Technically, what A La Tomate serves isn't even a pizza. It's a tarte à la tomate -- a golden-brown, braided, buttery, pastry-shell tart filled with pizza-like toppings that comes straight from the cafes of Provence to Denver's 17th Avenue. At first bite, the pie tastes...weird. The sauce is keyed to French tastes, kicked up with a strong dose of herbes de Provence, and the crust seems to be made from crushed-up Keebler butter crackers. But once you get past the initial shock of this being unlike any other pizza you've tasted, you quickly realize that different is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it's a pretty good thing, especially when the kitchen brings all the skills of a pro pastry department to the construction of each shell.


Technically, what A La Tomate serves isn't even a pizza. It's a tarte à la tomate -- a golden-brown, braided, buttery, pastry-shell tart filled with pizza-like toppings that comes straight from the cafes of Provence to Denver's 17th Avenue. At first bite, the pie tastes...weird. The sauce is keyed to French tastes, kicked up with a strong dose of herbes de Provence, and the crust seems to be made from crushed-up Keebler butter crackers. But once you get past the initial shock of this being unlike any other pizza you've tasted, you quickly realize that different is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it's a pretty good thing, especially when the kitchen brings all the skills of a pro pastry department to the construction of each shell.

Until you've tasted what a French-trained, James Beard Award-nominated executive chef can do once he decides to open a dream neighborhood pizza place, you really haven't tasted pizza's potential. But since the debut of the Oven, Mark Tarbell's wood-fired pie joint in Belmar, now you can. Here, every pizza is hand-tossed; topped with the best organic, locally produced and artisan ingredients Tarbell can find; draped with his signature homemade mozzarella (made fresh all day in the Oven's kitchen) and smoked ricotta cheese; and cooked in one of two massive wood-fired ovens that Tarbell himself designed. The result is a lightly sauced pie, subtly woody in the crust. These aren't just pizzas, they're works of art -- true masterpizzas.

Until you've tasted what a French-trained, James Beard Award-nominated executive chef can do once he decides to open a dream neighborhood pizza place, you really haven't tasted pizza's potential. But since the debut of the Oven, Mark Tarbell's wood-fired pie joint in Belmar, now you can. Here, every pizza is hand-tossed; topped with the best organic, locally produced and artisan ingredients Tarbell can find; draped with his signature homemade mozzarella (made fresh all day in the Oven's kitchen) and smoked ricotta cheese; and cooked in one of two massive wood-fired ovens that Tarbell himself designed. The result is a lightly sauced pie, subtly woody in the crust. These aren't just pizzas, they're works of art -- true masterpizzas.

Famous Pizza has a vibe that lets you know you've come to the right place. It could be the abraded tile, the wobbly tables, the decor that's half Greek diner, half God knows what -- but there's definitely something in the collision between look, neighborhood and attitude that makes Famous the best spot for feeding that late-night jones for thin-crust perfection. The slices here are New York-style -- meaning thin crust, small bone and greasy -- and while they're not the absolute best in town, they're available until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday for the walk-in trade. And for that, Famous is rightly famous.


Famous Pizza
Mark Antonation
Famous Pizza has a vibe that lets you know you've come to the right place. It could be the abraded tile, the wobbly tables, the decor that's half Greek diner, half God knows what -- but there's definitely something in the collision between look, neighborhood and attitude that makes Famous the best spot for feeding that late-night jones for thin-crust perfection. The slices here are New York-style -- meaning thin crust, small bone and greasy -- and while they're not the absolute best in town, they're available until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday for the walk-in trade. And for that, Famous is rightly famous.

A great pizza folded in half is a great calzone. And what's better than a great calzone? A great stromboli -- essentially a pizza that's been involved in a high-speed collision with a fast-moving Italian sandwich, with the resulting mess folded up like a calzone and baked. Tonti's stromboli is a huge pocket of baked pizza dough, stuffed with deli meats and cheeses (including a good dose of mozzarella), then served with a side of excellent red sauce. Eating one isn't quite as convenient as eating a sandwich or a slice -- you'll need a knife, fork and big boy's appetite just to get through half -- but it's worth the extra effort.


A great pizza folded in half is a great calzone. And what's better than a great calzone? A great stromboli -- essentially a pizza that's been involved in a high-speed collision with a fast-moving Italian sandwich, with the resulting mess folded up like a calzone and baked. Tonti's stromboli is a huge pocket of baked pizza dough, stuffed with deli meats and cheeses (including a good dose of mozzarella), then served with a side of excellent red sauce. Eating one isn't quite as convenient as eating a sandwich or a slice -- you'll need a knife, fork and big boy's appetite just to get through half -- but it's worth the extra effort.

While Armando's pies are outstanding, particularly the deep-dish spinach Sicilian, this venerable pizzeria deserves a prize for another portion of its menu: the pastas. The kitchen does just about every classic neighborhood Italian starch you can think of, including admirable gnocchi, fat little ravioli, and a fresh capellini pomodoro with garlic, capers, white wine and cherry tomatoes. There's also an excellent chicken Florentine, and a great Alfredo to pour over just about anything. If you're torn between all the choices, Armando's offers several mezzo e mezzo plates that should settle just about any split decision.


While Armando's pies are outstanding, particularly the deep-dish spinach Sicilian, this venerable pizzeria deserves a prize for another portion of its menu: the pastas. The kitchen does just about every classic neighborhood Italian starch you can think of, including admirable gnocchi, fat little ravioli, and a fresh capellini pomodoro with garlic, capers, white wine and cherry tomatoes. There's also an excellent chicken Florentine, and a great Alfredo to pour over just about anything. If you're torn between all the choices, Armando's offers several mezzo e mezzo plates that should settle just about any split decision.

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