It may be jarring, at first, to stand in Dio Mio’s bare-bones RiNo space, which resembles a garage. Each dish on the concise menu of pastas and vegetable-centric, modern Italian small plates reads like an ode to the simple yet inspired culinary philosophy of chef-owners Alex Figuera and Spencer White (keep in mind, you’re still standing in that garage). And although the cooks and food runners are all happy and helpful when you step up to the counter to order, it’s certainly a surprise when your food arrives­—because this isn’t fare you’d associate with the phrases “fast-casual” or “counter-service.” Instead, there’s kimchi, crisp pork belly, and a shower of sliced scallions over a tangle of al dente house-made squid-ink spaghetti. Or exceptional cacio e pepe, made with thin, wide fettuccine ribbons dressed in a sheen of sheep’s milk cheese, ample black pepper, and a dusting of pink peppercorn skins on top. Or the best bread—tangy sourdough and an airy focaccia-ciabatta hybrid—in town. Dig in and you’ll soon forget about your surroundings, feeling grateful that, my goodness, you’ve found Dio Mio. 3264 Larimer St., 303-562-1965

Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen

Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.