Best of Utah 2012: Food & Drink | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City

Best of Utah 2012: Food & Drink 

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Best Deli With a Pop
Pop On Over Café
You’ve had your deli sandwiches on a roll, on rye, in a pita pocket—but have you tried one on a popover? This South Jordan eatery offers plenty of New York-style favorites, including all-beef hot dogs direct from Brooklyn and pizza by the slice. But the house specialty is the light, flaky popover—available all on their lonesome in five flavors (plain, garlic & onion, whole wheat, cinnamon sugar and asiago) or as a nesting ground for sandwiches featuring house-roasted deli meats. While you’re there, take the deviled-egg challenge: 12 egg halves at an increasing level of spiciness to be consumed without a beverage in 30 minutes, for a spot on the wall of fame.
1098 W. South Jordan Parkway, No. 110, South Jordan, 801-253-0272,

Best Healthy Breakfast
Dee’s Cereal
The company’s founder was a diabetic facing multiple weight- and lifestyle-related health complications when he decided to change his eating habits—and subsequently turn his “a-ha” moment into a Pleasant Grove-based business. Dee’s unique blend, available in Utah health-food and grocery store refrigerated sections, combines grains like rice, barley and quinoa with fruit, nuts and a variety of more unusual ingredients—like amaranth and garbanzo beans—for a cereal that’s bursting with protein, amino acids, vitamins and fiber, all without processed sugars and preservatives. It’s so fresh, you won’t be able to store it in the pantry; use the refrigerator, and start your day with hot or cold cereal for better health.

Best Spicy Sampling
Burn Your Tongue
Even if you think you’ve got a taste for hot stuff—chilis, salsas, hot sauces and more—it’s always nice to get a chance at trying a new item out before buying a whole scorching bottle. Burn Your Tongue—operating a consignment booth in The Quilted Bear location in Ogden’s Newgate Mall—offers a wide variety of mouth-melting products. But for those who’d rather not purchase blind, there are occasional special Saturday tasting events for a chance to taste-test new products. Keep watch on the site for schedule updates so you don’t miss out on the hottest new thing.

Best Italian 


Cucina Toscana
There’s an abundance of Italian eateries around town where you can get an acceptable plate of spaghetti & meatballs or lasagna. But, there’s only one Cucina Toscana, and only one Valter Nassi, the restaurant’s owner, chef and overall bon vivant. Nassi turns every meal into dinner and a show with his exuberance, warm hospitality and enthusiasm for authentic Italian cuisine. So, skip the fettuccine Alfredo for a night and instead enjoy Cucina Toscana specialties like braised Piedmontese short ribs, ravioli with four cheeses and asparagus, or the fantastic, lemon-y pollo della casa.
307 W. Pierpont Ave. (250 South), Salt Lake City, 801-328-3463,
2. Fratelli Ristorante
3. Lugano Restaurant

Best Pit Barbecue Specials
Desert Magnolia BBQ & Catering
Sometimes you need to work a little harder to find amazing food. Tucked away in a little industrial park in Roy is this take-out-only establishment that specializes in Southern-style pit barbecue, and sources its ingredients as locally as possible. Daily specials include unique offerings like smoked meatloaf and corn-husk-smoked sausage, but don’t miss the addictive barbecue nachos: chicken or pulled pork over tortilla chips and smothered in cheese. You’ll swear off the old style forever.
4066 S. 1900 West, Roy, 801-201-6313,

Best Coffee of the Gods
KafeNeio Coffee
This small, Greek, family-run coffee shop in South Salt Lake may be modest on the outside, but on the inside boasts a coffee selection worthy of the gods. The coffeehouse has affordable prices on all your typical brews, but it’s the pantheon of house specialties that set it apart. Take Aphrodite’s passion, for example: a seductive cup with flavors of strawberry, cherry, raspberry and vanilla. Or, for something a little more straightforward, try Hera’s temper: a brew blending cinnamon and coconut flavors. For a more decadent cup, try Chimera’s fire, which blends white chocolate, cinnamon, hazelnut, vanilla and caramel. Any of the above makes a heavenly pairing with the shop’s great Greek pastries and donuts.
258 W. 3300 South, South Salt Lake, 801-485-1282,

Best French


The Paris Bistro & Zinc Bar
When it comes to food and cooking, The Paris’ owner Eric DeBonis is positively militant about freshness and the overall celebration of gastronomy. The word passion doesn’t begin to do justice to his no-compromises approach to the food and service at The Paris. In truth, it’s really the only dedicated “French” restaurant in town, an authentic, Parisian-style bistro (right down to the zinc bar) with a menu of fruits de mer, fromage, viandes, poissons, pâtes et farinages and much more. Hey, where else are you going to find bouillabaisse in this town?
1500 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-486-5585,
2. La Caille
3. Franck’s

Best Local Food With a National Profile
Les Madeleines’ Kouing Aman
Nation-touring programs on Food Network and other cable outlets have brought attention to many Utah locations in recent years, from the upscale to the funky and down-home. One particular treat, however, has made its way onto two different Food Network programs. The buttery, flaky, sinful pastry/cakes with the salty-sweet caramelized-sugar top known as kouing aman are one of the most popular items at Les Madeleines. These treats but also made the leap to national treasure when Food Network’s Patrick and Gina Neely praised them both on their own show, Road Tasted, and on the ensemble program The Best Thing I Ever Ate. They’re so addictive, the bakery limits buyers to six at a time unless you order 72 hours in advance.
216 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-2294.

Best Hot/Spicy


Chanon Thai
The look of the place suggests “cool” more than it does “hot,” with its cozy individual dining rooms that make it feel like you’re sitting down to dinner in a friend’s house, and the offbeat knick-knackery filling the walls and tables. But watch your step when ordering, because the spicy stuff—like the gang massaman curry—is the real tongue-testing, smoke-blowing-out-your-ears-like-a-cartoon-character deal. When you ask for “spicy,” expect that they’re going to take you at your word—and order something smooth and cool to tame the fire.
278 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-1177,
2. Spice Bistro
3. Red Iguana


Chanon Thai
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