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The largest chef's counter in the city awaits you at Cattivella. Photo by Lucy Beaugard

Best Restaurants 2018: Cattivella

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There should be a photo of Elise Wiggins, the chef-owner of Stapleton’s Italian darling, Cattivella, next to “pluck” in the dictionary. Wiggins personifies the word—which means “spirited determination”—having decided to own her restaurant solo, with no investors or partners to help carry the load. Today you can witness, and taste, Wiggins’ spirited determination to make her year-old restaurant a success. Cattivella’s food is as lively as Wiggins herself: On the patio, whole boars and fish and aged cheeses and fresh vegetables are boldly grilled on a rotisserie spit, while inside the open kitchen, wood smoke kisses stellar pizzas, handmade pastas, oysters on the half shell, and even desserts. Like a cross between Doris Day (a sparkle in her eye and a room-brightening smile) and Lidia Bastianich (the current high priestess of Italian cooking in America), Wiggins is indeed plucky, not to mention talented as hell. $$, Eastbridge Town Center, 10195 E. 29th Drive, Suite 110, 303-645-3779

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