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Photograph by Jennifer Olson

Where to Find the Best Hummus and Pita in Denver

If you think hummus is a cold, dense chickpea paste that comes in a plastic container—or that pita is stale and crumbly by default—you need to dine at Safta.

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If you think hummus is a cold, dense chickpea paste that comes in a plastic container—or that pita is stale and crumbly by default—you need to dine at Safta, the two-month-old modern Israeli restaurant inside the Source Hotel & Market Hall in RiNo. There, chef-owner Alon Shaya’s sublime renditions, precisely executed by chef de cuisine Jessica Nowicki, are shattering those stereotypes, one bowl and tender round at a time. How do they do it? The cooks remove as much of the skin as possible from the dried chickpeas that form the base of the ethereal, ultra creamy dip. The simple tahini version, infused with garlic, lemon, and Aleppo pepper, “takes me straight to Israel,” Shaya says. “It’s like the margherita pizza of hummus.” Other iterations are generously topped with buttery hunks of blue crab, corn, and mint or spicy lamb ragu crowned with crunchy fried chickpeas. Scooped up with Shaya’s piping-hot, puffy pita—made with freshly milled heirloom turkey red wheat and delivered directly from the kitchen’s custom wood oven—the addictive combination will change everything you thought you knew about the Middle Eastern staples.

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