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Bowman Brown, Forage
“Splurge” is a relative term, we suppose, as is “You get what you pay for.” And yes, $87 per person might seem a bit steep for supper. But then, we’ve seen luxury burgers priced at more than 30 bucks, too. And when Forage serves supper, it ain’t no appetizer, entree and spumoni: This is a 15-course extravaganza that takes hours to enjoy, accompanied by sensational service. So settle in for a splurge that is worth every cent.
370 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-708-7834, ForageRestaurant.com
3. The Copper Onion
For much of the year, it’s hot in Moab. And that is just perfect for the Moab Brewery; as the only brewery in town, it’s rarely in search of a wickedly thirsty audience. When you’re done rafting, biking, sightseeing, hiking or peeling out across the desert in a 4x4, the brewery is a great place to cool down and recharge your batteries with a selection of handcrafted beers and tasty pub food—including a large mix of vegetarian options. And in recent years, Moab has expanded, bringing four of its beloved beers—Johnny’s American IPA, Rocket Bike Amber Lager, Dead Horse Amber Ale and Squeaky Bike Nut Brown Ale—in cans to the Wasatch Front.
686 S. Main, Moab, 435-259-6333, TheMoabBrewery.com
2. Eddie McStiff’s
3. Fiesta Mexicana
Billy Blanco's Restauranteur
Billy Blanco’s Restaurateur
Bill White’s Park City eateries—Grappa, Chimayo, Windy Ridge Cafe, Wahso, Ghidotti’s and Sushi Blue—are all eye candy. But he’s really outdone himself with Billy Blanco’s, located in Quarry Village, which is tricked out with Ducati and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, a vintage Dodge Charger, a Shelby GT and more as an homage to Detroit. The terrific food, however, nods toward Mexico, with from-scratch carnitas, tacos, burritos, fajitas and such. It’s a unique, fun mix of north- and south-of-the-border.
8208 Gorgoza Pines Road, Park City, 435-575-0846, BillyBlancos.com
Best Icy Innovation
Your summer sweet tooth is often satisfied by ice cream, sometimes by shaved ice. Snowy Awesome is a unique combination of the two, with a special dash of something extra. Served in a hollowed-out pineapple, the treat sandwiches ice cream between two layers of shaved ice, with sweetened condensed milk on top for a rich, tropical kick. Though they have no regular retail outlet as yet, you can find Snowy Awesome at farmers markets or contact them on Facebook to find their next stop.
It seems like everyone is doing it—serving tapas and “small plates,” that is. But Eva was ahead of the curve, dishing up small plates at small prices long before it was trendy. And they’re still the best, with cuisine ranging from wood-fired flatbreads and bodacious Brussels sprouts with hazelnuts and cider vinegar, to the Eva’s Bakery baguettes with an assortment of housemade butters, and the lamb chop with herbs de Provence and lavender salt. The plates may be small, but the flavors are ginormous.
317 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-359-8447, EvaSLC.com
Best Cake Truffle Bites
Swirly Girls Gourmet Bakery
They’re not exactly tiny bites of cake; they’re not exactly rich and creamy truffles. But pairing the two in these wonderful confections is decidedly addictive. Daybreak resident Debi Jensen opened Swirly Girls in a spot close to home to serve up the results of her baking expertise. Flavors vary daily, but if examples like the Key lime are any indication, they’re all palm-size packets of om nom nom.
11248 Kestrel Rise Road, South Jordan, 801-254-3751, SwirlyGirlsGourmetBakery.com
Best Resort Wines
Situated at the top of Snowbird’s Cliff Lodge, the altitude of The Aerie restaurant sets it apart from most ski-resort restaurants, as does the impeccable service and top-notch cuisine. What you might not expect is the world-class wine list, which has more than 1,000 wines ranging from Old World French Burgundy to New World Torrontes from Argentina. It’s a wino’s wet dream.
9600 E. Little Cottonwood Canyon, Snowbird, 801-933-2160, Snowbird.com
Best Garlic Dreams
From Scratch’s White Out pizza
The driving force behind new downtown Salt Lake City restaurant From Scratch is simplicity. Most everything is made in-house, without “industrial interference”—including the flour, which is milled right on the premises. And all of that hard work and fresh ingredients results in some great food—and strong flavors. For garlic-lovers, you can’t beat the White Out—a crispy crust slathered with housemade Alfredo sauce, fresh ricotta, Parmesan Reggiano and mozzarella cheeses and roasted garlic. And we don’t mean just a few pieces of garlic here and there—we’re talking a handful of whole cloves per slice, all roasted to the perfect softness and nutty flavor. It’s a pizza that’ll stick with you—literally; you’ll still be able to smell it on your skin the next day.
62 E. Gallivan Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-538-5090, FromScratchSLC.com
The R&R brothers—Rod and Roger Livingston—are serious about barbecue. So serious that they cooked on the competitive barbecue circuit for years before finally opening a restaurant. Well, R&R Barbeque has been putting smiles and barbecue-sauce stains on customers’ faces since its opening. Although everything here rocks—from the pork ribs to the fried okra—the barbecued beef brisket is particularly stupendous: tender and moist, with beautiful smoke rings running just under the bark. You’d have to travel to Texas to find brisket anywhere near as good, and who wants to do that?
307 W. 600 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-0443, RAndRBBQ.net
Ruby River Steakhouse Provo-based
Ruby River Steakhouse just celebrated its 20th anniversary serving magnificent hunks of meat to the citizens of Utah, and the locations in Centerville, Ogden and Salt Lake City make it easy to try them out. The menu features only grain-fed, 21-day-aged American beef, cut fresh daily and given a 1,600-degree sear to keep every drop of juiciness available for customers’ delight. Whether your choice is a gorgonzola-crusted New York strip, a mouth-watering bacon-wrapped filet mignon, crab- and asparagus-topped steak Oscar or a good old fashioned T-bone, Ruby River delivers every steak well-done—and finding that kind of consistency is rare.
Multiple locations, RubyRiver.com
2. Spencer’s For Steaks & Chops
3. Maddox Ranch House
Painted Pony Restaurant
With a sizable wine list, full bar and a seasonally rotating menu that includes a rack of lamb and bacon-wrapped duck, the 13-year-old Painted Pony Restaurant caters to an upper-crust crowd in St. George. Owner and Executive Chef Randall Richards sources local produce—much of which comes from his acre garden—and organic meats to fill the menu. This local emphasis has spilled out of the Painted Pony into other endeavors, like a weekly farmers market held at the restaurant each Saturday from May to October.
2 W. St. George Blvd., No. 22, St. George, 435-634-1700, Painted-Pony.com
2. Bear Paw Cafe
3. Jazzy Java Rock & Roll Grill
El Paisa Grill
El Paisa Grill
You might be familiar with the Mexican mortar & pestle made from lava rock called a molcajete. It’s used to grind corn and pulverize avocados for guacamole. Well, the molcajete is also a complex, scrumptious dish named for the implement it’s served in. At El Paisa, the molcajete supreme is a brain-bending mélange of beef, chicken and shrimp with nopalitos, plump Mexican-style scallions and jalapeños, bathed in green chile sauce and served in a molten-hot stone molcajete. Delicioso!
2126 S. 3200 West, West Valley City, 801-973-6660, ElPaisaGrill.com
Best Pizza Folding
Transplants from the East Coast—especially from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut—are all too familiar with the dearth of East Coast-style pizzerias here in Zion. Thank heaven, then, for the Fat Kid Pizza at Maxwell’s, named for owner and Jersey boy Steve Maxwell (who’s not fat). The delectable slices of his authentic East Coast-style pizzas are fold-worthy.
357 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-328-0304; 1456 Newpark Blvd., Park City, 435-647-0304, MaxwellsECE.com
Situated creekside in the Village at Solitude Mountain Resort, Honeycomb Grill serves excellent burgers, pizzas and more. But the real showstopper for lovers of rustic Italian pasta is the spaghetti carbonara. Made under the watchful eye of Executive Chef Greg Neville, who spent years cooking in Italy, this is authentic carbonara: high-quality al dente spaghetti tossed with fresh egg yolks, house-cured guanciale, fresh-cracked black pepper and Parmesan cheese. Nothing more, nothing less—just carbonara the way God intended.
12000 Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, Solitude, 801-536-5787, SkiSolitude.com
Best Local Cookbook
The creation of Kenvin Lyman—the late chef, musician, artist, graphic designer, gardener and all-around raconteur—Kenvin: An Artist’s Kitchen is a celebration of the creativity and zest for life that Lyman had in spades. This coffee-table book is brimming with the sort of good vibes and community spirit that Lyman always projected, along with practical recipes, politics, life lessons, anecdotes, tall tales and so much more. It’s a cookbook to keep at your bedside.
Best Wine Dinners
It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that ex-NBA great and Franck’s restaurant partner Mark Eaton should throw such bang-up wine dinners. After all, he’s a wine aficionado himself. Still, there’s something special about the wine dinners at Franck’s. The wines, of course, are always spectacular, and so is the ambiance. But chefs Adam Vickers and Robert Perkins and their culinary team pull out all the stops in the kitchen, pairing the wines with dishes that are not only suitable, but also extra delicious.
6263 S. Holladay Blvd., Salt Lake City, 801-274-6264, FrancksFood.com
Moochie’s Meatballs & More
To call what Moochie’s serves merely “sandwiches” seems like an injustice. After all, a Moochie’s Philly cheesesteak is so much more than just a sandwich. It’s a little slice of heaven via the City of Brotherly Love, which is where owner Joanna Rendi hails from. She knows her way around not only cheesesteaks, but also Moochie’s sublime meatball sandwich and the Italian sausage, chicken Parmesan, grilled Reuben and gourmet grilled-cheese sammiches. You can call it a sandwich; we call it a fabulous feast.
232 E. 800 South, Salt Lake City, 801-596-1350; 7725 S. State, Midvale, 801-562-1500, MoochiesMeatballs.com
3. Feldman’s Deli
Best Downtown Debut
Opening just as the days of summer were fading in 2013, Spitz is a joyful addition to the array of lunch choices for downtown workers. The fresh, sharply designed venue has a certain European flair, with a menu that is a tantalizing mix of simple and sophisticated. The specialty is doner kebabs—juicy meat cooked on a spit and served as a sandwich or wrap, similar to a gyro. But other delightful Mediterranean fare can be found here as well. It would almost be a sin to miss the street-cart fries topped with a spicy mix of garlic aioli, feta, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, olives, pepperoncinis and chili sauce, which you can wash down with wine, beer or a cocktail before you head back to the office.
35 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-0286, SpitzSLC.com
Best Eclectic Menu
Tea Rose Diner
If you were handed a restaurant menu that included items as varied as banana pancakes, Reuben sandwiches, burgers, pad thai, massaman curry, housemade ice cream and 70 types of tea, you’d probably assume you’d entered an alternate culinary universe. Well, those are exactly the sort of offerings you’ll find at Murray’s Tea Rose Diner. Amazingly, it’s all really good. Be sure to try the pad see-ew while your youngster enjoys a PB&J.
65 E. Fifth Ave. (4880 South), No. 4880, Murray, 801-685-6111, TeaRoseDiner.net
Bruges Waffles & Frites
The waffles, sandwiches and breakfast items at Bruges Waffles & Frites are tasty in their own right, but it’s the Belgian-style frites, dipped in one of Bruges’ outrageous housemade mayos, that bring fry-lovers to Bruges in droves and has allowed owner and Belgium native Pierre Vandamme to expand his operation from a simple food cart to one of the state’s favorite eateries. With two locations in the Salt Lake Valley, plus a seasonal hut at Canyons Resort in Park City, Bruges is never too far away to fulfill your french-fry fix. And for 2014, as it celebrates the start of its fifth year, Bruges has gone back to its roots, adding the Bruges Waffle Bus to the mix—could a Bruges Frites Van be close behind?
336 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-4444; 2314 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-486-9999, BrugesWaffles.com
2. Lucky 13
3. The Bayou