Stoneground may be more commonly known for handmade pizza and Italian pasta, but don’t miss out on the menu’s leafier jewels. The spinach salad, with Gorgonzola, candied walnuts, dried cranberries, red onion and raspberry vinaigrette, is the perfect balance of sweet and savory, chewy and crunchy. And the chicken & sun-dried-tomato salad, with mozzarella cheese, caramelized grapes and pine nuts, is hearty enough to be a meal on its own—and the tangy sherry vinaigrette drizzled on top will have your taste buds doing a happy dance. Sit at a table near the south windows, and enjoy your salad while looking out over downtown Salt Lake City.
249 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-1368, StonegroundSLC.com
2. Cafe Trio
3. Café Zupas
Best Neighborhood Nosh
At Niche, the focus is on the food—like, really. Each and every ingredient is carefully selected for freshness, and most are from local producers. Besides making you feel good about your carbon footprint, Niche’s brunch, lunch or dinner will just make you feel good—all of that attention to detail results in fabulous dishes, from fresh salads and warm baguettes to perfectly crispy bacon and coconut pancakes with rum sauce. The restaurant’s 300 South brick building has a classy, comfortable atmosphere that’s upscale enough for a special occasion but chill enough to be your designated post-yoga brunch spot.
779 E. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-433-3380, CaffeNiche.com
Owner/chef Takashi Gibo is justifiably renowned for his restaurant’s excellent sushi, sashimi and such. However, it takes more than rice and raw fish to garner the award for Best Japanese restaurant. At Takashi, the dishes that spring forth from the kitchen are as impressive as those assembled by sushi masters. The seven-Japanese-spice-rubbed flank steak, for example, is ridiculously tender and delicious. Ditto the shiitake lamb shank and dishes like miso-glazed eggplant or classic Okinawa noodles. It’s simply masterful cuisine.
18 W. Market St. (340 South), Salt Lake City, 801-519-9595
2. Kyoto Japanese Restaurant
3. Sapa Sushi Bar & Grill
Best Reason to Eschew Espresso
Coffee Garden's London Fog
Ditch the heavy espresso and cross the pond for a change of pace. The London Fog at the Coffee Garden is a soothing blend of Earl Grey tea with a splash of vanilla flavoring and your choice of frothed milk. In this case, eschew the “skinny” and go for the whole moo.
878 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3425; 254 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-364-0768
Best Hot Stone Pots
The dining experience at It’s Tofu is unlike any other. It’s modern yet quaintly ethnic. It’s healthy yet fun and trendy. Large-format photographs of Utah scenery taken by the owner adorn the walls. The healthy country-style Korean fare, inspired by owners Kevin and Elisa Kim is prepared in a bright kitchen you see upon entering. The hot-stone-pot dishes come in a bowl with your choice of meats, tofu, seasonal vegetables and condiments served piping hot. But don’t miss out on the Kims’ other signature dishes: soft tofu stews, bulgogi, bibimbap, japche and jun. Oh, and top if off with a small bottle of Korean raspberry wine.
6949 S. 1300 East, Cottonwood Heights, 801-566-9103, ItsTofu.com
Best Chinese Catering
Red Corner China Diner
If ordering sandwich platters and stroganoff casseroles for your group events has become the most boring part of your day, how about calling in for Chinese food? Owned and operated by Sam Su and family, Red Corner specializes in mouthwatering Sichuan cuisine at its Midvale location. But they’ll deliver trays of spicy firecracker chicken, Singapore rice noodles and broccoli & beef right to your door for groups large and small. Don’t forget a platter of sesame balls for dessert! Now there’s an idea to make you the most popular event planner this side of the Yangtze River.
46 W. 7200 South, Midvale, 801-601-8331, RedCornerUtah.com
Chanon Thai Cafe
Chanon Thai Cafe might not be the biggest Thai restaurant in town, but it has some of the biggest, boldest flavors. Be forewarned: If you ask for your food spicy at Chanon Thai, it will be absolutely incendiary! That’s just one of the things we love about this cozy little independent eatery, where dishes like fiery pork larb and classic noodle dishes such as pad thai and pad seiw keep happy customers coming back again and again.
278 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-117, ChanonThai.com
3. Thai Siam
JANELL BROWN// PHOTO BY NIKI CHAN
Best Cake Queen
Janell Brown, One Sweet Slice
Janell Brown got into the baking business after taking a class for fun. She found small but steady success making wedding cakes out of her home for about seven years and, in 2011, opened up One Sweet Slice, a custom pastry shop. In 2012, she was the winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. Now, she’s opening a second shop, in Sandy, and created the fabulous cake for this year’s Best of Utah cover. Whatever’s next for Brown—world domination?—we can’t wait to taste it.
1644 W. Towne Center Drive, No. D6, South Jordan, 801-727-4275, OneSweetSlice.com
The SugarHouse Barbeque Co.
SugarHouse Barbeque offers up piles of meaty items, but we can’t resist their ribs—dry-rubbed racks of smoky, savory flavor. Order a full slab, or pair a half of a slab with a half bird—juicy, dry-rubbed, smoked chicken. And even non-meat lovers can find a satisfying meal here, thanks to filling “sides” that can make for a meal—like the ridiculously tasty mashed potatoes, made fresh daily and served with creamy gravy. SugarHouse Barbeque is planning an expanded menu and larger space when it relocates to 2100 South and 900 East, sometime in April or May, to make way for the Sugar House gravy train, er, streetcar line—sorry, can’t get those mashed potatoes off the brain.
2207 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City, 801-463-4800, SugarHouseBBQ.com
The Other Place
The Mediterranean entrees of the Other Place may taunt you and/or you may want to order breakfast for dinner. But a great pleasure to be enjoyed at The Other Place is a plate of tasty Greek appetizers known as mezedakia, made even better with a glass of red wine. Enjoy ample portions of feta, souvlaki, tomatoes, olives, onions, cucumber, dolmas and warm pita bread. As you munch and sip, you’ll be thought of as very cool. At least until you ask for a to-go box, since there’s no way you could eat it all yourself.
469 E. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-521-6567