Thursday, January 13, 2011

Review: Venice Ristorante & Wine Bar - Denver, Colorado

I am way behind on reviews! Christmas break sucked the life out of me and I am just now feeling motivated to get back in the swing of things. M and I took an extended vacation from work; this meant 12 luxurious days off for me and 14 for him. We did a lot of nothing, cooking, eating, baking, partying, visiting, traveling, shopping, returning, and sleeping. We had a ball! Oh, and I did get that wok!

M's birthday is just after Christmas and I wanted to do something really special for him. After weeks of bouncing around ideas, I settled on taking him up to Denver for a Nuggets NBA game. It turned out to be the best gift I could've given him! We stayed in a super HUGE suite at the luxurious Sheraton Denver Hotel (thanks for the free upgrade Sheraton), which is walking distance from just about everything. 
We were only going to be in Denver for 2 nights, so on the first night I took him to a fancy Italian birthday dinner at Venice Ristorante & Wine Bar in Downtown Denver. I did a lot of research to find the perfect place...there are a ton of Italian restaurants in the city, but none of them had reviews remotely close to those of Venice. We took the 16th Street Mall free shuttle down to Wynkoop Street and walked a block to get the restaurant. We arrived around 7 because we were starving after the drive up, and I was surprised to find that the restaurant was virtually empty. We were seating immediately, and the server greeted us promptly. The atmosphere inside was very modern and contemporary; lots of clean lines, and crisp colors (black, white, greys). So far, we were totally impressed.
We ordered drinks, but not wine. M and I are not wine enthusiasts. I'll drink a glass on occasion, but it gives me such a headache the next day. It's pretty unfortunate at times, because this restaurant had what appeared to be a fantastic wine list!

The menu is pretty extensive. All of their pastas are made in house, and it appears that their specialty is gnocchi (which neither one of us ordered) and ravioli. We started with our usual favorite, the Calamaretti Fritti. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! It was fried to perfection, and we especially loved the the pesto sauce that it was served with...Another thing we loved, was that it was just the right portion. We were able to enjoy it without getting so full that we couldn't touch our main entree.
For my entree I chose the Polletto ai Carciofi e Capperi (Chicken breast with baby artichokes and finished with a lemon butter sauce over baby vegetables). The chicken was so tender that I could cut it with my fork, and the lemon sauce was light and very flavorful. There was just the right amount of lemon. For my side dish I ordered the Fettuccine Alfredo; and this was delicious.
M ordered a ravioli dish from the daily specials menu and he can't remember much about it, except for that it had chicken in it and it was really really good. I ate most of those mushrooms! 

We had a great time at this dinner. I'd definitely go back! We loved to food, atmosphere, and service.

Venice Ristorante on Urbanspoon

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