Over the years, some restaurants have been declared best so often we have awarded them just for winning awards. These are places that set and reset the bar for Utah cuisine. They serve as an example of the level of quality other places should strive for. We asked the proprietors of these Hall of Fame winners to comment on the current food scene in the state.

Mazza 

1515 S. 1500 East, SLC, 801-484-9259; 912 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-521-4572

Owner: Ali Sabbeh

"The dining scene in Salt Lake has gotten much better, not only in the quality of the restaurants, but the knowledge of the people. People used to rate a restaurant on how fancy the dining room was and the performance aspects, but now it's about the real, true, genuine quality of everything, including the food and service. The Dining Awards offer recognition, not only from the community of restaurants and food purveyors, but from the public as well. It has created a forum of excellence."

Red Iguana 

736 W. North Temple, SLC, 801-322-1489 

Owner: Lucy Cardenas

"The fact that we're attracting so many people from other places to live in Salt Lake, because it's a cool place to live, is making the dining scene so much better than it was ten years ago."

Takashi 

18 Market Street, SLC, 801-519-9595

Co-owner: Takashi Gibo

“There are so many great restaurants in Salt Lake and a lot of innovation, and Salt Lakers are excited about food more than they used to be. We have a really great community of restaurants that support each other. The depends a bit on the Legislature, but the bar has been raised, and more and more restaurants are going to strive for new and fresh ideas."—Co-owner Tamara Gibo


Squatters 

147 W. Broadway, SLC, 801-363-2739

Founder: Peter Cole & Jeff Polychronis

"Utah's dining scene is better than it has ever been. The phrase 'Welcome ot Utah, turn your clocks back two or five years isn't as appropriate as it used to be. We're attracting internationally known chefs, restaurateurs and club owners. That's not to say there still aren't many challenges. The growth has been exponential in the last ten years. We were just starting to realize our capabilities when the Olympics came to town. I think that was a life-changing event for Utah."—Joe Lambert, Squatters operating partner
 

Cucina Toscana  

307 W. Pierpont Avenue, SLC, 801-328-3463

Impresario: Valter Nassi

"The city is in need of restaurants that work for it. The restaurants are generally very good, and I'm very proud of all of them. But we need more, because the city needs more. We need to get together, we need to become friends, we need to embrace each other, we need to make sure the United States of America puts us on the map of good reception, good service and good food.” 

Margo Provost

Log Haven

6451 E. Millcreek Canyon Rd., SLC, 801-272-8255

Owner: Margo Provost

"The restaurant scene in Salt Lake is growing and growing and there seems to be room for it all. A big addition is the increase in local ingredients we can all be proud of."—Ian Campbell, general manager and co-owner

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