Best of Utah 2013: Food & Drink | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Best of Utah 2013: Food & Drink 

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Best Gourmet Takeout
Piñon Market & Cafe

Sometimes, we want to dine on gourmet grub but don’t want to have to dine out. Thank goodness, then, for Piñon Market & Cafe, where Victoria Topham and her talented staff dish up a crazy array of gourmet goodies to eat in or to take out, from pork loin with grilled figs, pancetta and balsamic reduction, to pan-seared halibut with a roasted-pepper relish. Don’t forget about the phenomenal house-baked pastries, pies, cakes, breads and cookies.
2095 E. 1300 South, Salt Lake City,  801-582-4539,

Best Sake Spot

For anyone with a sweet spot for sake, you don’t want to miss Shabu restaurant, where the sake is serious. There is hot sake and cold sake, by the glass, bottle or pitcher, ranging from Gekkeikan Horin to Shizuku Divine Droplets. And, for those who enjoy a well-made martini, Shabu’s Saketini Bar offers sake-based martinis like the Secret Place, Green Dragon (made with green tea), Ginger Snap (fresh ginger) and the Osmosis.
442 Main, Park City, 435-645-7253,

Best Bargain Supper
Pig & a Jelly Jar

Every Sunday, Pig & a Jelly Jar offers up a three-course, $20-per-person supper that is simply mahvelous. It usually consists of a soup or salad to start, maybe roasted-red-pepper bisque or a fresh spinach salad, followed by an entree like herb-crusted pork roast with Brussels sprouts and cheddar grits. Then there’s dessert: Apple cobbler and sweet-corn pudding are two popular ones. It’s like a rib-sticking family meal at home, but without the cooking and the cleanup.
401 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City,  385-202-7366,

Après Ski Feeding Frenzy
Deer Valley Seafood Buffet

Always improving, this ski season, Deer Valley’s Seafood Buffet sports a snazzy new bar, where you can order up classic cocktails, après ski shots, beer or wine. However, the main attraction at this buffet is seafood, and plenty of it: freshly shucked oysters, steamed mussels and clams, sushi, chilled Gulf shrimp, Dungeness crab, house-smoked salmon, calamari and more. But don’t overlook the Prime rib, seared duck breast and cooked fish dishes like the heavenly pecan-crusted mahi mahi—oh, and a smorgasbord of desserts, too.
2250 Deer Valley Drive South, Park City, 435-645-6632,

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Best Out-of-Downtown Restaurant
With the 2012 hiring of Executive Chef Phelix Gardner, this cozy eatery—which has been a favorite of Salt Lakers since it opened—seems to have shifted into even higher gear. Pago knocks it out of the park nightly, thanks to Gardner’s innovative cuisine: seasonal dishes like wild-mushroom gnocchi and menu staples like the croque monsieur, the “Kale Caesar” salad and the beloved Pago burger, the ingredients of which change depending on what’s fresh and available. Four years on, Pago is really rockin’ it.
878 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City,  801-532-0777,
2. Finca
3. Café Madrid

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Best Downtown Gelato
Nestled on the corner between Cucina Toscana and Tony Caputo’s Deli, Vivace’s august surroundings make it destined to be a great Italian eatery. This cafe does indeed offer great lunch and dinner, but it’s also ideal for stopping by during a hot summer’s day to enjoy some fresh-made gelato from the restaurant’s huge gelato bar—between eight and 12 different flavors are offered daily. The classic pistachio-flavored gelato is sweet but doesn’t hide the distinctive nutty flavor, and the hazelnut is a special indulgence, with its delectably creamy and chocolatey flavor.
308 W. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-328-3466,

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Best Steaks
Ruby River
City Weekly readers’ mouths water for Ruby River’s exquisite bacon-wrapped filet mignon or, for those with bigger appetites, the Delmonico: 18 ounces of bone-in New York beefsteak seared with a tri-pepper seasoning, then generously basted in garlic butter. For boasting such world-class steaks, this local eatery keeps things casual and family-friendly with locally brewed beer and root beer at the ready, plus complimentary peanuts. This unpretentious steakhouse knows how to put the sizzle in its steaks and keep its happy customers coming back for more.
Multiple locations,
2. Spencer’s for Steaks & Chops
3. Maddox Ranch House

Best Heber Dining
Spin Cafe

Your next leisurely drive to Heber may hold a pleasant surprise in the excellent cuisine, contemporary décor and design of Spin Cafe. The eatery is not what you’d expect to find in a sweet small town like Heber. The eclectic menu, featuring items like Carolina pulled pork, grilled shrimp paninis, Asian lettuce wraps, and cedar-plank salmon, might seem “big city” for Heber, but tourists and locals alike love all of it. Add hand-crafted cocktails and a well-selected beer and wine list and you have a pretty good reason for a road trip to Heber.
220 N. Main, Heber City, 435-654-0251,

Best Churrascaria
Rodizio Grill

Rodizio Grill was Utah’s first churrascaria—a restaurant with Brazilian-style grilled meats as the centerpiece—and it’s still the best. The all-you-can-devour onslaught of grilled, skewered goodness includes beef, pork, poultry, lamb, seafood and fruit, not to mention a ginormous hot and cold buffet with enough options to please even vegetarians and vegans.
Trolley Square, 600 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City, 801-220-0500; 749 W. 100 North, American Fork, 801-763-4946,

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Best Soups
The Soup kitchen

As far as we know, soupmakers have never joined forces for a national ad campaign to encourage soup consumption, à la “Pork: The Other White Meat,” but if they need a catchy slogan, may we suggest: “Soup: A Party in a Pot.” There’s just something magical that happens when the right combination of vegetables, stock and other ingredients simmer down to a synergistic food medley. Those at The Soup Kitchen are alchemists of such concoctions. They whip up homestyle classics like chicken noodle, clam chowder, cheese & broccoli and split pea, and back up their mouth-watering soups with humongous, killer breadsticks and classic sammies like BLTs, egg salad and burgers.
Multiple locations,
2. The Tin Angel Café
3. Frisch Compassionate Eatery

Best Osso Bucco

For stick-to-the-ribs Italian-American fare like spaghetti & meatballs, veal Parmesan, fried calamari and such, this mom & pop eatery is the bomb. Ross Siragusa’s sweet-potato gnocchi can bring tears to your eyes. And Grandpa Tom’s osso bucco is a wonder to behold—a 16-ounce shank roasted for a minimum of six hours. Best of all, the low prices at Siragusa’s will please even your accountant.
4115 S. Redwood Road, Salt Lake City,  801-268-1520,

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Best Greek

Anyone who thinks that Greek cuisine is limited to gyros, souvlaki and baklava needs to make a visit to Aristo’s. Not only is dining on the cozy patio or indoors in the nicely designed restaurant a welcome change from drive-thru gyro joints, but the menu of Greek specialties is vast and appealing. From small mezedakia plates of things like tzatziki, orektika and kafteri to delectable entrees such as pastitisio, moussaka and aboureki, Aristo’s offers authentic Greek cuisine, not to mention a fantastic selection of libations to sip with them.
244 S. 1300 East, Salt Lake City,  801-581-0888,
2. Greek Souvlaki
3. The Other Place Restaurant

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