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Best of Utah

Best of Utah 2009: Food & Drink, Part II

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BEST MAN-NAMED SALADS
Epic Casual Dining

Fooled you, didn’t we? You probably thought Epic should win for its killer brick-oven flatbreads. Or its delectable beef tenderloin, pork medallions, ahi tuna and the like. Or it’s varied wine list. They’re all more than worthy of praise. But Epic’s man-named salads stand shoulder to shoulder with anything else on the menu. There’s Pop’s Caesar, Ken’s (mixed greens with the candied pecans), Mr. Morton’s (with the toasted walnuts), John’s (with candied peppered almonds) and Mr. Martinez’s (with the fresh mango) ... they’re all freshly loaded with treats as well as the healthy green stuff the doctor tells you to eat more of. So, eat your salad, already. And sorry, flatbread. There’s always next year.
707 E. Fort Union Blvd., Midvale, 801-748-1300, EpicCasualDining.com

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BEST SOUTHERN VALLEY RESTAURANT
Fratelli’s Ristorante
It’s one thing to earn recognition as Best New Restaurant, as this Sandy eatery did last year. But, since then, Pete Cannella and Dave Cannell have quickly turned their restaurant into a wonderful dining destination, where house-made pastas and desserts—including the impressive specialty known simply as “The Cake”—combine with imported ingredients and a solid wine list. From the waterfall sculpture that greets you when you walk in the door to the friendly table service, Fratelli creates an experience that’s pleasant, relaxing and stylish.
9236 S. Village Shop Dr., Sandy, 801-495-4550, FratelliUtah.com
2. Tiburon
3. India House

BEST SALSA BAR
El Chubasco

Have it your way at Park City’s El Chubasco where you can customize your taco, burrito, pozole or menudo with its selection of 14 different freshly made salsas. Choose the fiery chile de arbol salsa for your machaca breakfast and maybe pico de gallo to go with a plate of carnitas. The smoky chipotle chile salsa is great with huevos rancheros and the sweet n’ spicy manzano pepper-spiked mango salsa is terrific on fish tacos. Best of all might be the tacos de birria slathered with bright green tomatillo salsa. Hot, mild, or in-between, El Chubasco has the right stuff.
1890 Bonanza Drive, Park City, 435-645-9114, ElChubasco.info

BEST GNOCCHI
Le Nonne

Le Nonne (the grandmother) is owner/chef PierAntonio Micheli’s culinary gift to northern Utah, and nothing at Le Nonne puts a smile on the face faster than his dreamy homemade gnocchi. His Italian mother and grandmother taught him to make these divine little pasta pillows made from potatoes, flour, and Parmesan cheese. Especially delightful is the Gnocchi al Quattro Formaggi: Hand-crafted gnocchi in a silky four-cheese white sauce made with Swiss, Gorgonzola, Fontina and Parmesan cheeses. If you prefer something simpler, give the Gnocchi Pomodoro with fresh-tasting tomato-basil sauce a try.
129 N. 100 East, Logan, 435-752-9577, LeNonne.net

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BEST FALL PATIO DINING
Tiburon Fine Dining

Everyone knows that garden-fresh produce puts the “fine” in fine dining. And in the fall, with a garden located just behind its patio, Tiburon is able to create house salads and side dishes made with just-picked veggies. Combine that freshness with entrees like char-broiled New Zealand elk tenderloin or a Muscovy duck breast, and your taste buds are likely to explode. Nothing beats sitting on Tiburon’s private patio in early September, watching sunlight dance off your wine glass, savoring a perfect meal.
8256 S. 700 East, Sandy, 801-255-1200, TiburonSLC.com

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BEST EASTERN VALLEY RESTAURANT
Lugano
Chef/owner Greg Neville’s Millcreek restaurant isn’t just one of the Salt Lake Valley’s best Italian restaurants; it’s one of the valley’s best restaurants, period. The lively bistro-style atmosphere and open-air kitchen at Lug%uFFFDno create an energetic buzz every night of the week, as joyful customers assemble to take pleasure in Neville’s regional Italian cuisine and dishes like tagliattelle with wild mushroom and prosciutto “Cotto,” or his wood-burning oven “clay pot” mussels with white wine, garlic, olive oil, pesto and grilled garlic toast. Add a superb wine list with many Italian treasures into the mix and you’ve got an East Valley eatery that can’t be beat.
3364 S. 2300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-412-9994, LuganoRestaurant.com
2. Citris Grill
3. Porcupine Pub & Grill

BEST TASTE OF ITALIA
Citta Gelato & Café

Ask most gelato bars in Salt Lake City where their product comes from and they’ll probably to tell you Las Vegas or California. Citta Gelato, a blessed oasis of style and cool in Sandy’s strip mall landscape, goes the extra mile, shipping in the base and flavorings from Italy. “It’s a pain in the ass,” says co-owner Alex Eskamani, when it comes to Customs’ bureaucracy, but for the consumer, it’s more than worth Citta’s struggles. The gelato has a depth of taste that other stores just can’t compete with, whether it’s the tongue-twirling texture of its chocolate or the refined bite of its lemon.
2101 E. 9400 South, Sandy, 801-790-4135

BEST VALUE MEAL
Metropolitan

Who’d of thunk it? Utah’s most prestigious restaurant is also a great place to enjoy an economically priced casual lunch, dinner or bar snack. In a crisp-white-linen setting as lavish as Metropolitan’s, you might be surprised to find $9 to $12 lunches on the menu. Well, the 12-buck daily lunch special even includes a salad! On Monday nights, you can drop into Metro for a three-course $30 meal or have five courses for $45, plus free corkage should you choose to brown-bag it. On weeknights Metropolitan serves up 2-for-1 appetizers, and the $8 “Bar Bites” menu includes bodacious bison sliders, sensational sriracha tempura shrimp, and Metropolitan’s magnificent mac & cheese. Pssssssst: Don’t tell anyone, but it’s OK to wear your flip-flops, too.
173 W. Broadway, 801-364-3472, TheMetropolitan.com

BEST MILE-HIGH FUNGI
Mountainview Mushrooms

Mushrooms and Fillmore may have a ‘60s psychedelic /San Francisco connotation. But we’re talking crimini, Portobello, oyster, shitake, enoki, even the basic plain white button. Who doesn’t love these earthy little babies? But if you knew they were grown in wheat straw, dried poultry waste, cotton by-products with lots and lots of water, would you still love ‘em? Of course, you would because these shrumes are Utah grown ... and local is where it’s at. Located in Fillmore, Mountainview is Utah’s only mushroom farm. You can buy their shrumes in most supermarkets, but if you’re into volume, pick up 5- and 10-pound boxes right at the farm.
550 S. 1100 West, Fillmore, 435-743-6817, MountainviewMushrooms.com

BEST POT STICKER
East West Connection

You used to have to have to look high and low for good Vietnamese restaurants in Utah. Now, all you have to do is look East and West. A local favorite of the Foothill Village people, this clean, comfortable, and tastefully decorated restaurant serves some of the freshest vegetables and tastiest meat dishes, and the best pot stickers to boot!
1400 Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-581-1128

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BEST OGDEN RESTAURANT
Rooster’s Brewing Co.
The beers are tasty, but the food doesn’t take a back seat: Entrees like the shrimp Florentine gorgonzola and Thai ginger steak are far beyond standard pub fare, as are sandwiches like the Beehive cheddar chicken and Tuscan steak—and “Pete’s pizzas”? Perfection. The stylish-but-classic, magazine-ready décor makes the package, and did we mention the beers are tasty? Can’t be emphasized enough.
253 25th St., Ogden, 801-627-6171 RoostersBrewingCo.com
2. Rickenbacker’s Bistro & Restaurant
3. Bistro 258

BEST ECLAIRS
Carol’s Cakes

Carol, Schmarol ... this hidden-away place in Sugar House is operated by Al, Bob and Jeff Walkenhorst—three guys who know their eclairs. And anyone who’s tried baking them know there is an art to whipping up the perfect p%uFFFDte %uFFFD choux, the pastry shell that has to be baked hot and high so it doesn’t deflate and leave no room for that heavenly filling. So Bob and Jeff have learned a thing or two over the years (the bakery has been around for decades). It’s obvious from looking at all their offerings, they’re perfectionists. But those dang eclairs—they’re impossible to resist.
1991 S. Lincoln St., Salt Lake City, 801-484-3442

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BEST PLACE TO FLIP OUT
Flippin’ Burgers, Park City

Looking for a place to feed the family in Park City for less than the cost of your monthly mortgage? Then you’ll flip out over Flippin’ Burgers in the Snow Creek Center. Each hamburger is made with 100 percent Certified Angus Beef and comes with your choice of American, cheddar, pepper jack, Provolone or Swiss cheese, along with generous options for toppings including hickory BBQ sauce, ketchup, yellow mustard, spicy mustard, mayo, jalapeno peppers, and relish. Plus, there’s an incendiary selection of more than 20 hot sauces to adorn your flipped out burger. And great fries to boot!
1300 Snow Creek Drive, Park City, 435-658-1809, FlippinBurgers.com

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BEST PARK CITY RESTAURANT
Grappa
It’s no exaggeration to suggest that chef and restaurateur Bill White (Grappa, Chimayo, Wahso, Ghidotti’s, Windy Ridge Café & Bakery) has changed the face of dining in Park City and beyond, raising the culinary bar to Olympian heights. Well, Grappa was his first independent venture and, according to City Weekly readers, is still his best. A seat at Grappa is the hottest ticket in town during the Sundance Film Festival, but during the rest of the year, we civilians get to enjoy the seductive setting, superb service, and exquisitely executed cuisine at Grappa. Lucky us!
151 Main, Park City, 435-645-0636, GrappaRestaurant.com
2. Chimayo
3. Wahso

BEST PUT-YOUR-HANDS-AROUND-THIS
The Monte Cristo, El Bambi Café

This spectacularly greasy invention is, according to one of El Bambi’s waitresses, much in demand with Beaverites. A sandwich of ham, cheese, and turkey is dipped in egg and fried. It comes with fries and dollops of sour cream and strawberry jam. You’re supposed to dip the sandwich in both. As grease drips off your fingers, it’s hard to imagine a plate more unhealthy than this. With its mix of the salty and sweet, it covers all the bases. Just for sheer fat-drenched chutzpah, this culinary apocalypse deserves recognition, even if the clogged arteries of Beaver’s denizens might not think so.
395 N. Main, Beaver, 435-438-2983

BEST JUKE BOX
Kitty Pappas Steak House

Dine at the 62-year-old Kitty Pappas Steak House and you’ll be treated to not only classic American cuisine but also the most eclectically loaded juke box you’re likely to ever come across. Thanks to Kitty Pappas’ server and son “Crazy George,” the juke is stocked with tunes like a cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” by the trombone band Bonerama; Dread Zeppelin’s cover of CCR’s “Born on the Bayou”; Richard Cheese’s splendid rendition of “Baby Got Back”; and tunes by superb artists like Tony McPhee & The Groundhogs, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Jon Lord and the Hoochie Coochie Men. There are also bluegrass versions of Moody Blues songs and even “Sweet Transvestite” from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
2300 S. Main (Hwy 89), Woods Cross, 801-295-9981

BEST NEW BAKERY
Tulie Bakery

Sisters Kate and Leslie Seggar didn’t attend culinary school. In fact, neither one set out to be a chef, much less open one of Salt Lake City’s most attractive and satisfying bakeries. Leslie’s gourmet pastries feature only the finest ingredients, and Kate went the extra mile overseeing the store’s physical layout, right down to communal tables which lend the sleek environment a warm, inviting quality. From house-made quiche with gruyere, swiss chard and thyme, to croissants that conjure a picturesque Paris, Tulie has an eye for detail and palate for the finer things in life.
863 E. 700 South, Salt Lake City, 801-883-9741

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BEST BBQ
Pat’s Barbecue & Catering
Was it the January appearance on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, which saw owner Pat Barber effectively matching wits and taste buds with host Guy Fieri? Or just the consistently killer smoked meats? The latter, obviously. The unassuming South Salt Lake barbecue-and-blues joint has been making critical inroads for years, first with the foodie crowd and now, more and more, with mainstream diners who swoon over Barber’s ultra-secret dry-rub process (not even Fieri could get it out of him). Pat’s Barbecue is as close to Texas as you’re going to get without stepping out of the 801.
155 W. Commonwealth, Salt Lake City, 801-484-5963, PatsBBQ.com
2. SugarHouse BBQ
3. Q4U

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BEST RIBS
Pat’s Barbecue & Catering
Pat Barber’s ribs can’t be beat—especially when paired with the “sweet heat,” a tangy-sweet sauce that elevates ‘em from “damn good” to “daaamn!” After hours of applewood smoking out back (meat’s always better when it’s cooked outside—it’s science), these pork spare ribs come out so tasty, even PETA would be hard-pressed to resist a bite.
155 W. Commonwealth, Salt Lake City, 801-484-5963, PatsBBQ.com
2. SugarHouse BBQ
3. Q4U

BEST HOT SAUCE HEAVEN
Grove Market & Deli

You might be there just for one of the massive sandwiches on your lunch break, but there’s even more to tempt—and perhaps scald—the tongue. Check out the entire section devoted to spicy condiments, with something for every taste from “mild” to “the stuff that sent Homer Simpson on his insane desert vision quest.” If you’re ready to give that sandwich an extra kick, you’re in the right place.
1906 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-467-8860

BEST BLACKBERRY JAM
Tagge’s Willard Bay

Roadside produce stands and farmers markets are a summer staple in Utah, and maybe you’ve grown so accustomed to them that you wouldn’t think to stop. But next time you grab some fresh produce, check out the jars of goodies that you may find on many of their tables. This family farm near Brigham City produces wonderful original fruit salsas, but it’s the jam that will have you coming back week after week. The blackberry in particular is a juicy, fresh-tasting delight. You may not even want to put it on bread—just a spoon will do, thanks.
3431 S. Highway 89, Perry, 801-755-8031, LocalFirst.org

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BEST BURGERS
Crown Burger
When it comes to asking who is the rightful heir to king of burgers, the battle in Utah between the local favorites and the national BK chain is a case of delicious abdication—nay, a most delicious regicide! The people have spoken and the throne to burger royalty belongs to Utah’s own Crown Burger. Readers can’t get enough of the Crown’s delicious double bacon cheeseburgers which pack an astounding wallop of sizzled and savory beef, cheese and bacon. Or the one and only Crown Burger original: a quarter-pound of flame-grilled beef stacked with a precarious mound of pastrami, cheese and all the fixings. Whatever regal menu option tickles your fancy, it’s clear who the king is in this town.
Multiple locations
2. Acme Burger Company
3. Five Guys Burgers
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BEST ICED COFFEE
Jack Mormon Coffee Co.

You can get this chilly treat year-round, but the best place to sip it is at the Downtown Farmer’s Market all summer long. Jack Mormon owner Michael Madrid and his staff serve it in tall, recyclable tumblers, with cream and sweet syrup on the side if you desire. Beans are roasted and ground at the Avenues coffee house. The perfect morning kick on a hot Utah morning.
82 E St., Salt Lake City, 801-359-2979, JackMormonCoffee.com

BEST OF THE WURST
Siegfried’s Delicatessen

When it comes to Americans and dogs, hot dogs that is, we generally limit ourselves to maybe a brat at a sporting event when we’re feeling sporty or perhaps a mystery dog at an all-night gas station when we’re feeling daring and/or high. But the sad truth is that for those of us who restrict ourselves to just hot dogs and brats are, in fact, missing out on a world of wursts. Thankfully Siegfried’s Delicatessen, a downtown institution of all things deliciously German, has got an affordable build-your-own sausage plate, which for $5.99 allows you to sample some Old World dogs. Try the knackwurst, a soft pork or beef sausage made with garlic, once considered a delicacy by Hapsburg royalty. Or the weisswurst, a traditional Bavarian sausage stuffed with minced veal and pork or bacon. Let Seigfried’s introduce your palatte to a new world of delicious sausage, and say auf wiedersehn once and for all to those late-night gas-station gut-buster dogs—believe us, your stomach will thank you.
20 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3891

BEST ZION HOLE IN THE WALL
Oscar’s

Since Springdale abuts the edge of Zion National Park, it’s little surprise the town’s economy is driven by the tourist buck. This can bring mediocre results when it comes to local eateries. But just off the main drag, Oscar’s, now in its eighth year, proudly flies the flag for hearty, tasty fare. The so-called ‘burger to die for,’ the murder burger, a garlic half-pounder with bacon, onions, provolone and cheddar cheese is as advertised, especially with a serving of sweet potato fries. There’s usually a queue, the ribs can vanish before 2 p.m., and the wait staff can get testy with the endless flow of customers, but it’s hands down the best value in town.
948 Zion Park Boulevard, Springdale, 435-772-3232, CafeOscars.com

BEST MOAB EGG-SALAD SANDWICH
Red Rock Bakery & Net Café

With the red rock mountains as its back drop, this laid-back Café captures the essence of Moab in a way few other establishments in that craggy, beautiful part of Southern Utah does. Amid the over-sized cookies and a nice range of sandwiches, one jewel stands out in the crown, their egg salad sandwich. While this item is usually a mayo-drenched bomb in soggy white bread, the Red Rock’s offering is buttressed by two heavy slabs of delicious brown bread and a filling that boasts yellow yolk and a texture that’s just exquisite.
74 S. Main, Moab, 435-259-5941

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BEST BURRITOS
Café Rio
You can ask for a lot of things to be done to your burrito at Café Rio, such as wrap it in a stone-ground whole wheat or flour tortilla and fill it with chile and/or rice and/or beans and/or cheese and/or meats and/or sauces. And cook it enchilada style or not. But just don’t ask them to nuke it or freeze it, because the company swears it has no microwaves or freezers on site. They’ve been serving it up fresh and furiously in Utah since 1997, now at 22 locations.
Multiple locations, CafeRio.com
2. Barbacoa
3. Red Iguana

BEST CHOCOLATE-HABANERO ICE CREAM
Em’s Restaurant

House-made ice creams are a standard at your finer dining establishments, but here’s one you don’t see every day. If you wanted your after-dinner sweet with more than a touch of spice, you could have sampled this selection from this Salt Lake City eatery. Like mole does in entrees, this dessert gives cocoa an unexpected hot punch. It’s fire and ice all in one spoonful.
271 N. Center St., Salt Lake City, 801-596-0566, EmsRestaurant.com

BEST THAI WITH GOOD VIBES
Pawit’s Royale Thai Cuisine

There are few truly charming eateries that strike such a complete chord as Pawit’s. Maybe it’s because owner Ponpawit Numnuan, aka Pawit, loves to work hard, thrives on hospitality and is eager to do good deeds for people. It seems to radiate from there. From the moment you walk in the door, good vibes begin to ebb in your direction, from the warm colors on the wall to the large saltwater aquarium’s harmonious feeling to the colorful leafs that form a path to the restrooms. The wait staff greets you with a warmth equal to the décor’s; they’re pleasant, helpful and efficient at bringing the incredible Thai cuisine you crave. But Pawit’s exquisitely flavorful Thai specialties seem to tie it all together into one resounding “ooooommmm.” Or, rather, “yummmmmm.”
1968 Murray-Holladay Road, Salt Lake City, 801-277-3658, PawitsRoyaleThai.com

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BEST DESSERTS
Gourmandise The Bakery
Just walking through the front door could be enough to cause a salivary meltdown; the display case seems to go on forever, offering a mind-boggling range of cookies, cakes, tarts and other confections. From Napoleons to cannolis and everything in between, Gourmandise tempts its customers with enough options to pick a different new dessert every day of the year. The flaky, creamy, sweet and dreamy choices are almost too much—but the raspberry-chocolate mousse cake is a nice place to start. Just understand: Once you start, it’s hard to stop.
250 S. 300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-328-3330
2. The Dodo
3. So Cupcake

BEST SMALL TOWN DINER
Cluff’s Car Hop

Whether it’s the John Deere tractor parked outside, or the plumbing-service ad on the toilet seat in the restroom, there’s a rural charm to Cluff’s family diner that time has not dulled. This is a family business already on its second generation. Open only in the spring and summer, its cramped, narrow seating inside is much helped by the car hop and outdoor bench from which you can take in the genteel splendor of Fillmore’s Main Street. Munch on the slender, lightly fried potatoes Cluff’s serves with their crispy-bacon cheeseburger, ponder the way, as one local puts it, the sidewalk gets rolled up at 6 p.m. every night, and it’s tempting to give up the rat race and hunker down in this peaceful American backwater.
270 N. Main, Fillmore, 435-743-5510

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BEST GYROS
Greek Souvlaki
If you want a gyro, you go to Greek Souvlaki. Ask anybody. Sure, other places have gyro on the menu. But have you ever seen anybody order it? Of course not. It’s always “cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger.” Trust us: You want a gyro; you go to Greek Souvlaki. It’s not by accident the shop’s flagship 400 East location has been in business for nearly 40 years.
Multiple locations
2. Crown Burger
3. Mad Greek

BEST APRES SKI CASUAL CHINESE
Dragon Isle

After a day on the slopes, where do you go when that hankering for Szechuan pork or moo goo gai pan takes hold? You can’t exactly ski in to this place, but, situated in the Brighton Point shopping center on Bengal Boulevard, Dragon Isle is pretty darn convenient to Big and Little Cottonwood canyons. It’s a nice little bit of Chinese-food-in-a-strip-mall heaven, with all the favorites, prepared authentically and at prices any ski bum would appreciate. The servers are pleasant and quick to bring your food, even beer and wine! If you’re too spent from skiing, they’ll even deliver.
3414 E. 7800 South, Cottonwood Heights, 801-453-9998

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BEST FRENCH FRIES
Crown Burger
Little known to some, there is a tried-and-true way to judge the worth of a bag of french fries. It’s called the sunlight test: Buy a bag of french fries, eat the hell out of ’em, and then, when you have just an empty bag, hold it to the light to see how translucent the bag has become from residual deliciousness. Employing this scientific method to a bag of Crown Burger fries will undoubtedly leave the consumer satisfied that indeed they have just consumed a highly delectable assortment of fries. So take the sunlight test for yourself with a bag of these crisp little deep-fried slices of heaven the next time you’re at a Crown Burger, and you will have science backing up your satisfied stomach—reassuring you that you’ve just consumed Utah’s best french fries.
Multiple locations
2. The Bayou
3. The Training Table

BEST DELIVERANCE FROM HUNGER
Este Pizzeria

Dependable lunch spots are few and far between in downtown Salt Lake City, specifically places within walking distance of Main Street’s ghost-town corridors. Este Pizzeria swept in just as our options were exhausted, opening up a second location to its original Sugar House store (the first of which nearly perished in a 2007 electrical fire, but is now open again). Este specializes in New York-style pies, with mostly organic toppings for meat-lovers and vegans alike. Just remember three things before your visit: No Ranch. No Pineapple. No Red Sox Attire.
168 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-2366, EstePizzaCo.com

BEST SOUTH-END ALL-DAY BREAKFAST
Britton’s

You know you’re in a good old-fashioned diner when you’re sitting down in horseshoe-shaped, vinyl-upholstered booths, and your jones for breakfast can be sated any time. Britton’s features plenty of burgers and other homestyle favorites, but sometimes you just want eggs and pancakes or waffles. Try the Seventh East scramble: a mound of eggs with ham, peppers and tomatoes covering toasted English muffin and smothered in country gravy.
694 Union Square, Sandy, 801-572-5148

BEST MOVEMENT FOR TASTE BUDS
Slow Food Utah

You are what you eat. And so is your community. That is the philosophy of Slow Food Utah, which aims to support local farmers and get fresh vittles to the table while improving food safety and creating a sustainable and ethical food economy. All you have to do is buy from local growers, a project made easier by a directory of local gardens and producers of meat and cheese being assembled on Slow Food’s Website. As local growers prosper, you get increasingly tasty fare. Evidence for success of the effort can be seen in the explosion of locally made food—from some of the best salami in the country to goat cheeses to bread (the kind that won’t still be around after the apocalypse).
SlowFoodUtah.org

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BEST LOCAL BEER
Squatters
It’s customary to begin a Best of Utah write-up for perennial favorite Squatters with a recap of what they won at last year’s World Beer Cup competition, so here goes: German-style dark ale Alt & In the Way (a brew master’s special) took a gold medal, and longtime lighter favorite Provo Girl Pilsner won a bronze in the 2008 contest. Squatters’ latest beer generating buzz with brew geeks is Hell’s Keep, a Belgian-style golden strong ale; they’re already salivating for a fruit-tinged concoction called Fifth Element dropping later this year. For the regular folk, Full Suspension, Captain Bastard, Chasing Tail and the rest are sipping just fine, thank you.
147 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-2739, Squatters.com
2. Wasatch Beers
3. Red Rock Brewing Co.

BEST MASALA
Taste of India

Masala is to Indian cuisine as butter sauces are to French cooking—the foundation for scads of great dishes. And nobody does masala any better than Taste of India. The secret of this great masala is cooking their sauce very slowly, allowing the dried spices like coriander, cinamon and cumin; along with fresh herbs, onions, garlic, ginger and other tasty ingredients to meld and mingle, and for the oil to separate from the sauce before proteins like chicken, shrimp, lamb or veggies are added. The result is magnificent masala. Accept no substitutes!
1664 N. Woodland Park Drive, Layton, 801-614-0107

BEST P.C. COFFEE
Park City Coffee

While other local roasters might compete for the tastiest brew, it’s hard to argue Park City Coffee isn’t the best—in a strictly moral sense. Twin brothers Ray and Rob Hibl were inspired to switch to fair-trade coffee by Park City’s “Coffee Priest” Rev. Jim Flynn, who has long crusaded for the welfare of the coffee workers of Latin America, taking groups of Utahns to visit coffee regions of Nicaragua and Guatemala and returning home to spread the word about paying a little more to feel good about your cup. The brothers Hibl claim roasting coffee in small batches at Park City’s higher altitudes also give their coffees a distinctive taste. Many varieties from Brazil, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Kenya, Sumatra, Ethopia, Peru and Columbia available through an online store, Harmon’s groceries and are served at several Park City ski resorts.
P.O. Box 682788, Park City, 435-647-9097, ParkCityCoffeeRoaster.com

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BEST PIZZA
The Pie
The Pie has been winning this for as long as we’ve been doing the Best of Utah, seems like. It’s hard to beat the Pie’s big portions, cheap prices, and appeal to the foodie palettes (fresh-rolled dough, premium ingredients). The Pie has been smart about something else, too, and that’s to make its deliciousness available across the Valley by adding new locations. So while we tend to think of the Pie as a university mainstay, the Pie has gone on to capture the pizza cravings of the entire Valley.
Multiple locations, ThePie.com
2. Este Pizzeria
3. Settebello

BEST PLOUGHMAN
Elizabeth’s Bakery

A ploughman’s lunch is a staple of the English summer diet. Presumably named after farm workers who would seek a filling lunch before they resumed their manual labor, the classic ploughman consists of crusty white bread, slabs of cheddar cheese, pickle and pickled onion. Elizabeth’s Bakery has all of the above available on its ploughman’s plate for a robust $8.95, with an addition of a second delicious cheese, Derby Sage. The only problem is this 2-year-old bakery with a bountiful collection of tea pots does not stock beer. Without some suds to wash it down, a ploughman’s lunch just isn’t the same. But since it’s the only eatery in Utah that offers a ploughman, hey, who are we to quibble?
575 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City, 801-433-1170

BEST FINISH TO A GREAT MEAL
Dolcetti Gelato

Sugar House always has a taste treat or two up its sleeves. But with Elizabeth and Mark England’s Dolcetti, a cream dream has been realized. The Englands learned how to make their frozen concoctions from Italian artisans, and the quality is obvious upon your first bite. Check out the exquisite flavors, such as pistachio, pomegranate, chocolate mole and crocantino al rum, to name just a few. This ain’t your grammy’s ice cream. Dolcetti makes its gelato and sorbetto by hand using fresh, locally grown fruits and berries and milk from family-run dairies. It’s an edible art form, waiting for your lips and tongue to melt it. Go ahead, take a lick; it’ll be the best 5 pounds you ever gained.
1751 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-485-3254, DolcettiGelato.com

BEST WING SAUCE
Art City Trolley

How can you describe Art City Trolley’s homestyle wing sauce? It’s no easy task. The sticky and delicious sauce is the secret ingredient to the Springville diner’s main menu attractions from wings to chicken sandwiches. But the essence of the sauce is hard to pin down—it’s not necessarily a secret ingredient but rather an artfully crafted balance between sweet and tangy—the same dueling elements nearly every sauce maestro struggles to balance, but that, at Trolley, is a precise bullseye on the infinitesimally small interval between too tangy and too sweet. Like catching the setting sun right before it disappears behind the mountains, this sauce is a thing of beauty.
256 N. Main, Springville, 801-489-8585

BEST MEXICAN IN PROVO
Diego’s

We suspect the real reason Utah County earned its Happy Valley nickname has something to do with the region’s bountiful supply of top-notch restaurants—especially Diego’s. The modest-sized Mexican eatery is home to some of the best tacos anywhere in the state. Really, everything on the menu is a hit, from Al Pastor and Carnitas to quesadillas and burritos all topped with a fiery green avocado salsa.
22 E. 200 North, Provo, 801-377-4710

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BEST SANDWICHES
Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli
Tony Caputo has one hella deli occupying its own delicious corner of Salt Lake City’s old Italian and Greek neighborhood. And not to discredit the marvelous selection of chocolate or the amazing cheese cave—but the deli is still is the anchor of this mouthwatering eatery. Sample the finest Italian fare ranging from a sumptuous sweet pepper and fresh arugula sandwich dripping in balsamic vinegar and olive oil to something meatier with the famous Caputo stacked high with prosciutto, mortadella, salami, provolone, lettuce and tomatoes. You can’t go wrong with the savory meatball sub—an exercise in savory simplicity with sauce, meatballs and fresh Parmesan cheese. Any way you slice it, this deli’s got something delicious for you.
314 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-519-5754, CaputosDeli.com
2. Moochies
3. Rosie’s Deli

BEST HIDDEN-AWAY CHINESE IN MIDVALE
Royal South Sea Restaurant

“Unassuming” is putting it lightly. This little café is behind what looks to be a residential home on State Street. But your trip up the “driveway” to the paved parking lot will be rewarded with mouthwatering Chinese and Thai dishes—like Szechuan chicken, shrimp in lobster sauce and pad Thai—all served up fresh and piping hot. How does this restaurant make it, you ask? Longtime Midvale restaurateurs Ting and Bo have a loyal seven-days-a-week following of eat-in, take-out and home-delivery patrons. The monster egg rolls should be shared.
7444 S. State, Midvale, 801-352-8888

BEST PORK & POLENTA
Stoneground

The boiled cornmeal that is polenta used to be peasant food, and consumption of cloven-footed swine makes some squeal. But a rare treat awaits those whose dietary requirements allow: Stoneground’s brined, roasted-pork tenderloin accompanied by grilled polenta, creamy Portobello, dried cranberry and red-wine sauce. Pair this dinner entree with a crisp Chardonnay, and there’s not much else to write about in all of creation unless you’d like to finish with Stoneground’s scrumptious tiramisu, a frequent BOU winner itself.
249 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-1368, StonegroundSLC.com

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BEST APPETIZERS
The Bayou

OK, if the phrase “sweet potato” gives you the willies, conjuring up images of Aunt Margie’s Crisco- and marshmallow-topped yams at Thanksgiving, it’s understandable if you’ve gone your whole life without so much as glancing at that particular root vegetable. But, ah!, my friend—your eyes will be opened the first time you order sweet-potato fries at The Bayou. No, they’re not sweet sweet, just a little … well, sweet. And you’ll get used to that in a hurry, especially while you’re washing them down with one of the Bayou’s 17,000 varieties of beer, and that’s just counting the ones hailing from the Eastern provinces of Hungary. Good beer. Good appetizers. Go. Now.
645 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-961-8400, UtahBayou.com
2. Red Rock Brewing Co.
3. Mazza

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BEST SEAFOOD
Market Street
Gastronomy Inc. restaurants took the top two places in the seafood category, proving once again that this formidable culinary corporation has clout, not to mention an army of 650 employees. If you’re looking for fresh seafood, flown in daily, this is the place. Market Street sells more than 600 gallons of its famous clam chowder daily, along with 1,000 pounds of fresh fish and an annual tally of 1,200,000 oysters. What helps make the venerable downtown Market Street Grill special is its display kitchen where you can watch master oyster shuckers in action, the black-and-white-checkerboard floors reminiscent of the 1930s, and, of course, an impressive menu featuring Alaskan halibut and salmon, Hawaiian ahi tuna, Maine lobster, oysters from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and much more for the serious seafood lover.
48 West Market St., Salt Lake City, 801-322-4668, GInc.com
2. Oyster Bar
3. Takashi

BEST RESURGENT TREAT
Nothing Bundt Cakes

Maybe it’s part of the whole nostalgia baked-goods craze that started with cupcakes. But bundt cakes, the humble hole-in-the-middle treats that got their start in 1950s Minneapolis, are back. April Nielsen opened her Nothing Bundt Cakes store in Sandy last year. And there’s nothing terribly humble about them. The cakes are rich and loaded with butter, eggs, chocolate and every other scratch ingredient you could imagine. Flavors include ever-reliable marble, carrot and red velvet as well as the more exotic pecan praline, white chocolate raspberry and chocolate bliss. Nielsen says the cakes have been popular for birthdays, baby showers and even weddings. Prices range from $3.99 for an individual “bundtlette” to $39.50 for the 18-serving size.
10389 S. State, Sandy, 801-619-3757, NothingBundtCakes.com

BEST CHILI VERDE IN SANDY
La Calandria

Everyone needs four go-to Mexican eateries in this town: The Red Iguana to impress out-of-town guests, the street vendors for a quick snack, Alberto’s or Rancherito’s for a fast-food-style sober-up meal, and finally the best of all: a local neighborhood café where you can count on delicious homestyle food, cozy atmosphere, great service and a relaxed, happy vibe. This is that place in Sandy. Operated by the Quinonez family, serving traditional cuisine from the Chihuahua region of Mexico, it is rumored the owner’s dad actually knew Pancho Villa. Smothered burritos, ribs, shredded-beef enchiladas, chicken suizas and other tempting entrees beckon but no one complains about the heaping portions of chile verde or the green salsa for that matter. iAndale, amigos!
8475 S. State, Sandy, 801-566-4464

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BEST SOUPS
The Soup Kitchen
Hearty homestyle soups are the unheralded center piece of our national cuisine. Clam chowder, chicken noodle, cheese brocolli or good, old-fashioned split-pea—these are the names that call us when we smack our lips at the thought of soup for lunch. The Soup Kitchen offers all of these flavors and several others. What makes its slurp-licious products so popular its commitment to quality ingredients and making soup with oodles of flavor. When added to its lunch specials such as sloppy joes, egg-salad sandwiches or their BLT, you have a meal that not only satisfies, but also provides a damned fine, all-American anchor for the rest of the working day.
Multiple locations, SLCSoup.com
2. Big City Soup
3. Zuppa’s

BEST AUTENTICO ITALIAN
Rino’s

Rino’s got a good thing going. And he’s had it going on for about 28 years. Gotta be doing something right, eh, paisan? Maybe it’s the fresh vegetables he grows in his own garden, or his delicious red sauce or his homestyle ravioli, or his yummy Lasagne. Or the way he graciously introduces himself welcoming you as you walk in the door. You will feel very comodo at Rino’s. But, be warned… you won’t find a meatball in the place. But then, you probably won’t find one in Italy either. See? Autentico!
2302 Parley’s Way, Salt Lake City, 801-484-0901

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BEST STEAKS
Spencer’s For Steaks & Chops
The secret to Spencer’s award-winning steaks is really no secret at all. Simply begin with aged, beautifully marbled, hand-cut USDA prime beef from Chicago’s stockyards, and then sear to perfection—not too slow; not too fast—at temperatures which approximate those of the sun’s surface. You can’t go wrong with the Porterhouse, New York strip, prime rib or Filet Mignon at Spencer’s. But, for our money, it’s the “Spencer Steak,” a juicy, perfectly seasoned 14-ounce ribeye cooked to order, where Spencer’s achieves meaty magnificence. It just doesn’t get any better than the Spencer Steak with a side of house-cut frites, and a bottle of great red wine.
255 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-238-4748, SpencersForSteaksAndChops.com
2. The New Yorker
3. Texas Roadhouse
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BEST BEER GOBLET & SUSHI SHOOTER
O’Shucks & Ahh Sushi

It’s Friday lunchtime, and your boss won’t mind if you had a goblet of beer or two, right? The place to go to get those big-as-your-head beer goblets is O’Shucks and Ahh Sushi. Order plenty of rolls, because every day during the lunch hour, they’re half-price. That leaves more money for beer, and it’s good beer too, like Moab Scorpion Pale Ale. A “must” roll is the Funky Vegas—deep-fried Sushi may not be for the sushi purist, but it tastes so good ... especially with beer.
22 E. 100 South, Salt Lake City, 358-6770

BEST FANCY DOUGHNUTS
Beyond Glaze

Tucked away off the frontage road north of Ikea in Draper, there’s an amazing little doughnut place. It’s basically fancy icings and toppings on top of classic glazed doughnuts, but the flavors are terrific. Try the Key Lime Crumble with crushed graham cracker on top, plus Nutmeg Dash or Caramel Apple. At press time, the store was about to move to a more easily accessible location; call or check the Website for whether it has become even easier to get a delicious gourmet fix.
12714 S. Pony Express, Draper, 801-809-5791, BeyondGlaze.com

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BEST WINE SELECTION
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine
The bedrock of Fleming’s’ prize-winning wine selection is “The Fleming’s 100.” At Fleming’s, you’ll find a selection of 100 award-winning wines available by the glass, hand-picked by Fleming’s wine director Marian Jansen op de Haar. The result is options, options, and more options, from Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne and Luna “Freakout” White, to Onyx South African Syrah and Greg Norman Cabernet. But remember, that’s just the wines by the glass. In addition, Fleming’s offers wine flights which allow customers to sample small pours of various different wines, along with a reserve-bottle list peppered with gems from France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austrailia, New Zealand, Chile, the United States ... well, you get the idea.
20 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3704, FlemingsSteakhouse.com
2. Wild Grape
3. The New Yorker

BEST FONDUE
Cinnabar Lounge

After a morning or entire day of skiing the vast, wide-open terrain of Snowbasin ski resort, cheese fondue just seems mandatory. Well, lots of places offer fondue. But executive chef Eric Byrd of Snowbasin’s Earl’s Lodge and Cinnabar Lounge takes the notion of cheese fondue to a whole new level. Granted, it sounds odd, but he makes his luscious fondue with bleu cheese, melted with a splash of imported Belgian whit beer. The result is divine. And the finishing touch: this silky, sensational fondue is served with thick, crunchy house-cut potato chips. Now that’s fabulous fondue!
Snowbasin Resort, Huntsville, 801-620-1000, Snowbasin.com

BEST TEMPURA
Kyoto

Like virtually every Japanese restaurant nowadays, Kyoto has a vibrant sushi bar and all the raw fish and maki rolls you can handle, not to mention traditional homestyle dishes like tonkatsu. But what the gang at Kyoto does better than all the rest is tempura. Granted, it’s hard not to love anything that’s deep-fried in oil. But Kyoto’s tempura seafood (especially the shrimp) and veggies seem downright healthy; the batter is so light and crisp. Now, if only it served frites on the side.
1080 E. 1300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-487-3525

BEST PERSISTENCE
Rio Grande Café

Remember when the Rio Grande almost lost its space a few years ago? Or when the Gateway construction threatened to leave it in a literal cloud of dust? This venerable Grande Dame of the near west side has weathered more than its share of storms, but it just keeps on making people happy. Maybe it’s all due to the Purple Lady, the alleged ghost of a jilted woman who jumped in front of a train at the Rio Grande depot. She is said to be responsible for slammed doors, dropped dishes and eerie footsteps in the night. Or, maybe it’s just those killer carnitas that keep longtime customers coming back.
270 S. Rio Grande St., Salt Lake City, 801-364-3302

BEST PORTION CONTROL
Citris Grill

Unfortunately, we live in a state where bigger is usually considered better. But that’s not the case at Citris Grill, where super-size portions aren’t forced down customers’ throats. Most of the menu items come in two different sizes: “hearty” and “petite.” We absolutely love that. Because maybe you just have an appetite for a half-order of crab wontons, slow-roasted chipotle babybacks and butternut squash fettuccini—or maybe you really do want the whole magilla. Wine choices are similar: You can get a bottle, a regular pour or a taste. There’s a good word for the customers’ options at Citris Grill: respect.
2991 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-466-1202, CitrisGrill.com

BEST SPECK TELLER
Vienna Bistro

Vienna Bistro’s executive chef and owner—Austrian-born Frody Volgger—couldn’t find any speck teller locally to suit his perfectionist standards. So now, he makes it himself. Speck teller is an Austrian air-dried ham, and it’s fabulous … especially at Vienna Bistro. But then, so is Frody’s bundner teller (air-dried beef), his bundner fleisch, house-smoked trout, homemade wurst, and every other damned thing on Frody’s menu. It’s all about quality control and a commitment to excellence, from the speck to the house-made semmelknudel. He’s Austria’s gift to downtown Salt Lake City.
132 S. Main, 801-322-0334, ViennaBistro.com

BEST BRITNEY SPEARS MEXICAN
Blue Iguana

The signed photo at the Blue Iguana from Britney Spears says, “The Blue Iguana rocks!” Tucked away in Arrow Press Square, you gotta give Britney props for even finding the place. We don’t know what she ordered, but she certainly had options. The extensive menu ranges from a vast selection of mole dishes and mariscos (seafood) to chile verde and Colorado, carne asada, flautas, a healthy selection of vegetarian items and much more. Britney’s made lots of bad choices, but the Blue Iguana wasn’t one of them.
165 S. West Temple, 801-533-8900, TheBlueIguana.com

BEST OLD-FASHIONED
The New Yorker

Following an educational trip to the Aspen Food & Wine Festival, The New Yorker’s executive chef Will Pliler came home preaching the classic cocktail gospel, and retrained the restaurant’s bar staff to create classic cocktails from scratch using only freshly made mixes and juices, top-shelf spirits and liqueurs, and time-tested techniques. The result: flawless renditions of timeless drinks such as the Negroni, Cable Car, Ramon Fizz, Old Fashioned, Bellini and Martini. Shaken or stirred; your choice.
60 W. Market St., 801-363-0166, GINC.com

BEST OGDEN BISTRO
Bistro 258

In summer, the airy, sun-drenched patio is a lovely place to dine, filled with fresh flowers, shrubbery and good vibes. And in colder weather, Bistro 258 takes on a cozy, warm hue that befits bistro fare like their New York steak dressed with Gorgonzola and balsamic vinegar. Like any authentic bistro, Bistro 258 wasn’t just conjured from the ether on an architect’s table. The restaurant is located in one of Ogden’s oldest historic buildings, and adorned as a true bistro/brasserie should be, with a marvelous antique wooden bar and beautiful brasserie-style mirrors. It’s just a little slice of Paris in Ogden.
258 25th St., Ogden, 801-394-1595

BEST MEXICAN SEAFOOD
Hector’s Miramar Restaurant

Too bad so many people stop at beef burritos when ordering Mexican food. Besides the rich traditions of moles and sauces, Mexico lays claim to thousands of miles of coastline that contribute to its lesser-known (at least around here) tradition of excellent seafood creations. There’s plenty of Mexican seafood on the valley’s west side, but why drive when you can go to Miramar on 1300 South? Miramar was the first local restaurant to specialize in a tasty Mexican seafood dishes including camarones in green salsa, fish tacos, ceviche, ajo in garlic sauce, oyster and octopus plates, plus an excellent fish soup. Not feeling fishy? Don’t worry, they’ve got you covered.
342 W. 1300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-484-5737

BEST SPANAKOPITA TWIST
Eva’s

Too much spanakopita served in these parts often comes in two versions: too much feta or too much spinach. Not to mention that it can be mistaken for a masonry brick. Not at Eva’s. Though brand spanking new, if their salads and spanakopita are any indication, they’ll be around for quite some time. Spanakopita at Eva’s didn’t come from Yiayia’s ancient-memory recipe. It’s served in a tight coil, for starters, like you might find in a restaurant in the core of Athens. But the surprise is they defy Yiayia, placing their twist of spinach and fillo on a bed of pureed poblano peppers doused with a balsamic vinaigrette sauce. If only the Greeks had thought of that.
317 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-359-8447

BEST SUSHI BARGAIN BY DAY
Tsunami

Maybe not all day, but from 2-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, Tsunami puts the full assault on high prices at all of their locations (they recently opened a third location in River Park). Now people who are too often sticker-shocked at the price of sushi can choose from an array of Japanese classics, including their award-winning rolls (the Sugar House, Cococabana or Tokyo Cowboy for example). At happy-hour prices or not, Tsunami also excels at small-plate offerings, donburi dishes and its popular bento boxes.
2223 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-467-5545; 7638 S. Union Park Drive, Midvale, 801-676-6466; 10722 S. Riverfront Parkway, South Jordan, 801-748-1178

BEST SUSHI BARGAIN BY NIGHT
Shogun

On certain late nights, Shogun in downtown Salt Lake is the place to be if you have the dual hankering for sushi and savings. Featuring a reduced menu with all rolls priced at just $6, Shogun is packed—particularly with the young at heart—from 11 p.m. to closing at 2 a.m. While you won’t find to