Denver >Food & Dining > Trattoria Stella Restaurant
3201 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO | Directions 8020639.740159 -104.949782
Neighborhoods: Northeast Denver, City Park
Not very good – My husband and I ate here for the first time on a recent Friday evening. The ambience and service were fair, but the food was mediocre at best and downright gross at worst. We ordered grilled asparagus that was limp and flavorless, a romaine salad that was uninteresting, a pizzetta that was unmemorable other than for its butter-soaked crust, a small plate of rubbery ravioli, and a small plate of lobster gnocchi that my husband described as "okay." The meal was tremendously disappointing, especially considering the prices and some of the glowing reviews for this restaurant. I don't know if the once-great quality has declined, if it was an off night, or if the quality never actually lived up to the hype. Nonetheless, I don't think I'll be back. On the plus side, I enjoyed a delicious pinot noir with dinner.
Chef change-over – Chef Rebecca Weitzman has left for NYC and will hopefully return one day so we can all once again enjoy her duck confit leg and foie gras.
Extraordinary food! Fun, yet intimate atmosphere. Wonderful night out! – My husband and I don't eat out that often anymore. When we do, we want it to be worth the effort. Cafe Star was most certainly worth the effort. The food was amazing. Each dish was a perfect combination of flavors and texture. We started with the homemade mozzarella salad, which was delightful. Next, we sampled the fig, blue cheese, and pancetta pizzetta, which was my favorite dish of the evening. The complex flavors just explode in the mouth! Nicely done! We sampled the crab ravioli. Wonderful. Next was the seared tuna, which was perfectly prepared. We finished with the pistachio rice pudding that was rich and delicious. Our server was friendly and attentive, but not overly so. The pacing of the meal was perfect. As we finished one dish, the next one would arrive at our table. This was one of the best dining experiences that we have had in Denver. We went early on a Friday night and had no problem finding a place to park on a side street on the other side of Colfax. I love the location on Colfax! Don't move! We will be back.
Due For An Overhaul – I?ve been coming to Cafe Star for over a year now and I must say that I love this place. The food (especially on the latest menu) is out of this world. The only place that I?ve had better Duck Confit is in France. The wine list is nicely quirky and well priced. The service is always very friendly.
I do have some small complaints. One is that while the service is friendly, it is sometimes spotty. Some of the servers don?t seem especially well trained or experienced. Another is the shape of the restaurant. It is obvious that there was a lot of thought put into the decor when they opened, but now some of the tables are worn down and there are spots on the curved wall where the paint doesn?t match due to repairs. The place looks like it could do with a good once over. I?ve mentioned the dinky size and cheap feel of the wine glasses to the staff and even once to the owner, but there has been no change. The wine list itself is fun, but a little small. I would like some higher-end selections. I talked to the sommelier and he said that there plans to expand it ? I hope that happens soon. While the menus are very well written, the menu folders are looking shoddy. Cafe Star looks like it could do with a good once over.
I really do love Cafe Star and I recommend it often. I think that a few changes could turn this great restaurant into an outstanding one.
Only Two Problems: Painfully Slow Service & Mediocre Food – Hmm...where do I start? A friendly host seated us at the time of our reservation. We were immediately greeted by our friendly, seemingly competent server who then took over ten minutes to return to our table to take our drink order which then took another ten minutes to be served...we're talking two glasses of wine not some exoctic blender drinks. We ordered three dishes from the small plates menu with the anticipation that we would order further courses if we were still hungry (we are experienced at this having done it successfully at other restaurants that offer small plate fare). The first plate took over 20 minutes to arrive (yawn) and the second and third plates took at least another 30 minutes to arrive after that (double yawn). Its one thing not to be rushed, its another to wait forever. The food was, unfortunately, not worth the wait. Tasty words on the menu did not translate into equally as tasty dishes. The flavors lacked depth and the textures were unremarkable. After an hour and a half and only three small plates, we were tired, still hungry and disappointed. Needless to say, we did not order more food. The only thing that happened quickly was our server running my credit card.
We appreciate a leisurely, well paced meal (think Luca d'Italia, Rioja, Kevin Taylor). While we definitely were not rushed at Cafe Star, the service staff and kitchen lacked any sense of pace. Overall--a big disappointment and we will not be returning.
World class food! – Outstanding food! The setting is casual and comfortable with a good wine list and friendly service. Wonderful salads (like goat cheese, fig and arugula), small thin-crusted gourmet pizzas with interesting toppings; and a variety of appetizers (definitely try theduck confit). They have a large variety of small plate and large plate entrees, all appropriate for sharing. They serve duck, lamb, beef, fish, etc., and they also have pastas. Everyone can find something they like on the menu. I usually get a salad, pizza, pasta or appetizer, and large plate - all to share. I have never had a dish I didn't enjoy. The chef is well respected and her meals stand up to the very best Denver/Boulder has to offer!
Definitely make a reservation. The only negative for me is the parking. It's a busy area so you may have to park down the street, but the meal is worth it.
Still Shines, But a Bit Uneven – This was my second trip back to Cafe Star, and a few things were truly outstanding, but others missed the mark. The roasted beet salad and pumpkin pasta were amazing. I wasn't overly impressed with the tuna, however, and my boyfriend's lobster & shrimp potpie was just so-so with the lobster (all two pieces) being quite rubbery. Our service, on the other hand, was very good -- a nice surprise after reading the other reviews. Be warned though, on a cold night, this place has two stikes against it. Finding parking is VERY difficult. We ended up walking over three blocks in freezing temps. And, if you are seated near a window (which most of the best seats are), the cold air seeping in is pretty uncomfortable. All in all, I still like Cafe Star, but it will have to shine a little brighter for two of us to drop another $100+ there on dinner.
This friendly Colfax cafe caters to all ages with a delightful mix of down-home cooking and upscale ambience. – In Short
A 35-foot cascade of rainbow-colored glass conceals an intimate bar area cozy with booths and stools, while the main dining tables hug the giant exterior windows and spill out onto a small shady patio. The vibe is both trendy hot spot and low-key neighborhood hangout. The menu features creamy gazpacho salty fig pizzetta with bits of pancetta. The house specialty is the lobster and rock shrimp pot pie. For dessert, there's the spicy chili-chocolate pot de creme.
Creativity is the Star, not the service – Seared ahi tuna wrapped in pancetta, deep fried olives, lobster potpie- Cafe Star puts an interesting twist on food. Each dish has unusual sauces/ingredients to add to the flavor and complexity of the meal. The food is fantastic but the service is lacking. Our server was sweet but the host was very rude. We plan to go back but hopefully, they can improve their service.
Cool spot, great food! – Great place! We went on a Saturday night and didn't have reservations but were promptly seated at the bar. The bartender was helpful in choosing several plates to try - everything was great! Loved the decor too. Trendy but not overly done. Great date spot but not quiet if you're looking for romantic....
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