City Guide 2009 | Seventh Heaven | City Guide | Salt Lake City Weekly

City Guide 2009 | Seventh Heaven 

Dining critic Ted Scheffler cooks up a few new lists for the City Guide.

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The restaurant section of this year’s City Guide is, in part, a reflection of City Weekly’s brand-spankin’ new Website,, launching in February 2009. We think you’re going to like it, and we’re proud of the beefed-up restaurant and club listings. So here’s a little preview.

One of the cool things about the new Website is the multiplicity of tools you can use to zero in on that one perfect restaurant. Looking to bring the heat? Then click on Fiery Foods, and you’ll see a list of eateries offering up incendiary fare. Love the all-you-can-eat format? Then you’ll find a list of Bodacious Buffets in your neighborhood. Winning Wine Lists provides restaurant suggestions not just of places with massive wine lists but also of spots with sometimes tiny but well conceived or especially unique lists. Rooms With a View includes dining destinations with panoramic and/or unusual views. You get the idea.

So for City Guide, we’re offering a Website sampler: Seven Lists of Seven. Be aware, please, that with only seven restaurants per list, the City Guide offers just a taste of what’s on the Website. Believe me, there are a lot more than seven good breakfast joints in town, so look online for more ideas.

Also included in this section are restaurants named in City Weekly’s 2008 Dining Guide as my overall favorite eateries—not necessarily the best restaurants around but those that I find personally enjoyable when I’m on my own dime. You might like them, too.

For restaurants having more than one location, I’ve listed my particular favorite.

If you have a nifty notion about an interesting restaurant grouping, send it along to us via e-mail. It might just become part of the new Website. Bon appétit!

Seven Lists of Seven: 

Bombay House
nServing loyal customers since 1993—first at the original Foothill Boulevard location and now on Parley’s Way and University Avenue in Provo—Bombay House combines authentic Indian flavors with equally authentic Indian warmth and hospitality. Starters like onion Bhaji and chicken pakora combine with soups like saag shorba and Mulligatawny to get things rolling. The lamb, chicken, and shrimp tandoori offerings are quite popular, and we also favor the fragrant briyani dishes at Bombay House. Naan, paratha, and roti flatbreads are perfect for sopping up every last drop of the luscious curries. For those looking for heat, give the vibrant vindaloo a go. Bombay House also features lots of vegetarian options, along with Indian tea and coffee, rose milk, strawberry and mango lassis, a mango soy shake, plus beer, sodas and wine. 2731 E. Parley’s Way, 801-581-0222; 463 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-373-6677;

Café Trang
As Café Trang—now with four locations—continues to expand, so do the culinary offerings. An extensive menu of traditional Vietnamese cuisine now also features Chinese fare with a focus on Cantonese, as well as sushi. Since 1987, Café Trang has been pleasing customers with authentic Vietnamese cooking and time-tested dishes such as its popular hot wok noodles, fire pot soups, Vietnamese “shaking” beef cubes, and mango fish filet with Thai basil. Veggie lovers will appreciate the extensive vegetarian offerings at Café Trang and heat seekers should focus on the lemongrass and red pepper chicken or perhaps the fiery Red Emperor fire pot. 307 W. 200 South, 801-539-1638; 1442 E. Draper Parkway, Draper, 801-571-3888; 1266 S. Legend Hills Dr., Clearfield, 801-776 8808; 1811 Sidewinder Drive, Park City, 435-655-8884;

Chanon Thai Café
Oh, lordy! If you think spice is nice and heat is neat, this is definitely the place for you. The Thai cuisine at this funky, friendly, comfy little café is truly authentic, particularly when it comes to the heat scale. Order a dish of gang masaman curry spicy, and it will be spicy. Seriously. So order carefully. Absolutely divine is gang khua sub pa rod, a bowl of red curry with coconut milk, red bell pepper, Thai basil, cubes of pineapple and a charitable portion of shrimp—all spicy and sweet at the same time. The Duck Fantasy is also superb, and a spring-roll-wrapped fried banana with home-style ice cream provides a delicious finish to a meal. 278 E. 900 South, 801-532-1177

Five Star Restaurant

Five Star Restaurant offers up a pan-Asian array of Thai, Chinese and Filipino cuisine, although the Thai dishes are probably your best bet. The Thai-style omelet called kai yud sai is very tasty, and the red panang curry is a heat-lover’s delight. Ditto the Chinese shrimp in spicy garlic sauce, with the emphasis on spicy. The cooks at Five Star are happy to kick up the heat quotient of your dish to your spicy specifications, so when you order the Hot & Spicy Combo, you can really have it your way. The inexpensive lunches are especially popular, and Five Star serves cocktails, beer and wine. 268 S. State, 801-366-9366

Order a tall Taj Mahal Indian beer and tuck into Ganesh’s yummy complimentary poppadum appetizer while you peruse the tantalizing menu. It’s filled with tempting dishes like Chicken 85, a fiery mélange of boneless chicken in a bright orange curry-yogurt sauce topped with zippy jalapeño slices. Garlic naan, freshly charred in the tandoor and sprinkled with sesame seeds and cilantro is the perfect tool for sponging up the creamy, rich masala curries. And don’t miss the fragrant Hyderbad special briyani, a uniquely delicious dish you don’t find in most Indian eateries. 777 E. Fort Union Blvd., Midvale, 801-569-3800,

For five years running, Sampan has garnered City Weekly Best of Utah awards for best takeout. And whether you eat in or out, you’ll love the bold flavor of Sampan dishes like the beef with spicy Szechuan sauce, garlic chicken, string beans in black-bean sauce, Empress duck, and fish in hot braised sauce. Old-school types will enjoy the combo dinners which include choices of selected entrees along with soup, fried rice and an egg roll or paper-wrapped chicken. 675 E. 2100 South, 801-467-3663; 3778 W. Centerview Way, West Jordan, 801-282-8646; 10450 S. State, Sandy, 801-576-0688;

Saigon Café Noodle House
At this small, friendly mom & pop noodle house, you can create your own bowl of pho with either steak, brisket, meatballs, flank, tendon, fatty flank or tripe. Not in the mood for pho? Order a steaming plate of shrimp, BBQ pork, or vermicelli noodles Saigon-style. Look out for the incendiary jalapeño peppers on the side. There’s also a small but well-stocked Oriental market next door with lots of specialty Vietnamese and Thai foodstuffs and a combustible assortment of fiery hot sauces. 1813 N. Main, Sunset, 801-773-6121

Millcreek Café & Eggworks
nOwners/operators Bill, Rick and Cortney run a tight but friendly ship at this immaculate, modern breakfast and lunch spot. The made-to-order omelets are sensational, and the breakfast paninis and wraps are equally appealing. But maybe the best-kept secret here is the house-made chile verde. Ask nicely and the chef will smother your eggs, your toast or anything else you order with some of that first-class chile. At lunchtime, the paninis, wraps and burgers are all top-notch. 3084 E. 3300 South, 801-485-1134,

Over the Counter Café
Outrageous omelets, bodacious bacon (thick and chewy), hellacious home fries, fab french toast and perfect pancakes. Get the idea? This super-friendly greasy spoon is a breakfast lover’s Nirvana, a place where the big breakfast isn’t yet unlawful. That’s probably why it’s usually jammed. We wouldn’t exactly call it a Food TV-style demonstration kitchen, but it is situated smack dab in the middle of the restaurant where you can keep an eye on your spuds if you sit at the counter. After an Over the Counter Café breakfast, you might not be hungry again for days. But if you do decide to return for lunch, order the half-pound hamburger. Be forewarned, though, this is a cash-only operation. 2343 E. 3300 South, 801-487-8725

Big Ed’s
This is the default breakfast joint for U of U students, faculty, staff and nearby civilians. And the default dish is the Gawd Awful: a cholesterol-buster consisting of two eggs on fried hashed browns with chili and cheese on top. It’s located at the edge of the U of U campus but some have suggested that the wood-paneled Big Ed’s is closer to the edge of reality. Stick around until beer o’clock for a cold can of PBR and pretty good burgers, especially the chiliburger. There’s also an excellent french dip sandwich on the menu. 210 University St., 801-582-9045

Park Café
Grab a table on the porch in warm weather and treat yourself to what just may be the tastiest breakfast potatoes in the history of spuds. But that’s not all. The pancakes at Park Café are exceptional, too—thick and nicely crispy on the edges. For a healthy treat, order a delicious egg white omelet, and then wreck your good intentions with a big side of those breakfast taters or thick, chewy bacon. The efficient, friendly service and Liberty Park location make this cozy spot a truly tantalizing place to drop in for breakfast or lunch. For the latter, the tuna melt is pretty hard to resist and the burgers are excellent, too. 604 E. 1300 South, 801-487-1670

Sharon’s Café
Sharon Prescott cooks, serves customers—even fills up coffee cups so you know this is truly an owner-operated, hands-on establishment. Hot cakes, scones, french toast, and fresh-baked biscuits and gravy are among the most popular selections at this casual diner. But the real deal is the marinated pork tenderloin & eggs with feta and fresh tomato. Yum, yum. Breakfast served all day, but lunch is good too: try Sharon’s 1-pound Giant Burger. 2263 E. Murray-Holladay Road, 801-278-9552

Midvale Mining Company
Breakfast is served till 5 p.m. at Midvale Mining Company and features rib-sticking fare like three-egg omelets, chile-verde over hash browns, breaded pork chop (The Anvil), chicken-fried steak, salmon & eggs, sausage & biscuits with gravy, and more. The “Golden Nugget” chile verde burrito is really tasty. At dinner, the restaurant serves up classic American favorites like roast beef, halibut steak, liver and onions, grilled beef steaks, and chicken Cordon Bleu. The scones at MMC are large enough to feed the most of the Midvale population, so order accordingly. 390 W. 7200 South, Midvale, 801-255-5511,

Angie’s Restaurant
We’ve heard that this beloved local institution serves 1,000 customers a day. And not one of them leaves this restaurant hungry. The food portions are enormous: the 20-ounce bone-in ham steak is about the size of a throw pillow, and the home-style scones are only slightly smaller. Thankfully, the friendly service staff at Angie’s is massive, making quick work of those 1,000 hungry customers. So don’t be dissuaded by the line on Sundays; the wait for a table is rarely lengthier than 10 minutes. Also, the long counter is ideal for solo meals. 690 N. Main St., Logan, 435-752-9252

Bangkok Thai on Main
nIt would be quite enough for Bangkok Thai on Main simply to dish up the splendid Thai cuisine it does. But this long-enduring local establishment also tempts customers with one of the state’s finest wine lists, winner of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. So you might kick off dinner with a lobster-mango spring roll paired with Alsatian Gew%uFFFDrztraminer from Trimbach, for example, and follow that up with butternut-squash soup and Thai basil with Bourassa Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley. Honey-ginger duck calls for David Bruce Pinot Noir from the Central Coast and the tamarind filet mignon would mingle nicely with Judd’s Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. For fiery fare, try the spicy mint noodles, the masaman curry, pad ga prow or the gang phed ped along with a Royal Thai rum smoothie to help put out the fire or at least dull the pain. 605 Main, Park City, 435-649-8424,

The Wild Grape
Troy and Jessica Greewnhawt’s Wild Grape New West Bistro is a breath of smoky air … in the sense that you can smell hints of apple and cherry woods emanating from the kitchen’s wood-fired grill and smoker. The owners favor the use of fresh, sustainable, locally produced and organic ingredients in sublime dishes like the grilled Morgan Valley lamb burger, Cornish game hen with Beehive Cheddar grits, wild mushroom and local ch%uFFFDvre ravioli, and the sensational white-truffle wild-mushroom risotto with Crumb Brothers’ crostini. Add to that a really smart wine list featuring an abundance of wines by the glass, and you’re ready to go wild. 481 E. South Temple, 801-746-5565,

Em’s Restaurant
Chef/owner Emily Gassmann has created a strangely un-Utah-ish bistro in the Capitol Hill neighborhood serving up simple and wholesome food in a cozy bistro setting. Potato pancakes with cr%uFFFDme fraíche is a great Em’s appetizer, and how could you go wrong with phyllo rolls stuffed with goat cheese and duck confit? For dinner, red-wine-braised short ribs, leek-stuffed wild salmon, free-range chicken and Morgan Valley rack of lamb all compete for attention. Thankfully, there’s also a brief but well-constructed wine list to accompany the range of flavors at Em’s. And do check out the popular Sunday brunch, which is especially appealing in warm weather on the spacious patio. 271 N. Center St., 801-596-0566,

I know, I know … a Chinese restaurant in Bountiful run by the Greek Skedros family might sound a tad dicey. It’s not. With a kitchen full of Chinese chefs via Hong Kong and San Francisco, Mandarin’s woks fire up some of Utah’s best Chinese fare. The menu is as extensive as the restaurant is beautiful. Start with char shu, pot stickers and Singapore noodles before jumping into more exotic eats like Nanking chicken, lychee scallops, Szechuan catfish and eggplant with garlic sauce. Mandarin has a terrific wine, beer and spirits selection (a rarity in Bountiful), and you can even sip hot and cold sake here. OK, the desserts might not be so authentically Chinese, but who’s to resist raspberry vanilla-bean cr%uFFFDme brulée? Unfortunately, Mandarin doesn’t take reservations, although you can call ahead to be put on a waiting list. 348 E. 900 North, Bountiful, 801-298-2406,

Mimi’s Cafe
Proof that not all franchises suck, Mimi’s manages to serve up homestyle cuisine that tastes, well, like it was actually made at home. If stick-to-the-ribs fare like chicken pot pie, pot roast with gravy, meatloaf, grilled beef liver, slow-roasted turkey and chicken Cordon Bleu float your boat, then set sail for Mimi’s. The sandwiches and soups are excellent as well, and Mimi’s bread pudding is highly addictive. There’s beer and a surprisingly respectable wine list for a franchise cafe too, where any wine list at all is a treat. This one features vintners like Coppola, Castle Rock, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Freixenet, and Pepi. 5223 S. State, Murray, 801-261-0266,

Begin an evening of fine dining with Boulevard’s “Chef’s Creation of the Day” or the premier cheese plate. Then move on to a second-course salad before settling in for chef Nicholas Lees’ signature dishes such as the two-way duck, cioppino, rack of lamb Persillade, Kurobuta pork tenderloin, or black sesame ahi tuna. The Boulevard wine list isn’t the biggest in town, but it’s very well thought-out and suited to the restaurant’s cuisine, with bottles and wines by the glass to fit every budget. 2335 Murray-Holladay Road, 801-274-6999,

Yuki Arashi
For starters, let’s talk drop-dead gorgeous. From the 40 foot-by-12 foot stone-slate wall and beautiful tatami room to the sushi bar itself, this is one very attractive eatery: a lovely mix of traditional and modern Japanese design. And the food sparkles too, with unique dishes like truffled tombo sashimi, Yuki lamb “lollipops,” and Waygu beef. Yuki Arashi (“snowstorm” in Japanese) is both a sushi and Asian “tapas” bar, serving small plates along with regular sushi, sashimi, rolls and warm food. Oh, and then there’s the wine list. It’s not huge, but when was the last time you saw Chateau Talbot on a sushi bar wine list? Caymus, Frog’s Leap, Conundrum, Dom Perignon, Silver Oak and Veuve Clicquot make appearances too, along with a wide selection of beer, spirits, sake and specialty cocktails. Get caught up in the storm. 586 Main, Park City, 435-649-6293,

Sill’s Café
This joint is old school. And we mean old school. Like, there are customers sitting at the counter here who actually know what SOS means. At Sill’s, you can order your chipped beef on toast with that spackle-like white gravy either solo or on the side. But the best way—especially if you’re in Leaving Las Vegas-suicide mode—is to order the Boss’ breakfast: It’s an egg your way with bacon, cheese, hash browns, SOS and a scone the size of Rachael Ray’s noggin. Got Lipitor? Sill’s is located right across the street from Layton’s FrontRunner train stop so it’s the perfect place to score a hefty breakfast before the work day begins. 281 S. Main, Layton, 84041, 801-544-7438

Road Island Diner
The kitschy neon signs beckon you to stop at the Road Island Diner and the food will prompt you to return, again and again. The pancakes, waffles and Southern-style biscuits and gravy are especially tempting breakfast items. And the omelets and corned-beef hash are terrific, too. Lunchtime brings out Dave’s buffalo burger, a spicy cheesesteak sandwich, and a really good toasted sub with roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy. In the evening, try the chicken fried steak, meatloaf and pot roast, then finish it all off with shake, malt, float or sundae from the fountain. The banana split is super, by the way. 981 W. Weber Canyon Road, Oakley, 435-783-3467,

Finn’s Café
The name Finn has been a mainstay of the Utah dining scene since the original Finn’s opened in 1952 at the top of Parley’s Way. Today, Finn and Heidi Gurholt carry on the Finn’s family tradition at Finn’s Café, where Scandinavian specialties such as Norwegian waffles with lingonberries and sour cream, Julekake french toast, poached fish, pittipanna and the Norsk omelet with bay shrimp, Havarti, and capers provide an interesting alternative to the more common array of standard breakfast choices. Nice modern Euro-vibe here, too. Breakfast—Scandinavian or otherwise—served all day! If it’s nonbreakfast grub you’re after, at lunchtime, the fried chicken and Wiener schnitzel are terrific. Ditto for the Reuben sandwich with shoestring fries. 1624 S. 1100 East, 801-467-4000,

Gateway Grille
Need a reason to visit Kamas? Sean Wharton’s Gateway Grille should do the trick. The Gateway Grille’s Southwestern breakfast items are a sensational way to spice up the morning: carne asada steak, eggs ranchero, the Mexican scramble and breakfast burrito. For more traditional fare, the “Twice the Meat and the Kitchen Sink” potato platter features ham, bacon and sausage with country-fried potatoes, melted Swiss and cheddar cheeses, and two eggs, all for under $8. The buttermilk biscuits with country-style sausage gravy are to die for. For dinner, try the tangy barbecue-spice rubbed pork tenderloin with cheddar and chipotle mashed spuds. 215 S. Main, Kamas, 435-783-2867,

Stone Ground Bakery
Stone Ground Bakery, Inc. was established in 1979 by Hans Schmerse as a small European bakery. Using Old World baking techniques, centuries-old family recipes and a passion for bread, Stone Ground soon was recognized as the premier bakery in Utah. Today, Stone Ground Bakery, Inc. continues to use a traditional style of baking and original recipes. Artisan breads include Tuscan, German rye & pumpernickel, limpa, foccacia, ciabatta, baguettes and much, much more. There’re bagels, biscotti, croissants, muffins, cookies and Danishes, too. 1239 S. Swaner Road, 801-886-2336

Shooting Star Saloon
Huntsville’s Shooting Star Saloon has been featured on TV and in publications nationwide. Why? Well, because it’s classic. And when we say classic, we mean as in, Utah’s oldest bar—established in 1879. Aside from classic, it’s kitschy, with stuffed moose and elk and even the famous stuffed St. Bernard named Newfy. Burgers and beer are the main draw at Shooting Star, especially the triple-decker Star Burger, which even has knockwurst hidden among all the meat. A great jukebox and a cash-covered ceiling add to the one-of-a-kind ambience. 7345 E. 200 South, Huntsville, 801-745-2002

La Caille
Looking for a unique Utah restaurant to show off to out-of-town visitors? La Caille’s French-style chateau and sprawling manicured grounds are drop-dead gorgeous. And, lately, the fare there has shown great improvement, along with a new wine program that rates among the city’s best. (Where else can you find a jeroboam of Caymus Special Select Cabernet?) Since you’re eating in a faux-French chateau, I recommend starting out with escargots Bourguignon. Rack of New Zealand lamb with mint jelly and a Grand Marnier glaze will set you back $60—but it’s only money, so you might as well throw in crepes Suzette for dessert. Sunday evenings feature a special Basque dinner at La Caille. 9565 Wasatch Blvd., Sandy, 801-942-1751,

Madeline’s Steakhouse
Madeline’s Steakhouse features one thing you won’t find in many steak restaurants: a gluten-free menu filled with soups, salads, seafood and, of course, steak. Another thing you won’t typically find is high-quality steaks priced very fairly. From the Certified Angus Beef flatiron steak to the Grande Dame Porterhouse, the pricing at Madeline’s is relatively easy on the wallet. You’ll certainly want to try the Prime Rib, which is hand-rolled in cracked pepper, kosher salt and spice and then slow-roasted overnight. Cr%uFFFDme brulée for dessert is a no-brainer. 1133 W. 10600 South, South Jordan, 801-446-6639,

Kitty Pappas’ Steak House
Kitty Pappas has been slinging steaks in this original location since 1947. So, despite the somewhat rundown tavern ambience, she must be doing something right. Her son Crazy George is the main attraction. Well, he and the insanely eclectic jukebox he personally stocks with his own music collection. Sit back and listen to a melange of Dread Zeppelin, Bonerama, The Groundhogs and other under-the-radar artists as you dig into the juicy club steak or maybe the delicious cholesterol-busting eggburger. There’s beer to help get you through the night. 2300 S. Main, Woods Cross, 801-295-9981

Butcher’s Chop House
Located in Park City’s Marriott Plaza and just steps from the Old Town ski lift, Butcher’s features great steaks and chops, a great bar and wine list, and a great atmosphere to enjoy them in. From the peppercorn sirloin steak and slow-roasted ribeye, to ancho chile-braised short ribs and 1 1/2-pound Porterhouse, this is a meat lover’s dream restaurant. Not up for a steak? There’s also a wide selection of soups, salads and seafood dishes at Butcher’s, not to mention mighty good pizzas. Stop by the bar downstairs for a classic martini or good glass of wine. 751 Main, Park City, 435-647-0040,

High Rock Steakhouse
Located in the downtown Salt Lake Radisson Hotel, the High Rock Steakhouse is a mainstay for Salt Lake City visitors, conveniently located close to the Salt Palace Convention Center. There’s a good selection of cocktails, wine and microbrews to enhance the High Rock menu which favors steaks, seafood and pasta dishes. Start off with a crispy crab cake made with lump crabmeat and work your way up to the Chateau top sirloin. Key lime pie is a smart finish. Next door is the High Rock Lounge where you can enjoy light appetizers in the friendly private club. Locals know this is a good place to gather before a Jazz game. 215 W. South Temple, 801-531-7500,

Snider Brothers Meats
Snider Brothers is a Shangri-la for carnivores. The classic butcher shop/deli has pork, chicken, beef, lamb, veal, and even house-made sausages and specialty items like pre-sliced Greek gyro meat. Sausages made in-house include bratwurst, Polish sausage, Swedish potato sausage, Andouille and Italian sausage. And, by the way, if you’re too hungry to wait until you get home to cook your meat, you can always pick up a fresh, custom-made sandwich from the deli for the drive or walk home. 6245 Highland Drive, 801-272-6469,

Christopher’s Seafood & Steaks
Christopher’s is known for its slow-roasted Prime rib, but the “baseball” cut Kansas City sirloin is a crowd pleaser too. And then there’s the classic Delmonico steak—a true center-cut ribeye that weighs in at more than a pound. For seafood aficionados, line-caught wild Sockeye salmon, cioppino, and grilled Alaskan halibut are but a handful of the many appealing seafood selections available—all flown in fresh. The portions here are generous, and since Christopher’s is conveniently located in downtown Salt Lake City’s historic Peery Hotel, you can always get a room and sleep off your lunch or dinner. 110 W. 300 South, 801-519-8515,

Rodizio Grill
Rodizio (“circle” in Portuguese) is exactly that: Servers armed with beef, pork, chicken, sausage and pineapple-bearing skewers circle the restaurant’s tables delivering grilled grub until you’re ready to say “Uncle!” This is an all-you-can-eat haven for carnivores, but there’s also a huge salad bar and buffet loaded with everything from black rice and beans (feijao) to Brazilian pastels, quail eggs and pastas. Next door to Rodizio Grill in Trolley Square is Rodizio’s private club, where you can get a real caipirinha and samba all night. 600 S. 700 East, Trolley Square, 801-220-0500,

Silver Fork Lodge
On the way up to Solitude or Brighton for skiing, boarding, hiking or biking, there are few places nicer to fuel up beforehand than Silver Fork Lodge. Grab a table in the rustic dining room next to the fireplace during winter, or dine al fresco on the patio in warm weather. Whenever you visit, dig into the wonderful home-style waffles or flapjacks, sausage and eggs made with Snider Brothers’ scrumptious mild Italian sausage, the sensational seared Utah trout and eggs, or maybe just a freshly baked cinnamon role. The Lodge has been around for quite some time, and the sourdough starter is well over 50 years old! So be sure to try Silver Fork’s sourdough cakes with apple compote. When the sun goes down, give Elmo’s meatloaf a try or get all Frenchy with Chateaubriand for two. 11332 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon, Brighton, 801-533-9977,

Sky Bar
Great views of Salt Lake City accompany customer favorites like cheese fondue and the Sky Bar’s shrimp bowl: chilled peel & eat shrimp with cocktail sauce. Seafood specialties include macadamia-nut-crusted halibut, shrimp & scallop scampi, lobster with tarragon butter and the popular swordfish steak with balsamic, honey vinaigrette and Parmesan potatoes. For meat lovers, there’s hand-massaged Kobe beef, Steak Theodore, rosemary lamb, double-cut pork chops and even classic Chateaubriand prepared tableside. 161 W. 600 South, Red Lion Hotel, 801-530-1313,

The Point Bistro
Located on the top floor of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, this is admittedly a strange restaurant location. But the panoramic views here are stupendous and the food has to be the best hospital food you’ll ever stumble across. So good, in fact, that The Point is frequently the site of weddings and other special occasions. Breakfast and lunch are served daily and the Certified Angus Beef steak sandwich is a popular item as is the daily special from the carving station. Huntsman Cancer Hospital, 1950 Circle of Hope, 801-587-4760,

The Roof Restaurant
Spectacular views of Temple Square and the Salt Lake Valley accompany dinner at The Roof Restaurant, located atop the historic Joseph Smith Memorial Building. This is buffet-style dining, but don’t be mistaken: It ain’t your typical Chuck-A-Rama. The gourmet dinner buffet features selections like tossed baby field greens, cold poached salmon, chilled jumbo shrimp, imported and domestic cheeses, baked ham, prime rib, a rockin’ dessert bar and nightly specials. There’s also complimentary validated parking at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building parking structure. Reservations are strongly recommended. 15 E. South Temple, 801-539-1911,

The Clubhouse at Miller Motorsports Park
Talk about a room with a view! Dining in the Clubhouse (or better yet, on the patio) at Miller Motorsports Park you can take in all the action at the Clubhouse corner of the world-class raceway while enjoying the best cheeseburger between Salt Lake City and the Nevada border. The Clubhouse’s french dip sandwich, stuffed with thin-sliced beef and Swiss cheese and served with scrumptious au jus and horseradish cream sauce, is also killer. Get it with the penne-pasta side salad, peppered with shredded cheese, minced red onion and cucumber. A cold glass of Squatters’ Chasing Tail beer is the perfect french dip accompaniment to speedy thrills. Vroom! Vroom! 2901 N. Sheep Lane, Tooele, 435-277-7223,

Watson Shelter
Like the original 1939 Watson Shelter restaurant, the newest installment—located in Collins Gulch at the angle station of Alta’s Collins lift—is made primarily from wood and granite. But, unlike the older versions of Watson Shelter, this one isn’t cramped: 5,000 square feet of dining space on three different levels and abundant deck dining means fewer lines and quicker meals to get you back out skiing that phenomenal Alta powder. Grab a pitcher of suds and a deli sandwich, pizza, salad or 100 percent ground chuck burger, then sit back and enjoy the magnificent midmountain views of Mount Superior and Mount Baldy. Alta Ski Area, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta, 801-799-2297,

Mayan Adventure
The scenic views at the Larry Miller’s Mayan Adventure rule. But they’re not the panoramic outdoor scenes you might be thinking of. Nope, it’s indoor scenes that grab the attention here in this Disney-esque faux rainforest which include cliff divers, volcanoes, waterfalls, earthquakes, exotic birds and post-modern Mayan mythology. It’s all quite a spectacle. There is also a Tex-Mex meets Central America menu which includes a good cheese dip called Queso Especial, and big fajita bowls which seems to assuage the restless natives. The flatiron-steak fajita bowl is especially recommended. 9335 S. State, Sandy, 801-304-4600,

El Chubasco
At this popular Mexican eatery, the fully stocked salsa bar—with a multitude of home-style salsas to select from—allows patrons to load up their tacos, burritos and enchiladas with super-hot sauce, mellow-mild and everything in between. The carnitas tacos are especially bueno at El Chubasco, along with authentic Mexican fare such as tortas, menudo, pozole, chile rellenos, birria, tamales and mole poblano. For breakfast, try the machaca plate with rice, beans and fresh tortillas. There are always plenty of cold Mexican beers on hand as well, making this an inexpensive apr%uFFFDs-ski option. 1890 Bonanza Drive, Park City, 435-645-9114,

Taqueria El Rey de Oros
Translated from Spanish, the name of this taqueria is “the king of gold”—but you won’t need much gold to enjoy the food here. In fact, it’s so inexpensive you’ll feel guilty of robbery! Order a beer and let the exceptionally friendly staff help decide between a plethora of taco options or maybe a seafood dish like the cocktail de camaron & pulpo (shrimp and octopus cocktail). The al-pastor-stuffed burrito is popular with regulars. This tantalizing little taqueria is open late on weekends for hungry late-night customers. 4153 W. 5415 South, Kearns, 801-955-5773

Blue Iguana
Not to be confused with the longstanding Red Iguana, this Mexican-inspired eatery is located downtown in historic Arrow Press Square. Chiliheads will appreciate the splendid spice of dishes like chile Colorado, camarones Iguana, fiery tinga tacos and especially the home-style mole amarillo, spiked with incendiary habanero chile peppers. And, speaking of mole, Blue Iguana has it in spades, with choices of pipian, de almendras, poblano, Coloradito, negro- and verde-mole versions. The burritos and enchiladas are also popular here but probably not quite as in demand as the Mexican cervezas and tequilas. 165 S. West Temple, 801-533-8900,

Lone Star Taqueria
The Lone Star Taqueria has been around longer than most, and looks like someone transported a taco shack from the Sonora Desert right to Cottonwood Heights. It’s a cool and kitschy place with cold Mexican cervezas served in glass cowboy boots and a rockin’ house-sound system. The only thing missing is a beach. Everything is fresh at this inexpensive eatery, from the tortillas and salsas to the tamales and tacos. The mahi-mahi fish tacos with cilantro aioli are wildly popular at the Lone Star, and I love the zippy jalapeño-spiked guacamole. The burritos aren’t bad, but at Lone Star Taqueria, it’s really all about the tacos. Sandals optional. 2265 E. Fort Union Blvd., 801-944-2300

Taqueria Lolita
Located adjacent to a spicy neighbor—Golden Trails Men’s Club—Taqueria Lolita offers up plenty of spice itself. For instance, the devilishly incendiary camarones el diablo (shrimp in a fiery red-chile sauce) will singe the enamel from your teeth. But there are milder options at this cozy restaurant as well. Tacos, for example, come in a multitude of flavors: pastor, asada, lengua, pollo, cabeza, carnitas and more. The moles at Taqueria Lolita are terrific too; the chicken in rich, dark mole transports you to Oaxaca. And owner Jesus Sanchez is always standing by with a friendly “Hola!” to greet customers. Cold Coronas as well. 909 S. 300 West, 801-364-4123

Tacos Daniel
Fresh, home-style Mexican fare—everything from the chips and salsa to the Shrimp Diablo—is the main attraction at Tacos Daniel. Kids enjoy the quesadillas and burgers while their more adventurous parents chow down on tacos filled with shredded beef, chicken, cow tongue, cow head and even bone marrow. Seafood specialties include oysters on the half-shell. The smothered burritos are popular with Tacos Daniel customers as well and you can wash it all down with a cold Negro Modelo, Bohemia or a sweet and tasty horchata. 1017 N. 900 West, 801-521-9404,

A short walk uphill from Ogden’s trendier Historic 25th Street bars and eateries is Michoacán, a under-the-radar, family-owned and -operated Mexican café with terrific tacos and much more. The owner, a dapper gent from the Mexican state of Michoacán de Ocampo, speaks fluent English with a slight Gulf Coast drawl and is as friendly and courteous as any staffer you’d find at your favorite Michelin three-star joint. The food? It’s cheap and lip-smacking. Four bucks will buy you a torta sandwich on a soft bolillo, stuffed with diced and spiced grilled chicken, refritos, guacamole, greens and fresh tomato. Small traditional tacos on a double layer of corn tortillas come in the standard varieties: lengua, buche, carne asada, pollo, etc., and are the best way to spend a dead president that I know of. Choose a Jarritos or cold bottle of Coca-Cola from the ice barrel in the back, and be sure to stop by on weekends for home-style menudo. 465 25th St., Ogden, 801-627-2268.

Dining photos by John Taylor

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