Salt Lake City Recommendations?
I am heading out to Salt Lake City for an extended business trip (11 days) and am hoping you guys will be able to recommend some cool places to check out? I will be on a relatively tight budget but would love to splurge for a few higher-end meals. I'm coming from Seattle and love beer, seafood and all ethnic foods.
Also, looking for ideas for a weekend roadtrip driving distance to/from SLC.
Really appreciate any insight as I've never been there before.
All of these restaurants are downtown except Tiburon, which is worth the drive.
Best Food in SLC: Tiburon (American Continental)
The elk entree is awesome
8256 S 700 E
Sandy, UT 84070-0508
Italian: Cucina Toscana
307 W Pierpont Ave
Salt Lake City, UT 84101-1712
(a little loud), the gnocchi is the best I've ever had. Won't be too pricey if you just have a bowl of soup and the gnocchi. If you do a starter, first, second, and entree, dessert, wine, etc., it will get pricey.
Seafood: Market Street Grill
Sushi: Takashi - very fresh and good.
18 W Market St (Cross Street: Between 300 South and 400 South
)Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Mexican: Red Iguana - they have great mole'
736 W North Temple (Cross Street: )
Salt Lake City, UT 84116
Fax: (801) 322-4834
BBQ / Soul Food - Rib Alley
Crown Burger - they're all over, but the closest one downtown is
377 E 200 S
Salt Lake City, UT 84111-2106
Martine: Tapas with a Mediterranean flair
22 E 100 S (Cross Street: S Main Street)
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
For Micro Brews or good variety you may want to try:
The Bayou - over 200 selections
Places I wouldn't go, that you may see on many lists include:
(you may also want to check out this link http://utah.citysearch.com/bestof/win...)
The local newspaper recently provided a full list of food inspectors reports of every eatery in the city. If you care to email me at FDawson00@yahoo.com, I will email you the list and final results. It might help you make your decisions on cleanliness, food handling, and where to eat.
red iguana for anything mexican, very affordable
takashi for sushi, good splurge
mazza for lebanese (two locations), also pretty affordable
crown burger because you just have to.
rib alley in whole restaurant form has been closed for a bit. they still serve their food at a bar called the Cabana Club. But for real 'cue, i'd head out to the west side and go visit Q4U at their new location. can't say i can endorse the food at the bayou...mostly overpriced stuff that's good when you've had more beer than not, though the imbibing part is quite fun.
Just Curious! Why is Log Haven on your " Places I wouldn't go" List? We just moved to SLC and went out to dinner with a colleage of my husband and his wife. They took us to LOG HAVEN, it was beautiful. The wine was great and the food was great. We had a german/swiss cheese dish appertif that was great, and a soup with mexican chipotle seasoning, fantastic. The flavour was very different yet very pleasant. I had the Grilled Diver Scallops with exotic mushrooms, fantastic to say the least. I loved it. I imagine it's a great place to go in the summer, they have the outside open for diners. I certainly would not group them with chain restaurants like: The Melting Pot, don't know the others. We've only been in SLC for 3 weeks.
I know this is an old topic, but for anyone reading it for suggestions on where to eat, I thought I'd add my 2cents.
I've never been able to figure out what all they hype is about when it comes to the Red Iguana. It's good, but seriously, there is much better mexican food in SLC.
my 2 favorite Mexican places are Miramar (300 W. 1300 S.) and Mi Ranchito (State & 2700 S.) I highly recommend the Chile Verde at Miramar and the Enchiladas de mole at Mi Ranchito.
Some of my other favorites are:
Thai Siam 1435 South State St.
Thai Garden 4410 S 900 East
Sawadee 754 East South Temple
The Golden Phoenix (Chinese) State & 1084 South
in the Gateway:
The Dodo for sure & don't leave w/o dessert, especially if they have the chocolate marzipan cake (can't remember what they call it, but I think it starts with an L)
Costa Vida is yummy, but it's a chain that you can find in many cities, although it is a "spin-off" of the original local Cafe Rio (400 S 500 E -ish) They're both good though!
Crown Burger & Apollo Burger are very similar, owned by brothers I think.
Hires & Litza's Pizza are local joints that are good if you're looking for a local hamburger or pizza joint (7th south & 7th East) If you're eating a burger, fries or onion rings at a local restaurant, make sure you try the fry sauce - yes, it's usually just catchup & mayo, but it's very good. The Training Table has a version with BBQ sauce & mayo which is seriously the best thing they sell lol!
Looking for ice cream after dinner? The Iceberg (3900 S 900 E) has fantastic shakes or Nielsen's Frozen Custard in bountiful is also a local favorite (570 W 2600 S. 15 minutes north of SLC)
Red Iguana is way overrated. The service, the crowded tables, the lines out the door, and the less than decent food make this a shocking "best Mexican" restaurant on Chowhound and Salt Lake Magazine. As someone who's recently relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area, and considering how we're able to find some amazing ethnic food in Salt Lake City, I'm astounded by the relentless praise for this restaurant. Reg Iguana feels like it is trying to pack diners in and turn them around as quickly as possible (and I'm assuming to make as much money as they can) without much care for the dining experience or quality. I would recommend we try some other Mexican restaurants in town instead -- and I'm looking forward to checking out your recommendations.
There are not enough superlatives to describe our experience at the Log Haven. Thank you all for a wonderful night. The return of Chef Jones we were told has, in the staff's minds, bettered the experience. having never dined here we cannot say. But, his menu is exquisite with something for everyone. The tastes were well blended. Presentation unreal. The service is top of the line. We were not rushed to our table but were able to enjoy a cocktail by the beautiful fireplace while our son enjoyed viewing the memorabilia scattered around the restaurant and its entrance area. Did we forget to mention that the wonderful food, services, etc., were all enjoyed while the Log Haven was on generator power. Our trip from NC to UT will be remembered from the evening we spent with all of you in your beautiful restaurant. We will come back to see the waterfall lit up next time we are in Salt Lake. 5 star!
Some of my favorite places:
Top of the list is Red Iguana. Everything I've had from their menu has been very good. The moles are excellent. A word of warning--the mole amarillo is good but extremely hot. If you're uncertain what to choose, the Puntas de Filete a la Nortena(sirloin tips, bacon, serranos, onions, tomatoes with almond mole) listed under Red Iguana Signature Dishes is probably the best thing on the menu.
Cafe Med is another place I really like. I tend to stick with the Persian offerings from there most of which come with an enormous amount of basmati rice. Good soups. My wife usually gets mousakka which is good, too.
Q-4-U is a good barbecue joint, but I've only really been impressed with the ribs(and the sauce) from there.
Royal India would be my recommendation for Indian food. I'm not from Salt Lake City and haven't been to Royal India in a while, but it still gets good reviews, I think.
re: Chimayo Joe
If you're uncertain of which mole to try, ask for the a taste. They'll bring out a saucer with a dot of 5 of the seven mole sauces. You can try them with a chip before committing. Unfortunately, not every mole is presented. I don't think the Puntas mole is presented.
I also love the greasy taco joints like Molca Salsa. It's open 24-hours and when a horchata and a machaca (shredded beef, scrambled eggs and cheese) burrito is the only thing you want, well, you can fill your needs.
Is Thai Siam still open ... and still good? It was good and pretty cheap. Though dinner was much better than lunch there.
How about Ruth's Diner up Immigration Canyon?
Oh and Lonester Taqueria for fish tacos. The fish changes every day but the jalepeno mayonaise is forever.
re: Chimayo Joe
Since moving to SLC area 1.5 years ago coming from Boston area where middle eastern restaurants are plentiful and great, the only place IMO that comes close and is excellent is Mazza. I've been to Cafe Med 3 times and it was ok except the last time when the food was overdone, overly salty, and just not good. Don't plan to go back.
re: Chimayo Joe
Get a sampler plate with hummus, loobia (killer green beans), potatoes Harra and either the Spinach Fatayer or the Sfiha (lamb pizza)...or if you are really hungry get both (order the least expensive one as the extra). I hate egglplant too, but the baba ghanouj at Mazza totally rules. The new location has a full liquor license as well. Their take on a bloody mary is excellent.
Thanks for the suggestions. I'm looking at the SLC Waiter guidebook and have a couple more questions, if you don't mind. The lamb sfiha description looks more appealing than the spinach fatayer but I'm wondering if the sfiha is successful sans the cucumber dip or if it's a crucial component of the overall dish. Not a big cuke dip fan. The other question is about the peppers in the potatoes harra. I seem to recall that you do not care for green bell pepper. Safe to assume that it's another type of pepper used in the potatoes harra or if bell peppers that they're muted enough to be tolerable for you? I'm easily overwhelmed by bell peppers but can cope with them if they're not too prominent. Will get the loobia for sure and probably the hummus. Looks like there are some new items on the menu since my prior visit. I'm sure I'll skip the baba ghanouj this time--my wife liked it, but it didn't win me over.
Forgot to mention ideas for a weekend road trip. Most people here go to Moab (4 hours) to bike ride. Keep in mind that Utah has atleast 4 National Parks within a 4 hour drive of SLC, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Capital Reef, and Zions.
You may want to just go to Park City for a dinner (Wahso is great, The Eating Establishment is affordable) on Saturday night and a play at the Egyptian Theatre. Wendover Nevada (90 minutes West of SLC on the Nevada state line) is where the locals go to gamble, there are 3 or 4 casino's there.
I will be driving from Las Vegas to eastern British Columbia in a few weeks, and will be passing through Salt Lake City around lunch time. Are there any suggestions for places that offer easy access from I-15 for a quality lunch? Unfortunately time is a bit of an issue, since I need to be in Missoula that evening.
Red Iguana would be perfect if you had more time—I know it often gets crowded for lunch, though.
Otherwise, there is Settebello Pizzeria on 300 West, at about 250 South (right next door Red Rock Brewery). Really good Neapolitan (thin crust, wood-oven fired pizza). Take the the 600 South Exit off of I-15 and turn left onto 200 West to about 250 South. Park on the street on either side or paid parking (the pizzeria will be on your right hand side, thanks to the brewery, you can't miss it).
Takashi also offers a great lunch if you want any sushi/sashimi and above-standard Japanese fare. Located on Market Street (350 South). Also take the 600 South Exit, then turn left on West Temple. Then turn right onto Market Street. There's metered street parking and paid lot parking.
If you go to Red Iguana you need to get there before 11:30 am for lunch or you won't get in and out quickly. If you're travelling on I-15 you can exit on 600 South. Take a left turn on 300 West. Go North on 300 West about 6 blocks until you get to North Temple. On the NE corner (rh side) of 300 West and North Temple you'll see a CROWN BURGER. Go in there. They have great burgers and a pretty full menu including Gyros. You can then leave Crown burger and go North (mountains on your rh side) for a few blocks to 600 north where you can get access back on I-15 North. This might be your best bet with easy off and on access to I-15.
Incidentally, I had some pretty good Italian food in Missoula several years ago at The Bridge.
Takashi, Red Rock, and Squatters are within walking distance. For a business lunch, you may want to consider Caputo's Deli for sandwiches or Settebello Pizzeria which is right next door to Red Rock brewery for an honest-to-goodness Neapolitan pizza with incredible ingredients. The pizza place is also open for dinner.
Got in too late to have much choice. Drove by Red Iguana at 8:00 pm + and there were probably 15 people waiting outside. Since they closed at 9 pm, will hopefully have better luck in the next 2 days.
Ended up at Red Rock as Settbello was closed. Had a tasty Nut Brown ale. Yummy beer cracker appetizer - flatbread w/roasted garlic, gorgonzola cheese, kosher salt & fresh sage. Followed by a respectable bowl of french onion soup. Finished with a good chicken schnitzel (could have done without the Italian parsley). Was also a bit letdown by the horseradish mashed potatoes - couldn't really detect the horseradish at all.
In addition to brewing their beer, they also brew cream soda and root beer. Went with the cream soda and it was the best I've ever had. Awesome.
SLC Rest of Recap - wanted to say thanks for the info & do due diligence in responding:
monday lunch - costa vida
had a killer salad for lunch. they brought catered in. had rice, beans, lettuce, awesome crispy tortilla strips (very thin), seasoned chicken breast and a killer dressing. need to find the name of that place.
found out today (day after) that it was from a chain! the place is called costa vida and they even have one in mesa here in az. http://www.costavida.net/swfs/menu.html had the shredded chicken salad. huge chunks of marinated, grilled chicken. as mentioned, rice beans, lettuce, great crispy tortilla strips all in a tortilla lined bowl. one of the stars was the killer cucumber ranch or tomatillo ranch. can't find the description on the website and the locals here disagree. anyway it was rocking.
monday dinner - crown burger
basically a fast food dive with a bit of a twist. they do gyros & some other interesting stuff. the crown burger is a cheese burger with pastrami piled on top. as it was suggested that it was pretty rich and greasy, went for a standard cheeseburger meal. the cheeseburger was great. could really taste the charbroil. fresh lettuce and tomato. nice. would rate it ahead of in n out (my favorite chain burger here). the fries were great and the onion rings were super great too. also tried the (i was told) local specialty "fry sauce". seemed to be a mixture of stuff - maybe mayo, maybe ketchup, ??? maybe a little in the vein of 1000 island but that doesn't do it justice. was very good!
tuesday lunch- wasatch pizza
lunch today, catered in again, was pizza from wasatch pizza. pretty good. nice crust. had a piece of bbq chicken and a piece of chicken pesto. the chicken pesto sounded like a great idea & was talked up. it was good but not as good as i'd built it up in my mind (hate it when i do that). kind of dry. the bbq chicken was quite good though. good crust, nice huge chunks of chicken breast and green onions charred. excellent bbq chicken.
tuesday dinner - red iguana
cool place. chips were good. hot sauce was very good. was pretty set on having one of their moles as was told that's what they were known for. deliberated for a while and the server offered to bring a taste. brought a plate with 5 moles on it. as described:
mole amarillo - good but a bit too spicy for me. menu description: a very spice mole, chile guajillo, chile habanero, fresh vegetables and spices, sauteed and simmered to perfection. a oaxacan treat. served with chicken.
red pipian - very good. seemed to lack heat so didn't order it but it was my alternate. after i ordered, detected heat so i kind of kicked myself. menu description: peanuts, pumpkin seeds, pasilla & guajillo chile transport to you Mexico, a delicious national dish. served with chicken.
mole poblano - this is what i chose in part because of the server recommendation. menu description: a rich blend of peanuts, walnuts, almonds and a hint of mexican chocolate make this puebla original the king of moles. delicioso!! served with turkey.
mole verde - this was good. would be happy if someone served it to me and didn't have a choice but when compared with the other moles, just didn't seem as distinctive. not much spice, no real bold flavors. menu description: a verdant pleasure from oaxaca of fresh green vegetables sauteed and blended with pumpkin seeds and spices. served with your choice of chicken or turkey.
mole negro - this was good too. some spice. some strong flavors. thought about going with it. menu description: chile mulato, peanuts, walnuts, almonds and fennel seeds fuse together with spices to make this oaxacan treasure unforgettable. served with chicken or turkey.
so i ended up ordering the mole poblano. i really liked it. had big chunks of turkey in it. came with rice, beans and tortillas. the tortillas were decent but nothing special. the tortillas at rito's and carolina's killed them. the beans at rito's killed them. if you put the mole together with a carolina's (az) tortilla and rito's (az) beans, it would be too good to handle. the mole was pretty thick. the heat definitely built too. after a bit, i had to keep eating bites with the tortilla or with rice on the fork...something to offset the heat. wasn't too much for me but it was spicy. by the time i'd fished most of the chunks of turkey out (which were covered with the thick mole) and just had the mole sauce left, the spice won and i had to call it quits. i was very happy though.
followed that up with arroz con leche - homemade mexican style rice pudding. this rocked hugely. it was basically rice cooked in a sweet milk with cinnamon sprinkled on top & shards of vanilla bean & raisins throughout. the consistency was pretty liquidy - not very pudding-like. still, i really, really enjoyed it. sweet but not too sweet, nice notes of cinnamon and vanilla. yummy.
AND THEN THE WORST THING OF ALL...
when i was leaving i saw in the airport a slc dining issue. takashi was on the cover. looked through it and my worst fears were realized. from the description, takashi sounded like everything i want in a restaurant, not just only the best sushi that a possible non-sushi town has to offer. i remember some sea saw (az), nobu (lv) style sounding dishes and the one phrase i definitely remember was that something was analagous to "sex on rice". if i get the chance to go back, that's where i'm stopping first.
Personally I don't think I would call SLC area a non-sushi town because it seems everywhere I go in the city/county there is a sushi place somewhere. Have not been to many yet since new to the area but so far the places I have enjoyed it at (ok so maybe not "the best" but still good) are Sushi Express, Tepanyaki. I know a lot of people like Nagoya Sushi but I was not completely thrilled with it but that's just me. Also sushi is not a strong point at Kyoto when I went there. We plan to go to Ginza soon. My favorite sushi places in Boston where I moved from were Ginza (not related but rated best in Boston) and Oishii (also not related but started by a Nobu chef). I have a friend in SLC who loves the sushi at Benhana downtown.
Hi ccl1111, thanks for the recap in detail..... this really serves as a good guide for folks like me. I agree with your assessement about red iguana. I am kicking myself for not trying out Crown Burgers after mentioning it beats out on In-N-Out which is my only fast food burger joint.
Full disclosure -- I'm friends with the owners, but I got to try that "sex on rice" last week at Takashi. OMFG. It's torched sablefish nigiri and it's best eaten warm with your fingers. It was so good, I went back again for it on the way to the airport. Really I think it's the best sushi I've ever had, and we've got some pretty upscale Nobu-style in Boston and New York.
Decent restaurants in the Gateway include Happy Sumo (sushi). There's pretty much all Gringo's behind the sushi bar, but the Surf and Turf roll and the Sunshine roll are good.
Thaifoon is good and so is California Pizza Kitchen.
You might also try the DODO which is also at the gateway. Killer Apple Pie and other desserts.
I agree with many of the other comments. I would say this: as someone who moved from the Northwest (Portland) you WILL be let down by the beer here. Anything on tap has to be 4% alcohol or less, so even the better beers here don't compare to the great microbrews back home. There's a reason people go to the Bayou and pay ridiculous prices for good beers. So the beer will either be lacking in taste, or too expensive.
I would add Sugarhouse Barbeque Company (2207 S. 700 E.) for great bbq. I recommend the greek potatoes, cucumber salad, or baked beans sides. The cornbread is nothing to write home about.
Monsoon Thai Bistro (1615 Foothill) is my favorite Thai food place.
I've had numerous recommendations for Koyo (2275 E. 3300 S.). I've heard their Japanese food is excellent, and is actually more than just sushi (too many times I've been referred to a Japanese food restaurant that was just a sushi joint). You can request to sit in a paper booth.
For lunch I like The House of Bread (2005 E. 2700 S.) where they grind their own wheat berries to make their bread. They use no preservatives, and the bread is top notch. The sandwiches are large, and the main attraction is definitely the bread.
As far as weekend trips, Moab or Bryce Canyon/Zion would be recommended. Park City can be a fun, short trip (walk up and down Main Street). I actually enjoyed visiting Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. You have to pay to go on the island, but there are hundreds of bison roaming the island and it can be a fun day trip. I can't see what the big deal with Wendover, NV is except that people here are so gambling deprived they think it's cool.
I was in SLC last week. Hands down at red iguana - you can hop on #50 bus from down town to the airport for $1.50 every 25 minutes. it stops almost right at the door. Another affordable gem in down town, if you are meat and potato type, try Siegfried Deli. Good German food. I did not have time to try crown burger figuring if they did not ground the meat each day don't bother.
I am tired of hearing about CrownBurger. They have frozen crinkle cut fries, and half the burger size is shredded iceberg. the pastrami isn't even good anymore.
Siegfreid Deli is incredible for lunch. Homemade sausages and wurst. fresh made spazle with gravy, potato salads, Paulaner beer on tap, wine. Take out deli and grocerys
you can get two wood grilled handmade sausages and two sides and a litre of beer for less than $10 and they validate for parking.
I can't figure out why people go to Sconecutter. The last time I went to a Sconecutter was when I was in High School 25 years ago. I never see a car in the drive up window or parked out front. I still can't figure out how Sconecutter stays in business. If you want a scone, there are much better places you could go.
Figure you have a car, then it's worth the 40 minutes drive to Maddox, on the way toward Ogden. This country family restaurant has been around for 40 plus years serving excellent fried chicken, steaks, and other home style cooking. The food quality is excellent - fresh and good value for price/quantity ratio. Be prepared to wait 10 minutes anygiven day.
I wouldn't go to Maddox in Brigham City if I were visiting SLC from out of state. It's too far of a drive for run of the mill food. They pride themselves in beef and bison steak, but it's not really that much better than a $9.99 steak at a Las Vegas casino or local Sizzler or Applebee's in my opinion. We were there for Peach Days last year and the peach pie was great but the other food items were not memorable. In the words of Randy Jackson.."It was just allright for me".
re: racer x
It's been several months, but I've found them to be quite consistent over the years. Been eating there since before they opened (we were allowed to dine at a staff training dinner thanks to an ad screwup), and they have always done a good job.
Another worth considering is Braza Grill near the Fashion Place mall in the Midvale/Murray Area. The offering may not be as broad as Rodizio, but the quality is high. Service is very friendly at both places.
Thanks for the info. With all the snow and not having a car, I put off trying to go to Riodizio Grill until last night. That was a mistake because I had no idea how wildly popular the place is. Saturday night, holiday weekend, and an annual sale in the mall this weekend added up to waits over an hour, or at least that's what the folks in line told me when I arrived at 9:00 and asked how long they'd been waiting. I was too hungry to wait that long though. The people at the tables inside sure looked like they were enjoying themselves and the meats that were being carried around looked delicious.
I'll have to try the place next time I am in town.
Was in town this past week, looking for budget places close to Temple Square.
Acme Burger Co - I agree with the glowing recommendations that others have posted about this place. Had an amazing burger (classic with cheddar & bacon - yeah, I know, how original) here - delicious, juicy beef patty, cooked to a perfect medium, lightly-toasted soft bun, light touch of garlic flavor. The lettuce and tomato slice looked like they were on their last leg (I guess that's SLC in the middle of winter for you) but they tasted great nonetheless. Service was excellent. My only complaint was that the shoestring fries could have been crisper - they were kind of wilted. But I'll be back next time.
Settebello - I really loved the pizza I had here when I visited last spring. It was honestly some of the best pizza I'd had in quite a while. And sitting at the bar and watching the artistry of the cooks at their work added to the experience. Unfortunately, the pizza I had the other night, while still good, did not live up to the high level of expectation that had been set by my prior visit. The margherita sauce was a bit too sour; the cheese seemed to have been haphazardly thrown onto the pie leaving some areas covered by globs of cheese and others naked; and the center was too soggy (I had to eat it with a knife and fork). On the other hand, the salsiccia on the pizza was delicious. I'd go back just for another taste of that.
The Dodo - Tried a couple of their desserts: the chocolate almond mousse pie and the key lime pie (or at least I think it was key lime - it was some sort of citrus-flavored pie). At $7 each, the price seemed a bit steep, but when I got my order I found that each slice was huge, enough to easily feed 2 (or maybe even 3 lite eaters). However, neither was good. The key lime was just too cloyingly sweet and sour at once - I tossed it after a single bite. And the chocolate pie just wasn't very good. I ate the cream off the top and tossed the rest. Not recommended.
Carlucci's Bakery - I stopped by here just before they were closing. There wasn't much left in the display case, so I opted for a small cheesecake with cherry sauce. Simply awful. I'm not much of a cheesecake fan in general but that was one of the worst I have ever had.
The Bakery/Gourmandise - After my previous experiences with bakeries during this and my past SLC visits, I wasn't expecting much from this place. It didn't help that there were only two slices of cakes left - one a marzipan cake and the other some sort of layered passion fruit cheese cake - looking as if they might have been left from a day or two earlier and the cake would be dry. I opted for the marzipan cake and a raspberry with pistachios and cream tartlette. Both were delicious, especially the marzipan cake. Will be sure to visit them again.
I didn't make it to Takashi this visit (and it's not exactly a place for budget dining), but would highly recommend them based on a visit I made last spring. I did walk by the other night, though, and if the number of folks filling the waiting area is any indication, they are still doing something right!
re: racer x
Looks like an old post but I wanted to chime in. Spent a year in SLC about 3 years ago and moving back soon- woo hoo!
Anyway the places I look forward to going back to that haven't really been mentioned too much would include:
Thai Siam- Will get the druken noodles and Mango with Sticky rice for dessert.
Bombay House- Great Indian! Will get lamb coconut kourma!
Red Iguana is Good!
Ginza sushi is excellent! Mia roll is to die for. Very fresh sushi!
Also check out Caputo's italian market for a good lunch.
For cheap thrills I'm looking forward to Cafe Rio.
Iceberg does have great Milkshakes!
For amazing chocolates check out Hatch Family Chocolates in the Aves!
I want to thank all you here for the great advice in this thread. I live in SoCal and spent this last weekend in SLC visiting a friend. Here are the places we hit
We arrived at about 7:45 on a Friday night, there were about 30 people waiting outside. We gave our name and were told it was about a 35 minute wait. While we waited we killed time at the adult store next door (a side note, but if this is an example of what adult stores are like in SLC, good thing the internet was invented!). About 45 minutes later our table was ready. This restaurant was described on another thread as a dive. Although it looks that way from the outside, once inside I don’t agree it is, I think their nice website definitely excludes them from the dive category. We ordered drinks and an appetizer of Chile Con Queso ($5.95). The margarita was good, the Chile Con Queso was a spicier version of Velveeta and Rotel, though not gourmet, very tasty. We couldn’t decide which Mole so our waitress brought a taster plate out for us. She was very patient explaining the different types. We went with the Enmoladas ($7.95) (corn tortillas filled with refried beans and covered with Mole Negro) and the Mole Verde ($14.90) with chicken. They were both wonderful! The Mole Negro was rich and very complex, so we chose the lighter flavor of the Mole Verde as a balance. We left here very full and satisfied. The total bill was about $45 for the food mentioned and two Cadillac Margaritas and a beer. The only complaint I have is that service is a little too fast. Our entrees came out only a few minutes after our appetizer. I would have preferred a little time to enjoy our appetizer first, but understandable due to the need to turn over table to accommodate the waiting customers. My friend said she will definitely be going back!
Now this place on the other hand can very accurately be described as a dive! Not a complaint, I loved this place. We arrived about noon on a Saturday, took the last available table outside. The friendly waitress asked what we wanted to drink and named the few beers on tap (Blue Moon…Yay!). When she brought out beers she asked if we were going to eat as well, we said yes, and I was a little confused when she asked what we wanted without handing us a menu. Since I had read this place was all about the Garlic Burger, that’s what we ordered. I never did see a menu and everyone appeared to be eating a burger, I am assuming there is no menu and the only thing there serve is burgers?! Our food came out quick and it lived up to they hype… tasty, moist and garlicky! Two burgers and three beers was $23.50
After Cotton Bottom we explored downtown and ended up at Takashi at about 7:30. We gave our name to the hostess and had a seat at the bar. At the bar came my only disappointment of the night, no hard alcohol. We ordered a large Asahi ($7.50) and Vegetable Tempura ($7.95) while we waited. The vegetable tempura was tasty, not exciting or different, but it hit the spot. We spent our time waiting pouring over the menu and the very large specials board, wanting to order more than we could possible eat! Our bartender was very friendly and answered all our questions and made suggestions of what were his favorite menu items. Our spots at the sushi bar were ready in about 20 minutes. We took a seat and our helpful and friendly waitress introduced us to our outgoing and informative sushi chef, Tony. I ordered another large Asahi and my friend ordered the Sake Flight ($20). When the flight arrived our waitress took her time explaining all the different Sakes and she, Tony and our sushi bar neighbors all chimed in with their favorites. At the suggestion of our bartender I ordered one of the specials, Elk Carpaccio ($20). I had never had Elk before, and I figured why not. First off it was really dark, almost purple, it came with a red Peruvian sauce and was pretty tasty. I’m not sure if I’d order it again, but was glad I tried it. My friend was not really enamored (didn’t hate it but didn’t love it) and decided to save her stomach room for other dishes. She had a Tuna/Crab Gunkan Maki ($5.95) that she really liked. I didn’t try it because I didn’t care for the Tobiko on it (I’m anti-roe in general). While we were waiting we were chatting with Tony and asking him what just about every dish he was making was. He wasn’t annoyed at all and seemed happy to share what he was doing with us. At his suggestion we had Hamachi Belly Nigiri ($5.95)… fresh & yum! We then had a Black Magic Woman roll ($8.00), torched Sable Fish, roasted red pepper, lemon. Sounds a little odd, but soooo delicious, this was my favorite of the night, everything worked together so well. Next our sushi chef had a surprise for us. One of their specialty rolls had Escolar, strawberries and almonds (he nicknamed it the Special K roll). When he was making it I shared my fear of Escolar because I had read of potentially tummy issues. He assured me that in small quantities it was fine and made us nigiri from the roll ingredients. Now to my taste buds, it was kind of sweet and odd, not a repeat, but it was my friend’s fave of the night. (Happy to report no tummy issues!). I was full by this point, but my friend had had her eye on a Hamachi/Mango roll but was too full for a whole roll. Tony made her Gunkan Maki ($6.95) with the ingredients, and it was a hit. It was my friend’s birthday, I had conspired with our friendly waitress on dessert, a fruit crepe ($7.95). She was great and kept checking every couple minutes so she would know when we were ready for it. A crepe wouldn’t generally be my first dessert choice, but it was a bit of an inside joke between my friend and I, we had vacationed in Paris and seemingly ate out body weight in crepes while we were there.
I’m no sushi aficionado, I eat it regularly but just at neighborhood places, the top end LA area places are well out of my price range. With that said I was really impressed with this place, the friendliness and professionalism of the staff, the creativity and freshness of the dishes. I also thought this place was an absolute bargain for the creativeness & quality, our total was a little over $100, and $35 of that was alcohol and the Elk was $20. We could have easily gotten out of there for under $50 if it wasn’t a splurge birthday dinner. I wish I had a place like this close to me!
Keys on Main
Not a food review, but we hit this place after Takashi as it was walking distance. After our great time at Takashi this place was a big let down. It was about 10, we paid our cover ($5) lucked out and got a table, ordered drinks (Absolute Screwdriver in a small rocks glass $6, and a soft drink $2 from my driving friend who was feeling her Sake Flight). We felt this place had an uncomfortable snooty vibe. The crowd was young, early 20’s (my friend & I are late 20’s early 30’s), and many of the woman seemed quite over dressed (sequins??, sky high heels??), for the casualness of a dueling piano bar. The place was jammed, but most people seemed more into being seen than paying attention to the music. Who knows, may just be a difference between SoCal and SLC. We were out of there when my friend had sobered up to drive home.
On Sunday we were headed out to Tipanogos Caves, and stopped at Apollo burger for a quick bite. I ordered a Gyro and Onion Rings, and had my first encounter with fry sauce. My friend had a pastrami sandwich, she grew up with Apollo Burger, so this wasn’t a new place for her. My gyro and onion rings hit the spot, but fry sauce was the only thing different than I can get locally. What’s in fry sauce? Definitely a good onion ring dipping condiment! Our total was about $13
Snack Bar @ Tipanogos Caves
Ok…stretching a bit here, but wanted to include it for two reasons. First for a snack bar it was very reasonable considering it was a captive audience. After the hike up and back, I would have paid just about anything for a beverage! We also got Granny B’s Cookie “Home of the Original Pink Sugar Cookie”. I took mine on the plane with me and was pretty disappointed, the frosting is good, but the cookie not sweet enough for my taste. I prefer the Lofthouse brand in grocery stores (not sure if the brand is national or regional). So for two cookies and a large soft drink $4.80, I was shocked (maybe I’m jaded?)!
We didn’t have time for a meal after the Caves, so we stopped here for a bite before the airport. I got a Hot Fudge Chocolate Malt ($4.25) and my friend got Caramel Pralines Shake and some Zucchini sticks to share. I’m not sure what went wrong, but my malt was not good, had an off taste and I dumped it after a few bites. Thankfully they are huge and the Carmel Pecan was yum and there was plenty to share. The zucchini surprised me because it was obviously made there and not a frozen Sysco product like I was expecting (a good thing!). Our snack was a good salty sweet combo that hit the spot.
Overall was very pleased with the SLC dining scene and thanks for everyone suggestions here!
After living here for 35 years and eating out and cooking a lot and refining my palette in NYC, San Francisco, and Seattle; here are my suggestions for 5 meals in SLC.
Takashi for Sushi. I have taken people who live on the east and west coast here and they ALWAYS love it.
Cucina Toscana. A bit pricey but absolutely delicious.
The Metropolitan. In my mind this really is the only special occasion restaurant in SLC.
Crown Burger. Utah's best burger joint. Get the Crown Burger with Pastrami etc. and the fries - which are perfect. Also you must try the fry sauce. Utahn's love fry sauce.
Himalayan Kitchen. Relatively new and therefore subject to change - but I had a superb meal of Indian food there and would definitely recommend it.
307 Pierpont Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
I just skimmed through the thread and here are the updates I found. Monsoon Thai Bistro is closed, Dodo no longer has a Gateway location, and Ginza Shushi has gone downhill, imo. There may be more. It's a lengthy thread. Also, several new and wonderful places have opened. Copper Onion, Forage, Pago, to name three.
5924 S Kipling Pkwy Ste G, Littleton, CO 80127
Best Pizza in SLC hands down is Este. If you like NY style pizza you will be very happy with Este. I suggest getting a something with their homemade meatballs as a topping. My favorite is "The Clay" - ham.
2021 Windsor St, #A
Salt Lake City, UT 84105