BLUE NILE ETHIOPIAN // PHOTO BY JOHN TAYLOR
Best New Ethnic Restaurant
Blue Nile Ethiopian
You’ll find abundant flavors at Blue Nile Ethiopian Cuisine, where traditional African favorites like sambusa, doro wot, gomen and tegabino shiro are served at drum-shaped messob tables with big discs of injera, the African “bread” made from teff. It’s exotic, delicious, inexpensive and a fun opportunity to eat using the best culinary tools available: your fingers.
755 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-364-4042, BlueNileSLC.com
2. El Rocoto Peruvian Restaurant
3. Del Mar Al Lago
Best French Fries
Bruges Waffles & Frites
Here’s a secret the French don’t want you to know: The best fries in Europe aren’t french fries, they’re Belgian fries. Don’t believe us? Just try the fries at Bruges Waffles & Frites, operated by Belgium-born Pierre Vandamme. As in Belgium, these fries are crispy and served with a dizzying array of housemade mayos, some 11 or so to choose from, including “zensation,” Brasil, samurai, traditional mayonnaise and aioli, and, of course, fry sauce.
336 W. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-363-4444; 2314 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-468-9999, BrugesWaffles.com
2. Lucky 13
3. The Bayou
There is no shortage of spots to find a Mexican meal in Utah. However, very few venture into the authentic depths of South-of-the-border flavor as deep as Frida Bistro does. Dishes like the Mexican cheese “fondue,” called queso fundido, and the quesadilla de huitlacoche (made with sweet-corn fungus) are about as authentic as it gets, next to eating fried grasshoppers on the Zócalo in Oaxaca. The chile en nogada is a must.
545 W. 700 South, Salt Lake City, 801-983-6692, FridaBistro.com
Burgers are king at this local bar and grill that also prides itself on good whiskey and cheap beer. With the bar’s own house-smoked bacon, the cheeseburger is a sumptuous treat, as is the “bacon stinky,” a burger with bacon and melted blue cheese. There are also more gourmet options, like a burger heaped with mushrooms sauteed in red wine with a touch of garlic, complemented by Swiss cheese. No matter your preference, Lucky 13 has enough well-crafted burgers to match the palate of any connoisseur of ground chuck, bread and fixin’s.
135 W. 1300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-487-4418, Lucky13SLC.com
2. Crown Burgers
3. Copper Creek Pub & Grub
In Spanish, gordita translates to English as “little fat one.” And we can’t get enough of the little fat gorditas at El Maguey. They’re corn cakes made from masa harina, stuffed with any of the ingredients that fill El Maguey tacos, ranging from carnitas, cabeza, lengua and chicharrón to shredded beef, chicken, chorizo, refried beans and cheese. These gorditas are phat!
715 S. 900 West, Salt Lake City, 801-359-3365
Best High-Altitude Dining
Situated at the top of Snowbird’s Cliff Lodge, the altitude of The Aerie restaurant sets it apart. But what equally distinguishes this high-flying eatery is the gorgeous décor and scenic views, the impeccable professional service, a world-class award-winning wine program and the exceptional cuisine. The Aerie hits high peaks in all of those areas.
9600 East, Little Cottonwood Canyon Road, Snowbird, 801-933-2160, Snowbird.com/Dining
Best Chile Fest
Each fall, we look forward to the annual Chile Fest at Z’Tejas, when The Gateway fills up with the scent of New Mexico’s Hatch green chilies, roasted outside for the two-plus weeks of the festival. Proceeds from special Chile Fest menu items like green-chile sopes and crab-stuffed Hatch chile rellenos help support the Burn Center at the University of Utah. It’s deliciously hot stuff for a good cause.
191 S. Rio Grande St. (455 West), Salt Lake City, 801-456-0450, ZTejas.com
Lone Star Taqueria
Just off the main drag in Cottonwood Heights, Lone Star’s three-year run of offering the best burrito known to Utahns remains unchallenged. While Lone Star’s reputation may be built on its tacos, it’s the generosity and range of its burritos that keeps folks coming back for more. The pork with green chile, carne adovada and pollo asado are all standouts in a 16-strong lineup. While Lone Star’s beach-shack storefront lacks an actual ocean, no worries—just bite into one of the burritos, close your eyes and let the flavors wash over you.
2265 E. Fort Union Blvd., Salt Lake City, 801-944-2300, LoneStarTaqueria.com
2. Red Iguana
3. Beto’s Mexican Food
Best Dinner With a View
Wasatch Mountain Table Dinner Series
One of the nicest seats in summer is at the long table alongside Big Cottonwood Creek at Solitude Resort. That’s the location of the monthly Wasatch Mountain Table Dinner Series, where Solitude’s chef, Michael Richey, teams with local farmers, ranchers and other food producers to prepare one-of-a-kind wine-pairing dinners at one of the most beautiful dining spots in the state. How can you lose with stunning views and scenery to match the equally appealing cuisine?
12000 Big Cottonwood Canyon, Solitude, 801-536-5722, SkiSolitude.com/Dining
Best 25th Street Payoff
You’ll have to take an elevator to this restaurant, located above a gallery on Ogden’s Historic 25th Street with views of the craggy Ogden portion of the Wasatch Mountains. Then, you’ll be asked to make a choice: prime or pub? Don’t worry if it seems that the restaurant is playing hard to get; there are no wrong choices here. If you’re looking to go whole hog or impress someone, pick the prime menu, and you’ll be led to an upscale section, paired with a selective menu with options like yak surf & turf, quail and Prime-grade sirloin. Or, if you’re looking for a more low-key night, pick the pub side, with a vast selection of pastas and comfort foods, plus build-your-own burgers. Jasoh also specializes in oils and vinegars, and two of the restaurant’s 30-plus flavors (also available to purchase in gift sets or full bottles) will be served with crusty bread for dipping.
195 25th St., Ogden, 801-399-0088, Jasoh.com
One of the winningest Best of Utah eateries, Greek Souvlaki offers a gyro that’s vibrant with taste, thanks to the delicious lamb/meat filling, onions and tomatoes, and the red or tzatziki sauce. In a town that has more than its fair share of great Greek cuisine, Greek Souvlaki keeps knocking the fundamentals out of the ballpark. And now, with a new location in the Salt Lake City International Airport, Greek Souvlaki can entice locals and travelers alike with its alternative to other, more typical airport offerings.
Multiple locations, GreekSouvlaki.com
2. Mad Greek