Best $5 Lunch
Not far from downtown Salt Lake City, Su Casa serves up a nice combo of quiet atmosphere, tasty Mexican food and great prices. Take the lunch special, for example: Before 5 p.m., you can get a bean & cheese burrito, smothered in enchilada sauce and topped with melted cheese, plus a bean tostada, for just $4.99. Return later to enjoy further large-portioned, affordable specialties like the huge veggie burrito grande, stuffed with beans, rice, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole and hot sauce, with a side of rice and beans.
516 E. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-363-7771, SuCasaDowntown.com
Best Flax of Life
We all get the munchies now and then, and the default is to reach for something that’s not exactly health-friendly. Kathy’s Krackers, based in LaVerkin, Utah, starts with whole flaxseed, then builds deliciously unique crackers made with other seeds, plus fresh fruit and vegetable flavors, like the spicy salsa, sweet apple cinnamon, flavor-packed tomato basil or satisfying veggie-rich savory. Get a variety pack and try them all. Buy online, or look for them at Harmons and Maceys grocery stores in Salt Lake City.
Best Downtown SLC Restaurant
The Copper Onion
Since opening five years ago, The Copper Onion has become the go-to eatery for many of the most discerning food lovers in town. It’s not that the food, or even the newly revamped décor, is high-end or pretentious-feeling; it’s just warm and inviting. The Copper Onion achieves the perfect balance between fine and funky dining, professional and casual service, and upscale and casual atmosphere. Ultimately, though, this restaurant is all about excellence in food, and appealing beverage selections to accompany it. And hey, where else are you likely to find roasted bone marrow on the menu?
111 E. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3282, TheCopperOnion.com
Best City Center Thai
Those who work in Salt Lake’s city center are just a few steps away from most any cuisine their heart could desire—gyros, burritos, pizza, burgers, pho, sandwiches and more sandwiches. But, up until early 2013, a good Thai place was just beyond a lunchtime stroll. Thank heavens, then, for Bangkok Terrace, which brings some spice to Gallivan Avenue. Its vaulted ceiling bathes diners in beautiful natural light as they enjoy Thai classics like tom yum soup, pad thai with perfectly cooked tofu, and, of course, curries spicy or tame.
61 Gallivan Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-355-0068, Bangkok-Terrace.com
No surprise here. Squatters has won the Best Brewpub award for nearly as long as beer has been legal in Utah. It was Salt Lake City’s first brewpub, and it’s still the best. Sure, there are plenty of great brewpubs with great beer and great food around town. But none has stepped up in the way that Squatters has, giving back to the community and operating a business that is as green and as environmentally low-impact as possible. Oh, and the award-winning brews are pretty damned good, too.
147 W. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-363-2739, Squatters.com
2. Red Rock Brewing Co.
3. Bohemian Brewery
Best Pasta Dreidel
Salt Lake City-based Plentiful Pantry has put together an impressive array of dry goods, desserts and other food items available for purchase nationwide. But, come the holiday season, you may be hard-pressed to find anywhere else to get specialty pasta with a Hanukkah theme. Sure, there’s also tree-shaped pasta for Christmas, and plenty of other holiday-themed pastas, like Valentine’s Day hearts and a Halloween assortment. But pasta shaped like dreidels and Stars of David gives dinnertime a touch you may not find elsewhere.
Best Late-Night Coffee Hangout
For those who need a coffee shop in which to while away the late-night hours, there’s really only one place to go: Coffee Connection. Open till midnight, with outlets at every table for your laptop and a dedicated study room, this is the place to grab an evening Americano and hit the books, or hang out with friends in the lounge area.
1588 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-467-4937, SaltLakeCoffeeConnection.com
Red Moose Coffee Company
In December 2009, Rob Karas and Teresa Nelson used a micro loan to open Red Moose Coffee Company on the corner where an iconic Scandinavian shop had sat for years. The two—both full-time employees of Real Salt Lake—wanted an intimate setting where “you didn’t feel like you had to be someone” to come and hang out, all day if you want. Everything is baked fresh daily, and real butter, fresh raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and more all go into the magical mix that makes Red Moose’s scones legendary—fluffy, dense and full of flavor.
1693 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-906-8864, RedMooseRoasting.com
Best (Secret) Vegan Bar Food
Bourbon House’s menu can accommodate both vegans and meat lovers—a rare find in Salt Lake City. More than just boring veggie burgers, the vegan items on the menu are actually interesting and full of taste, like the sesame ginger “chicken” salad, the warm spinach salad, a “turkey” & green-apple sandwich, and a cream cheese & olive panini. The best vegan item on the menu is the Philly cheesesteak sandwich (made with WestSoy seitan strips), which the hungry vegan and his omnivore friend can get two for the price of one on Fridays.
19 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-746-1005, BourbonHouseSLC.com
Best Local Beer
Epic Brewing Co.
Since opening Epic Brewing Company in 2008, co-founders David Cole and Peter Erickson, along with head brewer Kevin Crompton, have made a huge, sudsy splash in not just the local, but also the national and international beer worlds. In 2012 alone, Epic brews garnered 20-plus awards at beer competitions worldwide. Salt Lakers obviously love the large-format strong ales and handcrafted lagers that Epic has brought to town. These beers are, well, epic.
825 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-906-0123, EpicBrewing.com
2. Uinta Brewing
Best Dinner & a Concert
Sun & Moon Cafe
The friendly staff, cozy restaurant, outdoor patio, comfort-food menu and solid beer and wine selection would be enough to entice most folks up Emigration Canyon to the Sun & Moon Cafe. But the Sun & Moon also has an ace in the hole: live music. And not just any live music, but the best local artists interspersed with national blues acts like John Lee Hooker Jr., The Avey Brothers, Chris Duarte and Eddie Shaw & the Wolf Gang. It’s dinner and a concert at the Sun & Moon.
6281 Emigration Canyon, Salt Lake City, 801-583-8331, TheSunAndMoonCafe.com