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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

An Elegant Italian Dinner For Two At Panzano | Restaurant Review

An Elegant Italian Dinner For Two At Panzano | Restaurant Review
Photo courtesy of Panzano Restaurant
A dinner for two is always a treat to parents as they are finally the center of attention.  It takes a few moments to realize this experience is all about the two of you but when it sinks in you want to savor every moment.  

As part of our weekend getaway, we dined at the Award winning Italian restaurant, Panzano which is literally in the Hotel Monaco Denver.  Panzano is sweetly nestled in downtown Denver close to the Denver Performing Arts Complex and the 16th Street Mall.  It was named one of Zagat’s best restaurants in America but with our early evening reservation of 6:30 I wasn't sure what to expect and wondered if we would get a secluded romantic corner or a out in the open child-ridden nightmare. 
An Elegant Italian Dinner For Two At Panzano | Restaurant Review
Photo courtesy of Panzano Restaurant

It was still light out when we entered and had peeked in prior to dining to see the dress.  It was dressy casual so we felt comfortable to wear the same without feeling stuffy.  The decor was contemporary with a high-end steakhouse warmth but it was an "contemporary Northern Italian cuisine with a focus on local, seasonal and organic ingredients" so I did not know what to expect once we entered.  When we followed the host to our table my nightmare came true. Children were seated right next to us.  


An Elegant Italian Dinner For Two At Panzano | Restaurant Review
Photo courtesy of Panzano Restaurant


My husband was not pleased but within moments they blended into the background because they were lovely, mannerly children and our server washed away any apprehension we may have harbored upon our seating.  

Our server Dimitri put any fears, worries or concerns to rest with the most pleasant nature and obvious aptitude for the restaurant. He explained everything from the soups of the day to the new features they were trying out without skipping a beat to ensure we understood everything about anything on the menu.  


An Elegant Italian Dinner For Two At Panzano | Restaurant Review

He even talked me into one of their signature drink, A Perfect Pear, and it lived up to its name of perfection!  "Grey goose la poire, chase elderflower liqueur, house-made pear simple syrup and a squeeze of lemon served up".  It was the best martini I have ever had with a pure essence of pear sweet enough without over-powering the drink.


An Elegant Italian Dinner For Two At Panzano | Restaurant Review

Matt had the R & R, "Ketel​ one vodka and raspberry liqueur muddled with raspberries and rosemary, served on the rocks with a splash of soda" and he enjoyed this out of the ordinary drink for him.  Needless to say we were starting off well.  




I love Italian food and was eager to try something new outside my typical choice of either eggplant or chicken parmigiana.  The menu lived up to the name of contemporary Northern Italian without the traditional dishes many would attribute to an Italian restaurant. 


An Elegant Italian Dinner For Two At Panzano | Restaurant Review
Photo courtesy of Panzano Restaurant

Dimitri was superb at finding what we may want to indulge in as we asked him for his opinion.  He is an excellent judge of character because his choices were spot on for the both of us.  What I truly found amazing was their extensive Gluten-free menu.  It was just as long as the regular dinner menu and even though neither of us are allergic to Gluten, I will keep that nugget of information handy for whenever I run into someone looking for a gluten-free menu.  


An Elegant Italian Dinner For Two At Panzano | Restaurant Review

I had to hold back from eating all the spinach and leeks bread as it was scrumptious! I love bread, but with the olive centered dipping sauce it was marvelous.   


An Elegant Italian Dinner For Two At Panzano | Restaurant Review

Matt had the Caesar Griglia salad while I opted for seasonal soup of the day.  Both were tasty and what I thoroughly enjoyed about the soup was the freshness of the ingredients.  Matt's dressing tasted the same way.  I felt they took pride in the ingredients. 

Yes, that is my second A Perfect Pear martini beside my bowl of soup!


An Elegant Italian Dinner For Two At Panzano | Restaurant Review



Dimitri splurged on us by allowing us to try a new menu item they were thinking about adding.  It was warmed tuna rolls sitting on a bed of sauce that was unbelievably flavorful.  After our treat he brought over palate cleansing minty sorbets to get us prepared for our main course. 


An Elegant Italian Dinner For Two At Panzano | Restaurant Review


I was almost full by the time our entrees arrived.  Matt had the Bistecca alla Griglia, "Grilled cut of the day with fried potato gnocchi, basil pesto, gorgonzola crumbles, and balsamic gastrique".  He said his steak was tender, juicy and tasty but I am not a steak fan so I didn't try it.  I did try a few of the fried potato gnocchi and loved their sweet and light taste. 

I decided on the Garganelli con Pollo, "House-rolled garganelli pasta tossed with chicken confit, amatriciana sauce, and topped with smoked ricotta".  The chicken was tender, savory and the pasta tasted so fresh I knew they cooked it that very day.  I could only have enjoyed it more if I weren't so full! 

We skipped on dessert because there truly was no room to put it. We were both past full, tipsy and ready to retire.  It was truly a lovely meal. 

My final thoughts...

We immensely enjoyed the dinner at Panzano. The decor, the ambiance, the service as well as the food was impeccable! It was an Italian dinner outside of a traditional menu while still holding onto Italian flavors and style.  I loved the idea of a a gluten-free menu that is more than just two items and that martini will have me visiting Panzano very soon with some girlfriends for happy hour.  

Dimitri is a treasure and made us feel welcomed as well as catering to our every need. 


An Elegant Italian Dinner For Two At Panzano | Restaurant Review
Photo courtesy of Dresscodefinder.com


Panzano was a delight to dine at and one of the best restaurants in downtown Denver.  Panzano is idea for a romantic dinner or a dinner out with family as or just friends.  


My complementary dinner at Panzano Restaurant was for a freelance travel feature. 

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