Best Italian Restaurant - 2004
Readers' Choice: Carmine's on Penn
With Luca d'Italia, chef/owner Frank Bonanno has done what most transplanted East Coasters would have thought impossible: He's brought good Italian food to the Rocky Mountain region. No, not just good. Great Italian food. Wonderful, vital, superlative Italian food that's absolutely without equal on the Denver scene. Luca's menu is designed for gluttonous abandon, arranged for wild flights of pairing and sharing, set up in an attempt to make people eat the way the Italians do -- with several courses of small plates leading up to the entrees. The portions are small, the plating simple, the combinations divine. And on plate after plate -- from warm artichoke hearts to gnocchi in a crab-and-lobster gravy to the truffled rabbit parts that nearly killed us -- the unparalleled skill of this kitchen and the dedication of its chef shows through with startling, wonderful clarity.