Our ten best pizzas in Denver (and Boulder)

Vpizza.jpg
Lori Midson
According to the Interwebs, it's National Pizza Week (who knew?), which seems like as good a time as any to update our 2011 list of Denver's six best pizzas. Herewith, a citywide guide to the top ten palaces to achieve pizza utopia.

10. Stingray (NOW CLOSED)

stingray-thumb-565x423.jpg
Lori Midson
Stringray, which opened in Mach of last year in the former Gelman's space, is definitely a contender in Denver's pizza turf wars. The thin crust, spanked with an herb-laden sauce, strewn with just the right amount of cheese that guarantees dribbles of grease down your chin, and topped with high-quality ingredients, including local sausage from Polidori's, is fitting for piehole purists -- and anyone else who's hankering for an understated slice of heaven.

9. Marco's Coal-Fired Pizzeria

Marco pizzeria-thumb-550x425.jpg
Lori Midson
Mark Dym's lovely pizzas, snatched from the smoke-filled, wood-burning ovens inside the open kitchens of his downtown and Vallagio at Inverness pizza emporiums, are gorgeous, restrained and endeavored to match a bedrock Neapolitan experience. The pizzas have ardent admirers -- and militant naysayers -- but we're fans of the soft, spongy crusts that are scorched in all the right places. We love the deep-fried pizza, too, and can't wait to see what else Dym does with his fryer.

8. Ernie's Bar & Pizza

whiteclam-thumb-565x317.jpg
Lori Midson
From the day it opened, Ernie's Bar & Pizza commanded maddening crowds. The fervor is still doing strong, as is our lust for the pizzas -- well-balanced, New York-style cheese bombs that keep getting better and better as Ernie's continues to ease into the fabric of the Sunnyside neighborhood. The crusts are skinny and chewy with a crisp bottom, the toppings remarkably fresh, the sauce simultaneously sweet and tart. We're particularly enamored with the prosciutto, oven-roasted tomato and arugula pizza, as well as the pie topped with shrimp and capers.

7. Dolce Sicilia

DolceSicilia.jpg
Lori Midson
Sicilian-style pizza has steadily fallen by the wayside, shunned by aficionados of its nemesis, the thin-crusted Neapolitan pizza that seems to generate all the accolades. For those of you who sidestep Sicilian pizza because of its heft or breadiness, meet Dolce Sicilia, an Italian bakery in Wheat Ridge that turns out pan pizza, lovely slabs of dough that are neither too thick nor too thin, but the perfect balance of springy puffiness and crisp-edged chew. The slices are served at room temperature, and always include a sheet dotted with artichokes, feta, tomatoes and kalamata olives.

6. Virgilio's Pizza

Vpizza.jpg
Lori Midson
The straight-up, New York-style pizzas at Virgilio's, slippery with a judiciously herby and sweet tomato sauce and topped with housemade mozzarella, are simple pleasures that don't rely on flashy gimmicks or clever Californication approaches to hold your attention. You won't stumble upon chicory or pork belly, fingerling potatoes or porcini dust on the list of pizza toppings. Instead, you'll find classic ingredients that pizza purists hold sacred. We gravitate toward the margherita, a pure expression of cheese, garlic, fresh basil leaves and tomatoes.

My Voice Nation Help
41 comments
amsyms
amsyms

Wow, to have missed the obvious best Pizza in the state of Colorado you must be living in a cave. The original Neapolitan style pizza is Protos. They started the movement that it seems everyone wants to copy but can't. Protos is excellent Za.

Jeff Lane
Jeff Lane

Love 3 guys pies on Colfax.  Slices out of this world and it is tough to get the large out the door it is so huge!

Mike
Mike

I am baffled, puzzle and utterly disappointed that an inedible lousy excuse for pizza garbage like stingray makes a list such as this. Went last night for two slices and i could not help but have two thoughts...If this crap could make a top 10 list in Denver for pizza, I need to consider moving.

Secondly, cafe society is clueless and has lost all credibility.

Blown away how bad that pizza was and could even make any list. Its crappy bar pizza with no redeeming qualties

Philo99
Philo99

When people ask me what the biggest problems the world faces, I say, massive government debt, constant wars and the crappy pizza that they serve at places like Stingray and Ernie's. Seriously, the pizza is so bad at Ernie's that I won't feed it to my dog.

Marco's is the top pizza joint in Denver for my tastes. I need to take a ride up to Boulder soon to test out some of the top picks.

Pizzaplease
Pizzaplease

I don't get it. All these pizzas look burnt. Ate at 3 of these "wood-fired" "neapolitan" type places listed here and the crust is burnt as well as the toppings--it may be the way it's done in Italy but what about a straight up NY Style or Chicago Style? Chicago Style Thin Crust is the best IMHO--flavorful sauce, crust and blended cheeses. MMMM. Virgilo's pizza isn't even that good really but he gets a lot of press so that helps. I don't think people in Denver really know what good pizza is--because it certainly isn't on this list.

denver_vegan_diner
denver_vegan_diner

What about Modmarket?  Definitely not the most gourmet pizza in town, but tasty, cooked in a brick oven and the only healthy pizza  option in denver?

Jeremy
Jeremy

No Fat Sullys? Are you crazy, its the best NY slice in town. Hands down

Grace Boyle
Grace Boyle

Mmm, all delicious. Some I haven't been to yet in Denver.

Definitely think Pizzeria da Lupo should have made it on the list (in Boulder). Their crust and flavors rival many others and I would say, it's my favorite in Boulder (Basta and Locale quickly fall in line)

Eric Bakken
Eric Bakken

We LOVE Being on this list, cooking Denver's #3 best pizza in a 1989 Grumman Stepvan we bought for $3000!  (it did take a bit more to have it crank out pizzas, but it's not about the  money or the equipment or the address).  Hope westword readers will come find us at Great Divide Brewing  22nd and Arapahoe on Wednesday and Friday nights, or search Basic Kneads Pizza on facebook to see our winter locations.  We cook all through the winter, so don't wait till spring to find us.  - Eric Bakken, Basic Kneads Pizza 

Nakooky
Nakooky

Other contenders--Parisi, Wazee Supper Club, Bacco Trattoria (Littleton), Brio, and for deep dish--McKinners (Littleton)

Chamuco
Chamuco

Parisi is still the best I have had in Denver.  

Adegood
Adegood

Kaos not on the list? It's in a pretentious neighborhood but it may just be the best pizza in Denver. 

Matt
Matt

I'm sorry, but Wyman's No. 5 has THE BEST pizza I've ever had. The sauce alone is worth the price.

Huhnop33
Huhnop33

Stingray is really really bad.... Like.. horrible.

Kate
Kate

*Garde Manger... not Garmache lol

Kate
Kate

My boyfriend is the Garmache Chef at Basta, and I absolutely LOVE having the food brought home to me! Such an amazing atmosphere and the people are welcoming. The chefs mix ingredients that blend well with the wood fired oven and they also inform you, personally, about all the key steps to creating what you're enjoying.Great work and keep up the awesome job Basta! 

davebarnes
davebarnes

Hops and Pie.

Parisi.

OK, I am biased as they are short walk from my house.

And, I love the whole MyPie concept which has "ready to franchise" all over it.

Ebethcheese
Ebethcheese

All I can say, is that I am still dreaming about that pizza at Osteria. 

Jon S
Jon S

Benny Blancos sucks. Famous Pizza on South Broadway does a way better version of the same genre, which is late night drunk pizza. I definitely still would not try to put Famous in a top 10 list, but it blows away Benny's for what it is.

And I've never gotten the love for Virgilio's. I had their pizza 3 times. Each time it was bland, soggy and dissapointing. At least the Lakewood location closed so I can't talk myself into thinking "Westword loves it, I must try it again because I have to be missing something, or they just had an off night!"  Three misses equals a trend. Now I just know that if I'm in the area I'm heading to The Oven, which is far superior to begin with.

I am very happy to see Basic Kneads on here. It comes out of a truck, but might be my favorite pizza town. Definitely the best value going in local pies right now.

Joey B
Joey B

Benny Blancos is horrid. How is sexy pizza not on this list? Also Westword please include addresses on these lists....

Lori Midson
Lori Midson

Hi there--

If you click on the link highlighting each restaurant, it'll take you directly to the location page, which includes the address, phone number, etc.

Joey B
Joey B

I did that from my iphone and got nothing.  That aside, addresses in the post would be super helpful vs. clicking off to 10 different pages....

Banditgraphics
Banditgraphics

Basta kills it, I can't even believe you guys are attempting to enter Benny effing blancos in this race. It's late night pizza product. I like it, I really do but it's not to be mentioned in this race, sorry.

Dvdnehls
Dvdnehls

I agree with the Stingray bashers, the pizza tastes cheap and the staff is dreadful.  Bonnie Brae is great pizza, though not the norm, and I always am pleasantly surprised when I try one of the daily special pizzas at La La's.

Pslade
Pslade

The big miss is Big Bills New York Pizza on County Line and Holly.  I'm filled with all kinds of NYC-born, Jersey-bred pizza religion, and this is the only place in the area that truly gets that style done.  We're blessed on the Napoli knockoff side - all of the places mentioned on that front are solid.

Jeff
Jeff

I've had most of these, but haven't tried Basic Kneads yet.  The surprise omissions to me are The Oven, Proto's, and Pizza Republica, all of whom still do top-notch authentic Neapolitan pies.

I don't understand the Benny Blanco's love.  It's a serviceable way to soak up excess alcohol, but quality pizza?  Edgewater Inn is kind of its own thing -- more about the familiar tavern vibe than the pie.  On a similar note, Bonnie Brae Tavern's pizzas are not what I think of when I'm hankering for authentic pizza, but they satisfy a special jones of their own.

If you enjoy Chicago thin-crust tavern-style pies, Chicago Mike's on Arapahoe and Dayton does great ones.  Slightly sweet sauce, buttery cracker crust, homemade sausage, party cut -- great stuff.

Bagwhan
Bagwhan

Proto's? Proto's is at best the 4th best neaopolitan pie just in Boulder (miles behind Locale, Basta, and da Lupo), and quite possibly lower than that.  No way do they deserve to be on this list.

Jeff
Jeff

Yeah, Proto's.  I'd agree it's not as good as Locale or Basta, but it's pretty damn good and I dig its cracker-like crust.  I've been only to the Denver location on 15th and Platte, not the Boulder location.  Anyway, it's miles better than Virgilio's, Stingray, or Sicilian "pizza" from a bakery -- all of which made this list in its stead.

I don't make it to the two great Boulder joints as often as I'd like, but for my money Brava is the best pizza I've had outside of Italy.

IronyDiscovered
IronyDiscovered

I could not disagree more with a few of these choices. Marco's and Osteria are fantastic choices but omitting Benny Blanco's, Dino's in Lakewood and Edgewater Inn are a travesty to those pizza lovers in Denver. I could be wrong. Wouldn't be the first time.

Jacob Harkins
Jacob Harkins

But I'm with "guest" and agree with most of the other choices. 

elseroc
elseroc

You forgot Benny Blancos pizza up in Capitol Hill! Best late night slice cut from a 24 inch pie...for $2 a slice! Can't beat that deal!!!

Jeff
Jeff

List has no credibility without Mici

Jacob Harkins
Jacob Harkins

Mici was bad ass a few years ago, but they seem to have slipped. 

Jacob Harkins
Jacob Harkins

Stingray is inedible pizza. Very bad choice. 

spacedog
spacedog

Don't forget Pulcinella!

Sundari
Sundari

No Lucky Pie in Louisville? Fantastic pizza, great beer list, and incidentally the best gluten-free crust I've had in a restaurant.

Bagwhan
Bagwhan

I ate at Lucky Pie last Friday for the first time and have to agree.  Fantastic pizza and some great beer too.

Meghan
Meghan

I can't believe you've forgotten Papou's on Leetsdale.  Best pizza I've had since moving to Denver.  Plus, their Greek salads are to die for!

Guest
Guest

Sorry, have to completely disagree with your choice with Stingray. We've been there three times, and not only is the food marginal at best, the service is an absolute joke. Needless to say we won't go back for their less-than-desirable pizza.

Also, how would that place make it over the Oven in Lakewood? Mark Tarbell's place is still one of my favorites.

Other than that, this list is spot on. Nice work as usual :)

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...