The finest affordable authentic Italian restaurants in Denver is Chow Morso Osteria. This fabulous Italian eatery is located on the corner of 15th and Wynkoop in lower downtown Denver (LoDo as us locals call it). A casual version of its well known Denver sister restaurant Barolo Grill. The concept is more approachable on the wallet than its sibling, but food and service are also exceptional!
My Favorite Dishes at Chow Morso Osteria: Arancini, Gnocco Fritto, Carbonara, Gnocchi, Agnolotti, Piadina Light Lunch, and the Seasonal Fruit Crisp.
The décor is modern. A little edgy, but warm and inviting at the same time with a mix of exposed wood beams and old brick walls. They have four seating options: a small dining room, a horseshoe bar with an exquisite chandelier, a pasta chefs counter surrounded by glass looking into the kitchen, an a cute petite patio in the front of the restaurant to take in the beautiful Colorado sunshine.
Date Night Denver Tip: Chow Morso Osteria is only blocks from several top Denver sights and landmarks including: Coors Field, Pepsi Center, Museum of Contemporary Art, and Union Station. It can be the perfect place to fancy a delicious meal before or after catching a game or concert.
Although the space is very charming to appreciate a wonderful meal, the food is the star of the show starting with the antipasti course!
The Arancini is an appetizer I could order every time I come here! Lightly breaded rice balls that are fried to perfection. Stuffed inside is fontina cheese that holds it all together, but doesn’t overwhelm the risotto so you can still taste that component. The two accompanying sauces work so well with the dish and help complete the appetizer. Served with a spicy red sauce that is tomato upfront with just enough spice at the back. I love when my palate can be taken through many progressions in one delicious bite. The basil-pistachio pesto acts as a cooling comparison to its counterpart sauce. Italian comfort food at its best!
Another canapé I really adore is the Gnocco Fritto. Scrumptious focaccia puff pastry topped with sliced prosciutto and horseradish cream that gives the appetizer a little unexpected punch. This anitipasti made DiningOut.com “The Best Dishes We Ate in 2018” list. FYI if you want to try these savory puffs they are only available on the dinner menu.
As good as the antipasti selection is it’s the house-made pastas you don’t want to miss! My favorite dish at Chow Morso Osteria is the Carbonara. When the dish arrived I could not wait to enjoy this delectable bowl of spaghetti! Cracking the hot farm fresh egg over the top of the noodles, which melts the big chunks of shaved parmigiana cheese. A little kick from the black pepper to give the dish depth. The best classic Italian Carbonara I’ve ever had!
Another incredible house-made pasta specialty that is absolutely divine is the Agnolotti. Small pieces of perfectly pinched pouches of pasta stuffed with a delectable dollop of ground beef. They are served in a traditional sage brown butter. I love how the edges of the agnolotti catch the luscious butter sauce. Authentic Italian at its very best!
To cap off a perfect meal my server recommended the seasonal fruit crisp, which was apple. OMG! The crumble on top is to die for! The vanilla gelato melts over the cap of the crisp. Farm fresh apples mixed with cinnamon and spices. It tasted like an Italian Nonna made it!
Not only is the food delicious, but the service is also outstanding! When the manager saw me taking a picture of their beautiful wine wall display he said “let me take you behind the scenes so you can see the whole selection.” The wine was impeccably organized and their selection is impressive. It’s these kind of touches that leave a lasting impression to an excellent dinner.
This meal was perfection. One of the best I’ve had in a while. All their flavors played harmoniously together. Sophisticated Italian comfort food that I will keep coming back for a long time. Buon appetito!
Bonus Tip: Make sure you don’t miss Denver’s iconic Union Station, which is only two blocks away from Chow Morso Osteria. This historical hot spot is perfect for pre or post dinner cocktail that can extend those romantic evenings you just don’t want to end!
I highly recommend swanky The Cooper Lounge that overlooks the inside of Union Station. Or grab a cocktail from The Terminal Bar and find a plush sofa to sit and people watch in the sophisticated communal area.