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For many people, Dojo Asian-Inspired Cuisine & Lounge is the top stop for sushi and sashimi, which are always excellent. But we especially love the hearty, soul-warming ramen, particularly the pork-belly version. It’s a big soup bowl filled with a generous mound of perfectly cooked ramen noodles and topped with tantalizingly tender strips of pork belly, slivered scallions, hard-boiled egg, thin slices of pink kamaboko (Japanese fish cake) and nori in an extraordinary housemade broth. Is it soup yet? It’s more than just soup—it’s ramen.
423 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-328-3333, DojoSLC.com
Loyal customers return to Siragusa’s again and again for inexpensive, delicious Italian-American fare and some of the friendliest faces in town. Classics like spaghetti & meatballs and veal Parmesan are real crowd-pleasers at this mom & pop eatery. But we love owner/chef Ross Siragusa’s knockout gnocchi the best. They’re made using sweet potatoes and lightly tossed in a silky cream-and-cheese, Alfredo-style sauce, served atop a bed of spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms and slivered onions. You’ll just have to forgive us if we get a little greedy with our gnocchi.
4115 S. Redwood Road, Taylorsville, 801-268-1520, Siragusas.com
Best Resort Restaurant
Located at Canyons Resort, The Farm simply does everything right. The top-notch dining experience often begins with a warm greeting from manager Gordon Montana and doesn’t end until the last sip of wine and morsel of dessert has disappeared. In the interim, there is stellar service and sensational cooking, with most ingredients being sourced locally from a 100-mile radius whenever possible. From the chopped Utah Creminelli salad and local oxtail soup topped with Beehive’s Barely Buzzed cheese to the exceptional sous vide game hen served with skin “cracklins,” the cuisine and overall dining experience at The Farm are simply second to none.
4000 Canyons Resort Drive, Park City, 435-615-8080, TheCanyons.com
Best Island Experience
Adobos Caribbean Grill
Sandy isn’t exactly known for its exotic eats, but Adobos Caribbean Grill is bringing the fresh flavors of the islands to Franchiseville. The owners hail from Puerto Rico, but the menu selection is pan-Caribbean, ranging from classics like ropa vieja and arroz con pollo to Cuban sandwiches, Jamaican-style jerk chicken, shrimp Creole and popular chicharrones. Don’t leave without trying the delicious house dessert, guavabestia, a warm, flaky empanada stuffed with guava and cream cheese.
9460 S. Union Square Plaza (650 East), Sandy, 801-523-3672, AdobosGrill.com
Market Street Grill
Flying fresh fish in daily from the coasts, Market Street Grill is the default setting for Utah seafood lovers looking to dine out. With a wide-ranging menu that spans the waters from fresh-shucked oysters and steamed lobster to fresh Alaskan halibut, seafood Louie, crab ravioli and shrimp bisque, Market Street is the dining destination for all things fishy.
Multiple locations, MarketStreetGrill.com
3. Bucket O’ Crawfish
Best British Bombshell
Scotch Egg, Poplar Street Pub
It’s not something you normally see outside of British (and sometimes Irish) pubs: the Scotch egg. And it’s definitely an acquired taste. But once you get your lips around a Scotch egg, life will never be quite the same again. It might be the most perfect bar food ever conceived. Poplar Street Pub’s Scotch egg is a hard-cooked egg wrapped in housemade garlic sausage, bathed in beer batter, then deep-fried and served with fresh greens and sliced tomatoes (to help offset the cholesterol) . Betcha can’t eat just one!
242 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-532-2715, PoplarStreetPub.com
For authentic Middle Eastern flavors in a super-friendly atmosphere, O’Falafel, Etc. is a no-brainer. Dishes like the flatbread pizzas, shawarma, makhshi, yakhni khudra, stuffed grape leaves and kifteh are all superb. Our favorite item, however, is the namesake falafel: oval patties of ground garbanzo beans seasoned with a hint of onion, parsley and cilantro, then lightly fried and served with soft, doughy pita. Wash it down with authentically potent Turkish coffee, with hints of cardamom.
790 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-487-7747, OFalafelEtc.com
A perfectionist at heart, Takashi chef and owner Takashi Gibo would never be satisfied with serving anything but the freshest fish and seafood prepared with the skills of a Japanese sushi master. So, Utahns win—the sushi and sashimi at Takashi are simply unparalleled for freshness and flavor. The best strategy is to belly up to the sushi bar and put yourself in Takashi’s capable hands, eating omakase style; just say “feed me.” But while you’re at it, be sure to try a T&T roll (for Takashi and Tamara, his wife), spicy mussels with raw quail egg, nigiri with the day’s fresh catch and our favorite: ankimo—steamed monkfish liver that tastes like foie gras.
18 W. Market St. (340 South), Salt Lake City, 801-519-9595, TakashiSushi.com
Best Eclectic Eats
Two Bit Street Cafe
Co-owner/chef Penny Allred might not have trained with the likes of Jean-Georges, Mario or Emeril, but her versatility in the kitchen is remarkable. The menu at her Two Bit Street Cafe is unlike any other you’ll find, with dishes ranging from steamed Little Neck clams and killer cheeseburgers to a terrific Cuban sandwich, organic chicken with citrus-Dijon glaze, Argentine-style “gaucho-grilled” beef and even a perfectly cooked tuna-steak sandwich. If there were such a thing as eclectic eats, this is it.
126 25th St., Ogden, 801-393-1225, TwoBitStreet.com
Best Varieties of Artisan Bread
Red Bicycle Breadworks
Tucked away in Park City’s The Market grocery store, Red Bicycle Breadworks quietly produces world-class breads using nothing but natural, locally sourced ingredients and “local hands.” The motto is “Keeping Utah crusty!” and that’s done daily with fresh, eclectic offerings such as Wasatch beer bread, chocolate-chipotle bread, bread made with citrus and herbs de Provence, Italian-style baguettes, potato and olive oil foccacia with fresh herbs and our favorite: the classic French bouille. Get there around 3:30 p.m. when the bread comes out fresh from the oven.
1500 Snow Drive, Park City, 435-602-9026, Facebook.com/RedBicycleBread
Best Chile Verde
Tarahumara Comida Mexicana
Midway might seem like a long way to travel for a bowl of chile verde, but Tarahumara’s is well worth the trip. Not that it’s all this terrific Mexican eatery has to offer. There is also ceviche, sautéed shrimp with tequila and orange, pollo asado, lamb barbacoa and much more, including one of the best salsa bars in the West. But the chile verde is extra-special, made with lean pork loin, onions, garlic, roasted Anaheim chiles, chicken broth and kosher salt. The chile verde is simmered slowly until the pork all but melts away, and is served with a choice of flour or corn tortillas (housemade, of course). This is championship chile.
380 E. Main, Midway, 435-654-3465, Tarahumara.biz