Best of Utah 2021 | Spreading the Love | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City
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    click to enlarge Bricks Corner Margherita and Spartichoke pizzas - DEREK CARLISLE
    • Derek Carlisle
    • Bricks Corner Margherita and Spartichoke pizzas
    FOOD & DRINK | Readers' Picks

    Best Pizza
    Bricks Corner

    For many Salt Lakers, their first introduction to Detroit-style deep-dish pizza has come by way of Bricks Corner, which opened late last year. Its general construction is similar to deep-dish pies you've known, but its crisped-up edges and bonkers toppings—grilled Spam and pineapple jam, anyone?—put this pizza in a league of its own. Expect this tasty trend to start sweeping the state in no time. 1465 S. 700 East, SLC, 801-953-0636, brickscornerslc.com
    2. The Pie Pizzeria
    3. Este Pizza

    Best Donuts
    Banbury Cross

    If you're craving donuts or pastries, Banbury Cross has whatever you're seeking. Choose from fresh flavorful donuts such as cinnamon crumb, maple frosted or chocolate glazed. Other selections include apple or cherry fritters, muffins and cinnamon rolls. The parking lot entrance is mainly used for the drive thru window. For quick service at peak times, park on the street around the corner and walk in. 705 S. 700 East, SLC, 801-537-1433
    2. Fresh Donuts and Deli
    3. The Big O Doughnuts

    Best Burrito
    Beto's Mexican Food

    Whether it's a tried-and-true Texano (chicken, potatoes, sour cream and cheese) or a hulking ham, egg and cheese breakfast burrito, Beto's has provided burrito therapy for us all when we're feeling low. We don't know if it's the sheer size of a Beto's burrito that nets this award or if it's because they're so reasonably priced. Either way, we know what we're getting, and it's always what the doctor ordered. Multiple locations, betosmexicanfood.com
    2. Red Iguana
    3. Lone Star Taqueria

    Best French Fries
    Bruges Waffles & Frites

    Best fries is a particularly competitive category for Utah, what with the Beehive State being the home of fry sauce after all. However, Bruges makes it look easy with their Belgian-style frites—a twice-fried symphony of taste and texture. It's made perfect with any one of Bruges' wonderful dipping sauces. 336 W. 300 South, SLC; 2314 Highland Drive, SLC, 801-363-4444, brugeswaffles.com
    2. Lucky 13 Bar and Grill
    3. Hires Big H

    Best Appetizers
    Caffé Molise

    There's no doubt that Caffé Molise is one of the most charming dining locales in downtown Salt Lake, and its selection of traditional Italian appetizers complements that charm perfectly. The antipasti al giorno is always fun to check out for a bit of charcuterie surprise, and their polenta is hearty and soul-warming every time. 404 S. West Temple, SLC, 801-364-8833, caffemolise.com
    2. Bambara
    3. Mazza Cafe

    Best Ethnic/Specialty Market
    Caputo's Market & Deli

    Caputo's Market & Deli is Salt Lake City's premier purveyor of distinctive Italian and Southern European foods. With its inventory of cured meats such as salami and prosciutto, selection of 200 cheeses and 500 chocolate bars (to say nothing of the available samples), Caputo's is a feast for both the eyes and the palate. It's a fantastic source of recipe ingredients, and it's the logical stop for gourmet sandwiches that you can take home or consume onsite. Multiple locations, caputos.com
    2. Chinatown Market
    3. Rancho Market

    Best Seafood
    Current Fish & Oyster

    Go ahead and let all those East and West Coasters think they're the only ones privy to fresh seafood—that just means more oysters for you ... and crab, black cod, shrimp, halibut, scallops, prawns ... the catch goes on. Current Fish and Oyster has established itself as the biggest fish in our small pond, led by chef Alan Brines (yes, Brines). It's so serendipitous you can't not go, but save some clam chowder for me. 279 E. 300 South, SLC, 801-326-3474, currentfishandoyster.com
    2. Harbor Seafood & Steak Co.
    3. Market Street Grill & Oyster Bar

    Best Local Spirit
    Five Wives Vodka

    The Ogden distillery's flagship spirit quickly endeared itself to Utah's adult drinkers buy concocting a personality-driven vodka that's full of depth. For a spirit that essentially has no distinct tasting notes, Five Wives enhances the flavors of its cocktail pairings better than most of the vodkas out there, which is why its reputation in Utah is highly regarded as a consumer's and mixologist's favorite. 615 W. Stockman Way, Ogden, 801-458-1995, ogdensown.com
    2. High West Rendezvous Rye
    3. Dented Brick Gin

    Best Burgers
    Lucky 13 Bar & Grill

    No luck necessary here—the Ballpark neighborhood staple retains its title as Utah's dominant patty-slinger, offering its mouthwatering and often daring spins on the classic sandwich that incorporate everything from smoking-hot peppers to peanut butter. That the incredible food is complemented by an impressive drink menu and one of the best patios in the city is just icing on the bun. 135 W. 1300 South, SLC, 801-487-4418, lucky13slc.com
    2. Proper Burger
    3. Rich's Burgers-n-Grub

    Best Ogden Pizza
    Lucky Slice

    Co-owners Mike, Nick and Will cooked up an idea together to deliver Ogdenites top-notch pizza, a category the region lacked. The three amigos settled on Historic 25th Street for their initial location of Lucky Slice—it was a huge success, and there are now three northern Utah locations that serve a full menu of slices, pies and appetizers. Lucky Slice also has a food truck in their arsenal that makes the rounds in Salt Lake and beyond. Multiple locations, theluckyslice.com
    2. Slackwater Pub & Pizzeria
    3. The Pie Pizzeria

    click to enlarge Moochie’s Philly cheesesteak - sandwich - DEREK CARLISLE
    • Derek Carlisle
    • Moochie’s Philly cheesesteak sandwich

    Best Sandwiches
    Moochie's Meatballs & More

    With three locations serving Salt Lake County, Moochie's menu of hot and cold sandwiches, salads and desserts is the perfect answer to a growling stomach. While best known for its signature meatball and Philly cheesesteak subs, Moochie's has something for everyone and offers one of Salt Lake City's quintessential locations to kick your feet up and take a tasty break, plus some of the best fry sauce in the city with its Jumpin' Jalapeno recipe. Multiple locations, moochiesmeatballs.com
    2. Caputo's Market and Deli
    3. Feldman's Deli

    click to enlarge RubySnap’s Vivianna (mango and dark chocolate) cookies - SHEENA BATES
    • Sheena Bates
    • RubySnap’s Vivianna (mango and dark chocolate) cookies

    Best Cookies
    RubySnap Fresh Cookies

    With 20 cookie varieties baked fresh daily, RubySnap is a cookie paradise. Bestsellers like the Mia, a vanilla-bean sugar cookie with buttercream beet frosting, and the Trudy, a traditional chocolate chip cookie from a family recipe, join forces with creations like the Vivianna (dark chocolate chip with mango) and monthly cookie specials for a singular taste treat. Buy fresh cookies at the Third West flagship bakery, or check online for local grocers that sell pre-portioned frozen RubySnap dough for bake-at-home freshness. 770 S. 300 West, SLC, 801-834-6111, rubysnap.com
    2. Crumbl Cookies
    3. Chip Cookies

    Best Hard Cider
    Mountain West Cider

    Mountain West prides itself in using local ingredients from the region to make its highly acclaimed hard apple ciders. We especially love the barrel-aged Stillwater Cider. With a dry profile and a slight vinegar undertone, it joins the rest of the lineup, none of which have sugar added. Schedule a tour or stop by their weekend Garten and enjoy your cider with a side of live music. 425 N. 400 West, SLC, 801-935-4147, mountainwestcider.com
    2. The Hive Winery
    3. Etta Place Cider

    Best Culinary School
    Park City Culinary Institute

    If you dine out anywhere in Utah, you've likely benefitted from the expertise passed along to local chefs by Park City Culinary Institute. But it's not a place exclusively for professional chefs— home cooks, too, have made use of the wide range of course offerings, from basic knife skills to advanced knowledge about specialty food preparation, even mixology. And you can attend in-person or virtual live courses to fit your scheduling needs. 1484 S. State, SLC, 801-413-2800, parkcityculinaryinstitute.com
    2. Salt Lake Community College
    3. Utah Valley University

    Best Soups
    Porcupine Pub & Grille

    Here's what you need to know about soup at Porcupine: Chicken noodle (yes, that creamy chicken noodle) is available every Wednesday and every day during ski season, starting Nov. 1. Potato beer cheese is available during Oktoberfest, which runs the month of October. Tomato basil is offered every Monday. Cream of mushroom pops up on Fridays. Outside of that, there are three rotating soups daily. You might want to clip this and hang it on the fridge, you know, until you have it memorized by heart. 3698 E. Fort Union Blvd., Cottonwood Heights, 801-942-5555, porcupinepub.com
    2. Soup Kitchen
    3. Café Zupa's

    Best Chicken Sandwich
    Pretty Bird

    Pretty Bird's menu may be simple, but why complicate perfection? From its twin locations downtown and in Sugar House, customers can get their spicy chicken fix from chef Viet Pham's perfectly crispy and wonderfully seasoned sandwiches and tenders. Round it out with some fries and a drink, and don't be surprised when your taste buds bring you back for more. 146 Regent St., SLC; 675 E. 2100 South, SLC; prettybirdchicken.com
    2. Cluck Truck
    3. Grid City

    Best BBQ
    R&R Barbeque

    If you're eating R&R's spareribs in Lehi or their smoked turkey in Midvale, you're getting the same quality, flavor and experience that was created on day one. It's a credit to both the team's love of barbecue as a medium and their love of competition. We'll always have a special place in our hearts for pulled pork tacos and barbecue nachos. Multiple locations, randrbbq.com
    2. Pat's Barbecue
    3. Sugarhouse Barbeque Co.

    Best Local Beer
    Shades' Pina Colada Sour

    Owners Alexandra Ortiz and Trent Fargher began brewing as Shades of Pale (shortened to Shades later on) with modest means and supplies. Fast forward to a decade later, and it's become a Salt Lake staple with creative offerings such as the Pina Colada Sour, Plum Berliner Weisse, Apricot PB&J, their own light craft beer (Livli) and a taproom slurry maker. 154 W. Utopia Ave., South Salt Lake, 435-200-3009, shadesbrewing.beer
    2. TF Brewing Ferda
    3. Bewilder Kolsch

    Best Salads
    Spitz

    It's not that Spitz has an impressive salad menu—there's just one salad. But geez, is it impressive! The Doner combines all your favorite Mediterranean flavors in one bowl: cucumber, olives, feta, pepperoncini, tomato, green pepper, crispy garbanzo beans, onion and carrot over a bed of romaine and cabbage garnished with homemade tzatziki, fried lavash chips and pita strips and a side of creamy house balsamic. Ask for extra dressing to dip your fried pita into and thank us later. Multiple locations, spitzrestaurant.com
    2. Café Zupas
    3. Café Rio

    Best Brew Pub
    Squatters

    Many brew pubs have opened since Squatters debuted in 1984. Only Squatters has had the staying-power and selection to keep its legend alive in the hearts of Salt Lake's beer faithful. The wide-ranging and ever-evolving menu of food and local ales and lagers of the downtown SLC brewery have made it a favorite with families, travelers and beer aficionados alike. Now with three other locations, Squatters has changed the capital city's beer scene forever, and we are eternally grateful. Multiple locations, squatters.com/brewpubs
    2. Red Rock Brewery
    3. Wasatch Brewery

    Best Distillery
    Sugar House Distillery

    Utah's distillery scene is booming with more than a dozen distilleries statewide. Since its inception, Sugar House Distillery in South Salt Lake has endeared itself to Utah's spirituous enthusiasts. From flavorful vodkas and gins to whiskeys that are aged in locally made craft beer oak barrels, customers line up outside the unassuming distilleries' doors, eager for the newest groundbreaking releases from this true homegrown craft distillery. 2212 S. West Temple, No. 14, South Salt Lake, 801-726-0403, sugarhousedistillery.net
    2. High West Distillery
    3. Ogden's Own Distillery

    click to enlarge Trolley Wing Co. also serves scrumptious vegan wings - DEREK CARLISLE
    • Derek Carlisle
    • Trolley Wing Co. also serves scrumptious vegan wings

    Best Wings
    Trolley Wing Co.

    There are those among us who think that Buffalo wings are all created equal—which is how we know they've never been to Trolley Wing Co. From the pre-game prep and fry to the end-game sauces, Trolley Wing Co. prepares every wing with a whole lot of love and a whole lot of Scovilles. Multiple locations, trolleywingco.com
    2. The Wing Coop
    3. Tie: Wingers/ Legends Pub & Grill

    Best Brewery
    T.F. Brewing

    Owner/head brewer Kevin Templin has been building his reputation in Utah's craft beer scene for the past 20-plus years with various breweries in Salt Lake County. When Templin decided to go out on his own and open the Templin Family Brewery, it was the quality of the beer and the adherence to family and friends that was most important. It's no wonder that in the three years T.F. Brewing has been around, beer lovers have responded by clamoring for the insanely traditional lagers and the most cutting-edge sour ales and juicy IPAs. 936 S. 300 West, SLC, 385-270-5972, tfbrewing.com
    2. Fisher Brewing Co.
    3. Shades Brewing

    Best Sushi
    Takashi

    If you know sushi, you know Takashi. Among the best restaurants Utah has to offer, Takashi has an unbridled enthusiasm to innovate their sushi menu—along with the regular rolls in the menu, the floor-to-ceiling chalkboard is always showing something new and creative the sushi chefs have worked up. Be sure to try the Pounamu, a roll with New Zealand salmon, avocado, cucumber and kiwi-mango sauce topped with fresh chilis. 18 W. Market St., SLC, 801-519-9595, takashisushi.com
    2. Tsunami Restaurant & Sushi Bar
    3. Sapa Sushi Bar & Asian Grill

    Best Tacos
    Taqueria 27

    Taqueria 27 introduced us to the wonders that duck confit could accomplish on a taco, and we've never really looked back. Now that its tacos and tequila concept has spread across the Wasatch Front, we're seeing how a team that is passionate about their food and drink can really make a splash locally. Multiple locations, taqueria27.com
    2. Roctaco
    3. Lone Star Taqueria

    Best Food Truck
    The Cluck Truck

    With Utah's stock of fried chicken purveyors skyrocketing, it's no surprise that we love our fried birds that much more when they're mobile. The Cluck Truck earned this spot since their fried chicken is always crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, but also from their ability to incorporate flavors from all over the world into their signature wraps. 801-750-6508, clucktruckutah.com
    2. Waffle Love
    3. Bomb Dilla

    Best Ramen
    Yoko

    Ramen bars are inherently cool, and Yoko Ramen has done a spectacular job of tailoring that coolness to Utah's Downtown food scene. On top of yummy bowls of steaming broth and thick noodles, diners can branch out to their sandwiches—the Japanese Cubano is magnificent. It's an excellent place to warm up before a night on the town. 473 E. 300 South, SLC, 801-876-5267, yokoslc.com
    2. Tosh's Ramen
    3. Haru Ramen

    click to enlarge Zest’s chickpea omelet - DEREK CARLISLE
    • Derek Carlisle
    • Zest’s chickpea omelet

    Best Vegan
    Zest Kitchen & Bar

    Casey Staker really has created something special in this city. Zest is an over-21 restaurant featuring the city's best vegetarian and vegan fare, cocktails, DJ-mixed tunes and even dancing. The cocktails at Zest are beyond delicious and creative. Featuring fresh-squeezed juices and often adorned with a beautiful edible flower, they pair perfectly with a vegan gluten-free dessert. 275 S. 200 West, SLC, 801-433-0589, zestslc.com
    2. Vertical Diner
    3. Buds

    click to enlarge Bewilder’s Kettle Chip Not-Chos - DEREK CARLISLE
    • Derek Carlisle
    • Bewilder’s Kettle Chip Not-Chos

    FOOD & DRINK | Staff Picks

    Best Not-Cho
    Bewilder Brewing

    Bewilder Brewing opened up shop in December 2019—not the best time to launch in light of COVID-19, but they burst onto the scene once people began heading downtown again. Bewilder's co-owners Cody McKendrick and Ross Metzger come from homebrewing backgrounds at Salt City Brew Supply, and their brewery serves up delicious ales, sausages, Bavarian pretzels and sharables such as kettle chip "not-chos" with sausage, salsa, pickle, garlic sour cream, all slathered in creamy beer cheese—not-cho mama's nachos! 445 S. 400 West, SLC, 385-528-3840, bewilderbrewing.com

    Best Greek-Style Burger
    Apollo Burger

    Since 1984, Apollo Burger has provided Utahns quality and quick meals at affordable prices. They've burgeoned to over 13 locations across the state, and are known for their consistently good service, their breakfast bowls and of course, their char-broiled burgers, including their very own Athenian Burger. The Athenian is a 1/4-pound beef patty layered with red peppers, house made tzatziki (Greek yogurt sauce) and a healthy slab of fresh feta cheese. It's lowkey one of the best burgers in town, and a must try at your next Apollo Burger visit. Multiple locations, apolloburgers.com

    Best Tri-Tip Salad
    Bandits' Grill & Bar

    Thanks to Shane and Jen Barber, residents of Cottonwood Heights can enjoy some tasty 'cue in their own hood in a gorgeous restaurant with an inviting bar and swank patio. After the couple opened the Cottonwood Heights Bandits' in 2015, it filled a BBQ void in the area but, as the owners like to say: They are so much more than BBQ. Even still, with so many dishes featuring their hand-cut, slow-roasted, wood-grilled tri-tip, you'd be missing out not to try their steak entrées, tacos, sandwiches and salads. If you're watching your carbs, the tri-tip steak salad—with its mixed greens, grilled red onions, tomatoes, avocado, blue cheese and roasted garlic vinaigrette—will keep you in your paleo or 360 groove. Pro-tip: Try the tri-tip Taco Tuesdays lunch specials. 3176 E. 6200 South, Cottonwood Heights, 801- 944-0505, banditsbbqutah.com

    Best Gin Joint
    Beehive Distilling

    Beehive Distilling has become synonymous with great gin, and for good reason—the bread and butter for the distillery is their Jack Rabbit Gin. Its floral and juniper blend make it a favorite among gin lovers, and there's no better place to have a taste than Beehive's bar overlooking their stills. The bar is sleek, hip and welcoming, making it a great place to sit back and enjoy a martini or other specialty cocktail. 2245 S. West Temple, South Salt Lake, 385-259-0252, beehivedistilling.com

    Best Utah Beer Festival Addition
    Beers of the World

    The 11th annual Utah Beer Festival, Utah's largest beer sampling event—one, in fact, sponsored by City Weekly—kicked off in August after a year hiatus. Held at The Gateway in 2021, the event was bigger than ever with over 300 different beers, ciders and seltzers representing 60 breweries. The surprise hit of the Utah Beer Festival was the Beers of the World room, featuring international beers like Singha (Thailand), Orion (Japan), Mythos and Fix (Greece), Chouffe (Belgium) and dozens of others from Canada, Holland and Mexico, to name a few. Look for Beers of the Universe again in 2022. utahbeerfestival.com

    Best Pup Cup
    Bjorn's Brew

    Coffee and animals—does anything bring more joy at the start of the day? Bjorn's Brew sniffed out the opportunity and now serves its java while donating $1 for every punch card redeemed to the likes of Best Friends, Nuzzles & Co., Street Dog Crew and Salt Lake County Animal Services. Bring your pup to the window, and the staff will give you a full-size bone or Pup Cup (whipped cream) as well as a gingerbread cookie in the shape of a dog bone for the two-leggers. Multiple locations, bjornsbrew.com

    Best Loaded Tater Tots
    Bomb Dilla

    The food truck craze has cultivated a unique dining experience in Utah. The Bomb Dilla food truck, owned and operated by Ruben Sauyun, brought a Los Angeles flair to the Beehive State with loaded quesadillas and tater tots. Sauyun dishes out tater tots piled high with mac 'n' cheese, grilled meats and delicious sauces. You can find Bomb Dilla at many festivals, breweries and food truck gatherings around Salt Lake Valley. 818-635-7500, facebook.com/bombdilla

    Best Bread to Get Out of Bed for
    Bread Riot Bakehouse

    On Saturday mornings, there are usually two wolves inside me: one who wants to sleep in and nurse Friday night's hangover, and one that hungers for Bread Riot. The latter usually wins out, because Bread Riot's magnificent lineup of the crustiest loaves, dark brown pretzels, fragrant tordu and salty focaccia sells out at the Downtown Farmers Market at Pioneer Park really, really quickly—and for good, toothsome reason. Multiple locations, breadriotbakehouse.com

    Best Grab-and-Go Burrito
    Cafe Noir

    Breakfast burritos may as well be one of the five food groups if you're a college student, and no one knows this better than Cafe Noir. This walk-up coffee shop three blocks from the U serves up toasty sausage, bacon or vegetarian spinach burritos with scrambled eggs and all the fixin's, including plenty of Cholula, Tapatío and Sriracha packets to go, alongside an impressive selection of iced teas, drip coffee and lattes. 1035 E. 200 South, SLC, 801-532-1888

    Best Pit Boss
    Cameron Treu, Bam Bams BBQ

    Bam Bams BBQ has racked up numerous competition awards for their delicious, barbecued meats that include all the Texas classics—brisket, sausage, ribs, pulled pork, turkey and chopped beef. That builds confidence. But it's an especially confident Q'r who shares his secrets, and owner Cameron "Bam Bam" Treu does just that with his own barbecue classes. And it's an especially special BYU football fan who takes his Q game to the Ute tailgate to show respect and support after the death of Ute player Aaron Lowe. Tip of the hat, Bam Bams. 1708 S. State, Orem, 801-225-1324, bambamsbbq.com

    click to enlarge Capitol’s pulled-pork burger - COURTESY PHOTO
    • Courtesy Photo
    • Capitol’s pulled-pork burger

    Best Southern Utah Surprise
    Capitol Burger Food Truck

    The Capitol Burger food truck burgers—all of them—are arguably the finest in the state, and given the truck's station astride Capitol Reef National Park, their reputation extends far beyond Utah. Luke Fowles, the truck operator, was a teammate of Viet Pham's when he beat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef, so, he's got mad skills. Try the pulled pork or mac 'n' cheese burgers—and it will hit you instantly: Ahhh, that's what great burgers taste like. PS—The burgers are even better when paired with an Etta Place cider just down the road. Parked somewhere in Torrey during summer season or occasionally in Richfield during winter, 801-362-0226, facebook.com/capitolburgertruck

    click to enlarge Start your diet tomorrow: Feldman’s sloppy Joe comes fully loaded with a half pound of pastrami and corned beef. - COURTESY PHOTO
    • Courtesy Photo
    • Start your diet tomorrow: Feldman’s sloppy Joe comes fully loaded with a half pound of pastrami and corned beef.

    Best Deli Delight
    Feldman's Deli's Sloppy Joe

    Many a Salt Lake transplant longs for a 24-hour Jewish deli. But the fact that Salt Lake has at least one authentic Jewish deli (albeit only open until 8 p.m.) is cause for celebration. While they're famous for their corned beef and pastrami, their best sandwich might just be their sloppy Joe (it's not what you think). They make Reubens a dozen different ways. Bagels in the morning are the real deal. And Feldman's is the only place within 500 miles that makes must-have matzo ball soup. 2005 E. 2700 South, SLC, 801-906-0369, feldmansdeli.com

    Best Smoky Blend of Whiskeys
    Campfire by High West Distillery

    Aptly named Campfire, this blend of scotch, bourbon and rye whiskeys has a definite smoky note that is sure to warm you up while you sip it neat or mix it up in a cocktail. Created in new, charred white American oak barrels and second use bourbon barrels, you get a hint of sweet and spice with the gentle smoke in each sip. Perfectly paired with a campfire, or firepit, as flames seem to enhance the experience. 27649 Old Lincoln Hwy., Wanship, 435-649-8300, highwest.com

    Best Use of Gelato
    Dolcetti Gelato's Affogato

    Leave it to the Italians to comingle breakfast and dinner in a single-serving treat. Called affogato, its yin-yang balance depends on the size of a dollop of gelato dissolving in a shot of steaming espresso. (A splash of Grand Marnier or Amaretto adds nuance, if you are so disposed.) The measure of gelato tips the balance one way or the other. If you like the yin character of creamy gelato more than the manly yang of espresso, check out Fillings and Emulsions for its generous servings of gelato. If you favor strong espresso, a smaller scoop of gelato at Dolcetti Gelato yields an affogato with a bracing finish. 902 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-485-3254, dolcettigelato.com

    Best Low-Carb Salad
    Greek Souvlaki

    Who isn't dieting, hoping to lose 18 months of COVID hibernation weight gain these days? When it comes to losing weight, everyone eventually defaults to salads—which are too often so boring, you soon return to pasta. The tastiest salads we've found for any diet are those found at Greek Souvlaki. A pork or chicken souvlaki stick (Utah's best) sits atop a heaping bed of lettuce, tomato and cucumber with just enough Kalamata olives and feta cheese to remind you that dieting can be heathy and tasty. Multiple locations, greeksouvlaki.com

    Best Fairy Tale Desserts
    Conte de Fee

    The team at Conte de Fee specializes in creating cakes, confections and other baked goods that appear to have wafted into reality from a beautiful dream. Rainbow cakes that reveal a vivid-colored sponge, rich Basque cheesecake that melts in your mouth and mille crepe cakes stacked with light crepes and flavors like lemon curd and matcha all await you at this effulgent bakery. 7695 S. 700 East, Sandy, 801-987-8112, contedefeebakery.com

    Best Locals Only Beers
    Craft by Proper

    One of Utah's staple craft breweries, Proper Brewing Co. has blossomed into five diverse locations. There's the original brewery, Avenues Proper, Stratford Proper, Proper Burger and Craft by Proper, each with their own flair and funk. In a state with now over 30 craft breweries, Craft invites them all to Utah's "locals only" beer bar. Nowhere else in the state can you enjoy such a variety of stouts, lagers, pilsners and other offerings from such an array of great breweries. 1053 E. 2100 South, SLC, 385-242-7186, craftbyproper.com

    Best White Whiskey
    Dented Brick Distillery

    If these walls could talk! Dented Brick, named after a shootout that left impressions in the bricks of a weller's house where the distillery now resides, has one helluva story to tell with their spirits, too. Their White Whiskey is an ode to the first Utah distiller on record, Hugh Moon. The Hugh Moon White Whiskey is crystal clear and made from 100 percent Utah-sourced rye and filtered, artisan water from their in-house well. 3100 S. Washington St., South Salt Lake, 801-883-9837, dentedbrick.com

    Best Chinese Takeout
    Dragon Diner

    With seating capacity that never came close to the demand for their reputable Chinese fare, Dragon Diner developed an efficient takeout system long ago. When demand increased ever more during COVID-19, the DD took it up a notch, switching to takeout only, where it continues to knock it out of the park. With a menu that spans diverse Chinese cooking styles, we can imagine how difficult it is to keep items fresh and tasty while whisking so many orders out the door. But Dragon Diner gets it ready for you to take home better than anyone in any food genre. 1331 E. 3900 South, Millcreek, 801-272-9333, thedragondiner.com

    Best Ode to Utah's Past
    Eight Settlers Distillery

    Eight Settlers Distillery and their products are named after iconic and historic places from Utah's rich history. The newish Cottonwood Heights distillery name honors the first eight people who settled what was called Butlerville, which was colloquially known as "The Place to Be." Their whiskeys are named Ragtown and Devil's Gate, references to the landmarks of pioneers and miners of the Wasatch Front. They're darned good drinking whiskeys, too. Map 'em. 7321 Canyon Centre Pkwy., Cottonwood Heights, 385-900-4315, eightsettlersdistillery.com

    Best Papusa
    El Viroleño

    El Salvadoran cuisine isn't as widely known as it deserves to be, and one trip to El Viroleño is enough to make a culinary convert out of anyone. The menu features a different take on recognizable items like tamales, quesadillas and empanadas, but the real showstopper is the papusa, a thick flatbread stuffed with cheese, meat, beans and/or vegetables, all topped with a tomato salsa and cabbage slaw. And at a couple bucks a pop, it gives street tacos a run for their money as a delicious, low-budget staple from south of the border. 471 W. 800 South, SLC, 801-595-7021

    click to enlarge Grid City’s Vegan Rachel - DEREK CARLISLE
    • Derek Carlisle
    • Grid City’s Vegan Rachel

    Best Innovative Brewery Menu
    Grid City Beer Works

    Besides the fact that Grid City is one of the best new breweries in town, their food is amazing—and, in particular, their default vegan menu (in a twist, all non-vegan items are the ones labeled). Menu staples like the Vegan Rachel feature fried seitan with salty slaw and pickle sauce, and nut-based beer cheese is a common special on their frequently changing menu. Bar food or not, vegan or not, this is one of the most innovative restaurants in the city right now. 333 W. 2100 South, South Salt Lake, 801-906-8390, gridcitybeerworks.com

    click to enlarge Harvest & Honey’s mouthwatering charcuterie: - Go ahead, open the box! - COURTESY PHOTO
    • Courtesy Photo
    • Harvest & Honey’s mouthwatering charcuterie: Go ahead, open the box!

    Best Charcuterie in a Box
    Harvest & Honey

    You gotta love meats and cheeses in a pretty box. Honestly, Harvest & Honey's packaging is so pretty, you don't want to disturb the contents. That is, until you do, and then you are even happier with what's inside. Jessica Gonzalez packs a punch in her boxes of charcuterie, from mini boxes that make great gifts or are perfect for snacking, to a large box that creates a beautiful grazing table, everything you could want on a board is inside. harvestandhoneyco.com

    Best Big Bad Baptists
    Epic Brewing

    Over 10 years ago, Epic Brewing released their Big Bad Baptist Stout, an imperial stout aged in whiskey barrels and a knock-you-to-the-ground 11.7% ABV. It grew in popularity among the beer community, and now Epic has a "Baptist Season" every fall where creativity runs rampant and they brew specialty blends of their original Baptist, including the "Naked Baptist" or "Big Bad Baptist." In 2021, Epic brewed six new Baptist variants, along with the seasonal release of the original. 825 S. State, SLC, 801-906-0123, epicbrewing.com

    Best Scrambled Eggs
    Finn's Cafe

    When it comes to cooking eggs, "over easy" is to "over hard" as "soft-scrambled" is to "scrambled." Ordering "soft-scrambled eggs" in a restaurant is an act of hope. Something invariably goes awry between the moment the server scribbles your order to the moment the plate of eggs is delivered. Maybe the server is careless. Maybe the cook is heavy handed. The upshot is that instead of moist eggs, you get a mound of overcooked eggs whose texture is like sodden styrofoam. Finn's Café is the exceptional exception. The clean, well-lit Norsk-inspired restaurant has been rewarding the hopeful with soft scrambled eggs since 1952. 1624 S. 1100 East, SLC, 801-467-4000, finnscafe.com

    Best Taste of Tuesday
    Franck's Tuesday Tasting Menu

    Think tasting menus are only for restaurant critics and foodies with trust funds? Not so at Franck's, where the Tuesday Tasting Menu serves up three artful courses, including dessert, on a rotating weekly basis for just $45. All curated by chef Robert Perkins, you can check the current menu online weekly, but don't wait to make a reservation—the Tuesday Tasting Menu is highly requested. 6263 S. Holladay Blvd., SLC, 801-274-6264, francksfood.com

    Best Pudding
    Handle

    When The New York Times (or a City Weekly foodie, for that matter) comes to town just to try your dessert, you know it's has to be delicious. The Times visited Park City and named Handle's Whiskey Caramel Pudding one of the best desserts in the country. It's a delicate balance of rich pudding, creamy maple mascarpone and a salty Chex Mix streusel. Handle nails it on the head. It's the type of treat that turns non-dessert lovers into pudding-aholics. 136 Heber Ave., Park City, 435-602-1155, handleparkcity.com

    Capitol Reef's Best Pickled Carrots
    Gifford Homestead

    Sure, the pies may have been what put Gifford Homestead on the radar of Capitol Reef tourists, but we have to ask: have you tried the pickled carrots? With just the right amount of vinegar-induced pucker and a kick of spice from garlic and dried red peppers, you might find yourself wondering: what's better—the pickled carrots or the pies? Open seasonally from mid-March to end of October. Capitol Reef National Park, Scenic Drive, Teasdale, 435-425-3791, home.nps.gov/care/learn/historyculture/giffordhomestead.htm

    Best Gluten-Free Nostalgia
    Good Food Bakery

    Remember those pink-and-white circus animal cookies covered in sprinkles you loved as a child? Do you miss fluffy, gooey, delicious cinnamon rolls? Good Food Bakery has you covered with gluten-free renditions of your childhood favorites. But be careful—you'll get hooked. IG: @goodfoodglutenfreebakery, 423 W. 800 South, No. A-113, SLC, 801-413-4978

    Best Charming Candy Shop
    Hatch Family Chocolates

    A true mainstay in our community, Hatch Family Chocolates uses family recipes to deliver the best chocolate in town. Indulge in fun treats like chocolate dinosaurs or opt for adult-friendly affogato—Jared Gold has been working his magic with them, and it shows. Online, you can watch interviews and get to know Steve Hatch better with his "Short & Sweet" segments. Hatch's hand-dipped chocolates should be on offer for any gathering of friends or family. We love you, Kate and Steve. 376 Eighth Ave., SLC, 801-532-4912, hatchfamilychocolates.com

    Best Lunch Special Trio
    Himalayan Kitchen

    Combining Nepali and Indian food under one roof, the Himalayan Kitchen is a staple for the downtown Salt Lake City lunch crowd and now for those lucky souls in South Jordan. Always known for their tandoori specials and inexpensive meals, the Himalayan plays on that theme three times over every day. There, you'll find three notable daily specials: the traditional Himalayan, the gluten-free Meat Lovers and the Veggie Lovers (vegan). 360 S. State, SLC, 801-328-2077; 11521 S. 4000 West No. 105, South Jordan, 801-254-0800; himalyankitchen.com

    Best Colorful Martini
    Holystone Distilling

    Murray's Holystone Distilling is as sleek as it is smooth—each bottle is masterfully crafted and distilled in house. One of their staples, the Cerulea Gin, is lavender-colored and leaves behind notes of citrus and candied flowers with a hint of cedar and vanilla. The best part? Portions of proceeds of Cerulea Gin are donated to support breast cancer research. 207 W. 4860 South, Murray, 385-800-2580, holystonedistilling.com

    click to enlarge Kaiser’s Texas barbecue is the real deal - SARAH ARNOFF
    • Sarah Arnoff
    • Kaiser’s Texas barbecue is the real deal

    Best Texas Ribs
    Kaiser's Bar-B-Q & General Store

    No matter the rib joint you find in Texas, you always find very nearly the same items: brisket, ribs, pork sausage and pulled pork, most often mesquite smoked. What separates them all is razor thin, be it the smoke, the grade of meat or just as often the love a proprietor puts into his servings. All of the above are found at Kaiser's, but especially the love—and Salt Lake is the better for it. Drop by, peruse the general store and leave with the most authentic style Texas ribs in the valley. 962 S. 300 West, SLC, 801-355-0499, saltlakebbq.com

    Best Tasteful Noods
    Hong Kong Banjum

    When West Valley welcomed Hong Kong Banjum, an extension of the Paik's Noodle empire, Utahns got their first taste of Korean staple jajangmyeon, homemade noodles topped with a savory black bean sauce. It's an unassuming bowl that distills the comforting power of noodles and sauce into a complete and satisfying dish. Once you taste it, you might crave it at least once a week. 3513 S. Constitution Blvd., Ste. 100, West Valley City, 385-900-8607, paiksnoodleut.com

    Best Sushi for Goths
    Itto Sushi

    Sushi and spooky season aren't necessarily two things that we have ever associated, but that was before we met the Dracula Roll at Itto Sushi. Initially created as part of a Halloween event a few years back, its popularity warranted a full-time spot on the restaurant's menu. Morbid sushi fans can get a tempura shrimp and spicy crab roll topped with crispy onions and sriracha entombed within a coffin filled with woodsmoke whenever the need strikes them. Multiple locations, ittoutah.com

    Best Irresistible Tapas
    Kimistyle Tapas

    Kimi Eklund, the driving force behind her one-of-a-kind Sugar House eatery, leaves no stone unturned in bringing a European dining experience to Salt Lake diners. Her restaurant's distinctive decor, color scheme and large-format abstract art make it a place to sit and linger to soak up the ambiance. You may even feel transported to another space and time. But to complete the experience, consider ordering the "Kimistyle" tapas with a favorite beverage. The Mediterranean bruschetta is a no-brainer, and the golden beet carpaccio takes it over the top. Combine the luscious crab cakes and the totally munchable jalapeno bacon roasted Brussels sprout egg rolls with a crafted cocktail or exquisite wine, and that may be all she wrote. Oh, and you can still order the oysters! Kimi's Chop & Oyster House, 2155 S. Highland Drive, SLC, 801-946-2079, kimishouse.com

    Best Smutty Corn
    La Casa del Tamal

    Adventurous eaters of Latin American food will have no doubt heard of huitlacoche, loosely translated as corn smut. It's a fungus that grows on corn cobs, and it's delicious. While hard to find here in Utah, La Casa del Tamal makes an excellent quesadilla that melds the earthy, umami flavor of huitlacoche with tons of melty cheese. If you're looking for something smutty to liven up your meal, La Casa del Tamal has you covered. 2843 S. 5600 West, Ste. 140, West Valley, 385-266-8729, lacasadeltamalutah.com

    click to enlarge We’re going bananas for Papito Moe’s plantains - DEREK CARLISLE
    • Derek Carlisle
    • We’re going bananas for Papito Moe’s plantains

    Best Laid Plantains
    Papito Moe's

    There are few sorrows that can't be alleviated with a perfectly cooked plantain. Luckily, the team at Papito Moe's specializes in mofongo, a versatile Puerto Rican dish that can be served up with anything from grilled shrimp to roast chicken. We're not sure whether it's the starchy texture or the slightly sweet flavor that's unique to the plantain, but it's risen pretty high in the ranks of our comfort food favorites. 7786 S. 5600 West, West Jordan, 385-529-5462, papitomoes.com

    Best Rim-Defying Milkshakes
    La Crepe OG

    It doesn't take much talent to make a milkshake taste good, but making one look good? Yeah, that's a gift. The team at La Crepe OG celebrates the humble milkshake by topping their offerings with a fully assembled gooey s'more or an artfully shattered strawberry Pop Tart. Their work is something that truly needs to be seen to be believed, so get the lead out and check them out already. 2411 Kiesel Ave., Ste. 101, Ogden, 385-333-4549, lacrepeog.square.site

    Best Menudo
    La Puente

    Few Mexican restaurants these days serve that tasty stew (and noted hangover cure) of oregano, spices, hominy and tripe called menudo. Nearly everyone loves a zesty bowl of pozole, which is almost the same dish but made with pork meats—not pork stomach. Menudo is a harder sell. That's too bad because when menudo is good, it's very good. And the very best of the very good is delicious at La Puente. Our recent bowl at the South Salt Lake location came with an optional pig's foot, Pata. Old school, yeah! Multiple locations, lapuenteslc.com

    Best Beer and Pizza
    Level Crossing Brewing

    What's a better American combination than beer and pizza? Level Crossing hits the mark in both those categories with their award-winning brews and brick oven pizza. Their Suss It Out, a rye IPA, is a hit, as is their Look Up! amber ale. For food fare, the Sweet Home Chicago pizza is a must, which is topped with San Marzano sauce, roasted bell peppers, Italian sausage, onion and mozzarella. 2496 S. West Temple, South Salt Lake, 385-270-5752, levelcrossingbrewing.com

    Best Meze
    Manoli's

    Meze, Greek for taste or bite (think Spanish tapas), is how Greeks tend to enjoy their meals instead of individual plates. The shared eating style encourages intimacy and community among the dinner table, and no one does it better in Utah than Manoli's. At Manoli's, you can enjoy a modern flare for traditional Greek dishes such as yemista (stuffed peppers), htapodi (charred octopus), tyropita (cheese pie) and the house staple, paidakia (grilled lamb riblets). 402 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-532-3760, manolison9th.com

    click to enlarge Rich’s guacamole burger - COURTESY PHOTO
    • Courtesy Photo
    • Rich’s guacamole burger

    Best Guacamole Burger
    Rich's Burgers-N-Grub

    The downtown Salt Lake workforce knows that the spot to get one of the best burgers around is at Rich's Burgers-N-Grub. The mainstay at Rich's is the guacamole burger, which is simple yet scrumptious. Rich's piles on the housemade guacamole and loads the bun with 100 percent Angus beef, pico, Monterey Jack cheese and lemon mayo. It's a must try for burger lovers. 30 E. 300 South, SLC, 801-355-0667, richsburgersngrub.com

    click to enlarge Japanese whiskies at Post Office Place - DEREK CARLISLE
    • Derek Carlisle
    • Japanese whiskies at Post Office Place

    Best Japanese Whiskies
    Post Office Place

    When it comes to booze, Utahns often assume they are somehow deprived. But it ain't necessarily so, especially when it comes to Japanese whisky. Thanks to Rich Romney, the GM for Takashi and the bar next door, Post Office Place, as well as the resident expert in Japanese spirits, Salt Lakers have a large array of Japanese whiskies to choose from. Romney and his team have assembled an expansive Japanese whisky selection, including the house label Ohishi Takashi Cask, as well as whiskies from Suntory, Nikka, Fukano and other notable distilleries. Don't know where to start? Stop by on Japanese Whisky Wednesdays (20% off on all whisky, all day) and experience Japanese cocktail culture at its Utah finest. 16 W. Market St., SLC, 801-519-9595, popslc.com

    Best Prosciutto Sandwich
    Mediterranean Market & Deli

    Mediterranean Market & Deli, with its distinct Italian Sub hand-painted sign on State Street, was originally called Caneparis and was one of the city's first delis, opening its doors in 1958. It's now owned (for over two decades) by Annette Ravarino. Their Prosciutto sandwich, made with either domestic or imported prosciutto (and we highly recommend their imported) will melt in your mouth; the meat is great on a sandwich or DIY charcuterie board. 3942 S. State, SLC, 801-266-2011, medmarketSLC.com

    Best Reason to take Frontrunner to Ogden
    Ogden River Brewing

    Ogden River Brewing's Pat Winslow has been an avid homebrewer and a part of the Utah beer community for ages. A former train conductor, he retired from his day job and started his dream of opening a brewery. Ogden River Brewery boasts a full brewpub menu as well as favorite beers such as the Hop Train Pale Ale and the Blasting Powder Coffee Stout. 358 Park Blvd., Ogden, 801-884-6939, ogdenriverbrewing.com

    Best Wood-Fired Molten Wonder
    Pizza Nono's Rocket Man

    Pizza Nono, a mom-and-pop pizzeria in the 9th & 9th neighborhood (note: "nono" is Italian for "ninth") lays claim to the Rocket Man pizza, a pièce de résistance that brings together a symphony of cheeses and peppery arugula. Little wonder it seems to be catching on (as in "all the rage") with its layer of fontina and mozzarella melted upon a lightly charred thin crust. Added to that you'll find slices of prosciutto di Parma. Then it's dusted with Grana cheese and topped off with a handful of colorful arugula (which, oddly, is the actual namesake of the pizza, since arugula grows like "rocket"). May the cheese be with you. 925 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-702-3580, pizzanono-slc.com

    Best Dog House
    Porky's Kauai

    Some folks dismiss hot dogs as classless, but we'll bet they've never been to Porky's Kauai. When you see one of these monstrous hot dogs topped with pulled pork, grilled onions and fresh pineapple, you'll forget every unkind word you ever said about a hot dog. These are glorious, physics-defying entrees and one of the best reasons to pay a visit to Utah County. 785 E. 200 South, Lehi, 801-803-3783, porkyskauai.com

    Best Roshambo
    RoHa's Shambo Juicy IPA

    RoHa Brewing Project is home to iconic ales like the Back Porch, Maltese Cross and Steady Edge Imperial Red. How do the three partners come to agree on names of their creations? Well, with a friendly game of Roshambo, of course. Rob, Chris and Josh settle friendly disputes and naming of beers with rock, paper, scissors and even named their Juicy IPA Shambo in honor of their foolproof practice. 30 E. Kensington Ave., SLC, 385-227-8982, rohabrewing.com

    Best Ogden Classic
    Roosters Brewing

    Every great city has great pioneers. Ogden—too often ignored in the past—has had its ups and downs but is certainly on the upswing these days. A good part of that credit goes to Roosters, which startled Ogden's notable 25th Street area awake back in 1995. Now with three locations that includes a taproom—all serving pioneering beers and super pub fares—Roosters is poised to keep it going for years to come. Multiple locations in Ogden and Layton, roostersbrewingco.com

    Best Danish Aebleskiver
    Ruca's

    Because Ruca's is the only restaurant in Utah offering the pancake orbs known in Danish as aebleskiver, the Garden City eatery has no competition in the coveted "Best Aebleskiver" category. No matter. The
    seasonal restaurant, which overlooks Bear Lake, does a brisk business. It serves 1,000 or more aebleskiver a day. Loyalists drive 100 or more miles for pancakes the size of lacrosse balls. Their popularity isn't too surprising since 15% of Utah's population traces its lineage to Scandinavia. Lots of kids grew up eating grandma's aebleskiver, freckerdiller and other traditional Danish dishes. 284 S. Bear Lake Blvd., Garden City, 435-946-3691, rucasbearlake.com

    click to enlarge A creative spin on a classic: Sicilia Mia’s spaghetti carbonara - JOHN TAYLOR
    • John Taylor
    • A creative spin on a classic: Sicilia Mia’s spaghetti carbonara

    Best Flaming Cheese Wheel
    Sicilia Mia

    Spaghetti carbonara, a traditional Roman meal, gets a creative spin at Sicilia Mia. The family-run Italian restaurant's signature dish is prepared tableside with a heap of spaghetti, egg, cured pork, pepper all tossed in a fiery basin of cheese. The chef usually belts a song or two in Italian, making for one of the coolest dining experiences around. Multiple locations, siciliamiautah.com

    click to enlarge Sill’s Cafe, where a side of bacon means business - DEREK CARLISLE
    • Derek Carlisle
    • Sill’s Cafe, where a side of bacon means business

    Best Old-Timey Café
    Sill's Café

    They just don't make 'em like this any longer. From the busy counter to tables that are packed with patrons sipping their morning coffee, you know you've gone back in time. From the low key décor to the waitresses that are just a whole lot nicer than those at the shiny places down the road, you know you're inside a treasure. And from the giant plates of food, including Utah's best scone—a masterpiece!—you are left wishing you lived in your parents' era. Mark Sill's down for a visit. Your memories will thank you. 335 E. Gentile St., Layton, 801-544-7438, facebook/com/sillscafe

    Best Patio Sushi and Sake
    Sapa Sushi Bar & Asian Grill

    In terms of elegance and extravagance, Sapa exceeds in both categories when it comes to their artistic sushi preparations. While indoor dining at Sapa is a delight, you should always vie for a table on their incredible, enclosed patio. The traditional Japanese architecture is stunning and provides plenty of ambiance as you take in your sushi and sake. 722 S. State, SLC, 801-363-7272, sapabarandgrill.com

    Best New Vegan Cheese
    Seasons Plant Based Bistro
    Vegans these days have it so good. Not only are supermarkets ever expanding their vegan meats and cheeses (with ones that actually taste good), but we have local options, too. In 2019, the plant-based restaurant Seasons started offering cultured housemade cheeses in perfect little wheels—and, boy, are they good. Added to a charcuterie board or sliced for simple cheese-n-cracker snacking, these dairy-free wheels are flavorful and delicious. Buy them at the Downtown Farmers Market or at Seasons. 1370 S. State, SLC, 385-267-1922, seasonsslc.com

    Best Gluten-Free Pizza
    Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana

    A gluten-free crust that doesn't taste like cardboard? What? A pizza that's even squishy and soft? Settebello's pizza will leave you asking your server three times, "Is this really gluten-free?" Pizzas are cooked on their own stones to avoid cross-contamination. When you come back to reality and realize you are in a food coma, you will have enough of your pie left over to enjoy the next day. After dinner, you can pop next door for some gelato, because there's no such thing as being too full for dessert! 260 S. 200 West, SLC, 801-322-3556, settebello.net

    Best Drive-Thru Tacos
    Sobe Eats

    Thanks to Sobe Eats, we no longer need to settle for mediocre tacos and burritos at the expense of not wanting to get out of our cars. The award-winning team has brought their elevated take on Mexican favorites like birria and carnitas burritos and tacos to a cozy, unassuming location in Sandy. The only tricky part about becoming a regular is trying to eat these bodacious burritos while driving without spilling all over yourself. 120 W. 9000 South, Sandy, 954-616-7559, sobeeats.square.site

    Best Gluten-Free Spring Rolls
    SOMI Vietnamese Bistro

    It's hard to find a gluten-free spring roll in this city that's not cross-contaminated. SOMI Vietnamese bistro delivers with locally sourced ingredients, to boot. But don't stop there: SOMI has an overall impressive menu, with several gluten-free options. Be sure to add an order of calamari served with Thai basil and jalapenos—yum! 1215 E. Wilmington Ave., Ste 100, SLC, 385-322-1158, somislc.com

    Best Happy Valley Watering Hole
    Strap Tank Brewery

    It says something that this local brewery and gastropub occupies two pieces of high-visibility Utah County real estate. The brewery's antique-biker-bar-meets-circus-sideshow vibe seems at odds with the local culture, making it an even more fun place to visit. Not to mention the fact that their food and beer are consistently on point. Multiple locations, straptankbrewery.com

    Best Korean Stunner
    Stun Cube

    As a one-stop shop for Korea's most notable dishes, it's hard to overlook Stun Cube and what it's doing for local Korean food. Their cube combos offer savory bulgogi with your choice of protein, and their bibimbap gets its rice just right for that crispy finish. On top of that, the tteokbokki is a life saver during the colder months of the year—it warms you up from the inside out. 2732 S. State, South Salt Lake, 801-419-0082, stun-cube.business.site

    Best Salsa Bar
    Taco Taco

    This authentic taco shop was created by the owners of the erstwhile Cannella's. Their affordable meat and veggie tacos reach new heights courtesy of their fresh, loaded salsa bar. Taco Taco was created with all the festivity Mexico offers, celebrating the tradition of millenary cuisine symbolic of the bold Lucha Libre gladiators. Their tacos al pastor are a must ... and a favorite of many kids. Enjoy fantastic veggie options and an outdoor patio. You know it's good when there's a steady wait for lunch (and remember, they are closed Sunday and Mondays). 208 E. 500 South, SLC, 801-428-2704, tacotacoslc.com

    click to enlarge Thai Delight’s tom kha gai - COURTESY PHOTO
    • Courtesy Photo
    • Thai Delight’s tom kha gai

    Best West Jordan Thai
    Thai Delight

    Family matriarch Lae Tranngoc oversees every entrée and roasts peppers to make her garlic chili oil for the flavorful and refreshing tom kha gai, a creamy, coconut chicken soup. "It's a good balance of all the ingredients—a sweet and spicy blend with a little heat," says son Win Tranngoc, who invites diners to dial their spice level before presenting the soup in a stainless-steel firepot. 6271 S. Dixie Road, West Jordan, 801-968-7626, thaidelightcafe.com

    click to enlarge Tosh’s Japanese curry ramen - JOHN TAYLOR
    • John Taylor
    • Tosh’s Japanese curry ramen

    Best Ramen Wizard
    Toshio Sekikawa

    Toshio Sekikawa, owner and executive chef of Tosh's Ramen, orders custom ramen noodles from a California noodle factory to create five different flavors of delectable, premium ramen soup ranging from vegetarian to pork. A soft-boiled egg adds a delightful texture variation, and the shiitake mushrooms add even more flavor. Sekikawa prepares the noodles themselves to the perfect consistency—firm enough to hold their shape but so tender they nearly melt in your mouth. Tosh's Ramen, 1963 E. Murray Holladay Road, SLC, 801-278-8249; 1465 S. State, SLC, 801-466-7000; toshsramen.com

    Best Sugar House Shooters
    Tap Room

    Where else are you going to find Yamazaki 12-year for under $15 a shot? This is another Sugar House hidden gem. If you love whiskey, you need to know about the Tap Room, a low-key joint with friendly staff, pool tables and a back patio that's great for hanging out with friends. 2021 S. Windsor St., SLC, 801-484-6692 slctaproom.com

    Best Tiramisu to Your Door
    Twisted Tiramisu

    Yes, you can have tiramisu delivered! Paula Williams has been making the delicious treat for years and sharing it with friends in need of a pick-me-up. Searching for a new hobby herself, Williams decided to try her hand at creating interesting flavors, like pistachio and caramel apple, letting her foodie friends serve as taste testers. First-timers and seasoned tiramisu lovers alike can order through DM on Instagram. IG:@twisted_tiramisu twistedtiramisu.biz

    Best Carb Delivery
    The Carb Dealer

    Each week the carb dealer releases her menu on Instagram with a selection of sourdough focaccia breads, cream puffs and meringues in a plethora of flavors. Having grown up in Fiji, tea time was a staple in her home and everything was made from scratch. Favorites include tomato basil focaccia, banana cream pie cream puffs and passionfruit meringues. Get a sampler and try them all; you'll thank me later. IG: @carbdealerslc

    Best Treats to Bake at Home
    The Dough Lady

    Brainstorming flavor ideas together, Amy and Eric Lund launched their baking business over the holidays hoping to sell to family and friends. Today, through the power of social media and word of mouth, their little endeavor has turned into a much bigger project. Turns out lots of folks need that sugar rush. From classics like cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip cookie dough to apple pie rolls and spiced chai cookies, get your fix by ordering through DM on Instagram. IG: @doughladyslc

    Best Surf and Turf on a Bun
    The Garage Grill

    It takes courage to add seafood of any kind to a gastropub menu, but the team at The Garage Grill is pulling it off nicely. Consider the Crabby Patty Wagon, a textbook pub burger stacked with spicy crab slaw and tempura shrimp. The crab slaw and shrimp add a welcome burst of sweetness, making it hard to go back to regular burgers knowing this beast is out in the world. 1122 E. Draper Parkway, Draper, 801-523-3339, thegaragegrill.com

    Best Angel Wings
    Tin Angel Reopening at the Eccles Theater

    In 1967 a nondescript State Street bar named the Tin Angel hired a fashion show to boost business realizing too late that it was a drag fashion show, launching Utah's drag scene. That era faded, but fast forward to now, and the owner's son, Jerry Liedke Jr., and wife, Kestrel, opened their own Tin Angel, a creative, contemporary, award-winning eatery in the difficult-to-prosper Pioneer Park area. Later relocated into deluxe surroundings in the Eccles Theater, the Tin Angel was spreading its wings until COVID-19 hit. Finally, the Tin Angel is again open, coinciding with the long-awaited re-boot of the Eccles Theater 2021-2022 season. 131 S. Main, SLC, 801-328-4155, thetinangel.com

    Best Chilaquiles
    Tradition

    Nothing beats weekend brunch in Salt Lake City, especially when you can dine across from Liberty Park and then walk off your full belly while strolling under the trees. Tradition is just right for brunch, offering as it does small plates like funeral potatoes, fried green tomatoes and pigs in a blanket and then, of course, the fabulous entrees: chicken and pancakes, biscuits and gravy and more. But for a gluten-free taste of the Southwest, you gotta try the chilaquiles (pronounced chee-lah-KEE-lays). Bites of tortillas are fried and covered in verde and braised pork, black beans and then sprinkled with Cotija cheese. Two fresh eggs rest on top. Sooo good. And don't forget to order an Old Fashioned to go with it. 501 E. 900 South, SLC, 385- 202-7167, traditionslc.com

    Best Beer Sides
    Emigration Brewing Co.

    Little known fact: Utah's first brewery was built at the mouth of Emigration Canyon in 1865 by one Henry Wagener. Emigration Brewing Co., located next to Ruth's Diner, tips its hat to the canyon's brewing history, not by brewing beer but by collaborating with local crafters like Shades, Kiitos Brewery, Roha Brewing Project, Moab Brewery and even Mtn. West to create namesake brews and ciders. Plus, they have various locally brewed "guest taps," bottles and cans. But what snacks to pair with them? That's where Emigration Brewing's culinary squad shines. From tamari-glazed cauliflower to Dutch pull-aparts, warm chewy Bavarian pretzels and a killer charcuterie board, your drive (or bike ride) up the canyon will be amply rewarded. And we haven't even got to the legendary wood-fire pizzas or other entrees yet. That's for another time. 4170 Emigration Canyon Road, SLC, 385-800-1098, emigrationbrewing.com

    click to enlarge Yummy’s corn dog 2.0 - ALEX SPRINGER
    • Alex Springer
    • Yummy’s corn dog 2.0

    Best Panko-Encrusted Corn Dogs
    Yummy's Korean BBQ

    It's tough to improve upon the classic corn-dog formula, but thanks to a Korean trend that recently made its way to our neck of the woods, we're witnessing history in the making. Yummy's Korean BBQ serves up traditional corn dogs or cheesy variants slathered in panko, fried to perfection and then dusted with granulated sugar. When topped with a healthy spurt of ketchup, you've got something familiar yet daringly new. Multiple locations, yummysutah.com

    Best Beast
    V & R Baking Co.

    From perfectly textured, slightly chewy ginger snaps to a ham, tomato and jalapeno-laden signature croissant nicknamed "the beast," to fudgy brownies in flavors such as mint, chocolate fudge, chocolate peanut butter and seven-layer bars, V & R Bakery is the best place to seek a bakery fix. Relish in the culinary talents of Victor Hernandez and Rosanna Wayman, who acquired their baking chops from years of working at V and R's former incarnation, Pierre's Country Bakery. 3239 E. 3300 South, Millcreek, 801-419-0050, vrbakingco.com

    Best Authentic New York Pizza
    Villaggio

    The Jersey native who turned us on to this place says it reminds him of home. Villaggio imports its ingredients from New York City for a true authentic experience. They offer pizza by the slice and have a full menu that will not disappoint. Try the Pizza Bianca, Nonna's Meatball Parm sub or a jumbo calzone derived from Old World Neapolitan recipes. Tutti mangia! 3144 S. State, South Salt Lake, 801-410-4355, villaggio-slc.com

    Best Taste of Philly
    Vito's

    Vito's, aptly dubbed "the Philly King of Bountiful," is a must-try for Philly cheesesteak lovers. Vito's is a simple crew of Vito himself cooking behind the counter and a roaming busser. That's all that's needed for Vito's to absolutely kill the lunch game in Bountiful. Upon entering, customers drop cash (no cards accepted) in a box and Vito takes your order, whether it's a classic Philly or garnished with favorites like jalapenos or mushrooms. 100 S. Main, Bountiful, 801-953-8486

    Best Rotolo
    Pago

    Any true pasta lover has a soft spot for rotolo, fresh pasta rolled out into a large paper-thin sheet, filled with any variety of cheese, meat or veg and formed into a roulade. And if you are indeed a pasta lover, then you must roll into Pago 9th and 9th for their artichoke rotolo complete with herbed ricotta, tapenade, pomodoro and fried shallots. Bonus points if you opt to start off with Table X sourdough. 878 S. 900 East, SLC, 801-582-0777, pagoslc.com

    Best Brewsie Marriage
    Uinta Brewing and Nomad Eatery

    When the popular Nomad Eatery moved crosstown to set up at Uinta Brewing, it was clear good things were happening. What could possibly be better than the pairing of some of Utah's best brewed beers with some of Utah's best casual dining fare? Want to walk the aisle with a Baba Black Lager or Hoodoo Kolsch? Then maybe set it off with a Knuckle Sandwich or Spicy Southwest Burger. Or for that long time commitment, go with a classic Cutthroat IPA and a batch of loaded fries. Great beer, great food—a real one-two punch at Uinta Brewing. 1722 S. Fremont Drive, SLC, 801-467-0909, uintabrewing.com

    Best Southern Biscuits
    Sweet Lake Biscuits & Limeade

    Few restaurants dare to perfect a Southern dish, and fewer still dedicate their entire operations to pumping out biscuits and gravy, but Sweet Lake—with three locations in Salt Lake, Draper and American Fork—does it masterfully. Stopping in for the first time? Try the house favorite, Hoss, which is Sweet Lake's house biscuit, buttermilk battered chicken breast, bacon, egg, cheddar, housemade gravy and green onions. Multiple locations, sweetlakefresh.com

    Best Craft Cheese
    Beehive Cheese

    When brothers-in-law Tim Welsh and Pat Ford filled their vat for the first time in 2005, they had a combined eight days of cheese-making experience. However, they turned their vision of a Utah creamery into a raging success over the past 16 years and Beehive Cheese is a premiere cheese factory in Utah. You can find Beehive cheeses in supermarkets or grocery stores statewide, or you can purchase cheese online and have their products shipped to your door and into your belly. 2440 E. 6600 South, Uintah, 801-476-0900, beehivecheese.com

    Best Bar Longevity
    Desert Edge Pub & Brewery

    Desert Edge opened its doors in 1972 as a small watering hole serving Coors to college students fixated on the new trend of electronic video games and weekend folk or bluegrass music. They began their craft brewing in 1995, joining just a handful of craft breweries in the state. Over the years, they've become a sanctuary for beer drinkers at the bar, family dinners in the restaurant and a great place to meet up with friends. Always on tap at Desert Edge are their classics and favorites—a nitro stout, hefeweizen, pilsner and pale ale. Historic Trolley Square, 551 S. 600 East, SLC, 801-521-8917, desertedgebrewery.com

    Best Beer Labeling
    Red Rock Brewery

    Since breaking dirt in 1994, Red Rock Brewery has amassed more than 100 regional and national awards. Their beers are on draft at many local bars and restaurants, but whenever possible, check out their awesome beer-bOttle labels. Many recognize the iconic Elephino Double IPA elephant and the Drioma Russian Imperial Stout spirit of the night, both original watercolor paintings by Chris Harlin, their head brewer at their downtown location. But keep sipping and looking, since other labels (i.e., Golden Halo Blonde Ale designed by former server Matt Dennis and Bobcat Nutbrown Ale, designed by Sanya Durich) are equally creative and memorable. Marvella! Multiple locations, redrockbrewing.com

    Best Rebranding
    Gaetano's Sub Shop

    Need your hero fix? Gaetano's is your place. Curtis deLagerheim has been stacking sandwiches since 1996 at the State Street location of Grinders 13, which even dates back decades prior. From line cook to proprietor, Curtis became sole owner of that location in 2010 and rebranded it to Gaetano's Sub Shop in February 2021 after his great grandfather. The building has had a modern face lift, including a new take-out window, cementing new twists and flair into this East Coast eatery. 1618 S. State, SLC, 801-467-3676, GaetanosSLC.com



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