For fans of New York-style pizza—the type you get by the slice or as a whole pie—there’s really no alternative to Este Pizzeria. The crust is just right. The sauce is just right. The cheese is just right. In fact, everything about Este is just right, from delicious appetizers like breaded cheese ravioli to the gluten-free and vegan pizza options. But remember: Don’t ask for pineapple on your pizza and don’t wear BoSox gear.
2021 Windsor Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-485-3699; 156 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-2366, EstePizzaCo.com
2. The Pie Pizzeria
Best Rock & Roll Food Truck
Lewis Bros. Food Truck
Food truckin’ tastes good, sure, but the Lewis brothers make it sound good. Helmed by longtime local rockers Oliver (Tolchock Trio) and Charlie (The Rubes), the truck serves up David Chang-inspired cuisine, like banh mi Asian sandwiches and kimchi hot dogs at lunch and into the wee hours of the night, outside of bars and venues whose stages the brothers have graced in the past.
801-835-3828, Twitter: @LewisBrosFood
Gourmandise the Bakery
For longer than most of us can remember, Gourmandise has provided Salt Lakers with a little taste of Paris, via made-from-scratch breads, pastries, desserts, cakes and more. In warm weather, it’s hard to beat a breakfast panini, quiche or croissant out on the sun-drenched patio. At lunch and dinner, the French country picnic plate, full of farm-fresh veggies, dipping delights and French bread, is the way to go.
250 S. 300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-328-3330, GourmandiseTheBakery.com
2. Tulie Bakery
3. Kneaders Bakery & Cafe
Best “If You Must” Smoke
Samak Smoke House & Country Store
This must-stop roadhouse, on Mirror Lake Highway heading toward the Uintas, smokes its own cheddar cheese (which tops the burgers down the road at The Notch, owned by the same folks), mozzarella, beef and turkey jerky, salmon and, the best offering, trout. On Sundays, as you head down from the mountains, you can smell the barbecue; trust your nose and stop.
1937 E. Mirror Lake Highway, Kamas, 435-783-4880, SamakSmokeHouse.com
Best Celebration of Mormon Muscle
One of the first converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and bodyguard to church founders Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, Porter Rockwell is now one of Mormonism’s black sheep. But for Porter’s Place owner Bob Trepanier, Rockwell’s legend is worth celebrating. At this Old West steakhouse, the walls are adorned with Rockwell memorabilia and replicas of the four photos of the man that are known to exist. There’s even a souvenir shop, where, after consuming a (nonalcoholic) drink of the house, like sarsaparilla or an old-timey “cure-all,” customers can purchase a documentary or postcards.
24 W. Main, Lehi, 801-768-8348, PorterRockwellUtah.com
While you’re enjoying some live music and one of the many, many beers on tap at The Bayou, you might find yourself with a serious case of the munchies. If so, The Bayou’s variety of Cajun- and Creole-inspired appetizers is sure to satisfy. Popcorn crawfish, fried Cajun seafood balls, savory alligator cheesecake and Cajun corn dogs will transport you to the South, and there are also lots of classic pub-grub favorites like Buffalo wings, Southwest artichoke cheese dip and chipotle hummus. The Bayou’s creamy, zesty garlic-chipotle aioli is so addicting, you’ll want to dunk everything on the menu into it—not just the fries it comes with.
645 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-961-8400, UtahBayou.com
Best Reason for Sticky Hands
Wasatch Pops & Snow Shack
If you heard someone talking about a dish called a “strawberry balsamic black pepper” such-and-such, you might assume it’s a salad—certainly not a popsicle; those only come in flavors like purple and green. Wasatch Pops & Snow Shack is flipping the popsicle paradigm on its stick with inventive flavors like coconut with fresh lime juice and mint & pineapple serrano, made with all-natural and organic syrups and ingredients. Wasatch Pops’ green pop’s hue comes from the cucumber, cilantro and citrus ingredients, not from additives like Green 5. Check out the main shop, or look for Wasatch Pops’ vintage Airstream trailer in the summer at farmers markets around town. With popsicles this good, why can’t it be summer year-round?
3981 S. Wasatch Blvd., Salt Lake City, 801-842-9167, Facebook.com/WasatchPops
At this sprawling, yet cozy, log mansion located on National Forest and in Millcreek Canyon, romance is certainly in the crisp, clean air. Not only has Log Haven been the scene of countless marriage proposals—usually over a plate of Chef Dave Jones’ creative cuisine—but many couples return to the scene to say their vows. Log Haven is proud not only of the traditional weddings it hosts, but also of the many girl-girl and boy-boy ceremonies. It’s one-stop shopping: a gorgeous spot to propose, get hitched and celebrate anniversaries for years to come.
6451 E. Millcreek Canyon Road, Salt Lake City, 801-272-8255, Log-Haven.com
Sweet Tooth Fairy
With nine locations statewide, you’re never too far from one of these sugary wonderlands. And you can’t go wrong with the mother of all sweets: cupcake shakes, which are blended cups of cake and ice cream. First, choose a Sweet Tooth Fairy cupcake—there are dozens, from standbys like cookies & cream and marble chocolate to monthly themed offerings like Easter-egg sugar, all topped off with creamy, inches-thick frosting. Then, have it blended—frosting, toppings and all—with a few scoops of ice cream. Finally, enjoy the richest, thickest, creamiest shake you’ve ever had, truly a life-changing experience.
Multiple locations, TheSweetToothFairy.com
2. Gourmandise the Bakery
3. Cakewalk Baking Company
Best Big-Hearted Dining
Joe Cannella, who opened Cannella’s with his wife, Missy, in 1978, passed away suddenly a few years ago. But we think he’s still around—in spirit, at least. Because there’s a big-hearted, family-friendly feel at Cannella’s that lives on in Missy, Joe’s son Joey and all of the outgoing, warm, helpful staff at this little gem of an Italian restaurant. Joe Cannella, wherever he is, would surely approve.
204 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-8518, Cannellas.com
Herbivores and omnivores alike love this cozy downtown spot, where Chef Ian Brandt’s vegetarian, organic, locally sourced food is a feast for the eyes as well as the soul. The menu’s artistically crafted appetizers, sandwiches, salads, desserts and entrees are beautiful and delicious, and all made with 100 percent plant products—who says meat-free food can’t be tasty? Sage’s vegan pizza night, held every Tuesday, is a can’t-miss event. For around $13, you can enjoy all-you-can-”nom” salad and vegan pizza till you’re fit to burst. Creative flavors like carrot butter & mushroom “escargot,” and even a dessert pizza with apples and housemade apple butter, give whole new meaning to the term “rabbit food.”
473 E. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-322-3790, SagesCafe.com
2. Frisch Compassionate Eatery
3. Vertical Diner
Best Sausage Shop
Colosimo's Standard Market
In 1921, Ralph Colosimo traveled from Calabria, Italy, to the mining town of Magna, bringing with him a passion for making authentic Italian sausage. His secret sausage recipe has fed Kennecott miners and Magna locals for nearly 100 years; his grandson, Danny Colosimo, now carries on the tradition. Still located in that same shop, the original Colosimo’s Standard Market is a piece of history that comes with plump, juicy Italian sausages.
9900 Main, Magna, 801-250-1088, ColosimosOriginal.com
Best Local Wing Sauce
Some would call Rob Clark a meat-sauce scientist. After visiting a Hooters in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., in 1994, Clark figured he could concoct a better sauce and has been tinkering with various spices and seasonings ever since. After much trial and error, Clark has finally created his masterpiece, Rob’s Sauce. Words can’t do justice to this amazing sauce, but, essentially, it’s a spicy & sweet mouth-splosion, available to purchase in a 20-ounce bottle. Sample it Thursday nights at 5 Monkeys club in Murray, when Clark gives away free wings.
Best Hangover Cure
The Green Pig's Sunday Brunch
For some, Sunday mornings are a dehydrated world of booze-induced pain. Recuperate at The Green Pig, where you can cure your hunger pangs with an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of bacon, waffles and made-to-order omelets. If you must keep the party going, throw back some $2 mimosas and $2 Bloody Marys and, when the weather warms up, head up to the rooftop patio and groove to the sounds of DJ Flash & Flare, 2011 CWMA DJ of the Year.
31 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-7441, TheGreenPigPub.com
Best Coffee Beans
Drinking coffee has always been a counterculture activity in Utah in a way that no other state can match. Rimini has been around since 1992, so they’ve been at this a long time. What makes it such a valuable presence is the attention the staff pays to roasting coffee beans in a small-batch drum roaster. The quality and texture of its coffees, drawing on the traditions of Italian coffee culture, are second to none. And, given the company’s passion for all things Italian, it’s perhaps not surprising that one of Rimini’s best coffees is Milano. Ciao bella!
532 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-539-1210, RiminiCoffee.com
Best Miracle Food
Dinner at Vinny's
Started by the Wasatch Presbyterian Church 31 years ago, the soup kitchen that now bears the name Dinner at Vinny’s has provided as many as 700 meals a night, 365 days a year, to Salt Lake City’s poor and homeless. It was given the new name in late 2011 after Catholic Community Services took over the extraordinary community service from the Salvation Army. It’s hard to think of a more needed and too-little-celebrated miracle than the 3.5 million free servings of soup and sandwiches that have graced the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall during the past three decades. For those motivated to donate, buying a $50 share covers the cost of 119 meals over the course of a year.
437 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-7710, DinnerAtVinnys.org
Best Food Cart
Gone are the days when ketchup, yellow mustard and—if you’re feeling wild—maybe relish would suffice for footlong toppings. Americans’ palates have become more sophisticated, and with that comes a desire for the gourmet, even extending to hot dogs. That’s where World Dog steps in. This year-round food cart dishes up a variety of dogs—most made with Colosimo’s sausage, but chicken and tofu are also available—and an even more abundant international selection of toppings, from curry sauce and mango chutney to tzatziki and tomatillo-agave drizzle. You’ll never look at a ballpark dog the same way again.
2200 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-831-2078, www.WorldDogSLC.com
2. City Dogs
3. Tacos Don Rafa
This little South Salt Lake eatery is named after the owner’s son, whose photograph is displayed by the register. But Cafe Guanaco’s charms don’t end with the friendly enthusiasm of the host. The pupusas—El Salvador’s most famous culinary invention, a slightly sweet, yet savory, pancake stuffed with pork, beans & cheese or carne asada—are tasty and filling, and darned cheap—from $1.75 to $2.15 a pop. They encapsulate the warmth that makes visiting Cafe Guanaco such a truly family-inspired experience.
499 E. 2700 South, South Salt Lake, 801-484-6584, CafeGuanaco.com
TAQUERIA 27 // PHOTO BY JOHN TAYLOR
Best Fancy Tacos
Of course, we all love the simple street tacos purchased from sidewalk taco carts. However, those are to Taqueria 27 tacos as a can of Campbell’s soup is to a big bowl of Vietnamese pho—both are liquid nourishment, but there’s really no comparison. At Todd and Kristin Gardiner’s T27, you’ll find tacos stuffed with duck confit, pork belly, bison, fresh fish, turkey chorizo, wild mushrooms, grilled veggies and more, including unique gourmet toppings, making them the best fancy taco choice around.
1615 S. Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City, 385-259-0712, Taqueria27.com
Best Bombay Meets Kentucky
Curry Fried Chicken
The colonel couldn’t have done it better himself had he hailed from Bombay instead of Kentucky. This fast but fresh eatery specializes in Indian and Pakistani cuisine—with a twist, when it comes to the curry-fried-chicken plate. For about $10, you get two juicy, right-out-of-the-fryer pieces of chicken that are battered in a crunchy curry-spice breading, plus basmati rice, vegetable curry and pita bread. Add an extra piece of the finger-licking-good chicken for just $1.49. If the spice kicks a little too much, you can always wash it down with a cold, yogurt-based lassi drink.
660 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-924-9188
Best Family-Farm Fillings
Mountain West Burrito
It would be easy to pass by Provo’s Mountain West Burrito and dismiss it as a nondescript restaurant attached to a gas station. But you’d be missing burritos stuffed with fresh, local ingredients, including steak from Double R Ranch and pork from Snake River Farms. With such local goodness, stuffing yourself becomes almost a guilt-free indulgence.
1796 N. 950 West, Provo, 801-805-1870; 815 N. 700 East, Provo, 801-607-1766, MountainWestBurrito.com
Best Miraculous Mexican Cuisine
Milagros, meaning “miracles” in Spanish, is a heavenly take on Mexican fare. This Orem restaurant was started by Dave Tuomisto, the restaurateur who also founded the popular Bajio chain. His newest dining destination is a restaurant that offers a sometimes-sweeter take on traditional Mexican cuisine, such as the seafood tacos that come with pineapple salsa and roasted-red-pepper chutney, or the muy popular grilled onion ball that’s injected with honey and spices while in the oven. You also can’t go wrong with Barry’s pollo fundido—a chicken breast wrapped lovingly in a fried tortilla and smothered with sour cream, cream cheese, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, along with a smattering of sumptuous chilies and spices.
970 W. 800 North, Orem, 801-655-1555, MilagrosUtah.com
Best Cheap Date
Brewvies Cinema Pub
You’ve heard of “dinner and a show?” Well, at Brewvies, it’s dinner and a show and libations, to boot—all at unbelievably low prices. Brewvies probably isn’t the ideal place to find your sugar daddy, but if you’re into good pizza, a great selection of brews (as well as liquor and wine) and some of the best and worst films ever made, then Brewvies is for you. Don’t have a date? Meet yours at one of City Weekly’s free movie nights.
677 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-322-3891, Brewvies.com
2. Pie Hole
3. Lucky 13
Best Soothing Cheese
Beehive Cheese's TeaHive
Nothing soothes a stressful afternoon like some much-needed protein and a feel-good bite of tea—yes, bite of tea. Beehive Cheese’s newest offering, TeaHive, is made with creamy cheese and rubbed with black tea and bergamot, which gives the cheese a fresh, almost-citrus scent. It might be the most refined piece of cheese you’ll ever eat.
2440 E. 6600 South, No. 8, Uintah, 801-476-0900, BeehiveCheese.com
OLD BRIDGE CAFE // PHOTO BY JOHN TAYLOR
Old Bridge Cafe
It would be hard to find a warmer spot to eat, with better homestyle food, than Ibro and Milojka Sameric’s Old Bridge Cafe. It’s an ode to Bosnian cuisine, with dishes like phyllo-stuffed zeljanica, Bosnian-style goulash, delicious handmade cevapi (small, thumb-size sausages) and excellent baklava. But best of all are the Samerics themselves, who are terrific company during an Old Bridge meal.
249 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-466-4330, OldBridgeCafe.com
Best Waffle Truck
On weekdays, waffles might be just simple toaster treats, but on the weekend, Saturday’s Waffle gives them a warm, tasty twist, served from a 1955 Shasta trailer. Dive into a Canadian apple-pie waffle, wolf down a bananas-foster waffle—with real bananas drizzled with buttery rum sauce—or, for something more adventurous, knock down a maple-bacon waffle, soaked in a jalapeño-infused maple syrup whose heat is offset by vanilla-bean sauce.
3900 S. Wasatch Blvd., Holladay, 801-631-6041, SaturdaysWaffle.com
Best Dessert for Living Dangerously
Sammy's Cafe's Pieshake
Sammy’s Cafe eliminates a dessert seeker’s agony of having to choose between two tasty treats by simply combining them together. A full slice of pie is blended into a milkshake, creating a double dose of deliciousness in one cup. The Oreo-cream pieshake is an excellent option, while the banana-cream pieshake will appeal to the health-conscious—it’s got banana in it, after all.
26 E. 600 South, Salt Lake City, 801-953-1445; 27 N. 100 West, Provo, 801-805-9208, SammysPieshake.com
Best Food Truck
It seems appropriate that SuAn Chow—the first in Salt Lake City to venture into the upscale food truck scene—should garner the Best Food Truck prize. With so many more trucks having entered the fray in the past couple of years, she’s had to work hard to stay at the top of her game. And she’s done so with consistently innovative fare like Asian-inspired sliders, scrumptious flash-fried calamari, and selections such as baby beef tongue tacos from guest chef Viet Pham of Forage.
3. Lewis Bros.
DEL MAR AL LAGO
Del Mar al Lago
Although ceviche—citrus-marinated raw fish and seafood—is often associated with Mexico, it’s originally a Peruvian specialty. And nobody does it better than this terrific Peruvian restaurant. Del Mar al Lago’s ceviche features only the freshest fish and seafood, presented with an array of sauces such as aji amarillo, rocoto, salsa cruda, salsa criolla and others, all gorgeous and artistically plated.
310 Bugatti Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-467-2890
Best Coffee to Help Critters
Part of the proceeds from the java you purchase from Bjorn’s Brew goes to benefit animal-rescue charities, but you needn’t worry about the usual do-gooder markup: The drinks here are inexpensive, but tasty—perfectly foamy, with the espresso roasted just right. Plus, each drink is served with a cute gingerbread cookie in the shape of a dog biscuit that you, not your pooch, gets to eat.
2358 S. Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-915-6438, BjornsBrew.com
Best Wine Selection
At Pago, the approach to the constantly evolving wine list seems to be “less is more.” It’s not the quantity of bottles in the small Pago cellar or length of the wine list that are so impressive, but rather the thought and consideration that goes into the bottles offered. Owner Scott Evans and sommelier Evan Lewandowski put a lot of brainpower into selecting and custom-ordering wines that specifically complement each dish on the Pago menu. It’s not a shotgun, bigger-is-best type of approach, but a precision-driven, intelligent one.
878 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-532-0777, PagoSLC.com
2. The Wild Grape New West Bistro
3. Fratelli Ristorante
Best High-Class, Low-Price
Vinto Park City
Tucked around a corner at the bottom of Park City’s Main Street is a swanky little Italian place with a European vibe. Under a lofty ceiling with gorgeous, exposed wooden beams, guests crowd comfortably into high-walled booths and dine on daring pasta and pizza dishes—all under $13, the price of a two-bite appetizer at many Park City restaurants. Dinner is served at diners’ desired pace, so you can linger over your fettuccini with forest mushrooms and artichokes, or quickly scarf down a crispy flatbread pizza with braised leeks, scallions, garlic, goat cheese, fontina and pancetta. And, if you acquire an addiction to this fine Italian fare, there’s an equally stellar location in Salt Lake City.
900 Main, Park City, 435-615-9990; 418 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-539-9999, Vinto.com
Taste of India
With no shortage of excellent Indian restaurants along the Wasatch Front, this is a tough Best of Utah category to win. But Taste of India has done so numerous times, thanks largely to owners PJ and Johnny Singh’s attention to detail. Hailing originally from Punjab, their vision was to bring authentic Indian cuisine and hospitality to Utah, and with locations in Layton, Bountiful and West Jordan, the proof is in the Taste of India pudding ... well, curries.
Multiple locations, TasteOfIndiaUtah.com
2. Bombay House
3. The Kathmandu
Best Frozen Concoction
Zeppe's Italian Ice
We can’t believe it’s not ice cream! Italian water ice has the consistency of ice cream, but is made from fruit, water and sugar, so it’s deliciously fat-free. Zeppe’s 30 rotating flavors makes it the go-to Italian-ice destination of northern Utah, and the shop’s decadent custard (an egg-based, dense, premium ice cream) is a draw as well. If you want an extra treat, Zeppe’s will layer the water ice and custard (may we suggest chocolate custard and coconut Italian ice?) for a refreshing treat that’s the best of both worlds.
883 N. Washington Blvd., Ogden, 801-786-0400; 1309 N. Main, Logan, 435-753-7519, Zeppes.net
Blue Plate Diner
Modeled on the mom & pop diners of a simpler time, Blue Plate Diner transports customers to a kinder, gentler past. In present times, Blue Plate has had a lock on the Best Breakfast award for as long as most can recall. And rightly so, since breakfast specialties like country corncakes, buttermilk biscuits, corned beef & hash, huevos rancheros, eggs Benedict, omelets and other traditional morning classics are served all day (and night) long, to the beat of one of the best jukeboxes in town.
2041 S. 2100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-463-1151, TheBluePlateDiner.com
2. Ruth’s Diner
3. The Park Cafe
THE PIE HOLE // PHOTO BY NIKI CHAN
Open till 2 a.m. on weeknights and till 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, State Street’s Pie Hole has the late-night crowd cornered. Slices of roasted red pepper & basil and potato bacon pizzas are available daily, plus the basic cheese and pepperoni—but you’ll also want to wolf down a few of the daily specials, like the flavorful combo of chicken, bacon, roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, cilantro and pepper jack cheese on an Alfredo base. The pizza chefs are kept so busy serving up piles of fresh, thin-crust slices to the line of hungry people streaming out the door that you’ll never encounter a slice that’s been out of the oven for more than a few minutes.
344 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-359-4653, PieHoleUtah.com
2. Bayleaf Bar & Grub (closed)
Best Spicy Dance Floor
Mexican food by day, hot dancing by night—what could be better? Inferno Cantina’s high-quality Mexican cuisine and classy beach-inspired décor make it a great destination for lunch or dinner. Try the garlic shrimp tacos, and try to stop eating the chips & salsa—a basket of round corn tortillas that you break yourself for dipping into a spicy salsa. Whatever you order, make sure to pair it with a specialty margarita or a fine tequila from Inferno’s huge selection. Then, work it all off at one of the near-nightly dance and DJ parties—most kicking off around 10.
122 Pierpont Ave. (240 South), Salt Lake City, 801-883-8838, InfernoSLC.com
Oh Mai Vietnamese Sandwich Kitchen
It’s an understatement to say that the French-influenced Vietnamese banh mi sandwich has taken the foodie world by storm the past year or so. And nowhere will you find a better version than at Oh Mai, where crisp, crunchy French-style baguettes are stuffed with everything from sardines (ca moi) and garlic-butter rib-eye steak (bit tet xao toi) to sunny-side-up eggs (trung op-la) and the “original,” dac biet, which is a delicious conglomeration of cold cuts, charcuterie and such. Oh, and Oh Mai also has great pho.
3425 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-467-6882; 6093 S. Highland Drive, Holladay, 801-277-9888, OhMaiSandwich.com
2. Cafe Trang
3. Pho Tay Ho
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
Best New Restaurant
With the well-deserved success of his Pago restaurant in hand, owner Scott Evans decided to test the odds in 2012 by opening a second eatery, the Spanish-themed Finca. Well, in less time than it takes to say Olé!, Finca has become one of the east side’s most beloved dining spots. Credit Evans for doing his homework. Numerous trips to Spain have afforded him a deep knowledge of Spanish wines and cuisine, and much of the Finca fare is a contemporary spin on Spanish classics. Inquiring minds want to know: Will Evans try for a third?
1291 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-487-0699, FincaSLC.com
Tony Caputo's Market & Deli
First things first: Tony Caputo’s deli sandwiches are generously portioned, so thank goodness they come in both whole and half sizes. Most popular is, of course, the Caputo, “a taste of Cosenza, Italy,” with prosciutto, mortadella, salami, provolone, lettuce, tomato, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. But there’s more to the delicious deli sammiches at Caputo’s than just Italian-style hoagies. For example, don’t overlook the outstanding muffuletta, which even the most discerning New Orleans native would approve of. And, when the eggplant Parmesan is available, it’s the best in town.
314 W. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-531-8669; 1516 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-486-6615, CaputosDeli.com
2. Moochie’s Meatballs & More
3. Robin’s Nest
Best Park City Budget Meal
Escala Provisions Company
Park City is synonymous with high-end, budget-busting eateries. Escala Provisions Company, located at Canyons Resort’s Hyatt Escala Lodge, is out to change that stereotype. Granted, we’re not talking fast-food prices here, but at Escala, the entire family can enjoy dishes like a ginormous Willis Ranch lamb shank, pan-seared day-boat scallops, roasted-chicken & pancetta macaroni & cheese and Provo River trout at prices more judicious than most on Park City’s Main Street.
3551 N. Escala Court, Park City, 435-940-1234, EscalaLodge.Hyatt.com
Got goat? In Mexico, birria is usually a spicy stew made with goat, mutton or lamb. North of the border, birria is synonymous with just about any goat preparation. At El Mana Mexican restaurant, birria is a house specialty. Be sure to try the Jalisco-style roasted and shredded goat in housemade broth called birria en caldo, and the birria de res: shredded goat meat in a rich red-chile sauce.
7962 S. State, Midvale, 801-563-5196
For years, Pat’s has been the go-to joint for authentic, low & slow barbecue, where award-winning pitmaster Pat Barber combines excellent Texas-style barbecue with the soulful sounds of live music. There are the standard options like pulled pork, ribs, barbecued chicken, tender brisket and such, but you really want to visit Pat’s on a Friday, when Barber serves up his bodacious burnt ends.
155 W. Commonwealth Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-484-5963, PatsBBQ.com
2. The SugarHouse Barbeque Co.
3. Bubba’s Firehouse BBQ
Best British-Style Pub Fare
If you’re looking for a British-inspired pub serving up authentic Old World pub grub along with a wide selection of imported and microbrew beers and wine, look no further than Tavern, in Park City’s Sky Lodge Hotel. Roasted bone marrow, ham-hock terrine, bison cottage pie and butter-poached lobster rolls are just a handful of the tantalizing Tavern treats offered.
201 Heber Ave., Park City, 435-658-2500, TheSkyLodge.com
Most of what passes for bagels here in Utah would offend the true bagel aficionado. That doesn’t apply, however, to the bagels at Feldman’s Deli, which pass the muster of even the most jaded New Yorker. These bagels are the real deal: boiled first, then baked to give them a soft interior and crunchy, crisp exterior. The only way to improve on these bodacious bagels is to smear them with Janet Feldman’s housemade chopped liver.
2005 E. 2700 South, Salt Lake City, 801-906-0369, FeldmansDeli.com
Best Tableside Manner
Slackwater Pub & Pizzeria
At Ogden’s Slackwater Pub & Pizzeria, you’ll discover a dizzying array of brews available, along with terrific pub fare and pizzas. But what really separates Slackwater from a lot of places is the friendly vibe and terrific service. From owners Justin Gumm and Krissann Smith, to every server and kitchen staff member, the neighborly smiles and genuinely nice treatment of customers is a much-appreciated Slackwater trademark.
1895 Washington Blvd., Ogden, 801-399-0637, SlackwaterPizzeria.com
Best Ogden Restaurant
Roosters Brewing Co.
This 25th Street staple is undefeated in this category, thanks to the brewpub’s ingenious combination of a classy, yet laid-back, eating experience combined with a powerhouse menu of salads, pizzas, pastas and tasty entrees—and beer, of course. Enjoy lunch or dinner in the bustling second story of the restaurant, or out on the gated patio for a leisurely outdoor meal, paired with one of Rooster’s can’t-miss brews—Polygamy Pale Ale and the Two-Bit Amber are ideal summertime companions. Even if you don’t drink, you can savor Rooster’s award-winning beer batter with an order of “naughty” fries, crispy onion loops or fish & chips.
253 25th St., Ogden, 801-627-6171, RoostersBrewingCo.com
2. Rickenbacker’s Steak House
3. Slackwater Pub & Pizzeria
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
Best Gourmet Takeout
Piñon Market & Cafe
Sometimes, we want to dine on gourmet grub but don’t want to have to dine out. Thank goodness, then, for Piñon Market & Cafe, where Victoria Topham and her talented staff dish up a crazy array of gourmet goodies to eat in or to take out, from pork loin with grilled figs, pancetta and balsamic reduction, to pan-seared halibut with a roasted-pepper relish. Don’t forget about the phenomenal house-baked pastries, pies, cakes, breads and cookies.
2095 E. 1300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-582-4539, PinonMarket.com
Best Sake Spot
For anyone with a sweet spot for sake, you don’t want to miss Shabu restaurant, where the sake is serious. There is hot sake and cold sake, by the glass, bottle or pitcher, ranging from Gekkeikan Horin to Shizuku Divine Droplets. And, for those who enjoy a well-made martini, Shabu’s Saketini Bar offers sake-based martinis like the Secret Place, Green Dragon (made with green tea), Ginger Snap (fresh ginger) and the Osmosis.
442 Main, Park City, 435-645-7253, ShabuPC.com
Best Bargain Supper
Pig & a Jelly Jar
Every Sunday, Pig & a Jelly Jar offers up a three-course, $20-per-person supper that is simply mahvelous. It usually consists of a soup or salad to start, maybe roasted-red-pepper bisque or a fresh spinach salad, followed by an entree like herb-crusted pork roast with Brussels sprouts and cheddar grits. Then there’s dessert: Apple cobbler and sweet-corn pudding are two popular ones. It’s like a rib-sticking family meal at home, but without the cooking and the cleanup.
401 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 385-202-7366, PigAndAJellyJar.com
Best Après Ski Feeding Frenzy
Deer Valley Seafood Buffet
Always improving, this ski season, Deer Valley’s Seafood Buffet sports a snazzy new bar, where you can order up classic cocktails, après ski shots, beer or wine. However, the main attraction at this buffet is seafood, and plenty of it: freshly shucked oysters, steamed mussels and clams, sushi, chilled Gulf shrimp, Dungeness crab, house-smoked salmon, calamari and more. But don’t overlook the Prime rib, seared duck breast and cooked fish dishes like the heavenly pecan-crusted mahi mahi—oh, and a smorgasbord of desserts, too.
2250 Deer Valley Drive South, Park City, 435-645-6632, DeerValley.com/Dining
Best Out-of-Downtown Restaurant
With the 2012 hiring of Executive Chef Phelix Gardner, this cozy eatery—which has been a favorite of Salt Lakers since it opened—seems to have shifted into even higher gear. Pago knocks it out of the park nightly, thanks to Gardner’s innovative cuisine: seasonal dishes like wild-mushroom gnocchi and menu staples like the croque monsieur, the “Kale Caesar” salad and the beloved Pago burger, the ingredients of which change depending on what’s fresh and available. Four years on, Pago is really rockin’ it.
878 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-532-0777, PagoSLC.com
3. Café Madrid
VIVACE // PHOTO BY NIKI CHAN
Best Downtown Gelato
Nestled on the corner between Cucina Toscana and Tony Caputo’s Deli, Vivace’s august surroundings make it destined to be a great Italian eatery. This cafe does indeed offer great lunch and dinner, but it’s also ideal for stopping by during a hot summer’s day to enjoy some fresh-made gelato from the restaurant’s huge gelato bar—between eight and 12 different flavors are offered daily. The classic pistachio-flavored gelato is sweet but doesn’t hide the distinctive nutty flavor, and the hazelnut is a special indulgence, with its delectably creamy and chocolatey flavor.
308 W. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-328-3466, DineVivace.com
City Weekly readers’ mouths water for Ruby River’s exquisite bacon-wrapped filet mignon or, for those with bigger appetites, the Delmonico: 18 ounces of bone-in New York beefsteak seared with a tri-pepper seasoning, then generously basted in garlic butter. For boasting such world-class steaks, this local eatery keeps things casual and family-friendly with locally brewed beer and root beer at the ready, plus complimentary peanuts. This unpretentious steakhouse knows how to put the sizzle in its steaks and keep its happy customers coming back for more.
Multiple locations, RubyRiver.com
2. Spencer’s for Steaks & Chops
3. Maddox Ranch House
Best Heber Dining
Your next leisurely drive to Heber may hold a pleasant surprise in the excellent cuisine, contemporary décor and design of Spin Cafe. The eatery is not what you’d expect to find in a sweet small town like Heber. The eclectic menu, featuring items like Carolina pulled pork, grilled shrimp paninis, Asian lettuce wraps, and cedar-plank salmon, might seem “big city” for Heber, but tourists and locals alike love all of it. Add hand-crafted cocktails and a well-selected beer and wine list and you have a pretty good reason for a road trip to Heber.
220 N. Main, Heber City, 435-654-0251, SpinCafe.net
Rodizio Grill was Utah’s first churrascaria—a restaurant with Brazilian-style grilled meats as the centerpiece—and it’s still the best. The all-you-can-devour onslaught of grilled, skewered goodness includes beef, pork, poultry, lamb, seafood and fruit, not to mention a ginormous hot and cold buffet with enough options to please even vegetarians and vegans.
Trolley Square, 600 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City, 801-220-0500; 749 W. 100 North, American Fork, 801-763-4946, RodizioGrill.com/Salt-Lake-City
The Soup kitchen
As far as we know, soupmakers have never joined forces for a national ad campaign to encourage soup consumption, à la “Pork: The Other White Meat,” but if they need a catchy slogan, may we suggest: “Soup: A Party in a Pot.” There’s just something magical that happens when the right combination of vegetables, stock and other ingredients simmer down to a synergistic food medley. Those at The Soup Kitchen are alchemists of such concoctions. They whip up homestyle classics like chicken noodle, clam chowder, cheese & broccoli and split pea, and back up their mouth-watering soups with humongous, killer breadsticks and classic sammies like BLTs, egg salad and burgers.
Multiple locations, SLCSoup.com
2. The Tin Angel Café
3. Frisch Compassionate Eatery
Best Osso Bucco
For stick-to-the-ribs Italian-American fare like spaghetti & meatballs, veal Parmesan, fried calamari and such, this mom & pop eatery is the bomb. Ross Siragusa’s sweet-potato gnocchi can bring tears to your eyes. And Grandpa Tom’s osso bucco is a wonder to behold—a 16-ounce shank roasted for a minimum of six hours. Best of all, the low prices at Siragusa’s will please even your accountant.
4115 S. Redwood Road, Salt Lake City, 801-268-1520, Siragusas.com
Anyone who thinks that Greek cuisine is limited to gyros, souvlaki and baklava needs to make a visit to Aristo’s. Not only is dining on the cozy patio or indoors in the nicely designed restaurant a welcome change from drive-thru gyro joints, but the menu of Greek specialties is vast and appealing. From small mezedakia plates of things like tzatziki, orektika and kafteri to delectable entrees such as pastitisio, moussaka and aboureki, Aristo’s offers authentic Greek cuisine, not to mention a fantastic selection of libations to sip with them.
244 S. 1300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-581-0888, AristosRestaurant.com
2. Greek Souvlaki
3. The Other Place Restaurant
PALLET // PHOTO BY NIKI CHAN
With a warm interior, designed by a collaboration led by Cody Derrick of CityHome Collective, Pallet is simultaneously a feast for the eye and for the palate. The space—formerly a creamery loading dock—retains historical authenticity, including the repurposing of materials from the early 1900s, such as antique shutters and railroad push carts. Original brick walls and reclaimed wood used to create the flooring and tables at Pallet lend credence to the idea that “everything old is new again.”
237 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-935-4431, EatPallet.com
2. Log Haven Restaurant
3. The Copper Onion
Even in a glitzy resort town like Park City, Silver restaurant stands out. No expense was spared in creating Silver, the name of which is an homage to Park City’s silver-mining legacy, with silver veins streaking through the interior and exterior walls of the restaurant. And the cuisine lives up to the Silver glitz, via delectable dishes like seared monkfish in brown butter, wild-mushroom risotto and rabbit & black-garlic pappardelle.
508 Main, Park City, 435-940-1000, SilverRestaurant.com
Best Biker Burger
Guzzi's Vintage Burgers & Fries
Named for Italian motorbike manufacturer Moto Guzzi, this tiny burger joint is a mecca for hungry bikers. It’s decked out with an abundance of motorcycle paraphernalia, including some Moto Guzzi motorbikes perched on the roof. The main draw, however, are the delicious, old-fashioned, no-nonsense burgers and fries, and Guzzi’s friendly vibe.
180 E. 800 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-4541
A perennial Best of Utah winner, it would appear that Fratelli is as good at getting out the vote as they are at pleasing their Sandy customers with authentic Italian fare. Brothers Pete Cannella and Dave Cannell and their families pride themselves on providing warm hospitality to accompany their delicious pizzas, pastas and award-winning entrees, like the espresso-rubbed beef shoulder. Be sure to try the delectable gelato before you depart.
9236 Village Shop Drive, Sandy, 801-495-4550, FratelliUtah.com
2. Lugano Restaurant
3. Cucina Toscana
Best Surreal Steaks
Kitty Pappas Steakhouse
Thanks largely to owner Kitty Pappas’ son “Crazy George” Pappas, there’s a surreal quality at this unusual steak emporium. First, there’s the Jerry Garcia photo near the end of the bar. And then there’s the jukebox, which George has stocked with an eclectic mix ranging from Black Sabbath and Dread Zeppelin to Bonerama and Dionne Warwick. Finally, there’s the tie-dye-clad Crazy George himself, who admonishes customers not to ask for steak sauce.
2300 S. Main, Woods Cross, 801-295-9981
Best Street Food
Saffron Valley Indian Street Foods
In Asia, street foods are immensely popular, and food carts are ubiquitous.In South Jordan, Saffron Valley owner Lavanya Mahate treats customers to a pan-Asian street-food extravaganza in her restaurant. The menu is extensive, but delicious highlights include tandoori chicken pizza, lamb vindaloo, Nawabi-style kebabs, stuffed Indian flatbreads (paratha), chaat, biryani and much more.
1098 W. South Jordan Parkway, South Jordan, 801-438-4823, SaffronValley.com
How does a Chinese restaurant located in Bountiful, run by a family of Greek descent, win Best Chinese, you ask? Well, just take a peek into the Mandarin kitchen sometime. Owner Greg Skedros was smart enough to bring in a crack team of talented Asian chefs from Hong Kong and San Francisco, and their outstanding Chinese fare is the perfect complement to the gorgeous décor and top-notch service that defines Mandarin.
348 E. 900 North, Bountiful, 801-298-2406, MandarinUtah.com
2. Hong Kong Tea House
3. Little World Chinese Restaurant
Best Middle Eastern
Mazza owner Ali Sabbah has operated the best Middle Eastern restaurants in town for years. What began as a little falafel joint at 15th & 15th—where food was served on paper plates—has turned into a pair of beautiful restaurants with outstanding Middle Eastern fare. In addition to authentic Middle Eastern small plates and entrees, Mazza has a terrific wine list, including wines from Lebanon and Israel.
912 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-521-4572; 1515 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-484-9259, MazzaCafe.com
2. The Med
3. Cedars of Lebanon
Adobos Caribbean Grill
Fans of Puerto Rican and other Caribbean cuisines know that there’s pretty much only one option here in Utah: Adobos. At this family-run restaurant, you’ll find familiar items like the Cuban sandwich and grilled jerk chicken, along with lesser-known dishes such as ropa vieja, tostones, mofongos, arroz con pollo and other classic Caribbean favorites. Don’t miss the incredible guavabestia for dessert.
9460 S. Union Square Plaza, Sandy, 801-523-3672, AdobosGrill.com
Best Frozen Latte
Jarrett's Java Express
First of all, the folks at Jarrett’s, including Jarrett himself, are some of the friendliest you’ll ever meet. That’s key if your first human encounter in the morning is with your barista. And, for frozen-latte lovers: It doesn’t get any better than this. These lattes are not made with powders and piles of ice, but with soft-serve frozen yogurt. All of the coffee here is organic. And, since the folks at Jarrett’s are crazy about canines, feel free to bring your dog with you for a special treat.
3042 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-6918
Best Specialty Appetizers
You can trace the small-plates craze in restaurants to Spain, where tapas were the original small-plates phenomena. Not surprising then, that the Spanish-themed Finca restaurant should offer such a dazzling array of appetizer-size small plates. The appetizers at Finca range from über simple, like marinated olives or Spanish serrano ham, to more complex ones, such as lamb & pork meatballs, grilled local lamb belly, Brussels sprouts with bacon in luscious sherry cream, and grilled cauliflower with salsa verde. Take your pick.
1291 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-487-0699, FincaSLC.com
3. Fratelli Ristorante
To say that the Red Iguana is Salt Lake City’s most beloved Mexican restaurant is like saying that Ted Nugent is fond of firearms: an understatement, at best. And, well, why not? What’s not to love about the Iguana’s kitschy atmosphere, warm hospitality and excellent south-of-the-border fare? Owners Lucy Cardenas and Bill Coker are justifiably proud of their from-scratch moles and other favorites, like Ramon’s famous fish tacos, parrillada and, of course, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tostadas and such.
736 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-322-1489; 866 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-214-6050, RedIguana.com
2. La Frontera
3. Blue Iguana
Best Meals With Magic
Two Bit Street Cafe
Ogden’s Two Bit Street Cafe is a lovable oddity. The ambiance is cowboy-saloon-meets-magic shop, and the food is as eclectic as you’re likely to find. And it’s all amazingly good—from the grits and biscuits & gravy for breakfast to the Cuba-via-Tampa-Bay sandwich, big bowls of steamed Little Neck clams, citrus-glazed organic chicken and Creekstone Farms natural steaks. Plus, magic is performed daily by James Dayley.
126 25th St., Ogden, 801-393-1225, TwoBitStreet.com
Best Curry in a Wrapper
Masala Indian Grill
From the owners of the beloved fast-food Curry in a Hurry comes Sugar House’s Masala Indian Grill, where the food and service is also speedy. Here, you’ll find deliciously spiced Indian foods in wrap form. Good things like tandoori fish or chicken, lamb or veggie masala, and lamb kebabs come wrapped up in fresh, warm naan. Wash it down with a tasty mango lassi.
2223 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-487-2994, MasalaIndianGrill.com
Market Street Grill
Market Street restaurants and fish markets are synonymous with seafood in Salt Lake City, and have been since they became the first to fly fresh fish in from the coast, shipped overnight. The array of fish and seafood available at Market Street is dazzling; the menu offers everything from oysters on the half shell, Maine mussels and Manila clams, to fresh Alaskan halibut, king crab legs, Hawaiian ahi tuna and Columbia River king salmon and dozens more fishy items to choose from. For the fish averse, the Prime Angus steaks are awfully good, too.
Multiple locations, GInc.com
3. Bucket O’ Crawfish
BEANS & BREWS // PHOTO BY MIKEY SALTAS
Best Coffee House
Beans & Brews
With 25 locations across Utah, Beans & Brews offers the convenience of a chain without the burned coffee and apathetic baristas that go with it. Each location has its own personality, and the massive Beans & Brews drink menu—teas, espresso, blended drinks, Italian sodas and more—makes it a haven for espresso snobs and caffeine newbies alike. The frozen drinks are a gateway drug into the world of coffee—especially the Mr. B’s, a frozen latte spiked with Irish cream syrup and Ghirardelli white cocoa. Equal parts sugar and caffeine, it’ll keep you going all day—and coming back for more.
Multiple locations, BeansAndBrews.com
2. Coffee Garden
3. Alchemy Coffee
Best Brick-Oven Sandwich
We can’t think of many food-court joints that roast their own garlic & rosemary leg of lamb, make meatballs from scratch, slowly cook fennel-rubbed porchetta overnight, bath their “drunken chicken” in a brine based on Red Rock Brewing’s Hefeweizen, or fire up crispy sandwich bread (similar to pizza dough) in an imported brick oven. But that’s what happens daily at Bocata, making it the best spot for a quick nosh at City Center.
City Center Food Court, 28 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3538, BocataSandwich.com
Local sushi lovers all but worship Takashi Gibo. Takashi approaches everything he does with a combination of love and technical precision. He’s a masterful sushi chef, but also one of the warmest and most generous people you’ll ever meet. The large selection of fresher-than-fresh sushi, sashimi, nigiri and maki rolls at Takashi will make your head spin. So, do what folks in the know do: Just ask Takashi to feed you whatever’s freshest, and he’ll be happy to oblige.
18 W. Market St. (340 South), Salt Lake City, 801-519-9595
2. Sapa Sushi Bar & Grill
3. Tsunami Sushi
Per Noi Trattoria
If you died and went to heaven, we’re pretty certain Per Noi’s lasagna would be served there. The foundation of this lofty lasagna is the made-from-scratch pasta. Those sheets of housemade lasagna noodles are layered with a mix of mozzarella and ricotta cheese, along with Per Noi’s robust Bolognese sauce, all topped with Parmigiano and minced parsley. The noodles are cooked to an absolutely perfect al dente, not mushy like in so many lasagnas you’ve encountered. Bliss.
1588 E. Stratford Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-486-3333, PerNoiTrattoria.com
Best Booze Educator
James “Jimmy” Santangelo is Utah’s most entertaining and one of its most knowledgeable educators for wine, spirits and beyond. If it’s about booze, Santangelo has the 411. Known also as the Virtual Sommelier, he provides customized on-site sommelier and wine-consulting services, and teaches certification courses in wine and spirits education for The Wine Academy of Utah. But what we like most about Santangelo is his self-effacing demeanor and humorous barside manner.
Best Utah County Restaurant
Communal isn’t just Provo’s best restaurant; it could vie for that title in many cities and towns. Since it opened, nothing has been able to touch the top-notch cuisine and service that Joseph McRae and Colton Soelberg’s Communal restaurant dishes up. The food—which features locally sourced ingredients whenever possible—is prepared simply but elegantly, allowing the flavors in dishes like braised lamb shank, grilled flat-iron steak and Gruyère mac & cheese to really shine.
102 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-373-8000, CommunalRestaurant.com
3. Pizzeria 712
A place called O’Falafel had better have great falafel, right? Well, O’Falafel, Etc. does, in addition to other delicious Middle Eastern dishes such as shwarma, baba ghanoush, kifteh and mujaddara. But, the falafel—fried, subtly spiced, garlicky, garbanzo-bean orbs with a crispy crust—is indeed outstanding.
790 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-487-7747, OFalafelEtc.com
Best Ogden Gourmet Market
Zucca Market & Deli
Salt Lakers have Caputo’s; Ogdenites have Zucca. This market and deli, located adjacent to Zucca Trattoria, offers the best and biggest selection of imported goods from Italy and southern Europe in northern Utah. From boutique olive oils and vinegars to foodstuffs like prosciutto, mortadella, imported cheeses, Creminelli salamis, gourmet sandwiches and much more, Zucca delivers the gourmet goods.
1479 E. 5600 South, South Ogden, 801-475-7077, MyZucca.com
Best Park City Restaurant
High West Distillery & Saloon
With the abundance of high-end eateries in Park City, High West Distillery’s win for Best Restaurant is impressive; there’s no lack of serious competition. But this fun zone for lovers of good food, great whiskey and other libations is a sort of Disneyland for adults. Who wouldn’t enjoy pairing one of “Whiskey” Dave Perkins’ award-winning High West whiskies with Executive Chef James Dumas’ culinary creations—say, his Rolling Hills Ranch bison rib-eye with High West’s American Prairie Reserve?
703 Park Ave., Park City, 435-649-8300, HighWest.com
3. Yuki Arashi
Best Artisan Jam
If you’re in the hunt for locally produced artisan jams, jellies and preserves, look no further than Amour Spreads, available at various gourmet and natural-foods markets. Salt Lake City-based Casee and John Francis make spreads crafted with sustainably grown Utah fruit in heavenly flavors like blood-orange rosemary, apricot ginger, elderberry orange, Meyer lemon rose geranium, pear lavender and pomegranate citrus, to name just a few.
Coast 2 Coast Seafood
After decades of managing the fish markets for Gastronomy, Inc., Jim Pilarczyk struck out on his own and opened Coast 2 Coast Seafood Market in Layton. There’s nothing about fish and seafood that Jim doesn’t know, so, whether you’re a bewildered customer who doesn’t know wahoo from ono, or a fish-savvy expert looking for sushi-grade tuna or petrale sole to take home, Coast 2 Coast is where you wanna be.
354 N. Main, Layton, 801-721-1537
Best Meatball Wraps
Whoever dreamed up the idea of wrapping oven-baked meatballs in marinara sauce, provolone and Parmesan cheese into a warm pita? The folks at Pepper’s did, that’s who. This tasty treat is as good as it sounds. The sauce sometimes escapes the wrap, and it becomes necessary to lick your lips and fingers. If that all sounds too messy to you, then order the more healthy chicken Caesar pita—there’s no squirting but still lots of flavor.
14 W. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-220-0516, PeppersPita.com
FRISCH // PHOTO BY NIKI CHAN
Best Vegan Dishes
Frisch Compassionate Eatery
In March 2012, VegNews Magazine voted Salt Lake City “America’s Next Great Vegan City.” Have we finally set aside our love of funeral potatoes? Well, no, but healthy eating and conscious cuisine are certainly on the rise. And “vegan” doesn’t have to mean “bland.” At Frisch, which opened this year, the vegan chefs make vegan sound—and taste—supremely delicious. Try the lighter side with tempeh kale salad, the “obligatory veggie wrap” (which, despite the name, is far from ordinary) or the broccoli burst. It’s not all health-centric dishes, though; there’s also an abundance of comfort-food options for carnivore crossovers—try the mac & cheese or Chantelle’s sesame chick’n.
779 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-532-2216, FrischEats.com
2. Sage’s Cafe
3. Vertical Diner
Beyond the barbecue, Korean fare is a celebration of tofu. Soft, silky, custard-like tofu is standard-issue in bubbling soups and stews. And the folks at Myung-Ga have the art of soft-tofu soups down. Judging by the number of Korean nationals filling the tables at this west-side restaurant, it’s obvious you’re eating the comfort food of the homeland. While your American sensibilities may steer you toward the barbecue and bulgogi offerings (which won’t disappoint), live large and order the tofu soup with all its tasty side dishes and a crock of rice. They’ll even bring an egg that you can crack open and let cook in your soup as it cools. How very Anthony Bourdain of you!
1839 W. 3500 South, Suite 2A, West Valley City, 801-908-0124
2. Korea House
3. E Jo Korean Restaurant
Best Mexican Bakery
Panaderia at tarahumara
As if the awesome-in-every-way Mexican food at Tarahumara and its adjoining cantina weren’t enough, now they’ve gone and opened a full-on panaderia, right next door—all in a little strip mall in the Swiss Miss burg of Midway. You’ll want to pick up classics like tres leches cake and churros, but also consider the donas—pastry-filled sugar donuts made on weekends only.
380 Main, Midway, 435-654-3465, Tarahumara.biz
Best Hidden Market
Black Cherry Mediterranean Market
Don’t blink or you’ll miss this little treasure trove of Mediterranean goodness. Go for halal meats, honey-soaked trays of baklava, halva and fresh, affordable flatbread. Find huge bags of basmati rice, pickled everything and superb hummus—and that’s just a taste. If you have questions, the personable owner is happy to help.
4346 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-904-3989, BlackCherryMarket.com
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
The Paris Bistro & Zinc bar
Eric DeBonis’ Paris Bistro & Zinc Bar delivers a little slice of Paris to the east side of Salt Lake City with its authentic Parisian charm and cuisine. This is the real deal, with French fare such as bouillabaisse, escargot, pissaladière, confit de canard, daube de boeuf, steak au poivre and so many other menu selections to delight even the staunchest Francophile. The wine list with its terrific array of French wines perfectly rounds out your Parisian getaway at The Paris. J’adore!
1500 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-486-5585, TheParis.net
2. La Caille
Best Wood-Fired Pita Pockets
Red Rock Brewing Co.
A burger served in a wood-fired pita pocket instead of a bun makes one feel healthy and hip. That pocket can also be the home for your veggie or barbecue-pork sandwich, or one of Red Rock’s grinders—spicy Italian sausages or meatballs, plus tomato sauce and Provolone cheese, all packed into a warm, crisp pocket. And if you really want to get warmed up, try Red Rock’s Drioma Russian Imperial Stout: a chocolatey, dark black ale that packs 10.1 percent alcohol by volume but goes down smooth. It’s beer and dessert.
Multiple locations, RedRockBrewing.com
Gabor Brothers Main Street Grill & Pizzeria
In a town smothered in franchise food, Gabor Brothers is a breath of fresh air for made-from-scratch Italian fare. Delicious pizzas, pastas (be sure to try the carbonara), calzones and sandwiches are Gabor Bros.’ strong suit, but tried-and-true Gabor aficionados return again and again for the airy, delectable breadsticks, which are justifiably renowned in Davis County. Housed in a converted auto-repair shop, Gabor Bros. is all too easy to miss, so look for the zombie mannequin out front.
197 N. Main, Layton, 801-544-4344, GaborBrothers.com
Sala Thai Kitchen
Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside—this calamari is the bomb. Sala Thai’s deep-fried squid rings are served golden brown, with housemade sweet & sour dipping sauce on the side, and are so soft they practically dissolve in your mouth—no chewiness here. Let these luscious rings be the start of a great night at Sala Thai, a classy, no-kitsch restaurant with great service and even better food.
677 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-328-2499
Best Whiskey Brunch
A Bar Named Sue
A Bar Named Sue was already established as the go-to club on Highland Drive, with 50 whiskeys and more than 40 beers to choose from, as well as free pool, shuffle board, darts, video games and jukebox tunes all rocking the basement. Then, in late 2012, it got even better with new food menus—specifically the brunch, an instant clientele favorite featuring items like the Johnny Cash breakfast (two eggs atop potatoes covered in chili and cheese) and the Sue’s Benedict (bacon, avocado, tomatoes and poached eggs with hollandaise sauce). Now, you can spend morning to night at A Bar Named Sue—everybody wins.
3928 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-274-5578
Best Steaks With a Smile
Carvers Steaks & Seafood
The best steaks in the south Salt Lake Valley are to be found at Carvers, where cuts like the Kansas City strip and porterhouse are cooked to order, and to perfection, along with delicious seafood fare like coconut-crusted halibut and basil-mustard salmon—all sure to put a smile on your face. And speaking of smiles, Carvers supports Operation Smile by donating to help change children’s lives and helping to fund operations to fix cleft palates.
10720 Holiday Park Drive, Sandy, 801-572-5177, CarversUtah.com
Best Low-Point Beers
Higher alcohol content makes for a quicker buzz, but it doesn’t necessarily make for a better beer. Bohemian Brewery has been operating on this principle for 10 years, and its exquisite low-point beers are all the proof required. Bohemian’s Czech Pilsener, Viennese Lager, Cherny Bock and Bavarian Weir (as well as seasonals like the Keller Rye Lager, Munich Dark Lager and Dunkelweizen) are all brewed with ingredients from the ominous-sounding German Beer Purity Law, laid down by late founder Joe Petras: malted barley, hops, yeast and water only (with the occasional exception for summer wheat). The technicalities don’t matter; taste does.
94 Fort Union Blvd., Midvale, 801-566-5474, BohemianBrewery.com
Rio Grande Cafe
For more than 30 years—way before south-of-the-border fare was hip—family-owned Rio Grande Cafe has been dishing up good Mexican food next to the train tracks, in the former Rio Grande terminal. If you love trainspotting, grab a seat on the shaded Rio Grande Cafe patio and order up a Margarita and an enchilada, the latter of which has achieved cult-like status with Rio Grande lovers.
270 S. Rio Grande St. (455 South), Salt Lake City, 801-364-3302, RioGrandeCafeUT.com
Best Speedy Gourmet
If you are looking for a quick meal and want to stay away from the mundane, Blue Lemon is the perfect choice for on-the-go eats. When dining in groups, order anything off the starter menu (hint: the flatbread options are fan favorites) to kick off your gourmet meal. All entrees are under $15, which means you don’t have to break the bank to dine well.
Multiple locations, BlueLemon.com
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