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3 of 5 bubbles Review of Luca

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Ranked #248 of 2,986 Restaurants in Denver
Price range: $25 - $40
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Business meetings
Dining options: Dinner, Accepts American Express, Accepts Discover, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Full Bar, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Street Parking, Valet Parking, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Wine and Beer
Dining style: Fine Dining
Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
Cross street: 7th
Description: Opened in February 2003, Luca is where food marries art. Chef Frank Bonanno features house-made salumi, a variety of fresh breads, pastas and cheeses. The menu reflects authentic Italian dishes inspired by the Piedmont, Tuscan and Sicilian regions, all prepared with the season's finest ingredients.
Littleton, CO
Level Contributor
312 reviews
207 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 16, 2012

Our visit was a disappointment. The service was disjointed and the food was average at best. A real disappointment compared to prior reviews and their prices.

Visited January 2012
1 Thank Doug W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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113 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
98 reviews
76 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 2, 2012

After 25 years of living abroad, 12 of which we went to Piemonte four times a year, I like to think I know excellent Italian food when I taste it. And Luca d'Italia is just that!

Owner/Chef Frank Bonanno is no stranger to culinary success. His gastronomic brainchildren include Mizuna, Bones, Ostera Marco and Russell's Smokehouse, to name a few. Unlike so many chefs who, as they expand, lose their edge, Frank just keeps getting better and better. His executive chef, Hunter Pritchett, is an artisan along with his crack staff that create fresh pasta, housemade bread and grissini and burrata on a daily basis. Pigs come in whole and are transformed into countless dishes. Practically nothing goes to waste.

I've bene going to Luca since shortly after it's opening. The menu changes according to the season and what's available in the markets. So check their website for an up-to-date menu. One of my favorites is Frank's salumi plate filled with charcuterie, fried gnocchi strips and other goodies. I like just going to the restaurant and sitting at the bar to eat something light. Start with a glass of Veneto Sauvignon Blanc or, if you're not alone, a bottle of G. D. Vajra Langhe Bianco (surprisingly dry Riesling from the master of Barolo, Aldo Vajra). Along with your wine, Mo (who is usually at the bar) will provide you with the house "butter" (which is whipped lardo cured with salt and rosemary) and a bowl of focaccia and grissini. Then order a big honking glass of something red and barnyard-smelly (like Matteo Correggia's Roero Nebbiolo) with the antipasti. And then something sweet. From gelati to sorbetti to budino, all of Luca's sweets are delicious way to end any meal.

So what if you're at a table? Well, ask for Jennifer to be your server when you book. And follow Frank Bonanno's tweets to find out if he'll be cooking at Luca that night.

Some of my favorites from the primi list are Tagliatelle Fra Diavola, Olathe Corn Agnolotti, and Ricotta Cavatelli. From the secondi list, the suckling pig porchetta and the duo of duck are two of my favorites. Actually, you just can't go wrong with any choice.

And to go with your delicious dishes? The wine list is replete with great choices of Italian wines, many of which many not be familiar to you. But this is the place to be adventurous. Ask for guidance and you'll be directed to excellent choices, whatever your budget. Like the menu, the wine list changes, but some notable names to look out for (anything from these producers or from Boulder-based Giuliana Imports are great choices): Matteo Correggia, G. D. Vajra, Marchesi di Gresy, Vietti, La Spinetta, Cantina del Pino - ask for their Barbaresco - and Mauro Molino).

And if you love the food at Luca and you love to cook, when you get home, buy the Luca d'Italia cookbook in the iTunes store. It's the only cookbook specifically developed for the iPad platform. Great recipes that are cross-linked, embedded videos and enchanting prose by Bonanno himself. I love it! You will, too. It's the best way to spend about $7 bucks on a cookbook you can imagine.

Ok, so I'm hungry. I need to get to Denver again soon and have a "Luca fix."

Buon appetito!

  • Visited October 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank VillaArneis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dearborn, Michigan
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Mama mia!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 9, 2012

Went with my husband and a friend. Was a delight. Highly recommend the tasting menu. It says 7 course sampler but seemed like 12, Delicious innovative Italian food.

Visited October 2012
Thank dmfamg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
98 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“It's not a "fast food" restaurant so why did I feel like it was?”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2012

Here is a quick summary of our evening, Aug. 18, 2012:
1. Excellent, delicious food
2. Warm welcome and good service (even though they blew the birthday candle thing...)
3. Over a C note for each of us...
4. Had not been there an hour and we were already receiving our 3rd (main) course, and we spent at least 15 minutes at the outset debating the menu and drinking prosecco. We would barely finish a dish and it would be swiftly removed and another delivered. We had the wine pairing and we wouldn't even be finished with that! It was weird -- at this type of place and at the price, the pacing is a definite negative. In fact, when my main course arrived, I just pushed it aside for 5-10 minutes until I was ready to eat again.
5. SLOW IT DOWN -- that is my advice to this restaurant; then they might be an exceptional place....

  • Visited August 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
3 Thank pmow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver CO
Level Contributor
29 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Excellent food coupled with amazing wine and great service”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 22, 2012

Another Frank B. success story! How may great restaurants can one proprietor have? Sitting on the same block as his amazing Mizuna and yummy Bones restaurants it was our first time at Luca. Nice, but not stuffy, wonderful fresh food and a great wine pairing. Do not expect any marinara sauce or garlic bread. The menu is very Northern Italian with a heavy bent on seafood. Delicious!!

  • Visited July 2012
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Stapleton_Girl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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