Visitors to Utah are often surprised by the diversity of cuisine offered here. Our population of transplants as well as returned Mormon missionaries makes the state ripe for gastronomic adventure—everything from Ethiopian and Swedish cuisines to Native American and French. Join us as we tour the world, one fork-full at a time, without ever leaving the Front Range.
Thai Delight Café
Utahns have a love affair with Thai food. Nowhere is this more evident than in West Jordan at Thai Delight Café, which has now expanded into a third segment of the strip mall the eatery occupies. Dependable rice, noodle and stir-fry dishes fill the menu and most will be served with a beautiful, covered bowl filled with rice. Try the tom yum gai soup, a hot-and-sour broth brimming with juicy chicken, tangy lemongrass and fresh mushrooms. For curry, the massaman is a standard-bearer delivering potatoes, onions, peanuts and your choice of protein in a kicky coconut sauce.
6271 Dixie Drive,
West Jordan, 801-968-7626,
Kimi’s Chop & Oyster House
Whisk yourself across the pond to Sweden with a visit to the Commons at Sugar House. Kimi’s Chop & Oyster House offers a menu of seafood, Swedish specialties, quality meats and a gorgeous European ambiance in the old Sugar House post office. Begin your evening with fresh oysters on the half shell or the chanterelle mushroom soup—rich from cream and port wine and hearty from mushrooms and beef broth. For meat lovers, try the Berkshire double bone-in pork chop featuring a roasted-pear-and-apple chutney paired with mustard coulis for a bit of tang. 2155 S. Highland Drive, SLC, 801-946-2079, kimishouse.com
Four locations across the Salt Lake Valley now dish out the best value in Vietnamese food. A simple menu of banh mi sandwiches, pho, bun noodles, rice dishes and salads are all offered for well under the $10 threshold. Enjoy the bit tet xao toi—a banh mi with eight inches of thin-shaved ribeye steak bathed in garlic butter that’s then loaded into a crispy baguette and topped with crunchy carrots and daikon along with cucumber, cilantro, jalapeno, lettuce, mayo and a black-pepper-onion vinaigrette.
Multiple locations, ohmaisandwich.com
While Les Madeleines is best known for the rich and buttery kouing aman that chef and owner Romina Rasmussen turns out by the dozens every day, and which has been featured in national television shows and magazines, her beautiful French-style café also offers savory breakfast and lunch delights—many with a side of finger-licking pommes frites. But guests are always drawn back to the pastry case where fresh violets might adorn a Meyer lemon dessert or Valrhona chocolate hides inside the flaky pain au chocolat. 216 E. 500 South, SLC, 801-355-2294, lesmadeleines.com
Salt Lake City has plenty of Mexican restaurants but none of them quite like glistening newcomer Chile-Tepin. Making its mark by offering fresh and well-prepared dishes at surprisingly low prices in an appealing setting, Chile-Tepin serves up a memorable chile relleno. The chile itself has the perfect balance of sturdiness and heat, and is encased in a tasty, crisp outer shell. You’ll also find the increasingly popular molcajete here, which is brimming with grilled steak, chicken, shrimp, nopales (cactus) and sticks of queso fresco cheese simmering in green tomatillo sauce and topped with charred jalapeños and onion. 307 W. 200 South, SLC, 801-883-9255, facebook.com/chiletepin
Head to South Salt Lake for authentic Taiwanese food at a modest price—all directed by Mama Chen and Mama Zhang who run the kitchen. There’s a menu section for Taiwanese food, noodles (all handmade in-house), fried rice, chow mein and homestyle dishes, which are served family style. Start with the simply named beef roll—a pan-fried pancake rolled around slices of beef, scallions and shredded lettuce with a flavorful brown sauce. Chinese pork meatballs in the menu’s soup section are enveloped in glass noodles and cabbage, all with a rich broth that’s surprisingly substantial. 2233 S. State, SLC, 801-486-0092, momskitchenrestaurantsaltlakecity.com
Everest Curry Kitchen
Venture to Sandy’s Everest Curry Kitchen for a vast menu highlighting Nepalese and Indian dishes, including curries and kormas along with items baked in their tandoor clay oven. Everest Curry Kitchen artfully balances flavors in each dish, such as the coriander and cumin supporting braised lamb in a tangy tomato-coconut cream sauce found in the classic lamb coconut korma entrée. Pair the korma with bubbly and buttery naan served hot from the tandoor oven to scoop up any saucy leftovers on the plate. Dishes are served in beautiful copper bowls with a large serving of perfectly prepared basmati rice. 68 E. 10600 South, Sandy, 801-571-4015, everestcurrykitchen.com
Salt Lake’s earliest history included Greek immigrants, and Manoli’s owner and chef Manoli Katsanevas comes directly from a long line of successful Greek restaurant entrepreneurs. The restaurant offers a fresh take on the small plates or “meze” concept with inventive vegetarian, seafood and meat selections, in addition to salads, main courses, filling sides and delectable desserts—plus weekend brunch. Standout meze include the creamy three-cheese orzo loaded with white cheddar, parmesan and feta, and the mouthwatering piquillo peppers stuffed with creamy smoked feta and black sea salt. 402 E. 900 South, 801-532-3760, manolison9th.com
Black Sheep at Epic Brewing
Black Sheep is the place in Salt Lake City to find a fusion of Native American and Southwestern cuisines. In addition to their original location in Provo, Black Sheep at Epic Brewing recently opened in Sugar House and is now serving up Bleu Fire Shrimp, which highlights grilled shrimp on top of creamy blue-corn cheddar grits with a flourish of chipotle-butter sauce and a side of fresh sweet-corn pico de gallo. Another inventive fusion dish is the signature pozole ramen: Japanese ramen noodles and a poached egg join pork belly in a smoky red chile broth accented with masa and presented in a cornhusk. 1048 E. 2100 South, 801-742-5490, blacksheepslc.com
Mahider Ethiopian Restaurant
Ethiopian food is usually best enjoyed in a group in order to sample an array of items family-style.The Taste of Mahider platter offers an excellent introduction to Ethiopian fare and includes yedoro wot—a stew with moist chicken legs bathed in a thick and hearty berbere-seasoned sauce—and a chunky beef stew (yesega wot) brimming with heat. Vegetarian choices include gomen, a tasty collard green sauté with garlic, jalapeno peppers and spices, as well as fesolia—a vegetable stew containing string beans, carrots, tomatoes and onions. Everything is served with injera, a spongy, fermented, crêpe-like bread that’s ripped into pieces and used to eat the wot by hand. 1465 S. State, 801-975-1111