Osteria Marco

Osteria Marco
1453 Larimer St.
Denver, CO 80202
303-534-5855

Osterio Marco

Osterio Marco in Denver’s Larimer Square – Google Earth Image

Osteria Marco
by Claudia Carbone

If Luca d’Italia is the tuxedo in Frank Bonanno’s cache of restaurants, Osteria Marco is the comfortable pair of jeans.

In Italy, an osteria (pronounced oh-ster-ee-ah) is a simple place where friends gather to enjoy wine and good food. This is Osteria Marco. Named for Bonanno’s youngest son, it is, as he says, “the more playful version” of his fine-dining Italian ristorante bearing his older son’s name.

Osterio means a simple place where friends gather

Osterio means a simple place where friends gather

“We wanted to do something more approachable than Luca with an affordable price point,” said Chef Bonanno, well-known Denver restaurateur. In 2007 when he opened Marco, there weren’t many “rustic Italian” joints that made handcrafted cheeses, cured meats, and pizza dough in house. Osteria Marco filled that void. They do all that and much more, but they don’t make or serve pasta. For that, you’ll have to go to Luca d’ Italia where it’s made fresh every day.

Creamy burrata with grilled ciabatta bread

Creamy burrata with grilled ciabatta bread

But who needs pasta when you can have Burrata, a hand-stretched ball of mozzarella wrapped around a creamy filling of house-made Ricotta drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. Or steamed Prince Edward Island mussels served with a spicy house-made sausage broth or Calamari with Fresno chiles or meatball sliders. That’s just for starters.

Marco’s menu is divided into Formaggi & Salumi (Artisan cheeses and meats), Antipasti, Insalate (as sides or entrees), a large list of Panini and Pizzas, Secondi (entrees) and Dolci. There’s also a huge selection of wine—all Italian—by the bottle and by the glass, beer on tap, and a nice group of Grappa, Absinthe and dessert cocktails and wine for after-theatre sipping.

Beet Salad

Beet Salad

Marco’s is the kind of gathering place where eating is a group activity. You’ll want to order lots of plates and pass them around for sampling. The thin-crust pizzas, for example, are large-sized. The one to die for is a wild mushroom and Robiola cheese pizza with truffle oil. A house-infused extra virgin chili oil, pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese are served alongside every pizza. If it sounds juicy and messy, it is; that’s why napkins here are absorbent and dishtowel size.

Pizza juicy and messy, the way pizza should be

Pizza juicy and messy, the way pizza should be

Those who want a full meal can order entrees like a perfect Eggplant Parmesan, a maple glazed duck breast with sweet potato risotto and Brussels sprouts, or lamb meatballs with a creamy polenta, ricotta and smoked tomato broth. Sunday nights they serve pulled pork from a suckling pig that has been slow roasting since Saturday.

Marco’s décor fits the “humble” osteria personality: old brick walls, dark wooden tables and booths, and room dividers literally made of wine racks stacked with bottles. A long bar hugs one wall of the downstairs 210-seat eatery on Larimer Square, and a street-side patio welcomes warm weather diners.

Osteria Marco
1453 Larimer St.
Denver, CO 80202
303-534-5855
http://www.osteriamarco.com

Hours:
Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-10 pm
Friday & Saturday, 11 am-11 pm
Happy Hour, Monday-Friday, 3-6 pm

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