I tried the entire new menu at Panzano. Here’s what I recommend.

New executive chef Patrick Kelly introduced a new menu focused on clean plates and warm flavors.

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Panzano has sat under the Hotel Monaco in Denver for 18 years, and in that time the restaurant has only had four executive chefs.

The latest, chef Patrick Kelly, came on board this fall. He’s worked two stints in Michelin-starred kitchens and was most recently worked around the Bay Area as the chef de cuisine at Michelin one-starred and San Francisco Chronicle four-starred La Folie, then executive chef at San Francisco Chronicle three-starred Angèle, executive chef of culinary operations for the Au Bon Repas group and finally as the opening executive chef at Lure + Till in the Epiphany Hotel for Commune Hotels and Resorts.

Kelly introduced a new menu when he came on board at Panzano — one focused, he says, on clean plates and warm flavors. It’s a savory menu, meant to pair best with wine, and I tasted the entire thing.

Here are my favorite dishes:

Sformato

Parmigiano reggiabi custard, black olive and spiced pumpkin purée. 

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Sformato at Panzano, 909 17th St. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)

This looks like an appetizer you can finish on your own, but unless you’re got an iron stomach, consider sharing it instead. It’s incredibly rich. The diced up olive adds a necessary bite to a very creamy, warm fall dish.

Poplette al forno

Veal and pork meatballs, smoked paprika, pomodoro and herbed bread crumbs.

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Poplette al forno at Panzano, 909 17th St. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)

Hard to go wrong with a shareable, classic side dish.

Doppio ravioli di vetri

Braised lamb, polenta rustica, calabrian chile, pecorino and brassicas.

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Doppio ravioli di vetri at Panzano, 909 17th St. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)

The lamb and polenta are in seperate pockets within the ravioli, which is a neat trick.

I should note here that all of the pasta at Panzano is made in house.

Bucatini di bascilico

Wild mushrooms, three-milk robiola fonduta and herbed bread crumbs.

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Bucatini di bascilico at Panzano, 909 17th St. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)

This one was my favorite. It’s earthy and texturally satisfying, with the crunchy bread crumbs balancing out the chewiness of the mushrooms and thick noodles.

Tiramisu
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Tiramisu at Panzano, 909 17th St. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)

Yes, it’s a totally standard Italian desert, but it was so good that I was genuinely sad when I got home and realized I forgot my to-go box of it at the table.


Panzano started serving a fixed tasting menu on Nov. 5, offering five courses for $65. They’re also doing 3 grams of white truffles for $34 and 3 grams of black truffles for $21.

Hours:

  • Breakfast 6:30-10 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • Brunch 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • Lunch 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • Dinner 4:30-9 p.m. Sunday, 5-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 5- 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
  • Happy hour 2:30-6 p.m. daily

Ashley Dean

Author: Ashley Dean

Ashley Dean covers dining and nightlife, and other odds and ends. She previously covered music and did some copy editing for the Denver Post, the Colorado Daily and the Daily Camera. She's from New York, likes her bourbon straight and has strong opinions about Kanye West. She can be reached at adean@denverite.com, 303-502-2804 or @AshleyDean.