For this year’s dining guide, we let you, our readers, tell us where to go for great eats
1) Your go-to restaurant when friends are in town
We start with our restaurant reviewer, Josh Jones: Recently, we’ve been taking friends and family to Under Current, the lounge next to Current on Broadway. We recently took a trip to Provincetown, Mass. and the oysters at Under Current seemed just as fresh and sweet as the ones which were picked out of the ocean that morning in P-Town. Plus, the drinks are inventive, and delicately balanced. Cozy chairs, attentive service, and an interesting small-bites menu round out a near-perfect bar experience. (It could only be more perfect if, somehow, once inside you were transported to Provincetown.)
Next, our resident Greek gay father, Christopher Katis: Aristo’s. Greek food is more than souvlaki and gyros. Artisto’s offers authentic, traditional Greek cuisine in a high-end setting. It’s a nice place with great food. I particularly appreciate his special menu for Lent.
Charles Lynn Frost loves Forage, “The restaurant that put Bowman Brown and Viet Pham on the culinary map with Salt Lake City’s dining scene with the most innovative cuisine. Outstanding service, atmosphere, ambiance, and wine.”
Reader Russell Boltz says it’s Red Iguana for those who are visiting town, “as its the best Mexican food I’ve found in the city and everyone raves about it once I’ve taken them there.”
Les Roka says Takashi for their “great ambience with solid sake and beer selection and comprehensive top-notch menu of sashimi, sushi, and great kitchen offerings.”
Matthew J. Lyon says The Dodo because, “after 20 years, I can order the same thing and it tastes the same. I’m down with consistency — no matter how many times they’ve moved.”
Merrill Crosbie takes friends to The Five Alls for its “spectacular food; spectacular views. (Though he says he doesn’t like the “really uncomfortable chairs and prom night.” “But the food and multiple courses are unparalleled,” he said.
Ann Clark and Randy Glasscock both take friends to Blue Plate Diner because it’s relaxed, fun and unique to the area. Ann’s son JEREK CLARK also likes Blue Plate because “it’s really cheap, really good, and it just screams, “Utah!” Adrian Ruiz takes guests to Cafe Trio on 9th East because “it’s very classy and relatives and friends enjoy the ambience and atmosphere.” Lucas Fowler says Himalayan Kitchen makes it easy to accommodate dietary restrictions and preferences, and is “anything but boring food.” Rixt Luikenaar likes Tin Angel for the great atmosphere and food.
2) Your go-to restaurant to get away
Back to Josh Jones: “The redesigned, modernized, and etherealized Arie Restaurant has a democratized lounge that makes you want to ponderize. (Yes, I’ve been usurping the word). Driving up Little Cottonwood is a great way to melt away from Mormondom as you rise above the city and reach that concrete resort in the sky known as Snowbird. The Arie is on the top floor and has spectacular views of the canyon. The restaurant is sophisticated and delicious, but I prefer the more-relaxed bar environment where you’ll find friendly service and live music. If you’re into ponderizing, like me, some small bites, deep cocktails and comfortable couches next to the giant windows are going to become your most favorite place in Utah.
Christopher Katis and his husband get away at Highnote. “It’s kind of a funny name, but a great Thai restaurant. The food is incredibly fresh, seasoned to perfection, and delicious. The place is small, intimate and a favorite place for our date nights.
Charles Lynn Frost and the Cowboy get away at Goldener Hirsch, in part for the trip to stunning Deer Valley. “One of the best rustic mountain charm locations in the world with chef Ryan Burnham, formerly of Pago. Candlelight alpine and local product, including Utah lamb, fish and beef, all prepared with meticulous perfection.
Courtney Moser and Merrill Crosbie like to head up north to Maddox Ranch House in Perry, Utah near Brigham City. “The rolls alone are worth the drive,” Crosbie says. “Mmmm, raspberry honey butter (insert Homer Simpson drooling here).” Russell Boltz agrees, saying, “Maddox for that get-out-of-town feeling. Nothing says out of the city like farm-to-table meat with all the fixings.”
Joni Alexandria says going to Cafe Shambala to get away. “Going there makes me long for India and brings back fond memories of my trips there. Their chai is the most authentic in the valley.”
David Sanderson gets away at Log Haven for its “lovely location with good food. Nice for a romantic get away.”
Adrian Ruiz heads to Tuscany Restaurant “because it’s been around for ages and it’s not overly expensive and the atmosphere is always good and I have very fond memories of that restaurant when I was younger. Which means’s I’m now older.”
Doug Wood says he has traveled to the Middle East from Israel to Egypt and even Iran and knows good Mediterranean food and really likes Mazza Middle Eastern Cuisine. “Service is good and prices are not cheap but fair. Easily one of Salt Lake City’s best restaurants.”
Rixt Luikenaar heads up Emigration Canyon for Ruth’s Diner, saying it’s not too far to drive and is a “great post call breakfast.”
Ian Murphy gets away to Warrens in Roy, “where everybody knows my name. Good burgers, great salads and superb shakes and excellent service.”
3) Your go-to all-the-time restaurant
Charles Lynn Frost and his husband can often be seen at Cannellas Restaurant and Lounge — “A charming tiny space with amazing Italian meals and a neighborhood feel. Courteous and friendly serving staff, fresh food, dependable, and always excellent.”
Christopher Katis and his family love Long Life Vegi House. “We have literally been going to this restaurant for 27 years. It’s inexpensive, the food is great, and the owners are fun. I highly recommend the vegetable soup — the noodles are homemade.”
Larry Fraga is adamant that everyone should go to Kim Long Vietnamese in Layton. “Go to, go to, always go there,” he yells. “Great food, fresh ingredients, try anything on the menu, if you’ve never been there call ahead ask for Beverly. She’ll explain and help you order to your liking. End your meal with an avocado Boba.”
Connie Pitts loves Kobe Japanese Restaurant in Ogden for Sushi. “You all sit together or you can set at sushi bar. And its not a huge wait to get in. Steve is my favorite sushi chef, he is a sushi artist,” she said.
Billie Bills heads to The Bayou for “the closest thing to Cajun feel, good food and atmosphere, live bands, and good drink.
Les Roka agrees with our publisher, Michael Aaron, that Martine Cafe and Tapas is a warm restaurant that Roka says has a “straightforward elegance in small dishes and locally grown food items that has you thinking you’re actually in Manhattan without exorbitant prices.” Michael just likes to lunch with a Rioja.
Marty Steinberg is all about breakfast and loves Eggs in The City. “It’s kinda cramped, but the cooks actually know how to cook an egg, no matter how you ask for it. Some of the best hollandaise in town.”
We are cheating and letting Ian Murphy have two favorite restaurants: Gabor Brothers Main Street Grill & Pizzeria in Layton for their “superb soups and by far the best restroom in the state. it’s the only restaurant in Utah at which visiting the rest room is a must.” New Yorker “Because it’s all about the food. Terrific steaks, superb desserts and the most willing servers/staff. Sure, the decor needs an update but everything else is spot on.”
Ryan Chidester’s favorite place for Sunday brunch “in the whole valley” is Squatters Pub Brewery. “First, you don’t have to wait until 11:30 for mimosas – cha ching! Second, the food is consistently good. Might I recommend the chilaquiles, they will change your life.”
Leigh-Ann Parren Erickson eats at El Habanero in Magna, where she says the food is great, the atmosphere is great, and the owner is wonderful.
Theresa Schubach says Oh Mai in Holladay “because it is so damn good and inexpensive. I order the S8 every time; you can’t go wrong. If you don’t just gobble it down, I’ll buy it.”
Eric Schoenbaum screams about Pig & a Jelly Jar. “Chicken and waffles … absolutely the best. This cute little place is a local favorite. And the best part is that they serve adult beverages, too.” Q