Monday, August 15, 2011

What's Good: Panzano Brunch

The quest to find the perfect brunch is a constant one…mainly because the research is so much fun. I love weekend brunch. No, seriously, I LOVE brunch. It’s the perfect mix of sleeping in (typically), coffee drinks, breakfast meats, danishes and pancakes, eggs, sandwiches, steak, large plates and fruit juice mixed with booze. You can grab a table at 8:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. You can order a side of French fries with your scramble, a milkshake to go with your blueberry pancakes, or a screwdriver to compliment your reuben. Bacon and a beer? That’s brunch. Pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream with a glass of champagne? That’s brunch too. It’s a veritable no-holds-barred meal - there are no rules, and anything goes.

My latest find and new favorite is the brunch at Panzano. Consistently recognized for its delicious Northern Italian cuisine, gluten-free menu, fresh baked breads and wine list – and known for weekday power lunches and higher-end dinners, I never thought about Panzano having brunch until it came up in my Eat Denver Dining Deck.

Located in a 30s/40s era building and sharing space with the lobby of Hotel Monaco, the atmosphere is best described as “refined awesomeness.” It’s a quiet space, but if you want to liven things up a little, ask for a seat with a view of the kitchen and then watch the chefs do their work.

I expected a tasty menu filled with some of my favorite Italian standbys, but there were three things that moved Panzano’s brunch menu from “really good brunch” to “who wants to go back next weekend?”

1) The way they seamlessly mixed Italian ingredients with American brunch. Pancetta and fontina cheese omelet? Salumi scramble? An Italian layered casserole with puliese bread, eggs, prosciutto, spinach, basil, feta, provolone, scallion and chilli flake? Yes, to all of the above, please.

2) The price point was really reasonable. For a restaurant that serves $20-$30 plates for dinner I was expecting to pay more than $7-$12 for the plates listed above. Thankfully, I was able to sample the ridiculously delicious Italian omelet for the same price as lunch at Biker Jim’s or a burrito from Illegal Pete’s.

3) $9 bottomless Bellinis. I don’t think I need to say much more about this. Amazing. Go, get yourself an Italian inspired brunch, and sip on a Bellini that will never be empty…

The wait staff was professional and personable, the surroundings are appealing, the restaurant smells like fresh baked bread and pancetta, the food is delicious and the Bellinis are bottomless. Meet me at Panzano on Saturday mornings…


  1. Oh my gosh do I love brunch and we NEVER go. This place looks amazing. May I also recommend Duo brunch? I think it is also surprisingly reasonable and the "pink mimosas," while girlie sounding, are addictive. I think about them daily.

  2. I'm not sure I can, in good faith, drink a pink mimosa. That said, daily thoughts about them are a good litmus test. I'll definitely make it to Duo for brunch - thanks for the suggestion!