Dining Out at Barolo Grill

Barolo Grill presents the flavors of Northern Italy in Denver.

Crudo di ricciola, anatra di Barolo, and agnolotti con lavanda
Photo by Matt Nager.

For years, Northern Italy’s cuisine hasn’t been a flight away from Denver, it’s been accessible right at home at Barolo. And the fine dining restaurant is still as worthy of a stop as ever whether you’ve dined there before or you’re a longtime regular thanks to an always changing menu that stays true to the region.

Barolo’s adherence to bringing an Italian influence to Denver is clear from the ground up: the staff takes annual trips to Italy to inform the restaurant’s take on modern Piemontese cuisine and learn about the country’s wines first-hand.

With seasonality as a guide, Barolo stays true to its Italian roots with standbys like maiale, a pistachio and herb-crusted pork tenderloin, and creamy risotto made with acquerello carnaroli rice (a short grain variety from Piedmont).

- Advertisement -

The fritto misto transports you to coastal Italy. Don’t be thrown off by the horseradish; it complements the dish perfectly, adding a zesty kick that lightens up the fried calamari, rock shrimp, seasonal fish, and vegetables. In the crudo di ricciola, hearty pieces of amber jack are brightened by truffle ponzu and pickled jicama, while fried quinoa adds a satisfying crunch. The agnolotti con lavanda is carefully folded and filled with veal, lavender brown butter, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

A standby dish throughout the restaurant’s history—and one that never leaves the menu—is the anatra di Barolo. Here, tradition wins out. The duck is braised in Barolo wine and finished with a zesty sauce, and is served with kalamata olives, vegetables, and roasted garlic potatoes.

A meal at Barolo should end with a surprise. The pistachio panna cotta is topped with strawberries—both dried and fresh for a symphony of textures—and Pop Rocks that add a playful sparkle to the dessert.

While diners can order à la carte, the reasonably priced four-course tasting menu (wine lovers will appreciate the wine pairing addition as well) with smaller portions is the best way to get a taste of what Barolo does best. And if you’d like to elevate a dish further, black Burgundy truffles can be added for $30.

Italian cuisine, of course, is best enjoyed with wine, and there’s no shortage of options. Barolo’s extensive wine list is best navigated with the knowledgable staff as a guide. There are hundreds of bottles from the Barolo region of Italy alone, along with options from around the world with vintages that date back multiple decades.

That trip to Italy may seem far off, but at Barolo, the flavors are close to home.