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Tavernetta's buttery tagliolini with Maine lobster, semi-dried tomatoes, fresh cherry tomatoes, and herbs. Photo by Sarah Boyum

Best Restaurants 2018: Tavernetta

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There are many ways to fall in love with Tavernetta, the year-old Denver sister restaurant to Boulder’s Frasca Food and Wine. No reservation? Grab a seat in the walk-ins-only lounge; elegant cocktails and snacks at just $4 to $12 make aperitivi hour (3 to 6 p.m. daily) an especially charming time to linger there. Or, if you secured seats in the stylish dining room or opposite the lively open kitchen, you can move into soul-warming territory with chef Ian Wortham’s all’amatriciana made with al dente rigatoni or a burnished whole rotisserie chicken, which arrives with salty roasted fingerling potatoes and a fresh green salad. Either way, put your drink selections in the gifted hands of wine director Carlin Karr, for there’s not an inferior drop of Italian vino or French Champagne—or amari-driven cocktails, for that matter—in the house. È amore, va bene. $$$$, 1889 16th St., 720-605-1889

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