2023 Dining Awards: Utah Classics and One’s to Watch

Utah Classics

Utah Food is a conundrum, what even is it? Fry sauce, funeral potatoes. Naww. Food evolves and tastes evolve and within that evolution, a consensus begins to form and standards emerge. None of these restaurants are standing still or living in the past (well maybe, Maddox, but the past is what that place is about) but all have proven their excellence for so long that they have become institutions that are the backbone of dining in Utah.

Maddox Ranch House

Each week Maddox serves more than 15,000 (!) customers. That’s right, 15 thousand. Some come to sit in the classic log cabin’s dining room or lunch counter, others pull up to the drive-in, still served by carhops, and others pick up a family meal on the way home. 

1900 Ss Hwy 89, Perry, 435-723-8545

Maddox Ranch House. Photo by Adam Finkle

Feldman’s Deli

Feldman’s Deli was one of the top picks for panelist Stuart Melling and for good reason. It’s a classic Jewish deli that’s given SLC a taste of NYC for nearly a decade with its half-pound sandwiches (including the best pastrami west of Katz’s Delicatessen). 

2005 Es 2700 South, SLC, 801-906-0369

Mazza Cafe

Mazza was the first place many native Utahns tried middle eastern food and we loved it. Chef-owner Ali Sabbah continues to set the standard for Middle Eastern food in Utah, serving complex, layered dishes with warm hospitality. 

1515 S. 1500 East, SLC, 801-484-9259

Mazza. Photo by Adam Finkle.

VENETO Ristorante Italiano

Veneto’s Marco and Amy Stevanoni are proud of their curated wine list, impeccable dishes and providing an overall exceptional dining experience. The cuisine draws inspiration from Marco’s native region of Northern Italy called, naturally, Veneto. 

370 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-359-0708

Red Iguana

Red Iguana fulfills the promise of its slogan. It is, in fact, Killer Mexican food that is absolutely worth the wait. For nearly 40 years they’ve been serving up delicious and perfected family dishes like chile verde and world-famous mole. 

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

Red Iguana. Photo by Adam Finkle.


There’s a line outside the door of Takashi every night for a reason. Chef Takashi Gibo’s modern take on sushi is among the best for the freshness of the fish, attention to detail and bright flavors. There are many worthy sushi spots but there is only one Takashi.

18 W. Market St., SLC, 801-519-9595

Best New Restaurants to Watch

Very often a new restaurant comes on the scene with a splash and catches our attention but, hey, it’s a hard biz at any time, much less at this time. But these four newcomers raised our eyebrows and we’re excited to see what happens next.

Ivy + Varley

The atmosphere of Ivy + Varley exudes coolness. “It has a very New York or LA vibe,” says Dining Awards panelist Jennifer Burns, and if that puts you off—it shouldn’t. It brings a big city vibe without prentenstion. “The service and hospitality are personal and genuine,” says Nightlife Editor Avrey Evans, who recommends the kimchi michelada taken on the stunning outdoor patio. With an attention to detail in their bar menu and heavenly bites, we expect this newcomer to continue to thrive.

55 W. 100 South, SLC, 801-895-2846

Franklin Ave. Cocktails & Kitchen

From the minds behind Whiskey Street, White Horse Tavern and Bourbon House comes Franklin Ave. Cocktails & Kitchen. The emphasis here is on the “kitchen.” Chef Matt Crandall gets to stretch his wings at Franklin Ave. ignoring the “bar” in bar food and simply serving great food.

231 S. Edison St., SLC, 385-831-7560

Franklin Ave. Photo by Adam Finkle.

Urban Hill

Appearing as if out of nowhere comes Urban Hill, a flag planted in SLC by the team at Park City’s Hearth & Hill. We welcome the incursion. Hearth & Hill is a proven PC force. “They hire talent in the kitchen, pay what people need to survive and put their money where it matters,” says panelist Darby Doyle. Indeed, our scouts’ early reconnaissance of Urban Hill indicates greatness to come.

510 S. 300 West, SLC, 385-295-4200

Wood • Ash • Rye

St. George is overrun with chain restaurants that weaseled in alongside its explosive growth. But amid the sea of mediocrity, we’ve discovered an island of civility. Wood • Ash • Rye. Located in Avenire Hotel, this of-the-moment restaurant features the requisite brunch for the brunch bunch but its dinner menu really shines. Executive Chef Shon Foster’s menu of sharable plates follows the seasons and gives nods to St. George’s history like his charming take on funeral potatoes the “Potato Saint.” 

25 W. St. George Blvd., St. George, 435-522-5020

Find all our 2023 Dining Awards Winners Here.

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