Why Spuntino Food and Wine Is One of Denver’s Hidden Gems
Located on a hill in northwest Denver, The Potter-Highlands neighborhood is home to tree-lined streets, traditional and historic homes, and a rich cultural history. It is here that you will also find the cozy little respite of Spuntino Food and Wine. Diners seeking an authentic taste of Italy will feel right at home—all without having to hop on an airplane to the beautiful country.
Chef Cindhura Reddy and her husband and general manager Elliot Strathamann have managed to steer Spuntino towards continual growth since taking over ownership in 2014. How? Simply by offering flavorful homemade cuisine using farm-fresh ingredients, providing excellent service, and having a love and passion for contemporary Italian fare. It also doesn’t hurt that word-of-mouth has created an expanding list of loyal followers. A midweek visit found the place hopping with all of its 56 seats fully occupied.
The small space is intimate and romantic with low lighting, reclaimed wood used in the bar and floor, and an open kitchen to allow interaction between the staff, including chef Reddy and her guests. Reddy, who grew up in Ohio, learned to cook at an early age from her Indian-born parents. After meeting her husband, the couple backpacked through Asia and Europe where they learned about wines and cooking techniques, now reflected in the dishes served at Spuntino.
To begin your evening, start with a glass of fine Italian wine. Spuntino has a nice rotating assortment of more than 80 bottles ranging from international dry to dessert wines at affordable prices. Or perhaps one of the seasonal cocktails would be more to your liking such as the Italian 75 made with CapRock gin, house prepared limoncello, prosecco, and Peychaud’s bitters.
One of the things that distinguish Spuntino from other Italian restaurants is its extreme attention to detail. Making most things from scratch takes time and dedication, but here, that is standard operating procedure. From the pastas to the breads, cheeses, and gelati to obtaining locally-sourced farm-to-table ingredients, chef Reddy oversees everything form the prep to the final plating.
To start off your meal, you must try the focaccia e ricotta (house made bread and cheese, $7). You can really taste the difference in the freshly made, warm focaccia, and the soft ricotta topped with olive oil is the perfect, creamy accompaniment. You might be tempted to finish off the entire loaf but save room for other tasty offerings.
If seasonally available, my recommendation would then be to order the DiStefano burrata ($15). Heirloom tomatoes from UpDig Farms and Rebel Farm basil are served with heavenly burrata cheese made from mozzarella and cream. These might just be the best tomatoes you have ever had.
Other antipasti and starters include StraCapra Taleggio, zucchini with blossom relish, and corn broth ($18); warm house marinated Losada olives ($6); and Olathe sweet corn with goat cheese on toasted focaccia ($12).
For your main course, popular entrees include the Pollo al Mattone: Boulder Natural half “brick” chicken with garlic scape cream and fregola salad ($24) and melanzana: Colorado eggplant tagine, quinoa, golden raisins, Cerignola olives, and preserved lemon ($20).
These delectable dishes are usually served family style for all to enjoy with another glass or two of wine and good conversation. Dessert options include cinnamon sugar zeppole with dolce de leche ($8) and Palisades peach butter or house-made gelato in various flavors ($5).
Top off your meal with some traditional digestivi such as the house-made limoncello ($5) or Strathamann’s personal favorite: chocolate and digestivo truffles made with house-grown and wild foraged herbs ($2 each).
Spuntino Food and Wine is located at 2639 W. 32nd Ave.; Denver, Colorado. Hours of operation are: Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday: 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Happy hour is Tuesday-Sunday: 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Reservations are recommended by calling 303-433-0949.