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Best Of 2001

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Best Of :: Food & Drink

Best Italian Restaurant
Santino's on Downing

The menu says that "only grandma could make it better," but we don't see how even she could improve on the food at Santino's on Downing. Chef/owner Santino "Sonny" Rando's marinara, for example, is the red sauce of dreams, slow-simmered until the fresh, herb-enhanced tomatoes cook down into a thick, rich liquid. It's just the right consistency for ladling over Rando's cheese-packed shells; throw in a few of his wickedly salty, oil-slicked, garlic-packed rolls and a glass of top-shelf Italian wine from his well-chosen list and you have the most comforting of Italian meals. But don't think Rando can't see beyond red: Other items on the menu offer a grand tour of his prowess with sauces, from mushroom-imbued creams to Sicilian-inspired lemon-based dreams. Forget grandma's house -- it's to Santino's we go for impressive Italian fare in an intimate, inviting setting.

92 S. Pennsylvania St., Denver, 80209
MAP
303-777-6443
Best Barbecued Ribs

As fans of the unbelievably good ribs at Brothers BBQ on Leetsdale since it opened three years ago, we didn't think the British-born O'Sullivan brothers could get any better. But then they opened a second location in an old convenience store in central Denver -- a spot where they can serve cold beer alongside their hot 'cue -- and Brothers is now a real double threat. The dry-rubbed, slow-smoked, St. Louis-cut ribs are so tasty, so tender, we could eat a rack plain, but we also love the peppery, vinegary Memphis-style sauce and the sweet, smoky Kansas City-style sauce. Dem bones, dem bones.

Best Barbecued Ribs
Brothers BBQ

As fans of the unbelievably good ribs at Brothers BBQ on Leetsdale since it opened three years ago, we didn't think the British-born O'Sullivan brothers could get any better. But then they opened a second location in an old convenience store in central Denver -- a spot where they can serve cold beer alongside their hot 'cue -- and Brothers is now a real double threat. The dry-rubbed, slow-smoked, St. Louis-cut ribs are so tasty, so tender, we could eat a rack plain, but we also love the peppery, vinegary Memphis-style sauce and the sweet, smoky Kansas City-style sauce. Dem bones, dem bones.

6449 Leetsdale Dr., Denver, 80224
MAP
303-322-3289
Best Dinner After 10 p.m.

You'll be dazzled by the late-night look of Dazzle. Even after the funky dining room closes, the intimate, elegant lounge keeps things cooking, serving up down-home favorites with an upscale twist. Stumble in at midnight on a Friday or Saturday night, and you can still snag a dazzling bar burger: a quarter-pounder on focaccia with your choice of Stilton or smoked Gouda, along with exceptional thin-cut French fries. If your night's been a rough one, add some iron via a soothing salad of spinach with candied walnuts and blue cheese. Better to eat late than never at Dazzle. (Fair warning: On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the kitchen closes at 10 p.m., and Dazzle is closed entirely on Sundays and Mondays.)

Best Dinner After 10 p.m.
Dazzle

You'll be dazzled by the late-night look of Dazzle. Even after the funky dining room closes, the intimate, elegant lounge keeps things cooking, serving up down-home favorites with an upscale twist. Stumble in at midnight on a Friday or Saturday night, and you can still snag a dazzling bar burger: a quarter-pounder on focaccia with your choice of Stilton or smoked Gouda, along with exceptional thin-cut French fries. If your night's been a rough one, add some iron via a soothing salad of spinach with candied walnuts and blue cheese. Better to eat late than never at Dazzle. (Fair warning: On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the kitchen closes at 10 p.m., and Dazzle is closed entirely on Sundays and Mondays.)

930 Lincoln St., Denver, 80203
MAP
303-839-5100
Best Kosher Pizza

Pete's Pizza makes a righteous pie -- and that's even more impressive since all of the pizzas that come out of this kitchen are completely kosher, right down to the meat toppings. For anyone who keeps kosher but still craves America's favorite food, Pete's is a real garden of eatin'.

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Best Italian Restaurant: Santino's on Downing

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