Best of Utah 2007 | Food & Drink 

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BEST CHILI CHEESE FRIES
Huddle Sports Bar
Lots of places serve simple pub fare. But, in this case, it’s the simplicity itself that impresses. Elaborate? Nope, just a basic plate with your basic fries smothered in cheese and chili. If you do want elaborate, try them with sweet potato fries, but some might call that blasphemous. Fancy? No, but then again, the Huddle doesn’t try to impress with fancy, anyway. There are no bad TV viewing lines at the Huddle, thanks to its spacious room and multiple monitors. There are also no bad meals at the Huddle, starting with about the simplest sports fare of them all, french fries—and smothering them makes them all the better. 2400 E. Fort Union Blvd., Midvale, 438-8300

BEST EASTERN VALLEY RESTAURANT Readers’ Choice
Citris Grill
Citris co-owner Erica Crosland says she wanted to have a restaurant where you could have an appetizer and a glass of wine and not be charged $100. It’s that commitment to providing what diners are looking for that shapes so much of the café’s reasonably priced and eclectic fare. Whether it’s the refreshing adventurousness to grilled cheese specials, such as brie and pear, or the sheer explosion of flavors in its most popular item, the Southwest chicken wrap, Citris endeavors to please and invariably does so. 2991 E. 3300 South, 466-1202
2. Lugano
3. Market Street Grill

BEST TASTE OF THE OLD WEST
Diamond Lil’s
It looks like a casino on the set of Deadwood, sans poker tables and with a lot less profanity. And, if you’re in the mood for a real, meat-and-potato-type meal—remember those?—Diamond Lil’s is an excellent destination. Its authentic log-cabin timbers give it the air of the territories, but there’s nothing primitive about the food. The New York strip steak is not to be missed—for dessert, follow it up with one of Donie’s home-style pies, which she’s been baking for more than 30 years (her banana cremes can’t be beat). When nature calls, as it always does sooner or later, you’ll discover the startling—and funny—secret of the in-house outhouse. 1528 W. North Temple, 533-0547

BEST PLACE TO BURN YOUR TONGUE
Chanon Thai Café
Some like it hot and some sweat when the heat is on. Some avoid spice like the bird flu. Such is the trend in Utah, where diners typically prefer ranch to sriracha, Swiss to pepper jack, and so forth. This demand for blandness leads most restaurants to turn things down a notch, leaving heat seekers in the cold. Chanon, on the other hand, pleases all palates by customizing dishes on a spice scale of 1 (being the coolest) to 5. Don’t be put off by friendly servers who attempt to discourage diners from ordering anything above a 3. Be patient. Remember where you live. Assure them you’re fully prepared to get it on. 278 E. 900 South, 532-1177

BEST COFFEEHOUSE Readers’ Choice
Coffee Garden
While longtime regulars lament the loss of Alan Hebertson’s flagship corner café, even critics cherish the Coffee Garden’s new 9th & 9th location. Located across the street from its original digs, the bright, open space will take time to develop the inviting, lived-in feel that inspired so many customers to while away the hours in an armchair or wooden window booth. Thanks to friendly, often sassy faces behind the counter, however, the good old days are alive and kicking in spirit. This is truly the place for perfectly sculpted cappuccinos and small-town gossip. 878 E. 900 South, 355-3425; 254 S. Main, 364-0768
2. Salt Lake Roasting Co.
3. Beans & Brews

BEST JAPANESE Readers’ Choice
Takashi
The readers have caught onto what we’ve recognized all along: Takashi is king. Since its 2003 debut, the downtown Japanese restaurant has offered the most inventive entrees and freshest sushi east of California. Head chef Takashi Gibo and his talented crew are a joy to watch, their creations a privilege to experience. Armed with sharp knives and experimental edge, they carve contemporary takes on traditional favorites including ribs, udon noodle soup, tempura vegetables and the Azekura, a tower of Portobello mushrooms, green beans and thinly sliced flank steak with grilled eggplant in miso sauce. Don’t be the last one to experience the talk of the town. 18 W. Market St., 519-9595
2. Kyoto
3. Mikado

BEST QUICK LUNCH Readers’ Choice
Salsa Leedos
For a little spicy Mexican lunch, head to the west side where this restaurant cooks up plates of authentic food from south of the border. Ask for their chili verdé, they say it’s the best in the valley. If you are in the mood for something else, try the salmon with mango salsa or the chicken tortilla salad. This locally owned establishment has been filling bellies across the valley for the past six years. 9155 S. Redwood Road, West Jordan, 565-8818, SalsaLeedos.net
2. Curry in a Hurry
3. Big City Soup

BEST ITALIAN Readers’ Choice
Lugano
This Tuscan-style eatery is tucked away on the east side of town and looks like it could be a sky lodge in the north of Italy. The restaurant’s rustic Italian food is prepared by the owner/chef and made home-style. So if you want fine food with seasonal menu changes and a great wine list, come here. Try the panninis and pizzettas for lunch or a baby spinach salad with citrus-shallot dressing, dried cherries, candied walnuts and feta. 3364 S. 2300 East, 412-9994, LuganoRestaurant.com
2. Cucina Toscana
3. Caffé Molise

BEST ITALIAN GAMBLE
Saltimbocca
Eating out doesn’t need to be a crapshoot. When you pay your $6 to $9 for a meal at Saltimbocca, the only gamble is your table placard. At this casual dining Italian restaurant, servers place a playing card on your table so the kitchen and the cashier know where to deliver your food. The last meal we had there, it was the Jack of Hearts, but our chicken piccatta was the King of Tasty. The three-cheese or prosciutto-spinach lasagna rolls are also a delicious pair. Don’t take a chance the next time you eat out, because Saltimbocca is a good bet. 790 E. 2100 South, 466-4066

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