Here, we’ve barely touched the tip of the iceberg. But, we hope these 10 lists of five restaurants each—based around unique themes—will get you started on a delicious voyage that will extend far beyond just these good restaurants. Happy dining!
Looking for something challenging and cutting edge on your plate and palate? These restaurants haven’t abandoned the concept of nouvelle cooking and creativity.
350 Main Brasserie
Chef Michael LeClerc’s globally influenced contemporary cuisine lights up Park City with his Calypso seafood nage, two-way Pacific ono, and healthful “sante” menu. At 350, you can also enjoy modern tapas like “Street-Hawker Shrimp” and vindaloo pork medallions. 350 S. Main, Park City, 435-649-3140, 350Main.com
Dining at Forage (pictured above and Chefs/owners Bowman Brown & Viet Pham pictured at left) is an experience and an adventure. There is nothing even slightly mundane about it. The food is precise, experimental and exciting. At Forage, food is the emphasis—it’s the star. Choose from a three-course prixe fix menu or go whole hog with the chef’s tasting menu. Prepare to be dazzled. 370 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-708-7834, ForageRestaurant.com
French-born chef Franck Peissel may have a classic culinary background, but he’s warmed quickly to contemporary American flavors. To wit: his slow-braised pulled pork, veal and chicken meatloaf with blueberry-lavender sauce, which is a must-have at Franck’s. 6263 S. Holladay Boulevard, Holladay, 801-274-6264, FrancksFood.com
For more than a decade and a half, Karen Olson’s Metropolitan restaurant has raised the bar for contemporary fine dining in Salt Lake City, along with a unique, casual slant on bar food. She calls it “handcrafted American cuisine.” We call it delicious. 173 W. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-364-3472, TheMetropolitan.com
At Naked Fish, longtime chef Tosho Sekikawa teams up with younger sushi chefs to create vibrant dishes such as robotayaki lamb chops, octopus carpaccio drizzled with ponzu, Miyazaki Wagyu and much more, all in a gorgeous modern setting. 67 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-595-8888, NakedFishBistro.com
RAW, RAW, RAW
There’s no shortage of super sushi establishments in this landlocked state. Here are a few “secret sushi” joints that might not have registered yet on your radar screens.
At I Love Sushi, chef “Catfish” and his team dish up some of the freshest sushi in town, at prices more reasonable than most. Have Catfish slice and dice an entire Spanish mackerel for fresher-than-fresh sashimi, complete with the deep-fried carcass to nibble on. 368 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-359-0203
Kobe Cho Sushi
Tucked away in an Olympus Cove shopping center, Kobe Sushi is home to the Hellfire Sushi Challenge, where daring diners vie to eat sushi with some of the spiciest sauces known to man. Thankfully, you can also find tamer sushi rolls, sashimi and nigiri at Kobe, like the vegetarian “Hunk” roll. 3947 S. Wasatch Blvd., Salt Lake City, 801-277-2524, KobeChoSushi.com
Mt. Fuji Sushi Bar & Japanese Cuisine
When talented and affable sushi chef Joe Takada isn’t making sensational sushi, he’s likely to be found singing. His karaoke skills are immense and his voice is golden. One difference here is the sauces, which Takada makes from scratch—no bottled sauces for this sushi chef. 8650 S. 1300 East, Sandy, 801-432-8962, MtFujiSLC.com
This Japanese restaurant has been a staple of downtown Salt Lake City for decades—long before some of the newer, flashier sushi eateries appeared. Belly up to the sushi bar or commandeer a tatami room for fresh, superb sushi and sashimi, as well as spectacular cooked dishes. 321 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-364-7142, ShogunSLC.com
This little gem is proof that quality sushi doesn’t have to be expensive or slow. Everything from the tuna sashimi dinner, chirashi sushi, and nigiri to hosomaki, temaki and futomaki can be had quickly, to eat in or take out. 7824 S. 700 East, Sandy, 801-567-1820, UtahSushi.com
We think of “American bistro” cuisine as updated comfort food with plenty of flair and a reliance on locally sourced ingredients. These eateries take comfort cooking and kick it up a notch.
The Copper Onion
Quickly becoming one of Salt Lake City’s most beloved dining spots, The Copper Onion hits all the right notes. Chef Ryan Lowder’s innovative yet down-to-earth cuisine ranges from homemade ricotta dumplings to snap peas with horseradish and garlic. I could live on the pasta Carbonara. 111 E. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3282, TheCopperOnion.com
In chef Chuck Perry’s hands, even the much-maligned Brussels sprout wins respect. His shaved and sautéed sprouts are just this side of addictive. But then, so is everything at Eva—from the friendly vibe and service to the interesting and eclectic wine, beer and cocktail selection. At Eva, it’s easy to forget that you’re dining in Zion. 317 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-359-8447, EvaSLC.com
Chef/owner Scott Evan’s Pago restaurant is all about freshness, with a commitment to seeking quality products from local farms and local food artisans. The results show up in every bite of irresistible dishes such as charbroiled Morgan Valley lamb and brunch’s eggs Benedict, made with local Clifford Farm eggs. 878 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-532-0777, PagoSLC.com
The design of David Harries’ eye-popping bistro is as vivid as are the flavors here. From wood-fired thin-crust pizzas to heavenly house-made oven-roasted meatballs, Vinto tantalizes visitors with its vibrant atmosphere. The economically priced wines are just a bonus. 418 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-539-9999, Vinto.com
Wild Grape New West Bistro
Troy and Jessica Greenhawt’s Wild Grape has been wowing customers for a few years now with its seductive dishes and the wines to go with them. Madeira-glazed short ribs, lobster tail with smoked paprika from the wood-fired grill and the Sunday-night prime rib special are just a trio of Wild Grape’s tasty temptations. 481 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-746-5565, WildGrapeBistro.com
SLICE O’ PIE
New York, New Haven, Napolitano, Chicago … we love pizzas in all sorts of styles and sizes. Here are some of the best places to get a perfect pizza pie.
Este Pizza Co.
Despite owner Dave Heiblim’s New York Yankee fetish, even Red Sox fans can get a little slice of NYC heaven at Este. Thin-crust, East Coast-style pizza rules here. And, speaking of rules, don’t even think about asking for pineapple on your pie. 2021 Windsor St. (850 East), Salt Lake City, 801-485-3699; 168 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-2366, EstePizzaCo.com
Nuch’s specializes in New York-meets-Connecticut pizza, where the New Haven-style pizza with Yukon gold spuds rocks. The white pizza, too, is awesome. Owner Heath Koltenuk also cooks up a mighty fine calzone. 2819 S. 2300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-484-0448, NuchsPizzeria.com
Rusted Sun Pizzeria
One of the first—and still one of the best—pizzerias in town to offer authentic, New York-style pizza was Rusted Sun. But man can’t live on red sauce alone, so it also offers alternatives like buffalo sauce, barbecue, Alfredo, pesto or simple olive oil. 2010 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-483-2120
For traditional, authentic Napolitano-style pizza, certified as such by the president of Vera Pizza Napoletana, an organization dedicated to preserving the “identity and integrity” of Napolitano-style pizza, turn to Settebello. This is the real deal: Margherita pizza like you’d find in Naples. 260 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-322-3556, Settebello.net
Sweet Home Chicago Pizzeria
Chicagoans Jim and his son Joe Pecora take pains to remind customers that there is a thin-crust pizza, often called “flat” pizza, that’s as unique to Chicago as the ubiquitous deep-dish pie. That’s the specialty at Sweet Home Chicago Pizzeria, along with a Chicago beef sandwich that is quickly becoming legendary here in the Beehive. 1442 E. Draper Parkway, Draper, 801-545-0455; 11587 S. District Main Drive, South Jordan, 801-727-7900, SweetHomeChicagoPizzeria.com
GET A ROOM
After a stupendous meal paired with perfect wines, it’s nice to be able to crawl straight into the sack. Here are some comfy spots where you can do just that.
After dining on chef Eric May’s exquisite cuisine in Blue Boar Inn’s elegant restaurant, tuck into bed in one of the literary-themed rooms and suites, named for the likes of William Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. 1235 Warm Springs Road, Midway, 435-654-1400, TheBlueBoarInn.com
Located in Park City’s Copper Bottom Inn, Chez Betty offers a warm, unique ambiance, friendly service and delectable dishes from chefs Jerry Garcia and Brent Whitford’s kitchen. And, since you’ve got a room for the night, why not enjoy the extensive chef’s tasting menu? It’s a terrific way to experience Chez Betty cuisine. 1637 Short Line Drive, Park City, 435-649-8181, ChezBetty.com
Easy Street Steak & Seafood
About the only thing more desirable than staying for a spell at Park City’s trendy Sky Lodge is also dining at the hotel’s Easy Street restaurant, where chef Scott Boberek cooks up a savory blend of French bistro classics along with American favorites like the blackened Utah trout po’boy. 201 Heber Ave., Park City, 435-658-9425, TheSkyLodge.com
Goldener Hirsch Restaurant
Located mid-mountain at Deer Valley Resort, the Goldener Hirsch Restaurant has blossomed under executive chef Michael Showers. He’s upgraded the menu to include items like sous vide Hudson Valley duck breast, Wagyu bavette steak with chimichurri, Rocky Mountain elk flank and Alaskan King salmon a la plancha with Vadouvan curry. And yes, you can still get wienerschnitzel and cheese fondue. 7570 Royal Street East, Park City, 435-649-7770, GoldenerHirschInn.com
Located inside The Inn at Solitude, St. Bernard’s chef Matt Barrigar cooks up a range of delectable dishes—everything from wild blueberry pancakes and corned beef hash for breakfast, to lemon-cured free-range chicken and a lamb porterhouse for dinner. Trust us: You’ll need a room after enjoying his generously portioned dishes. The Inn at Solitude, Solitude Mountain Resort, 12000 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, Brighton, 801-535-4120, SkiSolitude.com
In the past few years, tapas and small-plates dining seems to have supplanted French bistro and brasserie cooking as a favorite way to eat. If you prefer grazing to gluttony, these small-plate eateries are for you.
One of Salt Lake City’s most charming restaurants, Café Madrid offers a range of Spanish dishes including authentic tapas such as aceitunas al estilo Andaluz, toasta con sardinas encebolladas, pate de pescado, pulpo a la gallega, gambas con bacon and many more. The warm, family-style service rounds out the wonderful dining experience at Café Madrid . 2080 E. 3900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-273-0837, CafeMadrid.net
Rooster Dumpling & Noodle Bar
Located in downtown Provo, Rooster is a great place for grazing on small plates of delectable items, such as the red curry pulled-pork sandwich with Asian slaw, chicken and shiitake rice bowl, Hong Kong shrimp wonton noodle soup, and a zippy stir-fried curry noodle and shrimp dish. But, you mustn’t leave without trying the decadent Pok Fu Lam Village French toast. 163 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-373-3138, RoosterDNB.com
Situated in a beautiful old brownstone building, a must-have dish at Martine is chef Tom Grant’s stupendous Moroccan braised beef with gingered couscous, which is so good that the recipe was published in Bon Appetit. And, don’t miss the wonderful baked brie tapa with serrano ham. 22 E. 100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-9328, MartineCafe.com
At Meditrina, gastronomic exploration is encouraged. That’s easy to accomplish with the tasty array of Spanish-style tapas, which range from simple marinated olives or the bruschetta of the day to grilled octopus with red cabbage, scallops “picatta,” stuffed piquillo peppers and patatas bravas. 1394 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-485-2055, MeditrinaSLC.com
Pipa Asian Tapas & Sake Bar in Rose Park is a hip, lounge-like eatery with an awesome array of Asian-influenced tapas. Among the treasures are whole grilled quail with chile-lime sauce, Siamese shark filet in ginger-soy broth, “gogi” pork sliders and delightful shrimp hadouken. 118 N. 900 West, Salt Lake City, 801-326-3639
If you enjoy a wholesome meal next to a warm wood fire, then rustic restaurants are just the ticket. These businesses combine rustically elegant ambiance with top-notch cuisine.
Nestled in a national forest and surrounded by mountains and waterfalls, Log Haven serves up the award-winning cuisine of chef Dave Jones, all wrapped up in a rustic, romantic log mansion. General manager Ian Campbell’s wine-pairing suggestions add to the dining enjoyment. 6451 E. Millcreek Canyon Road, Salt Lake City, 801-272-8255, Log-Haven.com
This 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. For dinner, get romantic with Chateaubriand for two. 11332 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon, Brighton, 435-649-9551, SilverForkLodge.com
Snake Creek Grill
At Heber’s Snake Creek Grill, owner/chef Dean Hottle serves up contemporary comfort fare in a rustic, Western-roadhouse environment. Blue corn tortilla-crusted red trout and balsamic & mint-glazed Morgan Valley lamb tenderloin are just a couple of the main attractions, along with black bottom banana cream pie, of course. 650 W. 100 South, Heber City, 435-654-2133, SnakeCreekGrill.com
The Tree Room
It doesn’t get more rustic than Robert Redford’s Tree Room restaurant at Sundance, named for the actual tree that grows in the middle of the dining room. Take in Redford’s extensive collection of American Indian art while enjoying Wagyu hangar steak, pan-seared Arctic char, Spanish panzanella salad and golden beet carpaccio. Highway 92, Sundance Resort, Sundance, 801-223-4223, SundanceResort.com
Tucked away among an abundance of trees, flowers and shrubs, dining at Tuscany restaurant is a simple way to leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind. In warm weather, snag a seat on the beautiful patio and enjoy the chef’s selection of Creminelli Fine Italian Meats before tucking into wood oven-baked lasagna or the oven-roasted double center-cut pork chop. 2832 E. 6200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-277-9919, TuscanySLC.com
Been watching too much Mario Batali on TV? Well, you don’t need to travel to New York City or across the Atlantic to find great Italian fare. It’s right here, so, mangia!
Former New York City restaurateur Valter Nassi conducts a symphony of flavors every night at his charming Cucina Toscana restaurant. A must-have is the pollo della casa—a souped-up version of classic chicken piccata. Oh, and the airy pillows of fresh-made gnocchi, too. 307 W. Pierpont Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-328-3463, Cucina-Toscana.com
Ghidotti’s Italian Restaurant
Named for Park City restaurateur Bill White’s Italian grandmother, Ghidotti’s features classics such as shrimp scampi Florentine, clams casino, “Mama’s” chicken soup with Parmesan dumplings, tortellini made with wild oyster mushrooms, Niman Ranch pork osso buco and my favorite: slow-braised beef braciola. 6030 N. Market Street, Park City, 435-658-0669, Ghidottis.com
Great Italian fare in Logan? You bet! Hailing from Forte dei Marmi in Tuscany, chef/owner PierAntonio Micheli brings the flavors of northern Italy to northern Utah. Attractions include other-worldly home-style ravioli and gnocchi dishes and specialty entrees like stracceti al Gorgonzola: thin-sliced beef sautéed and served with white wine and rich, creamy Gorgonzola. 129 N. 100 East, Logan, 435-752-9577, LeNonne.com
Chef/owner Greg Neville’s popular east-side eatery combines a friendly bistro/trattoria-style ambiance with the rich flavors and scents of Italy. Rustic fare like wood-burning oven “clay pot” mussels, wood oven-roasted rigatoni pomodoro, tagliattelle with wild mushrooms and pizza “quattro stagione” keep hungry customers coming back for more. 3364 S. 2300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-412-9994, LuganoRestaurant.com
The Sea Salt menu is extensive, with many dishes based on owner Eric DeBonis’ Italian grandmother’s recipes. The meatballs and ravioli, for example, carry the name “Nonna Maria” and would surely make DeBonis’ nonna proud. For dessert, consider the house-made gelato or strawberries with balsamic vinegar. 1709 E. 1300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-349-1480, www.SeaSaltSLC.com
WINNING WINE LISTS
What’s a marvelous meal without a great glass of wine? These restaurants all boast award-winning wine lists and well-educated staffs that can help you navigate through them.
With an 850-bottle-plus wine selection and the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence under its belt, Snowbird’s Aerie restaurant is a prime destination for wine lovers of all stripes. The exquisite cuisine and stellar scenery is just an added bonus. Cliff Lodge, Highway 210, Little Cottonwood Canyon Road, Snowbird, 801-933-2160, Snowbird.com
The wine list at Fresco Italian Café isn’t the biggest around, but it’s one of the best. The cozy eatery doesn’t have much room for wine storage, so the selection has to be focused. And so, Fresco features a well-selected, eclectic array of wines both domestic and imported, most priced more fairly than you’ll find at many restaurants. 1513 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-486-1300, FrescoItalianCafe.com
Headed up by sommelier Kara Schwindt, the Glitretind’s wine program boasts a 10,000-bottle wine cellar, along with private wine seminars held in that very cellar. So, there’s no excuse for not finding the perfect parings to chef Zane Holmquist’s exceptional cuisine. Stein Eriksen Lodge, 7700 Stein Way, Park City, 435-645-6455, SteinLodge.com
Under the wise and watchful eye of beverage manager Mike Brown, Grappa’s wine list has grown to be one of the most appealing in the state. An extensive selection of wines by the glass is backed up by an even more impressive array of bottles, with a wonderful choice of Italian wines, in particular. 151 Main, Park City, 435-645-0636, GrappaRestaurant.com
Steaks & Chops
Certified sommelier and City Weekly contributor Louis Koppel helps to make the wine-selection process at Spencer’s an easy, informative matter. His wine memory is legendary and his ability to navigate the extensive wine list at Spencer’s—there’s something for every budget—enhances each meal at this classic steakhouse. 255 South West Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-238-4748, SpencersforSteaksandChops.com
OLD WORLD CHARM
In a town bursting with chain and franchise eateries, it’s nice now and then to enjoy Old World service, ambiance and cuisine. At these restaurants, you’ll be transported to Europe without the costly expense of airfare.
Atlantic Café & Market
In warm weather, you’ll think you’re dining on a European boulevard as you enjoy a meal at an umbrella-shaded sidewalk table and enjoy the Atlantic’s eclectic mix of Mediterranean and Eastern European fare. Enjoy the cevap sandwich and wash it down with a cold Czech beer or glass of wine. 325 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-524-9900
If Olde English ambiance is your bag, Five Alls is the place. Here, you’ll dine in a (plague-free) medieval setting and enjoy dishes such as halibut almondine, stuffed pork chops and filet Roquefort, all served on pewter dinnerware. Just think of yourselves as Lancelot and Guinevere for the night. 1458 S. Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-582-1400, FiveAlls.com
At La Caille, peacocks and even giraffes roam the grounds of a faux French chateau, one of Utah’s premier special-event destinations. The food, not surprisingly, has a French slant, too, with a menu featuring dishes such as escargots Bourguignons,entrecote steak, tournedos béarnaise and carre d’agneau. 9565 Wasatch Blvd., Sandy, 801-942-1751, LaCaille.com
Don’t let the strip-mall location fool you, Primo is, well, primo. Here, Old World ambiance and service combines with Old World dishes such as clams Corssini, veal saltimbocca, chicken piccata, rack of lamb and filet mignon Bordelaise. It’s a delicious blast from the past. 2350 E. 7000 South, Salt Lake City, 801-947-0025, PrimoSLC.com
Frody Volgger’s bistro is aptly named, since dining there feels like dining in a quaint Viennese café. Dishes like jagerschnitzel, kasespazle and semmelknudel treat diners to a culinary tour of Austria, and it probably goes without saying that the fresh apple strudel and linzer torte are mandatory. 132 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-322-0334, ViennaBistro.com