The Best Italian in Denver

One of the things I miss the most about living in New York are small, beautiful neighborhood restaurants that serve phenomenal food. The other thing that I desperately miss is really, really Italian food. Enter Coperta.

The team behind Beast & Bottle is responsible for this incredible restaurant and I've read that the pair traveled widely throughout Rome and Southern Italy while crafting the menu. You can tell. So many restaurants today feel compelled to put their own 'spin' on classic dishes but some things are better left untouched—like Italian food. My favorite dishes include the chewy cavatelli with meat ragù, the orrechiette with broccoli rabe and sausage and the bucatini all'amatriciana with salty bits of guanciale. Chicken isn’t always the most exciting dish on a menu, but Coperta’s pollo allo diavolo makes you reconsider that whole assumption. Diavolo means “devil,” and this wood-charred half-chicken lives up to its name, fiery from its chile marinade, Calabrian chiles and the red-tinged chile oil ringing the plate.

When you walk in, it's very easy to imagine that you've been transported to the West Village and you're finally about to try out the hot new restaurant on Bank Street. Coperta manages to have a rustic Italian charm without being a caricature of itself. Simplicity is key, with dark wooden tables and chairs, oval mirrors on exposed brick walls and the original bar. The space is intimate enough for a date, but bustling enough for a casual dinner with friends.

You also can't ignore Coperta's location on Logan and 20th Avenue (across from Benedict Fountain Park) which means that after a leisurely meal, you can walk out the door, belly full of wine and pasta, and engage in that most Italian of traditions: the passeggiata, or evening stroll.

The best part? Coperta isn’t just a dinner spot—you can get your fill of pasta for lunch, and there’s a walk-up counter for breakfast sandwiches and pastries plus a full espresso bar, too. Try it for every course. You won't be disappointed.

© 2017 by The Weekender.