Best of Utah 2010: Food & Drink | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City
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Best of Utah

Best of Utah 2010: Food & Drink



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Best Middle-Eastern

Mazza could be an acronym for: My adorable zesty zaftig antipasto. The name suggests meze or mezze, which refer to an array of appetizers and small-plate offerings in Lebanese and Middle Eastern dining. But Mazza can also refer to the complete mazza dinner table, similar to a Scandanavian smorgasbord. It’s possible to have both small-plate and smorgasbord experiences at Mazza. Just ask owner Ali Sabbah, whose small falafel empire at 15th & 15th enlarged in 2007 to include a full-service restaurant at 9th & 9th. Both menus feature not only falafel but many traditional Lebanese and Middle Eastern dishes, such as shawarma, musakhan, lamb and rice dolaa, maghmoor, kebabs, dips, sandwiches and salads. There’s even a wide-ranging wine list with extensive selections from Lebanon, Morocco and Greece. By the way: Mazza in Hindi means “fun.” So here, you can have your mazza and eat it, too. 1515 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-484-9259; 912 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-521-4572,
2. Cedars of Lebanon
3. Cafe Med

Best Big Love Diner
Merry Wives Cafe

Whether seeking an extra wife, a little curious about fundamentalist Mormons or simply passing through, the Merry Wives Cafe holds something of a captive market when it comes to accessible local cooking in the polygamous twin-city capital of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz. Go into the heart of FLDS-ville and restaurants are not always welcoming, but at the Merry Wives, friendly staff typically wearing the trademark polygamy get-up—long dresses, hair piled up—let their fresh, delicious sandwiches and raspberry lemonade bear testimony for their solid cooking and, possibly, their larger community. 625 N. State, Hildale, 435-874-1425

Best Inexpensive
Blue Plate Diner

Blue Plate’s recession-proof menu has held up well in a year when many knew not from whence their next unemployment check would come. Most can get in and out of the Blue Plate without dropping more than $10 per person for a burger or breakfast order. But here’s a moneysaving tip: Skip the meal and just order a robust $3.99 chocolate shake. Made with real ice cream, topped off with way more whipped cream than anyone needs, it’s a complete meal in itself. Overcompensation is just the Blue Plate way. You get a lot of lip-smacking goodness for your hard-earned money. 2041 S. 2100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-463-1151,
2. Bayleaf Cafe
3. Scaddy’s

Best Breakfast
Blue Plate Diner

Blue Plate’s omelets, benedicts, corn pancakes and biscuits with gravy are, to borrow Ben Franklin’s line, proof that God loves us and wants to see us happy. Vegans as well as meat-eaters can find plenty to choose from to start their days. With its nostalgic 1950s décor and upbeat waitstaff, Blue Plate fills rumbling stomachs each morning with wholesome comfort food, and puts a smile on their waking-up faces. 2041 S. 2100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-463-1151,
2. Ruth’s Diner
3. Eggs In the City

Best Family-Made Pizza
Freestyle Pizza

Ex-New Yorker Steve Magnetti and his wife, Kris, are living his dream—owning and running a pizzeria. While Beaver is a town of pizza traditionalists—heavy on the pepperoni—the Magnetti’s offer variety alongside the classics, notably the pizza that bears their surname. The Magnetti features an alfredo-sauce base topped with chicken, artichokes, mushrooms, onions, garlic and olives. With reasonably priced hand-tossed pizzas—an 18-inch pizza costs about $15—Freestyle is a great reason to visit Beaver. 53 N. Main, Beaver, 435-438-0404

Best Southern Valley Restaurant
Fratelli Ristorante

Not that long ago, this award would have almost had to go to a franchise restaurant. There simply wasn’t much else in the suburbs. Now, suburban diners have many choices, but their top choice is Fratelli Ristorante, a family-run eatery specializing in classic Italian fare in a setting with contemporary flair. From spaghetti and meatballs to Tuscan steak to bucatini carbonara to tiramisu, Fratelli Ristorante tickles the fancy of Southerners. 9236 Village Shop Drive, Sandy, 801-495-4550,
2. Tiburon
3. Bohemian Brewery

Best Western Valley Restaurant

“Call the dogs in, put the fire out, the hunt’s over.” That’s the Q4U slogan and yes, the hunt for deliciously messy barbecue ends here. Since 1996, Q4U owners T (The Sultan of Sauce) and Becci have been keeping it real with authentic, slow-smoked BBQ and by treating customers like they were part of their ever-expanding family. Succulent ribs slathered with homemade sauce, slow-cooked beef brisket, tender, juicy pulled pork … those are just a few Q4U specialties. But the flavor doesn’t end with the meat, thanks to Becci’s sensational sweet potato pie and baked cobblers. 3951 W. 5400 South, Taylorsville, 801-955-8858,
2. Red Rooster Waffle Co.
3. Copper Creek Pub & Grub

Best Chef’s Smile
Good Karma’s Houman Gohary

Walk into Good Karma, in an otherwise nondescript strip mall in the foothills of Park City, and chances are you’ll be greeted by the warm smile of chef Houman Gohary. It’s as if he’s welcoming you to his home, a restaurant rich in the subtle smell of spices and cooking from Gohary’s kitchen. Some of that warmth is extended through what his Website describes as “Indo-Persian cuisine with passion and integrity.” Just the appetizers alone, particularly the curried potato, scallion and green-pea samosas in a flaky pastry, are to die for. When it comes to the dedication and commitment Gohary brings to his food and his customers, Good Karma redefines the personal touch. 1782 Prospector Ave., Park City, 435-658-0958,

Best Brewpub

Since launching in 1989, Squatters has perfected the art of the brewpub in Utah. As brewers, founding partners Peter Cole and Jeff Polychronis have come to appreciate the philosophy of authentic, organic, local and small—not only as it relates to beer but also food preparation. There’s a winner for every finicky eater among Squatters savory appetizers, exotic specialties and pub favorites. With award-winning beers as well as a casual atmosphere that says, “Welcome to Utah, and yes, we know a thing or two about brewing beer,” Squatters is a Salt Lake City staple. Multiple locations,
2. Red Rock Brewing Co.
3. Desert Edge

Best Ogden Restaurant
Roosters Brewing Co.

Since 1994, owners Kym and Pete Buttschardt have been putting smiles on the faces of Ogden residents and visitors alike at Historic 25th Street’s Roosters Brewing Company. Roosters has become a community gathering place for folks who love great food, great beer or both. It’s hard to find a better meal starter than Roosters’ “What a Crock,” a blend of eight different cheeses baked with crab, artichoke hearts, spinach and roasted garlic. And, the “Pepper Jack Shrimp” dish is equally delectable. Of course, you’ll want to wash down Roosters’ delicious food with an award-winning brew such as its popular Bee’s Knees Honey Wheat, Polygamy Pale Ale or Junction City Chocolate Stout. 253 Historic 25th St., Ogden, 801-627-6171,
2. Taste of India
3. Zucca Trattoria

Best Park City Restaurant

With such a variety of eye-popping eateries, winning the Best Park City Restaurant award is no small feat. But, through the years, Bill White’s Chimayo restaurant has been a shining star of Main Street, blending traditional Southwestern flavors and ingredients with French-American cooking techniques. The result is an award-winning array of dishes like queso fundido, green pipian seared trout fajitas, mustard seed-crusted salmon, and the wildly popular crown roast of barbecued spareribs with chipotle-pineapple glaze. Of course, no meal is complete without the signature Chimayo margarita. 368 Main, Park City, 435-649-6222,
2. High West Distillery
3. Grappa

Best Indian
Bombay House

As more Indian eateries dot the Utah landscape, the overflowing parking lots on any Friday or Saturday night outside either Bombay House location will tell you that it’s still on top. From appetizers to dessert, the meals are consistently good. Beverages like mango lassis or rose milk help cool spicy tandoori, tikka masala, curry and briyani dishes, and an order of naan will soak up the leftover sauces. It’s not just the food, however. Bombay House’s waitstaff are in uniform attire, and many of the men wear dark turbans, adding to the exotic experience that keeps Bombay House on top. 2731 E. Parley’s Way, Salt Lake City, 801-581-0222; 463 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-373-6677,
2. Himalayan Kitchen
3. Royal India

Best South Valley Patio Dining

Since Rudolph Knudsen established “Knudsen’s Grove” in 1912, the Tuscany setting has been one of the most beautiful dining locations in the city. Tucked away in a heavily wooded lot next to a stream, the outdoor patios beckon one and all in warm weather. Yes, the interior of Tuscany is eye-popping, but the exterior grounds seem to be designed for the romantic in all of us. It’s the perfect place for a wedding, anniversary, or to pop the question. 2832 E. 6200 South, Holladay, 801-277-9919,

Best Coffee House
Coffee Garden

A 9th & 9th institution, the Coffee Garden welcomes coffee drinkers of the world and everything they stand for—which, in Utah, can mean many things. While the 9th & 9th location has survived many a setback—from relocation to road construction—now the Main Street digs are bracing for change as Sam Weller’s Bookstore, in which the cafe is housed, plans a move. But everyone knows not to worry—they’re on solid “grounds.” There is no better place to settle in and enjoy a piping hot Americano or iced chai along with pastries, desserts, quiche, sandwiches, burritos and pasta salads. People-watching and lively conversations with strangers come free of charge. 898 East 900 South, 801-355-3425; 254 S. Main, 801-364-0768
2. Beans & Brew
3. Nobrow Coffee & Tea

Best Vegetarian Value
Shanghai Cafe

The sheer number of vegetarian choices on Shanghai Cafe’s menu is impressive, but this place excels at meat replacements like the ginger chicken, and has the best vegetarian fried egg rolls in town. The prices, substantial portions and fast service make this place an excellent choice for a comfortable, meat-free dinner. 145 E. 1300 South, No. 145, Salt Lake City, 801-322-1841

Best French
The Paris

Bon vivant restaurateur Eric DeBonis is nothing if not passionate about food and drink. He travels the globe seeking the best ingredients and recipes, then treats his Paris customers to them. From the classic Parisian zinc bar to dishes such as escargot, mussels mariniere, salad Lyonnaise, steak au poivre and duck confit with puy lentils, The Paris delivers a serious slice of France with every meal. 1500 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-486-5585,
2. La Caille
3. Franck’s

Best Mobile Meal
Chow Truck

Talk about truckin’! The Chow Truck is, literally, a mobile feast, a screaming yellow food truck with a dragon logo, landing from day to day in various neighborhoods around the Wasatch Front. The brains and talent behind the Chow Truck are “Boss Lady” SuAn Chow and “Chef” Rosanne Ruiz. Chow was founder of Charley Chow and ChowMeinia restaurants, while Ruiz was chef/owner at Sage Grill in Park City and executive chef at Salt Lake City’s Capitol Café. Chow Truck specializes in tacos, sliders, salads and calamari, but this isn’t your typical fast food. Taco options, for example, include coconut-lemon grass chicken, pineapple-ginger pork, spicy beef with cilantro-chile pesto, and panko-crusted tofu.

Best Dollar Rita
Mi Ranchito

There’s no reason to wait to imbibe for a full economic recovery when Mi Ranchito on South State serves margaritas for only a dollar. Every day from noon to 11 p.m., diners at this popular Mexican eatery can partake of the concoction of tequila, lime and salt that Jimmy Buffet made so famous back in the ’70s. Make no mistake, these are not high-shelf cocktails, though you can opt for Patron or other popular tequilas. However, for a buck, who cares? They go perfectly with Mi Ranchito’s fare—smart diners skip the combo plates and go right for the muy authentico Mexican specialties. Ole! 9550 S. State, Sandy, 801-233-0571; 396 E. State, American Fork, 801-7566138,


Best Late-Night
Bayleaf Cafe

In the past year, diners have seen an explosion of new eateries on and off Main Street north of 400 South. Even more of a lucky find is a cafe catering to night owls. On weekends, the Bayleaf Café, open daytime hours during the week, keeps its doors open from Friday at 11 a.m. to Sunday at 9 p.m. It tops the list for late-night diners with its cheesy grits, country-gravy-smothered fries and barbecue shrimp, often served with live music on the side. Most dishes slide in under $10. What more could you ask? 159 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-359-8490,
2. Eva
3. Molca Salsa

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