Best of Utah 2014: Dine & Drink | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City

Best of Utah

Best of Utah 2014: Dine & Drink

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Best of Logan
Caffe Ibis
In some ways, Logan is one of Utah’s most diverse cities, a mix of idealistic college students, conservative farmers, ambitious entrepreneurs and outdoor enthusiasts. And Caffe Ibis, which was born in the ’80s out of a sorta-hippie health-food shop and has since grown into one of Utah’s most recognizable brands, is the best encapsulation of that meshing of the minds. When you walk into the shop, just blocks from the Logan LDS Temple, you’ll find overlapping posters and fliers advertising bands, tarot-card readings, volunteer opportunities, Singles Ward activities, yoga classes and political rallies; USU students grabbing organic sandwiches; grizzled ranchers waiting silently in line for a cup of basic black; a row of bins where you’ll recycle each and every part of your coffee cup; occasional live music; and, of course, the overarching beautiful smell of Caffe Ibis’ triple-certified, roasted-to-perfection coffee.
52 Federal Ave., Logan, 435-753-4777, CaffeIbis.com
2. Crumb Brothers Artisan Bread
3. Firehouse Pizza

Best Two-Handed Burger
Golden Spike Burger
It’s not difficult to stack a burger high with mediocre fixings and gray, overcooked beef. It’s another thing entirely to make a tall and tasty burger that requires two hands to eat and is satisfying to the last bite. That’s why any trip up north deserves a slight detour off Interstate 15 for Golden Spike Burger. While this comfy roadside diner offers a dozen tempting burgers, take it from us and get the namesake Golden Spike. This burger almost requires a golden spike to be hammered through it to secure the delicious bacon, melted cheese, avocado and two crispy onion rings perched atop the perfectly cooked beef patty.
3960 W. Highway 13, Corinne, 435-744-2400

Best Waffle Worship
Waffle Love
Falling in love has never been as easy as it is at one of Waffle Love’s trucks or Provo storefront. The traditionally crispy Liege waffles are a beautiful balance of crunchy and soft. They come best with a simple topping like whipped clotted cream, or a hefty spread of Biscoff—an exquisite European spread with a peanut-butter texture and a spicy, brown-sugar sweetness. For something more elaborate, you can also fall in love with the Red Wonder, stacked high with cream and fresh strawberries and raspberries.
1796 N. 950 West, Provo, 801-923-3588, Waffluv.com

VIP Voters say their favorite spot for brunch and business lunches is
Market Street
48 W. Market St. (340 South), Salt Lake City, 801-322-4668, MarketStreetGrill.com

It’s hard to believe there was a time in the 1970s when the historic New Yorker Building had disintegrated to a point that it was condemned by the city. And the idea that it could be turned into an upscale restaurant that would become a Salt Lake City institution—serving more than a million guests a year, according to Gastronomy, Inc. marketing manager Steve Field—must have seemed ridiculous in 1978, when John Williams and Tom Sieg opened the New Yorker Club, and then again two years later when they expanded and opened the Market Street Grill & Oyster Bar.

There was a time that it was near impossible to find fresh fish in Utah restaurants. Then, the folks behind Market Street cut a deal with Delta Airlines to bring seafood from the ocean to the airport in 24 hours or less. Now, of course, everyone is doing it, but Market Street was the first on the block. That unique role is part of what makes Market Street, the Oyster Bar and sister restaurant The New Yorker the near-unanimously agreed-upon downtown destinations for “when you’ve got to seal the deal,” as Fox 13 reporter Ben Winslow puts it.

But it also affords simpler pleasures. Former Utah Jazz coach Frank Layden says he and his wife, Barbara, often go to Market Street for Sunday brunch. “They’ve got the best soup and bread—the best clam chowder in the world.”

Market Street is also the ideal setting for Sunday brunch the way Charles “Dottie S. Dixon” Frost envisions it: “Sunday morning, wake up. Splash-splash. Dress—casual and however you can. Don shades—acceptable throughout. Bloody Mary with spicy rim and shrimp. Restorative oysters. Benedict special. Prosecco ending. Home. Nap.”

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Best Chinese
Mandarin
That a Greek-owned restaurant located in Bountiful should win the award for Utah’s Best Chinese restaurant is a tribute to how special Mandarin is—the food, the service, the wonderful ambiance; the whole nine yards. The Greeks, by the way, aren’t allowed in the kitchen. That’s the sole domain of an exceptionally talented crew of Chinese chefs who prepare delectable dishes that range from Peking duck to bon bon chicken, accompanied by a super selection of wine, beer and cocktails.
348 E. 900 North, Bountiful, 801-298-2406, MandarinUtah.com
2. Red Maple
3. Little World

Best Southern Pig-Out
Sonny Boy’s
After 10 a.m. on Main Street in Cedar City, the smell of charcoal and burning wood scents the air as Sonny Boy’s begins cooking brisket and pork on its smoker. The sides at this Southern-barbecue specialist—fried cauliflower, fried pickle chips and flaky cornbread, to name just three—are capable of making your mouth water as much as the generous helpings of smoked brisket, sticky ribs and burnt pork ends. And let’s not forget the delicious bread pudding for dessert. Who needs a grill when Sonny Boy’s does it so well for you?
Multiple locations, SonnyBoysBBQ.com

Best Sweet Life
Dolcetti Gelato
Walking through the front doors of this adorable shop will shift your sniffer into overdrive, as numerous tantalizing aromas of crispy and creamy sweet things vie for your attention. Whether you’re craving a fruit-covered Belgian waffle topped with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle, a fresh macaron, a pastry, a nibble of locally made chocolate, or fresh-brewed coffee or tea, Dolcetti Gelato has something to satisfy every fancy. But if you really want to send your taste buds to Pleasure Town, melt into the dreamy, decadent gelato. A variety of flavors will beckon from behind the glass, but if you order half chocolate and half hazelnut, you’ll experience a gelato combination that was gifted by the gods.
902 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-485-3254, DolcettiGelato.com

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Best Vietnamese
Oh Mai Vietnamese Sandwich Kitchen
This restaurant’s casual vibe welcomes diners into a space that feels like someone’s home kitchen instead of a restaurant. And on a cold afternoon, there’s nothing better than cozying up to a window table at Oh Mai with a steaming bowl of pho, with broth that’s fragrant and complex. But don’t make the mistake of missing the banh mi. It sounds so simple—Vietnamese sandwich fixings stacked onto a crispy French baguette—but these babies provide flavor fireworks that are nothing short of spectacular. The rich honey-glazed pork variety is simultaneously sweet, sour, spicy, crunchy and chewy, with cilantro, garlic butter, oiled scallions, cucumbers, pickled carrots, daikon and jalapeños, all glistening with a chili-lime-fish vinaigrette. Prices that hover around $5 will tempt you to buy one banh mi to gobble down on the spot and another for nibbling on the way home.
3425 S. State, South Salt Lake, 801-467-6882; 6093 S. Highland Drive, Holladay, 801-277-9888, OhMaiSandwich.com
2. Café Trang
3. Indochine

Best Taste of the Old Country
The Old Dutch Store
It’s easy to say “I’m half German and half Swedish,” but sometimes it’s hard to connect with one’s ethnic identity in a way that isn’t just an abstract statement. Since 1978, The Old Dutch Store has provided a diverse selection of sweets, baked goods, cheeses, snacks and more for folks longing for the tastes and smells of their childhood—or their great-grandparents’ childhood. Whether you’re looking for some Dutch black licorice or Swedish lingonberry preserves, or just craving a fresh-made deli sandwich, The Old Dutch Store has everything you need to truly own your European heritage. Just look for the giant windmill on the roof.
2696 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-467-5052, OldDutchStore.com

Best Place to Binge on Wings
Devil’s Daughter
“Wing Wednesday” isn’t exactly a new concept, but pound for pound, nobody does delicious, economical chicken quite like Devil’s Daughter. Imagine, if you will, slowly smoked wings and flats with skin that is somehow simultaneously crispy and juicy. They arrive at your table untainted—you choose the flavor of each bite, with a large assortment of Southern-style sauces. And the best part is that each wing is a measly 33 cents, so you can crush your weight in wings without bustin’ the wallet.
533 S. 500 West, Salt Lake City, 801-532-1610, DevilsDaughterSLC.com

Best Juicy Secret
Tonyburgers
The secret to these juicy, flavorful burgers is the beef. “Well, duh,” you might be thinking. But seriously—the patties are a top-secret “tri-beef” blend of different cuts of beef, making these the most succulent burgers around. And Tonyburgers lets you fully customize your burger, from the basics (four kinds of cheese, bacon) to the decadent (fried egg!), plus all the vegetables you want at no extra cost, so you can complement that juicy beef with all the grilled or raw onions and jalapeños you (or your date) can stand.
Multiple locations, TonyBurgers.com

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Finn's Cafe

Best Scandinavian Brunch
Finn’s Cafe
There’s no better way to while away a lazy Sunday morning than by heading to Finn’s Cafe for a bustling brunch with friends or a relaxing session of gazing out the window and sipping coffee. Owner/chef Finn Gurholt works culinary magic in his kitchen, giving brunch, breakfast and lunch favorites a Scandinavian twist. Whether the morning calls for the scrumptious Norsk omelette (with capers, melted havarti cheese and Bay shrimp) or the Scandinavian breakfast of poached red trout with tartar sauce served with two eggs, hash browns and toast, Finn’s Cafe provides a taste of the Far North in the middle of Salt Lake City. The sleek ’60s diner look provides a fun retro vibe, and the small patio is a perfect perch during warm weather.
1624 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-467-4000, FinnsCafe.net

Best Taco Cart Tradition
Tacos Don Rafa
This veritable grandfather of Utah taco stands, established in 1998, is also known as the State Street taco cart. It’s a small cart on a nondescript sidewalk in front of a Sears, but you’ll be able to spot Tacos Don Rafa by the near-constant crowds. While pigeons forage futilely for scraps, businessmen in ironed shirts jostle with tatted-up folks to shell out $1.50 for two tacos or $3 for a burrito. What makes eating Don Rafa’s food such a pleasure is how flavorful and fresh the ingredients are, from the carne asada and beef tongue to the shredded cabbage and chopped-up radishes. As you savor your selection, perched on the cement wall by the cart as the traffic goes by, music booming from nearby car stereos, you’ll already be planning a return visit.
800 S. State, Salt Lake City, Facebook.com/DonRafaTacos

Best Gluten-Free Bar Grub
Fiddler’s Elbow
Fiddler’s Elbow knows that gluten-free grub and comfort food shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. The Sugar House spot’s menu has a host of tasty options for the wheat-averse, ranging from sumptuous veggie chili to a whole mess of salads, including the black & blue salad topped with marinated flank steak and blue-cheese crumbles. But the piece de resistance might be the pulled-pork nachos: a mouthwatering plate of pulled pork globbed lovingly onto a pile of corn tortilla chips with three kinds of cheese, plus black olives, onions, jalapeños, sour cream and guac.
1063 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-463-9393, FiddlersElbowSLC.com

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Best French
The Paris Bistro & Zinc Bar
French restaurants, bistros and brasseries come and go in this town, and yet The Paris Bistro & Zinc Bar has sustained a longevity that is all too enviable in the restaurant world. That’s no fluke. Eric DeBonis’ homage to the City of Lights is actually named for a historic Salt Lake City department store called The Paris. But with its belle époque atmosphere, authentic French and Mediterranean cuisine, excellent service and top-notch wine selection, this Paris makes you feel like you’re in Paris.
1500 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-486-5585, TheParis.net
2. Franck’s
3. La Caille

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Best Japanese
Takashi
If you want to find the best Japanese cuisine in Utah, here’s a recommendation: Just look for the place with a line of hungry folks outside, queued up to snag a coveted table when the restaurant opens for dinner at 5:30 p.m. And this is for a restaurant that doesn’t even have a website! That’s how good the service, ambiance and food here is, from the best miso soup you’ll ever encounter and the flawlessly fresh sushi and sashimi, to the kurobuta pork belly and sensational soba with beef short ribs. And to many of Takashi Gibo’s followers, Takashi is more than just the best Japanese restaurant around. For SLUG editor Angela Brown, it’s “not only my favorite restarant in SLC, but my favorite restaurant on earth!”
18 W. Market St. (340 South), Salt Lake City, 801-519-9595
2. Naked Fish
3. Kyoto

Best Enchanted Patio
Faustina
This colorful Italian eatery is located on 300 South just east of downtown, but the moment you step onto the patio, you’ll find yourself surrounded by lush greenery and a sense of relaxed quiet—it’s like having a meal in a private garden far from the city. Faustina’s delectable food—don’t miss the pillow-size, literal melt-in-your-mouth blueberry soufflé for dessert—would be good served anywhere, but eating on the restaurant’s patio elevates the dining experience to a magical level.
454 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-746-4441, FaustinaSLC.com

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Best Romantic
Log Haven
Celebrating its 20th anniversary under the ownership of Margo Provost, Log Haven has become the go-to destination for engagements, anniversaries, weddings and other romantic interludes. But where’s the romance without good grub and grog? That’s where Chef Dave Jones’ creative cuisine and general manager Ian Campbell’s wine expertise come in. After all, it’s one thing to fall in love; it’s another to fall in love totally satiated.
6451 E. Millcreek Canyon Road, Salt Lake City, 801-272-8255, Log-Haven.com
2. Fresco
3. Pago

Best Park City Takeout
The Bakery at Windy Ridge
Tucked in a small plaza just before the hill to Park City Mountain Resort, The Bakery at Windy Ridge is a must-stop before heading to the slopes, returning to the ski condo or making the drive back down to Salt Lake City. The offerings change seasonally, but there are always decadent delights like fruit tarts, sandwich cookies and Stareos—star-shaped cookies with a filling of vanilla-bean pastry cream, dipped in chocolate on one side. And if you’re in town for a while, make sure to stock up on fresh bread, cookie dough, pans of lasagna, fresh salsa, pies, cakes and more.
1750 Ironhorse Drive, Park City, 435-647-2906, WindyRidgeBakery.com

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Brewvies Cinema Pub

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Best Cheap Date
Brewvies Cinema Pub
For frugal film buffs, dinner and a show at Brewvies is hard to beat. After all, a movie ticket, a stein of local beer and one of Brewvies’ gourmet pizzas or a basket of crispy sweet-potato fries can be had for pretty much the price of a large bag of popcorn and Skittles at some faceless mega-cine-multi-plexes. And where else would you find movie nights hosted by KRCL, Geek Show Podcast and, of course, City Weekly? Brewvies is a value-laden venue for low-cost courting.
677 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-322-3891, Brewvies.com
2. Oh Mai
3. Lucky 13

Best Efficient Use of Beer & Burgers
Hoppers Grill & Brewing
Beer & burgers are as natural a pairing as peanut butter & jelly or milk & cookies. And now, Hoppers has kicked it up a notch by infusing a new line of burgers with its house-brewed beers—Beergers, get it? The alcohol is all cooked out (so make sure to still order a pint of one of the brewpub’s award-winning beers), but the flavor of the hops remains. All of the Beergers will make your eyes pop out of their sockets, but the Kings Peak—a half-pound beef patty topped with bacon, stout onions and Nutella(!), all between two grilled-cheese pastrami sandwiches—literally stands above the rest.
890 E. Fort Union Blvd., Midvale, 801-566-0424, HoppersBrewpub.com

Best Bruschetta
Caffé Molise
There’s a lot to love about Caffé Molise—the impeccable decor, the relaxed yet upscale atmosphere, the gorgeous outdoor patio (complete with leafy trees and sunken pools, bordered by a wrought-iron fence) and, of course, the flawless cuisine. There’s no wrong way to start a night at Molise, but the bruschetta misto is a must-try. So much more than a couple of pieces of bread, cheese and tomato, this unique bruschetta will feed the entire table. Served on a platter, it’s a pile of crusty garlic bread with herbed bean puree, Roma tomatoes and fresh sauteed spinach on the side so you can load up your slice to your personal liking.
55 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-8833, CaffeMolise.com

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