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Boulder restaurant review: Pizzeria Basta

The restaurant revolution in
Boulder
is truly an exciting one.  In a mere 5 years, the dining scene in this town has gone from pretty good to pretty great, creating an army of transplanted foodies and proving dishes like tongue, paté, and head cheese have a place in a town known for overzealous vegan hippies.  But until now, there has been a gaping hole: 
Boulder
had yet to have a truly excellent gourmet pizza place. 

 

Enter Pizzeria Basta.

 

Basta is the creation of Chef Kelly Whitaker, who cut his teeth in Michelin-starred LA kitchens like Hatfield’s and Providence and studied the art of pizza-making in
Italy
.  He combines that experience with a true Italian mindset, that is, to use local ingredients and inspirations to create a uniquely simple and focused menu on which each item is exceptional.

 

Simplicity does not make it any easier to choose, unfortunately (or, rather, fortunately).  Charcuterie offerings include La Quercia cured meats, house-made mozzarella and ricotta, and, delightfully, lardo, a new offering on Boulder’s food scene, and something this writer hopes will become an explosive trend.  Salads based on freshly available market ingredients follow; the focus on roasted vegetables and heavier flavors is perfect for the winter months. 

 

And then there are the pizzas.  Chef Whitaker has kept the offerings simple with just 5 Italian-inspired favorites plus a daily market pizza based on whatever is locally available.  On the night that I sidled up to the cozy bar in front of the impressive wood-fired oven, the
Colorado fingerling potatoes were perfect, inspiring a market pizza of the spuds, pancetta, and a poached egg with the house-made mozzarella.

 

Oh, the house-made mozzarella.  With that ingredient in his pocket, Whitaker will be hard-pressed to go wrong.  House-made cheese often has a remarkable effect on a dish, but rarely does it so thoroughly provide a deeply satisfying experience like Basta’s.  It’s rich, it’s stretchy, it’s creamy, it’s salty, and lest it steal the show entirely, it’s completely versatile, served in many forms on the menu, each time providing a perfect complement to the other ingredients of the dish. 

 

Like all great restaurants, the excellence at Basta is in the details:  a crust made from an Italian starter, pickled vegetables providing the perfect bite to balance richer dishes, a creative dessert list, tasteful décor, a well thought-out wine list, and favorite local beers on tap.  It’s a place bound to attract a crowd of regulars, lounging at tables for hours over bottles of wine and several courses.

 

Basta is located in the inner courtyard of the newly-built Peloton, a luxury apartment complex on 33rd and Arapahoe, which makes it a little difficult to find.  It is, without a doubt, worth driving around for 10 extra minutes the first time to get there, though, because this place, already an industry favorite, should absolutely become a
Boulder
staple.  In a town constantly upping the culinary ante, Pizzeria Basta is a welcome addition.

 

Don’t miss:  lardo, anything with house-made mozzarella, pickled vegetables.

 

The $9 Prix Fixe lunch, which includes soup or salad + a pizza, is truly a deal.

 

Pizzeria Basta


3601 Arapahoe Ave


Boulder, CO

303-997-8775

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