Dining Guide 2017 | Dining | Salt Lake City Weekly

Dining Guide 2017 

Up Your Food Game!

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Alluring Appetites
Here are 7 SLC restaurants with design as sexy as the sustenance.
By Darby Doyle

click to enlarge The Rest - DEREK CARLISLE
  • Derek Carlisle
  • The Rest
The Rest
Experiencing The Rest smacks of clandestine nooky, from making a reservation through the ambiguous AF website, to navigating the upstairs bar at Bodega, looking for a host to guide the way and finally arriving at a low unmarked door downstairs which spills you directly into a dimly lit bar complete with bodacious, badass bartenders and a turntable wailing classic '80s Prince. Once snug in your candlelit booth, dark reliquaries and looming taxidermy give a singularly sexy old-world vibe. The food and cocktails all are decadence-meets-comfort, the dining equivalent of sharing artisan ice cream straight from the container with warped heirloom sterling spoons while wearing nothing but a ratty vintage silk robe and a wry smile. Quirky, weird and designed by owner Sara Lund for the moody misfits of our city's underbelly—all in the best possible way.
331 S. Main, 801-532-4452, bodega331.com

If Ernest Hemingway and Anais Nin got together and designed a restaurant, it might look something like HSL. Earthy, elegant and sensual all at the same time, with perfectly flattering lighting (crucial, right?) and spaces meant for lingering over spectacularly plated dishes as gorgeous as they are delectably nom-worthy. Chef Briar Handly's award-winning cuisine—along with the talents of pastry chef extraordinaire Alexa Norlin and bar manager Clif Reagle—pull out all the stops in a well-curated room filled with as much refinement as there is character, thanks to the collaboration of co-owner Melissa Gray and CityHome Collective design guru Cody Derrick.
418 E. 200 South, 801-539-9999, hslrestaurant.com

click to enlarge Pallet - CITYHOME COLLECTIVE
  • CityHome Collective
  • Pallet

There's a bit of a sexy steampunk-saloon-meets-Paris-bistro vibe going on here; a feeling of sophistication and solace that imbues the place from dinner at dusk to late-night drinks with desserts. It's all classy and casual. With Bijan Ghiai's crew slinging sublime original cocktails, the ever-changing menu designed by chef and co-owner Buzz Willey and Pastry Chef Courtney McDowell's decadent deconstructed sweet delights, it's hard to make a bad call. Perfect for theoretical date No. 3, if you know what I mean.
237 S. 400 West, 801-935-4431, eatpallet.com

Mazza Middle Eastern Cuisine
Stepping into Mazza's cozy 9th & 9th location on a dark blustery evening is a bit like plunging into something out of Arabian Nights, all silk and sequin-studded-pillow luxury after tumbling through a desert sandstorm. Alluring, unexpected, fragrant and lush. Food meant for sharing from lover's fingertips between lingering sips of wine. And the delightful (or mercenary?) practicality of seemingly a dozen-plus Uber drivers prowling the popular neighborhood, ready for lust-distracted patrons in search of speedy retreat to more private post-dinner environs.
912 E. 900 South, 801-521-4572, mazzacafe.com

Table X
ProTip: Go for an exploratory walk-about when you're at Table X. No matter how enamored you might be by both the menu and your dining companion(s), there's plenty of eye-candy to take in at this homage to sublime architectural intention. Long black leather banquettes along one wall; on the other, three massive tufted-leather curved booths offering all kinds of privacy while simultaneously framing the view of the entirely exposed space under a historic barrel ceiling. As envisioned by architect Thomas Bath, designer Andrea Beecher and graphic artist Dallas Graham, the space is pushing all kinds of visual boundaries for the folks of Happy Valley, in the best possible way. The best part? The food matches this spirit of stepping just slightly out of the usual comfort zone, with lovely presentations of locally sourced ingredients—many of which are grown in the restaurant's own extensive on-site garden—served up in charming earthenware. Wander through the chef's dining room cozied up to the open kitchen, mosey on downstairs to the open-concept bathrooms and make out with an old flame under the exposed steel-structure staircase—all in a night's amble and nosh, Table X-style.
1457 E. 3350 South, 385-528-3712, tablexrestaurant.com

Old Spaghetti Factory
"It's a bit like a bordello, right?" my friend Amber Billingsley said when we were reminiscing about high school pre-formal dates spent canoodling in over-the-top red velvet booths at The Old Spaghetti Factory (50-plus international outlets, including three Utah locations). Dedicated in equal parts to teenage angst and bittersweet nostalgia, the quintessential "fancy" carbo-load was—and still apparently is on any given Friday night—the place to see and be seen for both the Proactiv set and families working that kids' menu for all it's worth, from coast-to-coast.
Multiple locations, osf.com

  • John Taylor
  • Bambara

Fabulous cocktails, perfectly on-point plates and some of the best service in town: These are but a few of the reasons Bambara retains a stellar reputation among out-of-town guests and devoted locals alike. The sexiest part of the whole experience, apart from the spot's lush international ambiance and glittering historic glamour? The fact that it's housed in one of our state's premiere boutique hotels, the Hotel Monaco, a Top 5 Sexy Staycation in the SLC. I just made that list up, but go with it. You won't be sorry.
202 Main, 801-363-5454, bambara-slc.com


Gourmet Grazing
Our food critic picks his ultimate meal, one dish at a time.
By Ted Scheffler


Alluring Appetites
Here are 7 SLC restaurants with design as sexy as the sustenance.
By Darby Doyle


A Cheapskate's Guide to SLC
Think good grub means breaking the bank? Think again.
By Amanda Rock


Try the Grilled Cheese
A vegetarian reviews local hotel food.
Story and photos by Ryan Cunningham


Hot for Tots
7 places that elevate the humble tater tot to art.
By Amanda Rock


Confirmed Classics
We tip our hats to longstanding, bona fide Utah eateries.
By Carolyn Campbell


The Meatmen Cometh
Inside the lost art of meat-cutting.
By Alex Springer


Where to go when you got it bad for boba.
By Amanda Rock


Make it pop
Where to go for fine food with a side of spontaneity.
By Darby Doyle


Breaking Bread
10 superlative sandwiches spots.
By Ted Scheffler


Humble Crumble
Here's where to get your cookie fix.
By Amanda Rock


Brain Freeze
Utah: Home to a bevy of frozen treats.
By Carolyn Campbell

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