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Favorite "Red Sauce" Italian in the Denver Area


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Thought I'd get another discussion going. What's your favorite "Red Sauce" Italian place in the Denver area? My favorite is the Gondolier in Boulder. I've been going there since high school for the all you can eat spaghetti special that they have on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Homemade noodles and (to me) a great sauce. Plus, in their new location, they have a great patio.

Thoughts?

Brian Hoffmeyer

"It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black."

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My favorite "red sauce" Italian is the one that's closest to my house, which in is the Saucy Noodle. It is my favorite because it is closest to my house. I occasionally try another, but none are good enough to be worth the drive, and Saucy Noodle isn't bad. I always order the homemade noodles which are big and thick. They have a goofy house salad that is sort of an antipasto salad--provolone, pepperoni, celery, breadstick etc.

It isn't great food, but I haven't found anything great in this category.

Fred Bramhall

A professor is one who talk's in someone else's sleep

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I haven't been in a while, but Pagliacci's would rank right up there.

An old Kyle Wagner review of Pagliacci's

Pagliacci's Website

“When I was dating and the wine list was presented to my male companion, I tried to ignore this unfortunate faux pas. But this practice still goes on…Closing note to all servers and sommeliers: please include women in wine selection. Okay?”--Alpana Singh, M.S.-"Alpana Pours"

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Caveat. This is not a recommendation, rather an acknowledgement.

When I first visited Colorado, far too many years ago than I even care to think about (okay, if you insist, alright, almost 40 years ago) I stayed with friends in Denver. They told me there was a well known, well loved place for Italian food. But it was quite a drive, way up route 287, in Louisville, one of the old coal mining towns that had a large Italian population. They went on to tell me that in fact, there were actually two restaurants, across the street from each other. There were stories of families, beset by rivalries, marriages, and betrayals, but most of all, of red sauce. The first of those two restaurants was the Blue Parrot. Colacci's was the other. The Blue Parrot is alive and well today on Main Street in Louisville.

Edit: The Blue Parrot first started serving in 1919. Pasquini's is now in the space that was Colacci's. The food? They're both red sauce Italian, okay if you're hungry and in the neighborhood.

Edited by afoodnut (log)
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  • 1 month later...

I ended up at the Gondolier by accident when other plans went awry. I definitely would have appreciated a place like that in college for the $3.99 spaghetti special (that is a great deal for heaping plates of fresh pasta), but I don't think I'll go out of my way to visit again. I would patronize it over the chains, but the service was amateur-ish and the food didn't seem to be seasoned very well. You probably have good memories tied with their food, Chezhoff, so I'm sure it has a different appeal for you than for a newbie like me.

I must ask...Do they garnish ALL of their cocktails with maraschino cherries?

“When I was dating and the wine list was presented to my male companion, I tried to ignore this unfortunate faux pas. But this practice still goes on…Closing note to all servers and sommeliers: please include women in wine selection. Okay?”--Alpana Singh, M.S.-"Alpana Pours"

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Well, there are about three places I've had Italian recently. One is Laudisio, but I'm not sure that can qualify as "red sauce" Italian. Good, though.

Next is Carelli's which is my all-around Italian joint. They do a great straight Marinara, and most other things there are great. Nothing in the Gondolier $3.99 range, but Italian that I just like. Especially the Abruzzo di Pollo. I could eat that every night and be very happy. But calling Carelli's "red sauce" Italian might be a stretch.

The last recent place was Abrusci's in Applewood. This seems more "neighborhood" than Carelli's. You know, the feel of the place is more casual than Carelli's. That said, a suit isn't out of place in Abrusci's and isn't required at Carelli's. This is probably the closest to a "red sauce" Italian, and I like it.

There are others I have gone to, but it's been a while. Three Sons in Denver, Amici's in Westminster. And the ultimate in "red sauce" Italian, Gaetano's in Denver (ahh..nothing better than reminiscing about old Smaldone stories with my parents). But, since it's been 5+ years, who knows what has happened.

Finally, there is the place I probably eat more "pasta" currently than anywhere else: Noodles & Co. Oddly, about the only things I haven't had there are the Italian-esque dishes. I'm just a sucker for a good Buttered Noodles.

Edited by TheMatt (log)

TheMatt

Learning just means you were wrong and they were right. - Aram

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but I don't think I'll go out of my way to visit again. I would patronize it over the chains, but the service was amateur-ish and the food didn't seem to be seasoned very well. You probably have good memories tied with their food, Chezhoff, so I'm sure it has a different appeal for you than for a newbie like me.

I must ask...Do they garnish ALL of their cocktails with maraschino cherries?

Robin, in terms of the service I definitely agree, they seem to have an ever-rotating roster of unmotivated college students working there. Once in a while you get a good one, but most of time... This is really frustrating at times as I am often very hungry when I go there, having starved myself all day in anticipation, and then having to wait 15 minutes between plates.... For years there was a waitress there named Ruth, she knew us and would put our orders in even before we sat down. She's never been "replaced".

On to the seasoning, I must offer an apology to you as I should have given you a few more hints about what to order! The regular sauce is fairly bland. I always order the "marinara" version. It has more spices and garlic than the regular. In reality both of them are marinara sauces, one is just better than the other. :) The other thing you must do is order a side of the olive oil and garilic sauce. You then mix this into the pasta when it arrives.

Note, do not plan on a romantic evening with your spouse after doing this....

I think you are right about the cherries...my kids like them though. I usually order a Moretti La Rossa (spelling?) when I'm there, it is a good, very malty, and highly alcoholic, Italian beer.

Brian Hoffmeyer

"It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black."

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Aha! I will have to go back for cheap spaghetti night and order the marinara with the olive oil/garlic mixer. Thank you for the tips.

“When I was dating and the wine list was presented to my male companion, I tried to ignore this unfortunate faux pas. But this practice still goes on…Closing note to all servers and sommeliers: please include women in wine selection. Okay?”--Alpana Singh, M.S.-"Alpana Pours"

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