Best Un-All-American Breakfast
Shakshouka at Laziz Kitchen
912 S. Jefferson St., SLC, 801-441-1228
The Pile. The Godawful. The Roundhouse. If one of these is your usual Saturday morning breakfast it means 1) you probably don’t remember much about Friday night, and 2) you may not be ready for breakfast at Laziz Kitchen. The little cafe serves Middle Eastern food with the emphasis on clean, locally sourced ingredients. Like an egg wrap—two scrambled eggs, tomatoes, green onions, parsley, zaatar, mixed greens, cheddar, and tartar tahini dressing. Or the hipsters’ latest fave: shakshouka. Eggs, poached in a red sauce nicely spiked with mint, peppers and garlic, and eye-openingly spicy.
Best Rendezvous for Romance
Stoneground’s window seat
249 E. 400 South, SLC, 801-364-1368
It’s so secluded, you probably never noticed it. A small table for two with a panoramic view of the glittering architectural beauty of the City Library. It’s in the southeast corner of Stoneground’s main dining room, tight against the glass and dark. It’s such a secret, if you call to reserve it, ask for the “affair table.” They’ll know.
Best Iced-Tea Alternative
Hibiscus Infusion at The Eklektik
60 E. 800 South, SLC, 801-528-3675
Tart but not tannic, fruity but not sweet, this infusion is the most refreshing (nonalcoholic) drink we know of on a midsummer Utah day. Eklektik makes theirs fresh every day from dried flor de jamaica, or hibiscus. It’s a popular quaff in Mexico where they know something about hot.
Best new caterer
Entertaining? Hosting a dinner party but you’re tired of coconut chicken, beggars purses and vegetable medleys? Next time, choose a new cuisine—Afghan, Indian, Sudanese, Peruvian, Nepalese—and offer your guests an adventure. Check out the catering services at the Spice Kitchen Incubator. The Spice Kitchen Incubator is a partnership of Salt Lake County Refugee Services and the International Rescue Committee. It provides refugees and immigrants, some who speak little or no English, the education and resources to build a viable food business.
Best Pie by the Park
501 E. 900 South, SLC, 385-202-7167
Whether you’re eating brunch, lunch or dinner, save room for pie at the new-ish cafe on the north side of Liberty Park. Chef Max, who is also the pie man at Burr Trail Grill in Boulder, makes his double-crust pies every day from scratch—choose ginger berry, caramel apple, spiced cherry or whatever they have. And yes, a la mode.
Best Breakfast According to Big Budah
Saturday Morning at LOL Hawaiian Grill
9460 S. Union Square #100, Sandy, 801-748-3542
It’s only served one day a week but it’s served all day long and it’s the best Polynesian meal in town, according to Big Budah and he oughta know. Spam and eggs? Banana pancakes?
Best Pizza Invention
Sunchoke chip pizza at Fireside on Regent
126 S. Regent Street, SLC, 801-359-4011
The pizza looks like someone opened a Lay’s bag over the top of it, but these are actually sunchoke chips on top of guanciale, sunchoke cream, arugula and thyme. The layer of crispness on top of the pie makes this pizza extraordinary, like some kind of teenage snacker’s dream junk food. Only it’s not junk, it’s artisanal.
Best Bread & Butter & Best Gluten-free Alternative
Housemade at Table X
1457 E. 3350 South, SLC, 385-528-371
The repeated kneading and lengthy rising required for true artisan bread—which used to be called “bread”— takes more time than is economically feasible for most restaurants. But those are the kinds of counter-intuitive decisions made by the chefs at Table X. Not only that, but they culture milk from local Rosehill Dairy into creme fraiche before churning it into butter. A lump of butter and a freshly baked loaf is the beginning of a Table X experience.
Best Secret Lunch
490 S. 700 East, SLC, 801-448-7489
The front of this new franchise in Trolley Square is given over to a huge variety of infused and varietal bulk and bottled California olive oil, as well as vinegars and a few other condiments. But in the back, owner Josh Garcia serves a great nosh menu from a kitchen equipped only with an oven and a panini maker. Nibble on a charcuterie plate (a recent one held Humboldt Fog, Seahive cheddar, Creminelli tartufo and wild boar salamis, along with various condiments.) Have a hot panini or one of the flatbreads topped with cheese or chicken. Have a salad, dressed with some of the house oils. And if you feel like, have a glass of wine from the list of small producers. We won’t tell the boss.
Best Italian Dessert
chocolate Hazelnut Gelato Bombe at Stoneground Italian Kitchen
Sweetaly: 465 E. 3300 South, SLC, 801-467-6808 and 1594 E. Stratford Ave. (2600 South), SLC, 801-467-8049
Stoneground Kitchen: 249 E. 200 South, SLC, 801-364-1368
It really is the bomb. Looking like a simple scoop of chocolate ice cream, this dessert gets more delightful by the bite. You probably think you don’t want dessert after your pizza and pasta, but you’re wrong. You want this satiny symphony of Italy’s classic flavor pair, chocolate and hazelnut. You’ll want it, the more you eat it and by the time you finish it, you’ll want another. One of the few things that isn’t made in Chef Justin Shifflett’s kitchen, this is made by Sweetaly Gelato.
Best Nostalgic Dessert
Chocolate Mousse at Zucca
225 25th St, Ogden, 801-475-7077
First flourless chocolate cake took over, then molten chocolate cake dominated as the epitome of chocolate delight, but the ‘80s called and wanted their desserts back. Time for chocolate memories to prevail—the chocolate mousse at Zucca is not one of those wimpy fluffs made mostly of whipped cream, but a dark, dense, properly cooked custard lightened with just enough cream to fool you into thinking you can eat the whole thing. Fabulous.
Best Popcorn Alternative
RubySnap Cookies at the Eccles
You may know Lola, Audrey, Nina, Suzie and Trudy. Did you know that some of them and some of their sisters are available as a theater snack at the new Eccles? Ruby Snap Cookies—each one with a dame’s name—are large gourmet cookies, with no noisy wrappers or crunch to annoy your neighbors. Could there be a more appropriate snack to sustain you during Book of Mormon? We doubt it.
Best Cocktail Restoration
Daiquiri at Water Witch
163 W. 900 South, SLC, 801-462-0967
It’s a barstool horror story—how the delightfully simple daiquiri was Frankensteined into a lurid, sweet slush spewed out from a machine. The abomination tainted all rum drinks with spring-break tawdriness. Fortunately, in the middle of the craft-cocktail maelstrom, the shakers at Water Witch are restoring a respect for rum and making a classic daiquiri: rum, lime, simple syrup.
See more inside our 2017 July/August Issue