A universal truth: no matter what kind of mood you’re in, Italian food hits the spot. It’s there for you when you’re longing for a comforting bowl of noodles after a long day, or when you’re treating yourself to a celebratory night on the town. And good news! There’s certainly no shortage of great Italian food in Denver. Below, you’ll find our guide to the 15 best Italian restaurants in Denver.

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15. Shells and Sauce

Capellini d’angelo from Shells and Sauce in Denver, Denver's best italian

Shells and Sauce is a favorite neighborhood spot in Denver’s Italian food scene. With both indoor and outdoor patio space to choose from (hello, warm summer nights enjoyed on the patio!), there are always good times and even better food to be had here. Order the Capellini D’Angelo with roasted garlic, shallots, broccoli florets, Italian sausage, and basil in white wine butter sauce & fresh ricotta for a meal you won’t forget.

Shells and Sauce

$$ Italian, Bars, Salad

2600 E 12th Ave, Denver, CO 80206

(303) 377-2091

14. The Cherry Tomato

The Cherry Tomato Italian dinner some of the best in Denver

If you’re a local, you’ve probably driven past this cozy spot tucked away in South Park Hill plenty of times. Well, we’re here to tell you it’s time to stop in for some down-to-earth, rich, and delicious Italian food. Family-owned since 1996, we love the history this spot has in this neighborhood and the feeling you get when you walk in the door. You can’t go wrong with ordering a classic dish here like lasagna, or one of their signature dishes, Pasta Felese which features artichokes, peas, sundried tomatoes, chicken, and farfalle in a pesto white wine cream sauce.

The Cherry Tomato

$$ Italian

4645 E 23rd Ave, Denver, CO 80207

(303) 377-1914

13. Gaetano’s

denver's best italian restaurants: Gaetano's

Another classic Denver dining spot on our guide to the best Italian in Denver is Gaetano’s in Highland. Originally a grocery store opened by a mobster family from Chicago, framed photos of people from the restaurant’s history decorate the walls, while mugshots adorn the bathroom. You’ll feel like you’re taking a step back in time when you see the big leather booths and hear the old-time music playing. Popular dishes here are the housemade gnocchi or chicken parmesan.


$$ Italian, Cocktail Bars, Wine Bars

3760 Tejon St, Denver, CO 80211

(303) 455-9852

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12. Lou’s Italian Specialties

Porchetta broccoli rabe hot sandwich by Lou's Italian Specialties

Definitely one of the more casual spots on our guide to Denver’s best Italian food, Lou’s Italian Specialties is part Italian goods market, part deli, part restaurant, and we love it all. After ordering, take some time to peruse the grocery shelves and grab some unique Italian goods to take home. One of our favorite things to order here is the Porchetta broccoli rabe hot sandwich. Broccoli on a sandwich? Trust us, it’s divine! Crispy, crunchy bread with broccoli and caramelized onions. It’s not your typical Italian sandwich, and that’s what makes it stand out. Treat yourself to a lace cookie or mini cannoli to finish your meal off on a sweet note. 

Lou’s Italian Specialties

$$ Delis, Italian, Salad

3357 N Downing St, Denver, CO 80205

(720) 287-3642

11. Il Posto

burrata from Il Posto Denver's best Italian restaurants

Located in the bustling hotspot of Larimer Street in RiNo, Il Posto is an elevated Italian dining experience that’s not to be missed in Denver’s best Italian food scene. Coming from the same ownership as Vero Pizza within Denver Central Market (which we also love very much), the menu is full of options to please any palate. You can’t go wrong with the burrata to start—that house-made lavash is divine! 

Il Posto

$$$ Italian, Wine Bars

2601 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205

(303) 394-0100

10. Cattivella

Pasticcio dish from Cattivella, denver's best italian restaurants

The dining scene in the Aurora area is generally worth the light trek out of Denver to get there, and Cattivella is no exception. Their Pasticcio dish, which is made up of housemade meatballs, three cheese tortellini, slow braised bolognese, herby pomodoro, bechamel, and a parmigiana brulee (are you drooling yet?!)  is one of their most well-known menu items. So we highly recommend ordering it! Sit at the chef’s counter to witness the magic while you dine!


$$ Italian, Wine Bars

10195 E 29th Dr Suite 110, Denver, CO 80238

(303) 645-3779

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9. Odyssey

Odyssey Italian Osso Bucco siciliano from the Chef’s Daily Features

At Odyssey Italian, you’ll find old-school Italian vibes and a heavily Sicilian-leaning menu. Truly the best (and also busiest) time to come here is on a Monday night when they offer their pasta specialany pasta offering on their menu plus a Caesar salad for a steal of a price ($8.99, but typically $20 each not including a salad!). If you’re in the mood for something a little more filling, their Osso Bucco Siciliano from the Chef’s Daily Features is a great choice. 

Odyssey Italian Restaurant

$$ Sicilian, Seafood, Pasta Shops

603 E 6th Ave, Denver, CO 80203

(303) 318-0102

8. Trattoria Stella

Gnocchi by Trattoria Stella

Trattoria Stella encompasses all that we’re looking for when in the mood for laid-back Italian food but with a slightly upscale edge. Another Denver OGthey’ve been around since the 90sthat’s absolutely still worth visiting. Skip the bread starter to save room for your mains herebelieve us, you’ll need it! One of their most beloved menu items is the gnocchi, which is prepared fried. And WOW, you’ll be dreaming of it for weeks and months to follow.

Trattoria Stella – Colfax

$$ Italian, Bars

3201 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206

(303) 320-8635

Trattoria Stella – Highland

$$ Italian

3470 W 32nd Ave, Denver, CO 80211

(303) 458-1128

7. Dio Mio

Dio Mio, Radiatore

Dio Mio is one of Denver’s best Italian restaurants when you’re in the mood for some solid noodles. Upon arriving at this cool, yet low-key RiNo hotspot, check in with the host, find a table, and then walk up to the bar to order. One of our favorite things to indulge in here is the Radiatore, a deliciously fun mix of flavors including basil pistachio pesto, melty mozzarella bits, and furikake seasoning to top it all off. 

Dio Mio

$$ Italian, Bars, Tapas/Small Plates

3264 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205

(303) 562-1965

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6. Restaurant Olivia

Lobster and spaghetti, pasta dish from Restaurant Olivia

Restaurant Olivia is THE spot on our guide to Denver’s best Italian restaurants for a cozy, intimate, and upscale date night. We highly recommend the tasting course, but if you’re not ready to go full food coma, we recommend ordering appetizer sizes of a few entrees so you can taste more than one! Lobster and spaghetti are consistently on the menu but everything else changes seasonally. The focaccia, served upon seating (YES!), comes with freshly grated parmesan atop butter and has a bit of a spicy kick in the best way.

Restaurant Olivia

$$ Italian

290 S Downing St, Denver, CO 80209

(303) 999 – 0395

5. Coperta

Coperta refined Southern Italian fare

Coperta brings refined Southern Italian fare to Denver’s Uptown neighborhood. Coperta is our favorite place amongst all of Denver’s best Italian restaurants to dine with a group of friends because they’ve got ample indoor seating and a menu that’ll have you wanting to order family style. Load up on some focaccia and suppli as you peruse the menu for your next move, which we highly recommend is the ravioli.


$$ Italian, Cocktail Bars

400 E 20th Ave, Denver, CO 80205

(720) 749-4666

4. Quality Italian

house-made pasta from Quality Italian

Quality Italian has it allbeautiful interiors, ample outdoor seating, amazing food, and did we mention complimentary garlic monkey bread? Because, wow. We love a good carb-load before even more carb-loading. The pasta here is all house-made, the menu changes seasonally, and they’ve got some incredible main options aside from pasta to boot. For all these reasons, Quality Italian is always and forever a favorite on our guide to Denver’s best Italian food. 

Quality Italian

$$$ Italian, American (New), Steakhouses

241 Columbine St, Denver, CO 80206

(303) 532-8888

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3. Bar Dough

Bar Dough's Diavolo Nuovo

Bar Dough is fancy-ish, but always down to earth (made apparent by the housemade hot pocket on their happy hour menu), and it’s one of the best spots in town for an outstanding Italian dinner. Whether you order melon and prosciutto to start, a seasonal pasta dish, or one of their signature pizzas (we love the Diavolo Nuovo), you’re going to be impressed. Stop into this Highland hot spot for dinner (their weekend brunch is also divine) the next time you’re craving some of Denver’s best Italian food. 

Bar Dough

$$ Italian, Pizza, Bars

2227 W 32nd Ave, Denver, CO 80211


2. Tavernetta

pasta from Tavernetta

Tavernetta is the ultimate spot on our guide to Denver’s best Italian food for an upscale, romantic evening out. Their modern yet warm interior has plenty of seating options depending on your moodmaybe you’ll go for a seat at the table by the fireplace, or perhaps the table in the “eddy” right by the open kitchen, or if you’re with a larger group, a more private experience is available at a table in the back. The cacio e pepe is incredible here. To get your hands on it, you’ll have to visit during happy hour, but be warned! It just might ruin any other cacio e pepe for you. It’s cheesy, peppery, and made with rigatoni to hold the sauce better. It’s definitely worth showing up a bit early in the evening for. Follow it up with a seasonal veggie dish, more pasta (why not?), and be sure to end with a dolci bite or two.


$$$ Italian

1889 16th St Mall, Denver, CO 80202

(720) 605-1889

1. Spuntino

the best Italian restaurant in Denver is Spuntino

By now, you can see you have plenty of options in Denver for great Italian food. But Spuntino takes the cake, hands down. Here, you never know what fun take on Italian food you’re going to see on the menu, and that’s one of our favorite parts about coming here for some of Denver’s best Italian food. The owner is Indian, so you’ll see a few instances of Indian-Italian fusion happening on the menu and it just works so well. A great starter, if it’s available on the ever-changing menu, is the Arancinitraditional Italian flavor merges with the local flavors of Colorado with hatch green chile. If you’re too full to order dessert on your first visit, we highly recommend returning ASAP to ensure you try something off the dessert menu as well. It’s all to die for, and we know you’re going to love it.


$$ Italian, Indian

2639 W 32nd Ave, Denver, CO 80211

(303) 433-0949