Smooth Operators 
Candied Meyer lemons infuse this salted caramel budino with a citrusy foundation that’s counterbalanced with tart, seasonal fruit. Plan your perfect bite by scooping up a spoonful of both pudding and fruit. This rendition, which is topped with a pinch of shortbread crumble and a miniature quenelle (oval-shaped dollop) of whipped cream, is dainty—but the payoff is big.
2011 E. 17th Ave., 303-394-0100, ilpostodenver.com 
HARMAN’S EAT & DRINK
Harman’s butterscotch budino is a riff on the near-legendary version served at the Pullman, chef-owner Mark Fischer’s acclaimed restaurant in Glenwood Springs. Order it and discover a dessert of contradictions: crunchy and smooth, rich and light. The key to the dessert is brown sugar that’s caramelized until nearly burnt. This technique lends a smoky subtlety that plays off the pudding’s dash of whiskey, malted sea salt, salted caramel, and sweet cream garnish.
2900 E. Second Ave., 303-338-7428, harmanscherrycreek.com 
This treat is served with little gelato spoons—and rightfully so, since its consistency is so light that the custard resembles just-softened ice cream. Three distinct layers factor into flavor and texture: whipped cream dusted with chocolate shavings, dense Jivara-chocolate ganache, and airy butterscotch pudding. That not-too-sweet trifecta combines to become what might be the perfect dessert. Bonus: Pick up a mini version, packaged to go, at the pizzeria’s fast-casual location in Denver.
1730 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-442-3003, localeboulder.com 
GALLO DI NERO
Chef Darren Pusateri’s ramekin of dense, mousselike chocolate pudding is beautiful in its simplicity. A generous helping of cream is hand-whipped, then sprinkled with the same bittersweet chocolate that comprises three-quarters of Pusateri’s recipe. Pusateri adds milk chocolate for a round, sweet finish in each spoonful.
1135 Bannock St., 303-825-1995, gallodinero.com