Nonna's Chicago Bistro, named Best Italian in 2011 on Denver's 7 A-List, lures hungry passersby with a menu of Windy City–style Italian fare, more than 20 wines by the glass, and complimentary ciabatta bread with saucy marinara. The owners, a family of Chicago natives, dedicated Nonna's to their grandmother, whose passion for hearty, homestyle fare inspired their chefs to perfect such classics as chicken parmigiana, lasagna, and slow-cooked, Chicago-style ribs. Dinners pair with a glass of Italian Da Vinci chianti or a Californian 181 merlot, or assorted well drinks and domestic brews from the exposed-brick bar.
Nonna's Chicago Bistro's dining room provides guests with an elegant eating coliseum, boasting walls painted with grapevine designs and windows that welcome a breathtaking view of the Leaning Tower of Willis. The quaint eatery also fills ear canals with live music performed by jazz trios, classical guitarists, and country crooners on weekend evenings.
To say The Cork House Broker Restaurant is a wine restaurant that just happens to serve food wouldn't be totally inaccurate. The extensive wine list encompasses a wide range, welcoming bottles of sparkling and still, red and white, inexpensive and indulgent. Those who join the restaurant's wine club receive exclusive invitations to events such as wine dinners, tastings, cooking classes, and meet-and-greets with winemakers.
With that said, the restaurant’s chefs certainly know their way around the kitchen. Guests can pair their wines with a flight of carefully curated cheeses, made from goat's and cow's milks, or consult a dinner menu filled with timeless entrees including steak diane, french onion soup, and fabulous mussels. Meals unfold in the restaurant’s intimate dining room or under the patio’s generously shady cover of trees.
Paris on the Platte, a coffeehouse with a rich 25-year history, doubles as a café and bar with specialty cocktails, brunch fare, pizzas, and delicate desserts. Visitors can wake up in an Austrian concert hall with the Café Viennese’s trio of espresso, steamed milk, and whipped cream ($3.50 for an 8 oz.) or hit a Big Easy speakeasy with the Café Marquis—a cappuccino with french roast, chicory, foamed milk, and a pinch of cinnamon and cocoa ($2.95 for a single). Brunch eats—including crepes ($5.95), omelettes ($5.95), and four types of eggs benedict ($6.95–$7.95)—start the day, and lunch, dinner, or linner guests can enjoy edibles such as the french dip sandwich ($7.95), bacon- and cheddar-bedecked Paris pizza ($11.95), and the Waldo salad with fresh spinach, strawberries, blue cheese, and candied bobble hats ($7.95).
Lala's imported-olive plate, served with roasted roma tomato and homemade crackers ($8), or the daily meat and cheese plate (3 for $14 or $6 each) are sociable starters to a wine-enhanced feast. Select from dozens of sips offered by the half glass and glass ($3.25–$20) or reserve bottle ($26+)—all organized according to types, tastes, and ability to withstand being thrown out of a fifth-floor window. Flatbread pizzas, served crispy, are Lala's standout dish. With an extra-virgin-olive-oil-and-roasted-garlic base, the Il David ($9.75) layers a blend of three cheeses, roasted garlic, oven-dried tomatoes, and Peppadew peppers with a generous smattering of herb-grilled chicken. The menu also includes salads and paninis ($7.75–$10.50). For dessert, the basil frolino ($5.50) sandwiches homemade basil gelato and fresh strawberries between lemon-hazelnut shortbread. Lala's also serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., featuring blood orange mimosas and Bloody Marys ($6.50 each), and a variety of crespelles, frittatas, and brunchy pizzas, such as the pizza Durango with chorizo, scrambled eggs, poblanos, and fontina cheese.