30 award for owner Ryan DiFranco.

This hip and contemporary restaurant focuses on providing an ever-changing seasonal menu that utilizes locally sourced and organic ingredients to create fresh made-to-order salads, sandwiches, and pastas. The self-described chef-driven, quick-service restaurant focuses on simple Italian cuisine good enough to get compared with Grandma’s back in the old country. Sure bets are the roasted beet salad, chicken parm sandwich, and penne pasta with prosciutto vodka sauce. Browse our Weekend Getaways in Colorado guide for more ideas.

955 N Lincoln Street, Unit D, Denver, CO, Phone: 720-253-1244, (website link)

8. Italian Restaurants in Denver, Colorado: Luca

Italian Restaurants in Denver, Colorado: Luca
© Luca

Luca is a Sicilian restaurant in the heart of Denver’s popular Governor’s Park. Owned and operated by Chef Frank Bonanno and named after his son, this neighborhood eatery serves up delicious food reflective of his deep Italian roots.

This is the home of classic Sicilian comfort food – ricotta cavatelli, pappardelle, veal saltimbocca, and roasted black cod. The custom-built, wood-burning oven provides mouth-watering aromas and delectable dishes like applewood-smoked lamb, brick chicken, and grilled porchetta. Chef Bonanno changes his menu throughout the year, accentuating seasonal, locally sourced ingredients and always utilizing house-cured meats, breads, cheeses, and pastas.

711 Grant Street, Denver, CO, Phone: 303-832-6600

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9. Where to Eat Near Me: Lo Stella Ristorante

Where to Eat Near Me: Lo Stella Ristorante
© Lo Stella Ristorante

Lo Stella Ristorante is an authentic Italian restaurant in the Golden Triangle. Following the tradition of the original restaurant – the oldest and most successful family-owned eatery in Portofino, Italy, for more than 165 years – it brings its culinary heritage to Denver’s Downtown. Lo Stella is run by eighth-generation family member Alessandro Polo.

Guests are welcomed into this warm and relaxing establishment by friendly staff and given the chance to indulge in some of the most coveted recipes of the Polo family. Each dish is made with fresh locally sourced ingredients, but with the distinct regional flavors of Portofino, which include distinctive pesto and Bolognese sauces.

1135 Bannock Street, Denver, CO, Phone: 303-825-1995, (website link)

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10. Romantic Restaurants: North Italia

Romantic Restaurants: North Italia
© North Italia

The North Italia restaurant was established in 2002 in Denver’s charming Cherry Creek North neighborhood. The eatery offers a modern take on traditional Italian cooking and focuses on handcrafting everything from scratch every day; this includes their specialty cocktails, pizzas, and pastas.

They describe their restaurant as “a love letter to Italy,” priding themselves on creating authentic dishes, such as their strozzapreti with Bloomsdale spinach and their house specialty Bolognese sauce. At North Italia, the homemade pizza dough is light and airy with a slightly chewy center and a crispy crust. Robust Italian toppings include spicy pepperoni, garlic confit, soppressata, Italian sausage, and smoked mozzarella.

190 Clayton Lane, Denver, CO, Phone: 720-941-7700

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11. Italian Restaurants in Denver, Colorado: Osteria Marco

Italian Restaurants in Denver, Colorado: Osteria Marco
© Osteria Marco

Osteria Marco was established in 2007 by Frank Bonnano, who also owns Luca in Governor’s Park. Bonanno named Luca after his oldest son and Osteria Marco after his younger son. Both restaurants feature the same Italian tradition, artisan spirit, and quality service, but Osteria does it in a more playful atmosphere.

Guests will enjoy this casual Italian eatery that serves up classic hand-tossed pizzas, house-crafted meats and cheeses, antipasti, salads, paninis, and more in a rustic, upscale ambiance. This one-time grocery shop turned restaurant is the culinary intersection of tradition meets contemporary, from the food to the wine to the ambiance.

1453 Larimer, Denver, CO, Phone: 303-534-5855

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12. Romantic Restaurants: Shells & Sauce

Romantic Restaurants: Shells & Sauce
© Shells & Sauce

Shells & Sauce is a cozy neighborhood Italian bistro in the Congress Park section of Denver. Guests can enjoy this snug-at-home ambiance thanks to their quaint dining room highlighting an open kitchen that serves up authentic, Old Country Italian food. Patrons will dine on homemade dishes such as lasagna, Bolognese, and lobster ravioli as well as a plethora of savory appetizers such as their crispy duck fat gnocchi. This Congress Park favorite also features a beautiful rooftop patio and an enclosed second floor dining area with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the neighborhood. There are great options for a glass of wine from their extensive list.

2600 E 12th Avenue, Denver, CO, Phone: 303-377-2091

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13. Italian Restaurants in Denver, Colorado: Spuntino

Italian Restaurants in Denver, Colorado: Spuntino
© Spuntino

Spuntino restaurant is a quaint Italian restaurant in the Potter Highlands neighborhood of Denver, owned and operated by a husband and wife duo. They feature an ever-changing, seasonal menu inspired by their Italian passions, experiences, travels, and roots. Spuntino utilizes locally sourced ingredients, sustainably sourced seafood, and house-made ingredients that include cheeses, pastas, charcuterie, breads, and gelato, among many others. Guests can choose from a wide variety of antipasti spuntini, primi and secondi, desserts, and a comprehensive wine list. There are light options like the warm, house-marinated Losada olives and heartier options like braised beef short rib risotto.

2639 W 32nd Avenue, Denver, CO, Phone: 303-433-0949, (website link)

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14. Italian Restaurants in Denver, Colorado: Bar Red

Italian Restaurants in Denver, Colorado: Bar Red
© Bar Red

Bar Red is nestled into the Gateway neighborhood of Denver in a two-story 120-year-old brick and stone building. An eye-catching 100-year-old wood bar with a carved front dominates the upstairs dining area. The building with its Prohibition Era meets Wild West brothel ambiance is the perfect background for this charming urban Mediterranean eatery. Diners will be awed by the wall murals and delighted by the unique menu – a blend of Italian cuisine and American bar fare. Bar Red can best be described as an urban sanctuary rooted in history and serving up everything from goat cheese herbed risotto to their house specialty carbonara.

437 W Colfax, Denver, CO, Phone: 303-573-0223

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15. Dinner Near Me: Carmine’s on Penn

Dinner Near Me: Carmine’s on Penn
© Carmine’s on Penn

Carmine’s on Penn is a family-style restaurant in the heart of Denver that has been serving delicious Italian-style cuisine for over 20 years. Owner Brad Ritter gave the eatery an upgrade in 2006 and it now features beautifully muraled walls created by local artist Kerry Kice. Her fine art creations mix with soothing lighting and oversized family-style tables to offer diners a relaxing and comfortable dining experience. The handcrafted menu, inspired by Italian immigrants living in America in the late 1800s, provides guests with an array of Italian-American pasta, chicken, and veal dishes made in sharable sizes as well as dinner-for-two and family-sized portions.

92 S Pennsylvania, Denver, CO, Phone: 303-777-6443

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16. Italian Restaurants in Denver, Colorado: Coperta

Italian Restaurants in Denver, Colorado: Coperta
© Coperta

Coperta restaurant in Denver is family-owned and operated by a brother-and-sister team, Executive Chef Paul Reilly and General Manager Aileen Reilly. Their casually elegant restaurant utilizes dark wood, neutral tones, subdued lighting, and rustic Italian photos to create a relaxed environment. Coperta’s menu celebrates the food and wine of Rome, featuring fresh regional and seasonal ingredients with traditional recipes. Guests can begin their dining experience by sharing a salumi plate from the Mozzarella Bar, then indulge in an authentic primi like the spaghetti cacio e pepe, and end their meal with a delectable tartufo from their dolci menu, among other Italian classics.

400 E 20th Avenue, Denver, CO, Phone: 720-749-4666, (website link)

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17. Restaurants Near Me: Pizza Republica

Restaurants Near Me: Pizza Republica
© Pizza Republica

The first Pizza Republica was established in 2009 by Midwestern Italian boy George Eder, who decided to bring the traditions and recipes of his ancestors to Colorado. His second location, in the revamped Theater District of downtown Denver, can be found in the Convention Center. It presents a stunning indoor dining space and has one of the largest patios in the city. Eder’s self-described “tried and true regional recipes” of authentic Neapolitan pizzas have made him an Italian staple in the community. Guests can indulge in wood-fired flatbreads and pizzas like his Duck & Fig and quattro formaggi as well as starters, mains, pastas, and over 100 hand-selected Italian wines.

890 14th Street, Denver, CO, Phone: 303-623-2811

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18. Italian Restaurants in Denver, Colorado: Postino LoHi

Italian Restaurants in Denver, Colorado: Postino LoHi
© Postino LoHi

The Postino in Lower Highlands is one of six distinct restaurants located in popular Colorado cities and housed in unique historic buildings. Located in the extraordinary Denver Bookbinding Company constructed in 1962, Postino boasts a beautifully redesigned look that tells the tale of the building’s history while also offering awe-inspiring views of the downtown Denver skyline. Guests can indulge in unique wines and a simple menu of delicious Italian fare utilizing local ingredients in a warm yet edgy atmosphere. A collection of artisanal meat and cheese boards, more than ten distinct bruschettas, fresh soups, salads, and handcrafted paninis provide a light yet savory menu.

2715 17th Street, Denver, CO, Phone: 303-433-6363

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19. Italian Restaurants in Denver, Colorado: Trattoria Stella

Italian Restaurants in Denver, Colorado: Trattoria Stella
© Trattoria Stella

Trattoria Stella in Highlands Square is a leading Italian neighborhood restaurant focusing on homemade dishes made using fresh, natural ingredients. Within walking distance of the Highlands Square Shopping Area, this quaint restaurant is ideally located for an intimate dining experience at the end of the day. Seasonal lunch and dinner menus showcase traditional Italian, vegetarian, and seafood options; guests will enjoy selections such as their truffle asparagus spaghetti. Trattoria Stella also has a large outdoor patio that’s perfect for a romantic dinner for two or a place to share a delicious appetizer like their fontina truffle fonduta, complemented by a handcrafted cocktail.

3470 W 32nd Avenue, Denver, CO, Phone: 303-458-1128

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The 20 Best Italian Restaurants in Denver, Colorado near me today according to local experts are: