Denver >Food & Dining > Carmine's On Penn
92 S Pennsylvania St, Denver, CO | Directions 8020939.714946 -104.981290
Tuesday To Thursday From 05:00 PM To 09:00 PM Friday To Saturday From 05:00 PM To 10:00 PM Sunday From 05:00 PM To 09:00 PM
Neighborhoods: Southeast Denver, Speer
Old Favorite...now out of favor – Banned! I have been living in the wash park area for 12+ years and wanted to take my wife out for a nice dinner there last night. The poor experience started as I was driving over and called to make sure there was availability. "Sure" they said, "there is currently no wait at all to be seated". Seemed to be the case as I walked in, only 10 minutes later and saw empty seats all over, however as we checked in, the hostess informed me there was about a 1/2 hour wait to be seated. Wow!!!- empty seats everywhere and 1/2 hour to be seated? Oh well, I love (or used to) love the food. We generally had a decent meal, but I tell you the food and service have gone way downhill over the last few years (we were hesitant to come back after the last time we were there.) The Chicken Montana, which used to be my "all time favorite" dinner in the entire city, now costs $36.95 and ONLY contains 1 chicken breast-yes thats correct, 1 chicken breast for this price- a couple spears of cut asparagus, a few sundreed tomatoes, and some butter and cream. Also, the sauce has lost a lot of its flair over the years, and seems watered down. Okay, so for $36.96 my wife and I can have pasta for a week, but not even enough chicken to make a meal of it!!! Top if off with the $17.00 salad, enough for a small army, but becomes so saturated the next day its inedible, average at best service (had about a 10 mintue wait before our server came over, again not that busy), and the whole experience has lost a lot of luster. Seems to me others have figured this out as well, thus the lack of the usual major crowds and wait list, and the lower quality and skimpy ingredients in the food- no wonder they have raised thier prices- have they changed ownership??
Great Food Poor Greeting – I live in the area and have walked by Carmine's many times each time being drawn in by the smell of garlic. I have wanted to go for awhile and talked a friend of mine into joining me. We made reservations because every time I passed it was full. Reservations were at 5 p.m. so we could attend a 7 p.m. movie. We arrived three minutes before 5 p.m. and were told we could wait outside or go to the "dive" bar next door. I was shocked - in my experience if you were early for a reservation the bar was always open before seating began. However, this was not the case. Ten minutes or so later we arrived and were given the choice to sit inside or out. We chose outside on the patio. The only table for two was directly under the heater and my friend and I both paused contemplating if we wanted to roast all night. The hostess (yes, the lovely one who told us to wait outside) suggested we wouldn't be very hot if we took off our coats?!?!?! She was on a roll! The service after her was great. My water glass was never empty and the staff was very deliberate to not overload our table with food. The food was amazing and served with a smile. I had almost forgotten about the catty hostess until we left and she sang us the chorus from "So Long, Farewell" directly out of the sound of music...not sure if she was just really happy to hear us go or inspired by the German accent of my friend. Either way, no have a great night, here's a mint to wash down your $150 meal, or let me get the door. The food was amazing, the wine was delicious, and the wait staff was incredible - however, I'm not dying to go back because I can be mocked and poorly treated at a cheaper price per plate.
Perfect group dining – Let me start this off with a simple fact - at Carmine's, you are paying for amazing service and atmosphere. When it comes to the food - yes, it's tasty. Yes, you could feed several people with a single entree. Yes, the entrees start around $20 and hop up to $40 for anything seafood or veal. However, Carmine's is not the best Italian I've ever had (check out Patsy's in the Highlands if you're looking for inexpensive, great tasting Italian.) What really seals the deal is flawless service and the hoppin' atmosphere. You can go on the cheap (we've done it) and it will cost you about $60 for 2 people including a bottle of inexpensive wine and an entree to split. I also love going with a group. Last week we had 9 people with 6 bottles of wine, salads and 4 entrees - including a hefty tip for our fantastic server - it was $37.50/pp. Good times.
EXORBITANT add-on prices for each item! CAREFUL !!!! – Family style servings and family style prices on EACH item you order, and all prices are not posted on the menu board. Don't get surprised like we did. Our dinner for two - family style veal (enought for 2 with good appetites, 2 salads, 2 glasses of wine, and a plate of pasta (plain spaghetti) came to $93. No kidding.
over-rated and over-priced – I have dined at restaurants across the county and many in Denver since moving here and I cannot fathom what merits all of the hype about this restaurant. On a positive note - the service is good with patient servers willing to explain the menu choices and make suggestions to tables full of guests that cannot agree on what they want to order and the atmosphere is quaint. Too bad the food tastes like mediocre home-cooking at best and the huge portions leave you wondering if you intended to feed a small army - I would pick small portions and great tasting entrees any day!
Terrific Food, Terrific Service – I've eaten at Carmines several times and it have never disappointed. Too often I feel like people only write reviews when something negative happens or when they aren't satisfied. I would recommend to anyone who enjoys good Italian food served family style. Each time is as wonderful as the first.
I Beg to Differ...Carmine's One of THE Best! – Ok, I've never written a review either...and I was surprised to read the review below as I have been a patron of this restaurant (for many years) with its consistently fabulous, great tasting food and its attentive staff. (for pete's sake, how can you even write about an experience on New Year's Eve-or Valentine's Day for that matter-at ANY restaurant since both are considered "amateur nights" in my book...give me a break!) In any case, I have never been disappointed in the food, the service and the management especially since Carmine's was bought by new owners within the last two years or so. I'm surprised that a restaurant that has been around and frequented by so many for years can continue to provide consistent, house made sauces, garlic rolls, desserts and much more night after night...amazing! And how many restaurants to you know in town that can accommodate such large parties in their main dining areas? As for Carmine's manager: if it's the gentleman who has been there for the last two years, I have only seen him in action, either assisting guests with wine, bussing tables, serving food, etc--not your typical "glorified host/hostess" manager-type you see in most eating establishments-stiff, pretentious, never lifting a finger, on a power trip with their waitstaff, etc. We all have our own "off nights" as individuals--give Carmine's the benefit of the doubt when it comes to being a bit "off"--It's nice to be assured and know that as a guest, I will always be taken of and can always expect great tasting food, not to mention a wonderful experience upon each and every visit. Where's the "old" Carmine's you ask?...in the past, my friend...I'll take the "new and improved" Carmine's any day!!
Used to be the BEST in Italian dining... what happened? – Okay, as a long-time Carmine dining patron, I am compelled to write a review I never thought I would.... What's happened? In the last 8 months, I have seen the food quality and service suffer. Case in point, New Year's, dining early with 3 friends -- we waited 15 minutes for a server to acknowledge us and then pushed us to make a decision right then and there on what we wanted to eat (2 of my friends, new to Carmine's had no idea what the dishes were as they are only listed on the wall -- no descriptions). However, the worst part of the evening -- besides the food -- was the manager standing right beside us that wouldn't help his server clear our plates (no lie, 15 minutes). The only time we saw any attentive behavior was when we stood up to leave, before we even have our coats pulled off the backs of our chairs -- he is grabbing our table to pull it over to prepare for other diners... so sad, really. PLEASE bring the old Carmine's back -- I know it's still in there...
A garlic haven – This place has got some of the best Italian dishes that Denver has to offer. Forget the comfortable atmosphere and great wine list. Forget the fabulous and oh-so-garlickey bread and ceasar salad. I am talking about perfection in the form of ravioli a la vodka and veal marsala.
The beauty of this place, really, is that it's family style. That means huge dishes of great food to be shared with a large group of your closest friends. Just go. And bring a date. Or five.
At long last Carmines is Back – After years of substandard food and service Carmines is on the rebound. The food is well beyond what was once offered and fresher as well the kitchen has gotten a kick in the shorts and you can tell.
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