100 Favorite Dishes

100 Favorite Dishes: Zuppa Pomodoro at Parisi Italian Market & Deli

No. 93 Zuppa Pomorodo at Parisi Italian Market & Deli
Those who have frequented the eateries of Denver's northwest neighborhoods over the past few decades will remember when Parisi was nothing more than a simple Italian deli in a spartan storefront with a few tables where you could sit down and enjoy a small selection of daily specials or a piping hot pie, as well as some of the best sandwiches in town. Simone and Christine Parisi opened their deli on Lowell Boulevard in the late 1990s and then moved to their current location on Tennyson Street a few years later, expanding the menu with a long list of pastas and eventually adding Firenze a Tavola downstairs to offer regulars a more upscale, family-style experience.

But all along, simple ingredients prepared with care have been the draw. And that's never more evident than in Parisi's zuppa pomodoro — better known to most of us as tomato soup. Parisi's version starts with roasted tomatoes and layers in hints of other flavors: a whisper of garlic, a touch of olive oil, a quick hit of salt. But the tomatoes — vivid and tangy — demand attention like the day they were plucked plump from the vine and still warm from the summer sun. 

The best tomato soup lends a taste of August to cold, winter days — and this is one of the best, undiluted and pure. Nothing's better than the color orange right now, so it's a great week to dive into a bowl of summer goodness to help shake off the February chill.

Throughout this year, we'll be counting down the best dishes in the city — from longtime classics that keep us coming back to new additions that have caught our attention. If there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section, or shoot us an e-mail at cafe@westword.com.

Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2016 countdown are linked below.

No. 100: Masala Beef at Biju's Little Curry Shop
No. 99: Bacon Shrimp and Grits at Bacon Social House
No. 98: Porchetta and Kimchi Sandwich at Brider
No. 97: Squab-and-Sunchoke Tortellini at Abejas
No. 96: Housemade Burrata at Viand
No, 95: Schweinshaxe at Rhein Haus
No. 94 Kimchi Jeon at Seoul BBQ
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation