25 Best Restaurants

After countless lunches and dinners, tens of thousands of calories, and hours of careful deliberation and debate, our fourth annual ranking of the Denver area’s best restaurants is complete. Dig in for a comprehensive, of-the-moment snapshot of the local dining scene.

October 2013

1 Frasca Food and Wine (last year 1)
If there’s any question about Frasca Food and Wine’s attention to excellence, look to the restaurant’s long list of accolades. There are write-ups in Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and the Wall Street Journal, and not one, but two highly coveted James Beard Foundation Awards: one from 2008 for Best Chef: Southwest; the other from earlier this year for Outstanding Wine Program. These nods confirm what Colorado diners have known for years: Frasca is not only the best restaurant in the metro area—it’s one of the nation’s very best. Service, which is driven by co-owner and master sommelier Bobby Stuckey, is graceful, confident, and goes virtually unnoticed until you’re released into the night feeling coddled and indulged. The weighty wine list is worthy of study, but turn choices over to Stuckey, Matthew Mather, and Carlin Karr, Frasca’s team of decorated wine experts, and you’ll never be disappointed. The Italian menu, executed by chef and co-owner Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, fulfills the universal human need for comfort—house-made pappardelle tangles with zucchini ribbons in a soul-stirring scallop sauce—in a precise, almost intellectual manner. Perhaps the best part of Frasca is that a visit doesn’t have to be a once-a-year celebration. Sit at the bar and experience the same food and service without committing to a table several weeks out. Or, make a reservation for the Monday tasting dinners, at which you’ll nab a four-course, prix-fixe menu for $50 a person. 1738 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-442-6966, frascafoodandwine.com