Best of Utah 2009: Food and Drink | Salt Lake City's finest restaurants | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City

Best of Utah 2009: Food and Drink 

Salt Lake City's finest restaurants

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Epic Casual Dining

Fooled you, didn’t we? You probably thought Epic should win for its killer brick-oven flatbreads. Or its delectable beef tenderloin, pork medallions, ahi tuna and the like. Or it’s varied wine list. They’re all more than worthy of praise. But Epic’s man-named salads stand shoulder to shoulder with anything else on the menu. There’s Pop’s Caesar, Ken’s (mixed greens with the candied pecans), Mr. Morton’s (with the toasted walnuts), John’s (with candied peppered almonds) and Mr. Martinez’s (with the fresh mango) ... they’re all freshly loaded with treats as well as the healthy green stuff the doctor tells you to eat more of. So, eat your salad, already. And sorry, flatbread. There’s always next year.
707 E. Fort Union Blvd., Midvale, 801-748-1300,

Fratelli’s Ristorante
It’s one thing to earn recognition as Best New Restaurant, as this Sandy eatery did last year. But, since then, Pete Cannella and Dave Cannell have quickly turned their restaurant into a wonderful dining destination, where house-made pastas and desserts—including the impressive specialty known simply as “The Cake”—combine with imported ingredients and a solid wine list. From the waterfall sculpture that greets you when you walk in the door to the friendly table service, Fratelli creates an experience that’s pleasant, relaxing and stylish.
9236 S. Village Shop Dr., Sandy, 801-495-4550,
2. Tiburon
3. India House

El Chubasco

Have it your way at Park City’s El Chubasco where you can customize your taco, burrito, pozole or menudo with its selection of 14 different freshly made salsas. Choose the fiery chile de arbol salsa for your machaca breakfast and maybe pico de gallo to go with a plate of carnitas. The smoky chipotle chile salsa is great with huevos rancheros and the sweet n’ spicy manzano pepper-spiked mango salsa is terrific on fish tacos. Best of all might be the tacos de birria slathered with bright green tomatillo salsa. Hot, mild, or in-between, El Chubasco has the right stuff.
1890 Bonanza Drive, Park City, 435-645-9114,

Le Nonne

Le Nonne (the grandmother) is owner/chef PierAntonio Micheli’s culinary gift to northern Utah, and nothing at Le Nonne puts a smile on the face faster than his dreamy homemade gnocchi. His Italian mother and grandmother taught him to make these divine little pasta pillows made from potatoes, flour, and Parmesan cheese. Especially delightful is the Gnocchi al Quattro Formaggi: Hand-crafted gnocchi in a silky four-cheese white sauce made with Swiss, Gorgonzola, Fontina and Parmesan cheeses. If you prefer something simpler, give the Gnocchi Pomodoro with fresh-tasting tomato-basil sauce a try.
129 N. 100 East, Logan, 435-752-9577,

Tiburon Fine Dining

Everyone knows that garden-fresh produce puts the “fine” in fine dining. And in the fall, with a garden located just behind its patio, Tiburon is able to create house salads and side dishes made with just-picked veggies. Combine that freshness with entrees like char-broiled New Zealand elk tenderloin or a Muscovy duck breast, and your taste buds are likely to explode. Nothing beats sitting on Tiburon’s private patio in early September, watching sunlight dance off your wine glass, savoring a perfect meal.
8256 S. 700 East, Sandy, 801-255-1200,

Chef/owner Greg Neville’s Millcreek restaurant isn’t just one of the Salt Lake Valley’s best Italian restaurants; it’s one of the valley’s best restaurants, period. The lively bistro-style atmosphere and open-air kitchen at Lug%uFFFDno create an energetic buzz every night of the week, as joyful customers assemble to take pleasure in Neville’s regional Italian cuisine and dishes like tagliattelle with wild mushroom and prosciutto “Cotto,” or his wood-burning oven “clay pot” mussels with white wine, garlic, olive oil, pesto and grilled garlic toast. Add a superb wine list with many Italian treasures into the mix and you’ve got an East Valley eatery that can’t be beat.
3364 S. 2300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-412-9994,
2. Citris Grill
3. Porcupine Pub & Grill

Citta Gelato & Café

Ask most gelato bars in Salt Lake City where their product comes from and they’ll probably to tell you Las Vegas or California. Citta Gelato, a blessed oasis of style and cool in Sandy’s strip mall landscape, goes the extra mile, shipping in the base and flavorings from Italy. “It’s a pain in the ass,” says co-owner Alex Eskamani, when it comes to Customs’ bureaucracy, but for the consumer, it’s more than worth Citta’s struggles. The gelato has a depth of taste that other stores just can’t compete with, whether it’s the tongue-twirling texture of its chocolate or the refined bite of its lemon.
2101 E. 9400 South, Sandy, 801-790-4135


Who’d of thunk it? Utah’s most prestigious restaurant is also a great place to enjoy an economically priced casual lunch, dinner or bar snack. In a crisp-white-linen setting as lavish as Metropolitan’s, you might be surprised to find $9 to $12 lunches on the menu. Well, the 12-buck daily lunch special even includes a salad! On Monday nights, you can drop into Metro for a three-course $30 meal or have five courses for $45, plus free corkage should you choose to brown-bag it. On weeknights Metropolitan serves up 2-for-1 appetizers, and the $8 “Bar Bites” menu includes bodacious bison sliders, sensational sriracha tempura shrimp, and Metropolitan’s magnificent mac & cheese. Pssssssst: Don’t tell anyone, but it’s OK to wear your flip-flops, too.
173 W. Broadway, 801-364-3472,

Mountainview Mushrooms

Mushrooms and Fillmore may have a ‘60s psychedelic /San Francisco connotation. But we’re talking crimini, Portobello, oyster, shitake, enoki, even the basic plain white button. Who doesn’t love these earthy little babies? But if you knew they were grown in wheat straw, dried poultry waste, cotton by-products with lots and lots of water, would you still love ‘em? Of course, you would because these shrumes are Utah grown ... and local is where it’s at. Located in Fillmore, Mountainview is Utah’s only mushroom farm. You can buy their shrumes in most supermarkets, but if you’re into volume, pick up 5- and 10-pound boxes right at the farm.
550 S. 1100 West, Fillmore, 435-743-6817,

East West Connection

You used to have to have to look high and low for good Vietnamese restaurants in Utah. Now, all you have to do is look East and West. A local favorite of the Foothill Village people, this clean, comfortable, and tastefully decorated restaurant serves some of the freshest vegetables and tastiest meat dishes, and the best pot stickers to boot!
1400 Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-581-1128

Rooster’s Brewing Co.
The beers are tasty, but the food doesn’t take a back seat: Entrees like the shrimp Florentine gorgonzola and Thai ginger steak are far beyond standard pub fare, as are sandwiches like the Beehive cheddar chicken and Tuscan steak—and “Pete’s pizzas”? Perfection. The stylish-but-classic, magazine-ready décor makes the package, and did we mention the beers are tasty? Can’t be emphasized enough.
253 25th St., Ogden, 801-627-6171
2. Rickenbacker’s Bistro & Restaurant
3. Bistro 258

Carol’s Cakes

Carol, Schmarol ... this hidden-away place in Sugar House is operated by Al, Bob and Jeff Walkenhorst—three guys who know their eclairs. And anyone who’s tried baking them know there is an art to whipping up the perfect p%uFFFDte %uFFFD choux, the pastry shell that has to be baked hot and high so it doesn’t deflate and leave no room for that heavenly filling. So Bob and Jeff have learned a thing or two over the years (the bakery has been around for decades). It’s obvious from looking at all their offerings, they’re perfectionists. But those dang eclairs—they’re impossible to resist.
1991 S. Lincoln St., Salt Lake City, 801-484-3442

Flippin’ Burgers, Park City

Looking for a place to feed the family in Park City for less than the cost of your monthly mortgage? Then you’ll flip out over Flippin’ Burgers in the Snow Creek Center. Each hamburger is made with 100 percent Certified Angus Beef and comes with your choice of American, cheddar, pepper jack, Provolone or Swiss cheese, along with generous options for toppings including hickory BBQ sauce, ketchup, yellow mustard, spicy mustard, mayo, jalapeno peppers, and relish. Plus, there’s an incendiary selection of more than 20 hot sauces to adorn your flipped out burger. And great fries to boot!
1300 Snow Creek Drive, Park City, 435-658-1809,

It’s no exaggeration to suggest that chef and restaurateur Bill White (Grappa, Chimayo, Wahso, Ghidotti’s, Windy Ridge Café & Bakery) has changed the face of dining in Park City and beyond, raising the culinary bar to Olympian heights. Well, Grappa was his first independent venture and, according to City Weekly readers, is still his best. A seat at Grappa is the hottest ticket in town during the Sundance Film Festival, but during the rest of the year, we civilians get to enjoy the seductive setting, superb service, and exquisitely executed cuisine at Grappa. Lucky us!
151 Main, Park City, 435-645-0636,
2. Chimayo
3. Wahso

The Monte Cristo, El Bambi Café

This spectacularly greasy invention is, according to one of El Bambi’s waitresses, much in demand with Beaverites. A sandwich of ham, cheese, and turkey is dipped in egg and fried. It comes with fries and dollops of sour cream and strawberry jam. You’re supposed to dip the sandwich in both. As grease drips off your fingers, it’s hard to imagine a plate more unhealthy than this. With its mix of the salty and sweet, it covers all the bases. Just for sheer fat-drenched chutzpah, this culinary apocalypse deserves recognition, even if the clogged arteries of Beaver’s denizens might not think so.
395 N. Main, Beaver, 435-438-2983

Kitty Pappas Steak House

Dine at the 62-year-old Kitty Pappas Steak House and you’ll be treated to not only classic American cuisine but also the most eclectically loaded juke box you’re likely to ever come across. Thanks to Kitty Pappas’ server and son “Crazy George,” the juke is stocked with tunes like a cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” by the trombone band Bonerama; Dread Zeppelin’s cover of CCR’s “Born on the Bayou”; Richard Cheese’s splendid rendition of “Baby Got Back”; and tunes by superb artists like Tony McPhee & The Groundhogs, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Jon Lord and the Hoochie Coochie Men. There are also bluegrass versions of Moody Blues songs and even “Sweet Transvestite” from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
2300 S. Main (Hwy 89), Woods Cross, 801-295-9981

Tulie Bakery

Sisters Kate and Leslie Seggar didn’t attend culinary school. In fact, neither one set out to be a chef, much less open one of Salt Lake City’s most attractive and satisfying bakeries. Leslie’s gourmet pastries feature only the finest ingredients, and Kate went the extra mile overseeing the store’s physical layout, right down to communal tables which lend the sleek environment a warm, inviting quality. From house-made quiche with gruyere, swiss chard and thyme, to croissants that conjure a picturesque Paris, Tulie has an eye for detail and palate for the finer things in life.
863 E. 700 South, Salt Lake City, 801-883-9741

Pat’s Barbecue & Catering
Was it the January appearance on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, which saw owner Pat Barber effectively matching wits and taste buds with host Guy Fieri? Or just the consistently killer smoked meats? The latter, obviously. The unassuming South Salt Lake barbecue-and-blues joint has been making critical inroads for years, first with the foodie crowd and now, more and more, with mainstream diners who swoon over Barber’s ultra-secret dry-rub process (not even Fieri could get it out of him). Pat’s Barbecue is as close to Texas as you’re going to get without stepping out of the 801.
155 W. Commonwealth, Salt Lake City, 801-484-5963,
2. SugarHouse BBQ
3. Q4U

Pat’s Barbecue & Catering
Pat Barber’s ribs can’t be beat—especially when paired with the “sweet heat,” a tangy-sweet sauce that elevates ‘em from “damn good” to “daaamn!” After hours of applewood smoking out back (meat’s always better when it’s cooked outside—it’s science), these pork spare ribs come out so tasty, even PETA would be hard-pressed to resist a bite.
155 W. Commonwealth, Salt Lake City, 801-484-5963,
2. SugarHouse BBQ
3. Q4U

Grove Market & Deli

You might be there just for one of the massive sandwiches on your lunch break, but there’s even more to tempt—and perhaps scald—the tongue. Check out the entire section devoted to spicy condiments, with something for every taste from “mild” to “the stuff that sent Homer Simpson on his insane desert vision quest.” If you’re ready to give that sandwich an extra kick, you’re in the right place.
1906 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-467-8860

Tagge’s Willard Bay

Roadside produce stands and farmers markets are a summer staple in Utah, and maybe you’ve grown so accustomed to them that you wouldn’t think to stop. But next time you grab some fresh produce, check out the jars of goodies that you may find on many of their tables. This family farm near Brigham City produces wonderful original fruit salsas, but it’s the jam that will have you coming back week after week. The blackberry in particular is a juicy, fresh-tasting delight. You may not even want to put it on bread—just a spoon will do, thanks.
3431 S. Highway 89, Perry, 801-755-8031,

Crown Burger
When it comes to asking who is the rightful heir to king of burgers, the battle in Utah between the local favorites and the national BK chain is a case of delicious abdication—nay, a most delicious regicide! The people have spoken and the throne to burger royalty belongs to Utah’s own Crown Burger. Readers can’t get enough of the Crown’s delicious double bacon cheeseburgers which pack an astounding wallop of sizzled and savory beef, cheese and bacon. Or the one and only Crown Burger original: a quarter-pound of flame-grilled beef stacked with a precarious mound of pastrami, cheese and all the fixings. Whatever regal menu option tickles your fancy, it’s clear who the king is in this town.
Multiple locations
2. Acme Burger Company
3. Five Guys Burgers
Jack Mormon Coffee Co.

You can get this chilly treat year-round, but the best place to sip it is at the Downtown Farmer’s Market all summer long. Jack Mormon owner Michael Madrid and his staff serve it in tall, recyclable tumblers, with cream and sweet syrup on the side if you desire. Beans are roasted and ground at the Avenues coffee house. The perfect morning kick on a hot Utah morning.
82 E St., Salt Lake City, 801-359-2979,

Siegfried’s Delicatessen

When it comes to Americans and dogs, hot dogs that is, we generally limit ourselves to maybe a brat at a sporting event when we’re feeling sporty or perhaps a mystery dog at an all-night gas station when we’re feeling daring and/or high. But the sad truth is that for those of us who restrict ourselves to just hot dogs and brats are, in fact, missing out on a world of wursts. Thankfully Siegfried’s Delicatessen, a downtown institution of all things deliciously German, has got an affordable build-your-own sausage plate, which for $5.99 allows you to sample some Old World dogs. Try the knackwurst, a soft pork or beef sausage made with garlic, once considered a delicacy by Hapsburg royalty. Or the weisswurst, a traditional Bavarian sausage stuffed with minced veal and pork or bacon. Let Seigfried’s introduce your palatte to a new world of delicious sausage, and say auf wiedersehn once and for all to those late-night gas-station gut-buster dogs—believe us, your stomach will thank you.
20 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3891


Since Springdale abuts the edge of Zion National Park, it’s little surprise the town’s economy is driven by the tourist buck. This can bring mediocre results when it comes to local eateries. But just off the main drag, Oscar’s, now in its eighth year, proudly flies the flag for hearty, tasty fare. The so-called ‘burger to die for,’ the murder burger, a garlic half-pounder with bacon, onions, provolone and cheddar cheese is as advertised, especially with a serving of sweet potato fries. There’s usually a queue, the ribs can vanish before 2 p.m., and the wait staff can get testy with the endless flow of customers, but it’s hands down the best value in town.
948 Zion Park Boulevard, Springdale, 435-772-3232,

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