Best of Utah 2007 | Food & Drink 

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BEST THAI MAGIC
Monsoon Thai Bistro
With its roaring fireplace, ornate ceiling and plush, elegant décor, the initial impression of Monsoon Thai is more a banquet hall than a bistro. Once you’ve chosen from the extensive wine list and enjoyed some superlative starters, notably the Thai calamari or the lobster-mango spring roll, it’s as if the lights start to dim around your table. The mellow, gothic atmosphere somehow adds to the subtle flavors of dishes like the Thai basil salmon with pasta or the honey-ginger duck. By the time you get up from your table and the bistro’s silken shadows give way to the harsh valley lights below Foothill, it’s hard not to marvel at how seamless the Monsoon experience is. 1615 Foothill Drive, 583-5339

BEST STEAKS Readers’ Choice
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
If you want a proper piece of beef, then this national franchise is for you. Order up the Midwestern corn-fed specialty 12-ounce filet if you want beef. Or try the crab legs. While the menu items have a New Orleans flare, this is not food of the Cajun persuasion—just plain steaks, thank you, mama.134 W. Pierpont Ave., 366-4000, RuthsChris.com
2. Spencer’s for Steak & Chops
3. Fleming’s Prime Steak house

BEST BAKED BEANS
Mama’s Southern Plantation
Trying to extract from cook Lily or one of Mama’s owners the secret behind the astonishing baked beans is a fruitless exercise. Lily defers to the owners and they smile beatifically at Mama’s large portrait. Nevertheless, the taste buds don’t lie. Whatever Mama’s recipe contains, it delivers the goods: sweet, tomato-based spicy sauce and tender beans that linger on the palate long after lunch is over.1394 S. West Temple, 485-6715

BEST UPMARKET PROVO EATERY
Chef’s Table
Chef and owner Kent Andersen’s 6-year-old Provo eatery continues to rule the roost when it comes to fine dining in Provo. His combination of applying French cooking methods to American seasonal produce results in a menu that changes five times a year and continues to draw a solid base of culinary fans. Entrees range, depending on the time of year, from halibut encrusted with macadamia nuts to osso bucco to classic tenderloin dishes. With decor that includes original oil paintings, with floor-to-ceiling windows that look out on the valley, Chef’s Table manages to combine class with comfort. Andersen appreciates Provo’s small-town flavor and, it seems, would rather concentrate on the details that keep folks coming from Salt Lake Valley than on opening up another restaurant.2005 S. State, Orem, 235-9111, ChefsTable.com

BEST SOUP Readers’ Choice
Soup Kitchen
The best part of Soup Kitchen—aside from the best soup in town, of course, and sandwiches like Mom used to make—is the no-fuss atmosphere. Particularly at the Sugar House location, decorated with vintage posters from ’60s rock shows, Soup Kitchen feels more like a commune than a restaurant. You are asked to leave some bread sticks for the next guy, but in sort of an each-according-to-his-hunger sort of way. Then you can fill your paper cup at the water fountain and find a seat in the cafeteria-like space. Unlike the commune, you do have to pay—but not very much.2012 S. 1100 East, 467-0908; 15 W. 3300 South, 486-0341
2. Big City Soup
3. Paradise Café

BEST PAD THAI Readers’ Choice
Thai Siam
Longtime favorite Thai Siam is best known for its killer lunch special—choice of two entrees plus steamed rice and a deep fried spring roll—but frequent diners are perfectly willing to eat at night if it means another serving of Pad Thai. The traditional dish of rice noodles served with meat or tofu, green onion, bean sprouts, egg and Pad Thai sauce and topped with crushed peanuts, is the perfect comfort food for anyone who craves their sweet with a little spice. 1435 S. State, 474-3322, ThaiSiam.net
2. Sawadee
3. Chanon Thai Café

BEST TEA FOR TWO
Protea Cottage
Former high school teacher Shandre Dovale opened up her bastion of civilized tea-sipping Valentine’s Day last year. “Tea doesn’t talk back,” she quips. But the lost art of conversation, not to mention pouring cups of tea, is what West Jordan-based Protea’s about. Its celebration of the old-fashioned English ritual of the afternoon tea is as authentic as the artery-clogging clotted cream and scones she serves with one of her 70 odd loose-leaf teas. Dovale’s afternoon tea service, a meal in itself, is a big seller, along with Mommy-and-me teas. Women and their daughters escape for an hour to a world where the only question is “One lump or two?”Gardner Village, 1100 W. 7800 South, 938-1980

BEST BRIGHAM CITY COFFEE
The Hole
No, make that perhaps the only coffee in Brigham City. Still, humble monopoly doesn’t mean quality is scrimped—and certainly not when it comes to price. In fact, with espresso shots for a mere 50 cents and a large latte for little more than $2, thrifty but thirsty coffee enthusiasts will certainly hope for the day when this little Brigham City institution starts multiplying like Starbucks. That, of course, will never happen. In the meantime, we can saunter toward the counter for another refill.1064 S. Main, Brigham City, 435-723-0466

BEST SOUTHERN VALLEY RESTAURANT Readers’ Choice
Tiburon
There hasn’t really been any competition in this category for years—yet somehow Tiburon’s status as the cream of the south valley restaurant crop hasn’t caused Ken and Valerie Rose to rest on their laurels. They continue to serve up some of Utah’s best fine dining, irrespective of location, in a setting that’s classy without feeling intimidating. If you haven’t savored one of the Roses’ succulent creations on the lovely seasonally available patio—well, you’re spending too much time dining downtown.8260 S. 700 East, Sandy, 255-1200
2. Salsa Leedos
3. Royal India

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