Really, Parisi makes the best pizza, period. End of contest. It just happens to be on a thin crust. The cooks laboring before the blast-furnace heat of Parisi's stone ovens could put their pizzas together on cardboard, spread sauce and melt cheese over Wonder bread, assemble the ingredients for a Margherita, Rustica or caper-and-anchovy Napoli on top of old Pinto seat covers, and we'd still die for these pies, because at Parisi, what goes on top matters so much more than what's underneath. That's not to say the crust isn't good; it is. But the handmade mozzarella, speck, scamorza, artichoke hearts and prosciutto are what really set these pizzas apart. For their new, expanded location, owners Simone and Christine Parisi have assembled a list of two dozen pies -- enough to satisfy even the most esoteric tastes -- and every one we've tried has been exemplary.
That benchmark of Asian food, that great equalizer of world cuisine, that humblest, most savory of bites. Ladies and gentlemen, we give youŠthe dumpling. In a town chock-full of restaurants churning out thousands of dumplings of every conceivable nationality seven days a week, Little Ollie's is the place that does them best. Plump little pillows, pan-fried, stuffed with a smooth paste of pork, herbs and spices, these dumplings are best when dipped in a side of the warm, gingered soy sauce served with every order. This Cherry Creek landmark has been dishing up Americanized Asian fusion cuisine for years, and the dumplings never fail to please.
Some things never change, and the thick-crust, Sicilian-style deep-dish pizza served up by the Sarlo clan is one of those things. The pizza has been made the same way through three generations of this family, most recently by Anthony Sarlo and his crew at Vita Bella, the Italian eatery they opened

in suburbia two years ago. This pie is assembled from the best ingredients -- fresh spinach, stemmed by hand, astringent black olives, Pecorino romano, fresh mozzarella, garlic, garlic and more garlic -- that are sealed up inside a thick double crust like a true pie, then baked just the right amount in one of Vita Bella's big ovens. If you're thinking of ordering one of these monsters, you'd better be prepared to wait; even under the best of circumstances, they can take upwards of forty minutes to finish. But once you lift out that first slice? It's like Disneyland: You never remember the wait.

Step through the doors of New York Pizzeria and you're stepping into a true New York pizzeria. The smell of hot ovens, sweating dough, sweet tomatoes and charred baking flour is as unmistakable as it is universal, and while the decor isn't much to speak of -- call it Brooklyn street-corner chic, with a black-and-white linoleum floor, a dozen scattered tables and booths, and the ubiquitous New York skyline prints -- we'd like the place less if it were any different. Linen cloths and real table settings have no place in a proper pizzeria; the slices here come on paper plates already going limp from the magic orange grease leaking all over everything. The sauce is mild, the crusts are thin and limber, the ingredients are fresh, and every pie is proof that this kitchen knows every trick, every taste and everything that a kitchen in Denver can about making a New York pie New York right.
Parisi Italian Market & Deli
Really, Parisi makes the best pizza, period. End of contest. It just happens to be on a thin crust. The cooks laboring before the blast-furnace heat of Parisi's stone ovens could put their pizzas together on cardboard, spread sauce and melt cheese over Wonder bread, assemble the ingredients for a Margherita, Rustica or caper-and-anchovy Napoli on top of old Pinto seat covers, and we'd still die for these pies, because at Parisi, what goes on top matters so much more than what's underneath. That's not to say the crust isn't good; it is. But the handmade mozzarella, speck, scamorza, artichoke hearts and prosciutto are what really set these pizzas apart. For their new, expanded location, owners Simone and Christine Parisi have assembled a list of two dozen pies -- enough to satisfy even the most esoteric tastes -- and every one we've tried has been exemplary.
Some things never change, and the thick-crust, Sicilian-style deep-dish pizza served up by the Sarlo clan is one of those things. The pizza has been made the same way through three generations of this family, most recently by Anthony Sarlo and his crew at Vita Bella, the Italian eatery they opened

in suburbia two years ago. This pie is assembled from the best ingredients -- fresh spinach, stemmed by hand, astringent black olives, Pecorino romano, fresh mozzarella, garlic, garlic and more garlic -- that are sealed up inside a thick double crust like a true pie, then baked just the right amount in one of Vita Bella's big ovens. If you're thinking of ordering one of these monsters, you'd better be prepared to wait; even under the best of circumstances, they can take upwards of forty minutes to finish. But once you lift out that first slice? It's like Disneyland: You never remember the wait.

Making a great white pizza is a delicate business, because one of the three primary ingredients of your standard pizza -- the sauce -- is no longer in play. Without that red to wed the texture of the crust to the flavors of the toppings, things can very easily get out of whack. Some pizzerias' whites are too dry, others overcompensate by loading on the cheese. Anthony's avoids all of these common pitfalls by topping an already excellent crust -- stiff but not crunchy, with a solid backbone of flavor -- with a perfectly balanced ricotta cheese sauce. The result is a mellow, mild white on a chewy, thin-boned crust that tastes great fresh out of the ovens...and even better cold for breakfast the next morning.
Step through the doors of New York Pizzeria and you're stepping into a true New York pizzeria. The smell of hot ovens, sweating dough, sweet tomatoes and charred baking flour is as unmistakable as it is universal, and while the decor isn't much to speak of -- call it Brooklyn street-corner chic, with a black-and-white linoleum floor, a dozen scattered tables and booths, and the ubiquitous New York skyline prints -- we'd like the place less if it were any different. Linen cloths and real table settings have no place in a proper pizzeria; the slices here come on paper plates already going limp from the magic orange grease leaking all over everything. The sauce is mild, the crusts are thin and limber, the ingredients are fresh, and every pie is proof that this kitchen knows every trick, every taste and everything that a kitchen in Denver can about making a New York pie New York right.
Ironic, isn't it? Not only does Anthony's put out the best white pizza in town, but it also has the best red sauce in a field crowded with contenders. A mild, slightly sweet sauce, neither too thick nor too watery and with good depth of flavor, Anthony's red is put to use not just on its pies, but also on a short roster of serviceable pastas and a solid board of pizzeria-style heroes and parm sandwiches. To west-of-the-Mississippi palates tuned into the heat of capsicum in all its chile incarnations, this sauce may seem too weak, too blah. But for those of us who remember that tomatoes are a fruit whose best essence is translated by long, slow cooking and an easy hand with the spices, Anthony's red is the tops.
The panini at Vincenza's, a revitalized bakery in the old home of the Wheat Ridge Dairy, start with great fresh breads. Case in point: the sausage sandwich, a chewy baguette stuffed with peppers, onions, provolone and a hungry-guy-sized portion of well-seasoned sausage. If Ralphie hadn't been decapitated during the fourth season of The Sopranos, he'd lose his head over this one.

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