A chill fills your bones this time of year as you walk through Union Station- cold concrete and granite surround you, busy travelers push past in every direction—even the outbound light rail seems to have a sense of melancholy. Thankfully, Denver’s most anticipated new restaurant Tavernetta waits for you, tucked among the hustle and imposing glass buildings. Peek into the windows—you can glimpse a cozy fire burning in the hearth, friends chatting as they sink deep into stylish armchairs. Inside, let the chill melt away in the warmth and casual sophistication that is Tavernetta.
Pale wood and quiet, rustic touches fill the restaurant. An elegant open kitchen allows you to see the staff at work. Pasta being made by hand, prosciutto on the slicer, the insanely delicious house focaccia being readied for tables. Settle in and choose a drink from the extensive wine list (This restaurant is from the same team that brought us Boulder’s Frasca Food and Wine, after all!) or try one of their many playful cocktails. I recommend The Fire in the Wall, a smoky mixture that includes mezcal and fig puree. The cocktail is a lighthearted nod to the kitchen fire Tavernetta suffered in September, mere days after their grand opening. After tirelessly working to get the restaurant back up and running, Tavernetta is back and better than ever, to the joy of foodies everywhere.
Because the food- oh, the food. Start with an appetizer like the Insalata di Stagione, a flavorful salad of farro, pomegranate, apple and celery root. The apples are finely shredded and give a delightfully sweet crunch to the more nutty, herbal flavors of the farro. Next, move on to heartier fare like the Tagliatelle with Maine lobster. This creamy pasta has a touch of heat that will warm you up on even the coldest of winter days. And with your appetite piqued, order the Manzo, a beautifully grilled beef with a sweet and tangy salsa rossa, or the Branzino, a crispy white fish paired with greens and summery citrus—authentic Italian at its finest.
At this point, don’t fight the food coma, finish with one of the restaurant’s sweeter offerings, like the Panna Cotta. Silky smooth with vanilla, strawberries and mint, it’s the perfect way to end your meal. Just be warned—you may never want to venture out from Tavernetta’s warm hospitality back into the cold again.