Best Pizza -- New York Style 2002 | Anthony'sFive metro locations | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Yo! Anthony's serves the most authentic New Yawk 'za in town. Super-thin crackly crust. Sweet sauce. Lots of drippy cheese. Fold a slice in half, and orange grease runs everywhere. Don't argue: You're gonna like it.

Just stepping inside either of the two Meglio's outposts is enough to transport you back to the Windy City: Chicago memorabilia covers the walls, and regulars are always ready to chat about da Bears. But the pizza here is the real deal, too. In Chi-town, pizzerias pour it on thick -- and Meglio's follows suit by serving deep-dish pies so fat and smothered in cheese, one slice is enough for a meal. The sauce is rich and tomatoey, and the perfectly oiled crust is so tasty that, long after your stomach is full, you just can't stop.

The Wazee Supper Club, started nearly thirty years ago by the Karagas brothers, was a lower-downtown institution long before the area acquired the nickname "LoDo." Although this classic is now owned by the Wynkoop Brewing Co.'s John Hickenlooper (Jim Karagas still has My Brother's Bar), the pizza coming out of the kitchen is the same unique pie that Denverites have enjoyed for decades. Baked in the Wazee's stone oven, the cornmeal-enhanced wheat crust turns into a cracker-like substance sturdy enough to support the load of toppings the Wazee always piles on. In fact, by the time your pie arrives at your table, it's so full of pepperoni and sausage or ham and pineapple or onions and mushrooms, it's tough to know whether there's a pizza underneath. Trust us: There is, and it's a good one.
An Iowa-style pizza? If you never sausage a thing, head to Justine's Pizza, a little joint in Loveland that serves an "Eastern-Iowa-style" pie -- which translates to topped with sauerkraut and Canadian bacon and proves surprisingly tasty. How're you gonna keep 'em down on the farm? With pizzas like this.

Here's one place where bigger is better, because one piece of Papa Keno's pie could be enough to satisfy. Then again, it's hard to get enough of this pizza's crispy crust, gooey cheese and sweet sauce enhanced by plenty of oregano. The super-casual Papa Keno's is an ideal drop-in spot -- especially judging by the number of customers from the nearby CU Health Sciences Center; a hot, drippy triangle should be in your hands within a matter of minutes. As advertised, this slice is as big as your face -- and we're ready to do a little face time at Papa's anytime.
Wedge Pizza Co., a spacious, spanking-clean new pizzeria, makes pies that are a work of art, with cheese swirled around the thin, hand-tossed crust and a lot of thick, sweet sauce. But our favorite way to get a Wedge is as a calzone, with the crust folded over our choice of toppings, then slicked with olive oil and thrown back into the oven until it turns into a tidy package that's crunchy on the outside, cheese-oozing on the inside. The standard cheese calzone is far from standard, with mozzarella, ricotta and fresh basil melding into a blissful goo. But we like to throw in artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes for extra flavor. Now, pass the sauce, please.

Lechuga's is such an authentic red-sauce joint, you expect to see Frank and the boys lounging around a table covered with a red-checked cloth, sharing a laugh and a bottle of Chianti. But if Ol' Blue Eyes were still with us, he'd probably get right in line with everyone else, peering into the heated display case next to the cash register, gazing in amazement at the stacks of dough-wrapped meat sitting there -- and drooling. "Devils" have been a Lechuga's tradition from the start, and with good reason. The kitchen takes good-quality Italian meats -- mild sausage, spicy sausage and big, fat meatballs -- and wraps them in sweet dough before baking them into giant puffballs. Not so hungry? Tell 'em the "mini devil" made you do it.

Three Sons is another north Denver landmark, an Italian eatery whose slick, busy dining room is decorated with Roman busts and softly colored lights. The fried chicken is one of the specialties here; if you can't resist ordering it, you'll still want to add a side of spaghetti. Even a side here is a hefty helping, a mound of perfectly cooked noodles blanketed by a gravy-like red sauce. We go all the way, though, because that red possesses an addictive flavor that hints of vegetables and herbs, puréed into a thick, ruddy consistency that holds to the pasta like an Italian mama to her babies. Don't forget to splurge for a meatball.

If a squat green bottle covered with straw is your only Chianti experience, it's time to take a trip to Tuscany. And you won't need to go any farther than 17th Street, to Panzano, a lovely restaurant named after a village in the Chianti Classico region of Italy. Yes, in that country, Chianti is a classic. In this country, it's a joke, one of the stereotyped trappings of an Italian restaurant straight out of Disney's Lady and the Tramp. But in reality, Chianti is a lush, rich wine, capable of holding its own against the likes of Montepulciano and Barolo. And in celebrating its namesake area, Panzano offers nearly three dozen Chiantis for in-the-know diners, including the esteemed Fontodi and La Massa, all picked by sommelier Scott Tallman. Of course, every one of those wines is perfetto with chef Jennifer Jasinkski's superb fare.

Looking for the perfect bottle of wine? Reserve some time at Reservelist, an astounding collection of small-batch, hard-to-find wines from around the world. Owner Chris Farnum, a sommelier well on his way to earning his master certification, has built a store that is literally a wine cellar, temperature-controlled and humidity-injected, where the wines are arranged by locale, variety and order of consumption, from aperitif to digestif. Farnum's philosophy is to find wines that are going places, bottles from new, exciting vineyards that are destined to produce the next big thing, but not necessarily at the next big price. Farnum will offer a $200 bottle if it's a great bottle, but more often he's selling things like Sineann's Zinfandel, a Washington State wine that costs $34 a bottle even though only seventy cases are made each year, or the 1999 Mas Doix from Spain, a $60 wine that tastes like $300. And when price is really an issue, Reservelist offers a rotating roster of twenty wines each under $20. But here's the real reason to pop the cork: This groovy store is simply a cool place to visit, with a lounge and tiny coffee bar out front where patrons can research wines over a handy computer or using a small library of wine books. We have no reservations about this one.

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