We were looking for a well-rounded roster of wines, one with enough offered by the glass to give us plenty of sampling opportunities; with some international favorites mixed with a rarity here and there; with reasonable prices that could stretch from a casual meal to a big splurge; with a choice of a few bubblies; with some interesting domestics; and, oh, yes, maybe with some "other fun stuff." Simple, really -- as long as you're looking at the wine list at the Fourth Story Restaurant & Bar. This classy, book-filled restaurant atop the Tattered Cover has something for everyone, in every price range: low-priced Germans, mid-range Oregon pinot noirs, upscale Rhones, Merlots to fit every budget, big-legged Italians and a few Spanish and Australian options. The by-the-glass list runs the red-and-white gamut, and the sparkling section features selections from all over the map. There's even "other fun stuff," too, listed under just that title and starring such oddities as Chenin Blanc and Semillon. Salut!
We were looking for a well-rounded roster of wines, one with enough offered by the glass to give us plenty of sampling opportunities; with some international favorites mixed with a rarity here and there; with reasonable prices that could stretch from a casual meal to a big splurge; with a choice of a few bubblies; with some interesting domestics; and, oh, yes, maybe with some "other fun stuff." Simple, really -- as long as you're looking at the wine list at the Fourth Story Restaurant & Bar. This classy, book-filled restaurant atop the Tattered Cover has something for everyone, in every price range: low-priced Germans, mid-range Oregon pinot noirs, upscale Rhones, Merlots to fit every budget, big-legged Italians and a few Spanish and Australian options. The by-the-glass list runs the red-and-white gamut, and the sparkling section features selections from all over the map. There's even "other fun stuff," too, listed under just that title and starring such oddities as Chenin Blanc and Semillon. Salut!
Carmine's on Penn
Mark Antonation
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.
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.

Best Restaurant When Someone Else Is Paying

Flagstaff House

Flagstaff House Restaurant
Mark Antonation
If someone says they like you, make them prove it by taking you to the Flagstaff House. A meal in this beautiful old building high in the foothills is a pampering treat from start to finish. The staff is accommodating, the wine list overwhelming, and the entire menu absolutely luxurious. Of course, it's going to cost your friend -- and we all know what a bitch payback can be.back home.

Best Restaurant When Someone Else Is Paying

Flagstaff House

If someone says they like you, make them prove it by taking you to the Flagstaff House. A meal in this beautiful old building high in the foothills is a pampering treat from start to finish. The staff is accommodating, the wine list overwhelming, and the entire menu absolutely luxurious. Of course, it's going to cost your friend -- and we all know what a bitch payback can be.back home.
Admittedly, Sunflower isn't totally vegetarian: This sunny Boulder eatery does offer free-range poultry, wild game and fresh seafood. But the many dishes that it bills as vegetarian are indeed animal-free (they can come with raw-milk cheeses, but that's optional) and absolutely delish. Start with a tofu-filled nori roll, fried in a tempura batter and served with a soy-sake dipping sauce, or the pesto-stuffed portobello, oven-roasted until the 'shroom turns soft and steamy and infused with garlic. Then move on to a bamboo steamer filled with organic vegetables, udon noodles and marinated tofu, or a Szechuan stir-fry of Asian veggies tossed in sesame oil and pepper sauce. The organic basmati rice is orgasmic, and no animals were hurt in the production of the oh-so-moist vegan cranberry-orange walnut cake. The bloom is on this one.
Admittedly, Sunflower isn't totally vegetarian: This sunny Boulder eatery does offer free-range poultry, wild game and fresh seafood. But the many dishes that it bills as vegetarian are indeed animal-free (they can come with raw-milk cheeses, but that's optional) and absolutely delish. Start with a tofu-filled nori roll, fried in a tempura batter and served with a soy-sake dipping sauce, or the pesto-stuffed portobello, oven-roasted until the 'shroom turns soft and steamy and infused with garlic. Then move on to a bamboo steamer filled with organic vegetables, udon noodles and marinated tofu, or a Szechuan stir-fry of Asian veggies tossed in sesame oil and pepper sauce. The organic basmati rice is orgasmic, and no animals were hurt in the production of the oh-so-moist vegan cranberry-orange walnut cake. The bloom is on this one.
Wynkoop Brewing Company
Wynkoop Brewing
Every dog has his day, and now it's Flying Dog's turn to howl. After losing its Broadway Brewing space last year (the old Silver State Laundry building is now scheduled to become lofts, natch), the brewery/pub had to battle to get this new place -- a space long ago abandoned by the Mile High Brewing Co. -- up and running. But now the brewery's back and better than ever, with a new name and the same great canine-themed brews, including the ever-popular Doggy-Style Pale Ale. And the kitchen in this laid-back tavern turns out dishes large enough to feed a horse -- or at least a great Dane. The salads are made to order (our favorite is the blackened chicken), and the calzones wrap good, homemade pizza crust around copious fillings for major mealage. Good beer, good food: We're going to the dogs.
Every dog has his day, and now it's Flying Dog's turn to howl. After losing its Broadway Brewing space last year (the old Silver State Laundry building is now scheduled to become lofts, natch), the brewery/pub had to battle to get this new place -- a space long ago abandoned by the Mile High Brewing Co. -- up and running. But now the brewery's back and better than ever, with a new name and the same great canine-themed brews, including the ever-popular Doggy-Style Pale Ale. And the kitchen in this laid-back tavern turns out dishes large enough to feed a horse -- or at least a great Dane. The salads are made to order (our favorite is the blackened chicken), and the calzones wrap good, homemade pizza crust around copious fillings for major mealage. Good beer, good food: We're going to the dogs.

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