Best of Utah 2007 | Food & Drink 

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BEST FIRST DATE Readers’ Choice
Café Trio
A great spot to ease those first-date jitters, Café Trio offers the casual atmosphere and affordable prices that make it a logical date venue. Better yet, the Italian-style menu with a variety of options is likely to please that finicky date of yours. This restaurant gets crowded on the weekends, but reservations are accepted. Intimate booths allow for private conversation with your date, while the patio provides a more romantic setting. If you already know your date is a keeper, request a table in the more-private loft at the Cottonwood location. Atmosphere aside, if you truly want to make your date a success, order dessert. The Tollhouse pie is a favorite that will tickle your taste buds and allow you to clink forks with your date as you share. 680 S. 900 East, 533-8746; 6405 S. 3000 East, 944-8746; TrioDining.com
2. Brewvies
3. The Bayou

BEST MIDDLE EASTERN Readers’ Choice
Mazza
When we awarded Mazza the Best Middle Eastern Restaurant last year, we lamented only the cozy café’s cramped quarters: “If the owners could just make the place larger to cut down on wait time.” We’re glad owner/chef Ali Sabbah opened a second, roomier location at 9th & 9th. His loyal customers know he always goes the extra mile. On opening night, Sabbah compensated for a backed-up kitchen by personally checking in on tables to field complaints. Besides one woman’s irrational beef with the seating arrangement (“My feet can’t reach the floor!”), there were none. How could anyone take issue with inventive, perfectly spiced dishes including muhumara (with ground walnuts, pomegranate molasses, toasted bread crumbs, olive oil, roasted bell peppers), wallet-friendly falafel, baked eggplant sandwiches and sinful baklava? 1515 S. 1500 East, 484-9259; 912 E. 900 South, 521-4572; MazzaCafé.com
2. Café Med
3. Cedars of Lebanon

BEST OUT-OF-THE-WAY LUNCH
Food for Thought
From a distance, Food For Thought in Draper appears to be just a small, old-fashioned house with a gravel parking lot on the side. But this historic home has been transformed into a café (10-15 tables) filled with fresh and delectable delicacies. Open only for lunch, Food for Thought specializes in heaping, freshly made, crisp salads such as the Chinese chicken and Pasadena Blue. The quiches, sandwiches (try the veggie with hummus) and home-style desserts are to die for, and in winter, it offers a mean home-style hot chocolate. 12640 Fort Street, Draper, 576-9161

BEST CHINESE Readers’ Choice
Little World
If only because Little World’s as close as a Salt Laker’s going to get to Chinatown, this hole-in-the-wall deserves to be revered as a local treasure. There’s nothing new to the secret behind its 14-year reign as a top Chinese restaurant. An emphasis on fresh produce, low prices and families is about it. That liquor’s not on the menu is a bummer, but its made-from-scratch oyster sauce is second to none and the $5 lunch special must be one of the best bets for downtown noon-time noshing. 1356 S. State, 467-5213/487-8115
2. Sampan
3. Hong Kong Tea House

BEST TO TAKE THE KIDS Readers’ Choice
The Mayan
The Mayan’s thrill is definitely in the spectacle, in the sight of lithe young divers springing off cliffs and plummeting down into the depths of pool below. Kids watch with wide eyes as the entertainment makes a big splash. With a $4.50 kids’ menu offering pizza, tacos and chicken enchiladas, and a balloon lady who can whip up your favorite animated-movie character in seconds, it’s no wonder children clamor to return. 9400 S. State, 304-4600, TheMayan.com
2. Old Spaghetti Factory
3. Joe’s Crab Shack

BEST IN-TOWN DINING ESCAPE
Em’s
Journey up to Em’s on Capitol Hill and you’ll swear you’ve been transported to San Francisco or Napa. All the city’s residue is left behind as you walk into Emily Gassmann’s comfy little neighborhood eatery, filled with beautiful artwork and equally beautiful food. An appetizer of phyllo stuffed with duck confit and goat cheese is a great place to start, followed perhaps by Em’s leek-stuffed wild salmon roulades on a bed of creamy cabbage. The eclectic and very reasonably priced wine list adds to the “you’re not in Utah anymore” gestalt at Em’s so you might want to sip a little Veuve Clicquot as you dip into your outrageously delicious raspberry cr%uFFFDme brulee. 271 N. Center St., 596-0566, EmsRestaurant.com

BEST CAFÉ CHARM
Cocoa Caffé
“Love for free” it said on the board outside Cocoa Caffé one September afternoon. That’s good, because there are days when it would appear not much else is available. That September afternoon, for example, there was no cocoa, no decaf and you couldn’t use credit cards. But somehow it didn’t matter. The place is so mellow, it takes away the sting of dissatisfaction and replaces it with a gentle smile. Classical music, comfortable armchairs, delicious fruit scones and several lovely large oaks providing leafy cover to outdoor tables make Cocoa a unique experience you’re happy to go back to regardless of what else is available—or not. 282 E. 900 South, 364-3332

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH Readers’ Choice
Market Street Grill
If these walls could talk, they’d likely tell stories about $49.99 lunches supposedly purchased by lobbyists for expense-account-limited lawmakers. Something about the historic New York Building lends itself to plotting. Any given lunchtime finds deal-making downtown business movers as well as reminiscing old-time political operatives. Maybe it’s the booths that let you be seen without letting others hear what you’re talking about. Maybe it’s the exotic-feeling menu featuring lump crab cakes and seafood Louis. Business has been good business at Market Street, recently listed among the nation’s top 100 independent restaurants for its $10 million annual sales. 48 W. Market St., 322-4668, GastronomyInc.com/MSG
2. Caffé Molise
3. The New Yorker

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