Reservation #2: Panzano

“Chi mangia bene, viva bene”  — Those who eat well, live well. Those Italians know what they’re talking about when it comes to food, and so does Panzano. Located downtown on the corner of 17th St. and Champa (next to Hotel Monaco), Panzanos atmosphere is classy and accented in red. From white table cloths to red floors and chandeliers, this busy restaurant is a sight for sore eyes. Personally, I have never been to a restaurant in Denver that will offer regular water or sparkling water when you sit down. I have a love for sparkling water, so you can imagine my excitement when this option rolled around. So, here it comes, the four courses…

As you should do at restaurant week, each party eating has to order something different off the menu. That way you each get to try eight different things rather than four. For the first course we ordered Cavolini di Bruxelles (fried brussels sprouts tossed with apple cider vinegar, pistachios and green apples) and Crespelle ai Funghi (hazel dell mushroom stuffed crepes, fonduta sauce, white truffle oil). Both so tempting and pleasing; full of flavor and color. For the second course we went with the traditional and ordered a Caesar (hearts of romaine, anchovies, garlic, parmesan, croutons, crispy capers) and an Insalata Mista (hand picked organic greens, sherry vinaigrette). The third course, the main course, were surprisingly large portions. Panzano went all out. We ordered Rosmarino Tagliatelle (rosemary pasta with cranberries, toasted pine nuts and goat cheese, with a lemon emulsion) and Pollo Val d’Aosta (lightly breaded chicken layered with prosciutto and and fontina cheese over mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach). Both dishes were engaging and divine. There were so many flavors in the dishes but one never overpowered the other. On to the fourth course (as if I could eat anymore), dessert was Cioccolato Cannoli (housemade cannoli filled with gianduia and dark chocolate mousse and a italian dark cherry sauce) and Selezione di Sorbetto (made in house daily and a scoop of passion fruit, raspberry and cassis).

Whew. If there was another course someone would have had to roll me out of the restaurant. With all of that food, nothing disappointed. It was an opulent and robust meal. Delizioso!

Pollo Val d’Aosta

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