We love ending a dinner with a dessert that's just as interesting, innovative and delicious as the dishes that have come before. While many places in Denver put together a solid pastry list, there are some that absolutely demand you finish your night with a treat.
Here are Denver's five best:
5. ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro The dessert board at ChoLon is tight and well-suited to the rest of the Southeast Asian menu, playing up the tropical fruits native to the region. While we've scooped up the chocolate cake sided with peanut butter ice cream, we really love the donuts, served warm and dusted with cinnamon and sugar alongside a scoop of caramelly Vietnamese coffee ice cream.
4. D Bar Desserts Star chef Keegan Gerhard hit a sweet spot in Denver's dining scene when he opened a spot that put the focus on dessert (though his savory menu is certainly worth sampling, too). He attracts a full house every night with his innovative list of final courses, which range from a slice of cake paired with a creamy shake, to a chocolate caramel tart to fluffy donuts, served with dipping sauces and jams.
3. Pizzeria Locale The biggest lesson we learned the first time we dined at Pizzeria Locale: Save room for dessert. Because by the time we'd stuffed our pieholes with pizzas, salumi and salads, we were begging for mercy -- but we still couldn't stop ourselves from ordering a round of sweets. We're particularly partial to the delicate butterscotch pudding, the saltimboca -- pizza dough stuffed with nutella -- and the housemade gelati and sorbeti, desserts worth the trip to Boulder all on their own.
2. Bittersweet Olav Peterson nabbed pastry chef Danielle St. John from D Bar, and since taking control of the sweets at Bittersweet, she keeps rolling out better and better finales. We've swooned over her seasonal fruit-focused ice creams, the shortbreads topped with berries. Our favorite on the summer menu, though, is the s'more, a plate pooled with chocolate and housemade marshmallow fluff, stacked with a crumbly housemade chocolate graham cracker and crowned with strawberries.
1. Olivéa Yasmin Lozada-Hissom is an absolute wizard with pastries, and she crafts desserts with an innovative touch, a mastery of technique and a mind for balance. We're constantly delighted by what she comes up with, be it the best chocolate and fleur de sel caramel tart we've ever had, doughnuts injected with lemon and ricotta (one of our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2010), or creme fraiche panna cotta. In a town with many great dessert-makers, Lozada-Hissom is truly a cut above. And that's what earned Olivéa the Best Desserts nod in the Best of Denver 2011.
Have other favorites? Tell us about them below.
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