What a difference a year makes. Denver’s restaurant scene is in the midst of a big transformation—you won’t want to miss a single bite.
—Photography by Carmel Zucker
12 Luca (last year 8)
Frank Bonanno’s restaurant empire is nothing if not eclectic: From American comfort food at Lou’s and ramen at Bones to meaty sandwiches at Salt & Grinder, Denver’s most prolific chef can cross cuisines, mix up his repertoire, and try new things with ease. But we still love his old standbys—and you find them at Bonanno’s 11-year-old Italian bistro in Governors’ Park. At Luca, menu citadels like the white asparagus risotto (with braised pork cheek, shallots, and preserved lemon) remind even longtime fans why they return time and again. But as Luca undergoes a makeover—gone are the white tablecloths and the black-and-white server uniforms—we expect to see a move to simplicity and a Luca that is more approachable. We applaud the change so long as one of the most iconic dishes—the toasted almond cake with cinnamon caramel—is left untouched. 711 Grant St.,