10. Basta

Last year 8

Simplicity reigns at chef-owner Kelly Whitaker’s Boulder spot. You’ll never find an errant ingredient, a superfluous touch, or a muddled dish here; the Italian-inspired plates are deliberately rustic. Many are licked by the flames of an oak-fired oven, while others—like the molasses-glazed prosciutto Biellese and house-made lemon ricotta—simply stand out for their arrangements of exquisite components. Chefs talk about not getting in the way of ingredients; Whitaker actually lets them shine. 3601 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, 303-997-8775, bastaboulder.com

Order this: farrotto piccolo with wild mushrooms and ricotta salata

(Read 5280’s review of Basta from the April 2013 issue.)