Our ten best pizzas in Denver (and Boulder)

5. Brava! Pizza

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Lori Midson
Pie peddler David Bravdica's wood-fired pizza wagon is a 850-degree powerhouse of smoldering Missouri oak wood that produces thin-crusted, blistered, misshapen pies stained with unadulterated San Marzano fruit and dabbed with orbs of creamy mozzarella. Our favorite is the Marky, a more than satisfactory pie that's crowned with pepperoni from Il Mondo Vecchio, which emerges crisp and curled when it's yanked from the oven.

4. Pizzeria Locale

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Lori Midson
Jordan Wallace, Pizzeria Locale's high priest of dough, spent nearly four months in Naples honing his craft, and his pizzas, ultra-thin, light platforms of bliss, are mounted with the best ingredients lire (and dollars) can buy. We've chewed our way through most of Wallace's creations, and the mais, smeared with creme fraiche, dotted with fresh corn the color of the golden sun, blotted with lightly applied mozzarella di bufala and sheeted with translucent slices of prosciutto crudo, is our heart's obsession.

3. Basic Kneads Pizza

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The unmistakable scent of char drifts through the window of this mobile kitchen on wheels, which turns out uniformly irregular-shaped pies from a custom-built, infernal, wood-fired oven. What emerges are bubbling, blistered, beautiful pizzas strutting thin, chewy crusts made with Colorado-milled organic flour. From the simple margherita smeared with tomato sauce, draped with a light sprinkling of cheese and fragrant with basil to the Thai chicken pizza, glazed with chile sauce and festooned with cilantro, these pies rise high above the fray.

2. Osteria Marco

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Lori Midson
Osteria Marco is not a pizzeria. It's a shrine to hand-crafted cheeses and salumi, to suckling pig on Sunday nights and panini paved with prosciutto. It also happens to be a restaurant whose repertoire includes some of the most superb pizzas to ever cross our lips. A few bites in, and you're transfixed by the salty, airy chew of the crust and the inspired combinations of toppings: pancetta, Pecorino and a yolk-flowing egg that seeps across the center; goat cheese, Fontina, fig puree and crisp nubbins of prosciutto that shatter like glass; and our favorite, a pizza with housemade sausage, caramelized onions, Fontina and thin rings of racy red Fresno chiles.

1. Pizzeria Basta

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Lori Midson
Pizza prince Kelly Whitaker makes his dough using a fifty-year-old starter kit from Naples; he sources as many ingredients as he can from local suppliers, farmers and vendors; he pickles his own vegetables, crafts his own mozzarella and ricotta, cures his own pancetta and makes his own sausage, all of which are noble endeavors. But Whitaker really displays his skills when he puts everything together: The slightly misshapen crusts, properly salted and scorched in all the right spots, are surfaced with a remarkably fresh tomato sauce and mouthfuls of inspired meats and vegetables, all of which led to Pizzeria Basta garnering our top pizza pick in Best of Denver 2011.

We know you have more favorites. Tell us what they are in the comments section.



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42 comments
khepp33
khepp33

Decent list but no way is Marcos that low and Basta that high.  Locale in Boulder is the tops no doubt.  And who is complaining about the burnt look.  It's called Neopolitan...check it out sometime.  That being said I do love me some thin crust Chicago.  Much better than that thick crust crap.  Different strokes for different folks I guess.

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....

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.

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

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.

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 :)

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.

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.

Jacob Harkins
Jacob Harkins

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

Bagwhan
Bagwhan

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

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....

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.

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