Our ten best pizzas in Denver (and Boulder)
5. Brava! Pizza
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.