Uniscali in Italian means “Join us,” and Uniscali fully encompasses the idea that its patrons feel welcome in this cozy hidden gem. Located in the heart of Downtown Castle Rock, right off Wilcox in the Victorian Center, Uniscali offers modern Italian with a Mediterranean flair. It is the sister restaurant to Union – An American Bistro, with the owners finding a niche in the Castle Rock that is unparalleled.

FullSizeRenderUniscali is unlike most restaurants because it is only open Thursday through Saturday, 4pm-9pm. Because they are only open a few nights a week, I HIGHLY advise making a reservation, or you may not grab one of the few spots for walk-ins.

The vibrant red walls and the hustle and bustle inside the restaurant immediately struck me as the manager of the restaurant, Cindy, greeted us. The small, cozy feel, with only 14 tables and 49 seats – a few of which are at the bar facing the open kitchen – allows you to observe the chefs prepare dishes and creates a lively, boisterous energy. We were seated promptly to our reserved table and immediately greeted by our server, Scott. Happy hour, which is from 4-6, was ending, so we quickly ordered their signature cocktail, the Unicooler, Citrus vodka with St. Germaine, Prosecco, and Blackberry syrup, as well as an appetizer, Italian Egg Rolls served Caprese style with house pesto. The drinks came out quickly and were absolutely divine; the appetizer was a perfect blend of modern Italian and comfort food.

FullSizeRender3I chose from the prix fixe menu for Restaurant Week: first course – Calamari steak fries with crispy pepperoncini’s, garlic aioli and Agrodolce; second course Cioppino, a spicy seafood broth with saffron potatoes and crostini; and third course, dessert, the Carrot Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce. The Calamari was my favorite dish of the night. The Cioppino was bursting with spicy, yet classic flavors and had an assortment of shrimp, mussels, crab and potatoes, with a delicious sauce to dip your bread in. The Carrot Cake was exquisite, moist and perfectly baked with just the right spices and sauce on top.

Overall, I absolutely love this place; it is perfect for a fun date on a weekend in Castle Rock. Though a bit loud, Uniscali’s lively atmosphere, great service and superb cuisine will definitely have me going back. The dinner menu may be one of the pricier menus in town, but their generous Happy Hour, with $3 Bellinis and beer, as well as $2-$9 small plates, should be able to accommodate any budget. They didn’t have a children’s menu, but in my opinion, this isn’t the place or atmosphere I would want to bring my kids to. This restaurant is truly a treasure to Castle Rock and I give it resounding applause.