A collection of neighborhood pizzerias with fresh American Italian food, addictively wonderful breadsticks and the best good-value Italian wine list in town. Known for craveable meatball subs and many savory vegetarian options, Pasquini’s really hits the spot with the best pizza and best lasagna in Denver.
The resident chefs at Bucci’s Greek & Italian Specialties harness the tasty power of fresh meats from local butchers and ingredients imported directly from Greece to assemble platters of authentic cuisine. The restaurant’s menu boasts starters to oil up rusty jaw hinges, including flambéed saganaki ($8), a gooey flash-fried cheese traditionally prepared with an open flame to achieve maximum meltiness and ward off grub-thieving satyrs. The kitchen’s Mediterranean mavens assemble gyros ($9.75) by rounding up shaved lamb and beef and anointing the tender bites with homemade tzatziki sauce. A hefty selection of knife-and-fork-requiring Italian entrees includes sausage and peppers ($16.25 for a large order) snuggled together atop a bed of linguine beneath a melty blanket of mozzarella.
Garlic Jim's menu was handcrafted with nothing more than a dream and an incredible reserve of pizza-making expertise. Open an order with some gourmet chicken wings, available in barbecue, garlic, and hot, before moving on to pizza territory. Put an end to eating Legos by piecing together a custom pie. Choose from the hand-thrown thick, garlic thin, or gluten-free crusts, slathered in one of seven sauces (from classic red to zesty chipotle pesto), and then slap on any of 15 standard and 11 gourmet toppings (14-inch large pizzas start at $11.99, extra-large $14.99; each additional topping for a large is $1.50). To achieve customization without the stress of having to choose, turn to one of the pre-determined specialties. Meat-maul hunger with the Hercules (salami, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, beef, spicy Italian sausage, and bacon; $18.99 for large, $21.99 for extra-large), or discover the secret of pizza-temperature fusion in your head with Jim's bacon-cheeseburger pizza (beef, bacon, red onions, tomatoes, mozzarella, and cheddar; $18.99 for large, $21.99 for extra-large).
When most people think of Chicago-style pizza, they probably imagine a dense, deep-dish pie weighed down by an inches-thick layer of cheese. But the chefs at Nicolo's Pizza point to a different definition offered up by famed Chicago film critic Roger Ebert. In an interview with Vanity Fair , Ebert estimated that as much as 85 percent of Chicago's pizza is built upon a thin crust, and that what really sets the city's pies apart is the homemade sauces, sausages, and crusts cooked up by Chicago's abundant Italian population.
That's exactly the type of Chicago-style pizza that Nicolo's has been dishing up for more than 30 years, using recipes born generations ago in Italy. Each thin or hand-rolled crust is made fresh every day, topped with a choice of sauce such as traditional red, alfredo, or garlicky extra virgin olive oil, then baked in an authentic stone-bottom oven. Patrons can choose their own ingredients––which range from housemade italian sausage to artichoke hearts and green chilies––or choose one of the shop's specialties such as The Big Cheese, a gooey combination of mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, bleu cheese, and ricotta, or the Hawaii Five-O, topped with chicken, red onions, and pineapple, layered between teriyaki sauce, mozzarella, and a signed photo of Jack Lord. Beyond the pizza pan, chefs painstakingly assemble layers of fresh noodles, ricotta, and sauce into classic meaty or vegetarian lasagna and slather chicken wings in a variety of sauces, including pomegranate chipotle and thai peanut.
Royal Gorge Tavern's menu lists New Jersey–style pizzas made with homemade dough, foot-long sandwiches topped with Thumann's antibiotic-free meat, and cavernous salad bowls. Fill mouths or pockets with fried mac 'n' cheese ($5.95) before styling your own 12-inch ($10+) or 16-inch ($14+) pie, denouncing gluten with a gluten-free pizza ($11.99+), courting a calzone ($10.95+), or trapping a wild salad ($6.95+). The 12-inch Yeti, a sandwich piled with Thumann's italian lunchmeats, cheeses, lettuce, onions, sweet peppers, and dressing, doubles as a paperweight ($10.95). Traditional hot and cold sandwiches come in half ($5.95) and whole ($6.95+) varieties and pair well with frothy sips of Odell microbrews ($4.50), Guinness drafts ($5), or a glass of Ecco Domani pinot grigio ($6).