It won’t be long before there will be snow on the ground and ice on the sidewalks and we’ll be heading up to Park City’s resorts with our skis and snowboards in tow. By January, we will be begging for a break from Old Man Winter. Before that happens, I encourage you to take full advantage of the warm weather that’s left and head up to Park City—not for the snow, but for the outdoor dining.
You undoubtedly know about some of Park City’s premier al fresco dining spots. The patios, decks and courtyards at restaurants like the Riverhorse, Grappa, Stein Eriksen Lodge, Royal Street Café, Café Terigo, Easy Street, Montage, Maxwell’s, the St. Regis, Wasatch Brew Pub and others are deservedly popular and well-documented. Why, you can even eat outside at the Whole Foods Market in Kimball Junction. However, there are a handful of outdoor dining spots that might have escaped your attention. These are places where the food rates as high as the views: my picks for under-the-radar al fresco dining spots in Park City.
At Canyons, The Farm is getting all the accolades, and deservedly so, for its outstanding cuisine, service and support of local food purveyors. Less well-known is Westgate Grill (3000 Canyons Resort Drive, 435-655-2260), where the views from the outdoor dining deck are endless. It’s not unusual to see moose roaming in the fields near Westgate. Chef Kyle Smith’s cooking style is new American cuisine, and the menu features items such as lobster-stuffed jalapeños, beer-braised pork belly, Niman Ranch spiced rubbed pork, a pine-nut-crusted rainbow trout sandwich and a slider trio: venison, buffalo and meatloaf. The restaurant is currently also offering a dinner-for-two special, priced at $59.99.
Over in Old Town, The Bridge Cafe & Grill (825 Main, 435-658-5451) boasts superb views from the big, sun-drenched patio right next to the Old Town Lift. It’s an ideal spot to enjoy one of Park City’s best breakfasts, with eggs Benedict, omelets, French toast, pancakes, oatmeal and a lot more to choose from. Along with classic American fare like burgers, cheesesteaks and chicken wings, The Bridge also mixes in some Brazilian favorites, like the tender Brazuca steak sandwich, Brazilian-style shrimp with garlic, a South American “passion” salad and my favorite: moqueca Baiana, which is a fish and shellfish stew made with coconut milk and Brazilian dende oil, in the style of Bahia. A classic Brazilian caipirinha cocktail alongside would be perfect, but there are also mojitos, margaritas, beer, wine and lots of other beverages—including Brazilian guaraná—to choose from. Muito bem!
Located just a short walk from The Bridge is Reef’s Kitchen (710 Main, 435-658-0323), which, since the move to the Marriot Summit Watch Plaza, now offers al fresco patio dining. Reef’s is a friendly, family-run restaurant with an emphasis on Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. Reef’s is also vegetarian- and gluten-free-friendly. And, the restaurant doubles as an art gallery, curated by Ida Yoked, whose own paintings are truly wonderful. Along with Middle East and Mediterranean faves like falafel, baba ghanoush, hummus, tzatziki, moussaka and such, you’ll also find delicious lamb chops spiced with baharat, chicken schnitzel, tortellini with basil-pine nut pesto and mussels in red curry—an eclectic array of eating options, for sure. A real crowd pleaser is the macadamia-nut-crusted halibut filet, served with ginger-sesame noodles, poached beets and serrano-citrus sauce. But be sure to save room for the delicious semolina and coconut cake called basbousa; it’s outrageous.
Now that Shabu (442 Main, 435-645-7253) has moved into the space formerly occupied by Bacchus Wine Bar, the restaurant serves lunch and dinner, indoors and out. Owners Kevin and Bob Valaika dish up what they call “freestyle cuisine,” a melding of traditional Asian items such as shabu shabu hot pots, with contemporary creations like Wagyu beef with ponzu butter, crispy lobster “nests,” squid in pasta, coconut-crusted tofu and miso-glazed black cod. Summertime is a good time to get acquainted with Shabu’s small plate offerings—tapas-style dishes like skewered Thai beef salad, seared tuna tataki, blistered green beans, daily dim sum and the irresistible poke salad. Sushi and sashimi are also star attractions here, as is the saketini bar, which features sake-based martinis like the Osmosis, Bloody Tiger, Green Dragon, Jupiter Cosmo and Secret Place. Shabu might just be Park City’s best undiscovered restaurant. I recommend discovering it while the weather is still warm.
My favorite new al fresco dining find is the Silver Star Café (1825 Three Kings Drive, 435-655-3456), which is owned and run by longtime Park City restaurateurs Jeff Ward and Lisa Cilva Ward. The rustic cafe is cozy inside (50 seats), with additional seating outside on the plaza and patio, looking out onto the Park City Golf Course and offering views all the way to the Uinta Mountains. It’s a truly unique and appealing restaurant setting. The owners describe the cuisine as “American roots”—home-style cooking with a Western influence. The recent addition of chef Dave Bible, formerly of Sego Lily Cafe, to the Silver Star lineup makes dining there even more inviting. Brunch items include naughty Nutella and mascarpone-stuffed French toast, biscuits & gravy, huevos rancheros and a Caprese omelet, to name just a few breakfast/brunch items. At lunchtime, salads, sandwiches, burgers, hearth-fired pizzas and fish tacos are the main draws, while for dinner, folks show up for small-plate offerings like grilled shrimp and grits, or larger plates such as steak frites, roasted all-natural chicken, mushroom stroganoff and pan-fried Niman Ranch pork cutlets. Add an appealing wine and beer selection and occasional live music to Silver Star’s great views and good grub, and you’ve got a winning recipe for outdoor Park City dining.