Come in from the cold and feel the warmth of these dining sanctuaries
With the holidays over and family no longer occupying your guest bedroom, it’s hard not to feel the let down as you recall days that felt cheerier, brighter and somehow warmer despite the snow and ice. Reclaim that cozy ambiance with these 12 restaurants that invite you to linger over a comforting bite.
Havana in Full Bloom
Thanks to the design expertise of Melissa Gray and Cody Derrick (cityhomeCOLLECTIVE), walking through the front door of HSL feels as though you’ve just arrived in tropical Havana in its prime. With lush flora, green velvet chairs and Hemingway-worthy wicker lamps, you’ll wish you’d worn espadrilles instead of snow boots. Chefs Briar Handley and Matt Nelson’s menu rotates seasonally, but you can’t go wrong starting with the seeded cracker served with Grandma Britton’s peppered jelly ($6), a family recipe and HSL staple.
418 E. 200 South, SLC
If ducking in from the cold and down into the hidden basement where this speakeasy is located doesn’t chase away the winter chill, we’re not sure what will. Cozy up in a dimly lit booth and get ready to stay awhile—the succulent beer can chicken ($35) takes up to an hour to prepare, but it’s plenty for two and worth the wait. Pass the time in true speakeasy fashion with a few craft cocktails made with local Honest John’s Bitters. Reservations strongly recommended.
331 S. Main, SLC
Share a Table
Recapture the warm vibes of a bustling kitchen at Provo’s Communal, where you can cozy up shoulder to shoulder at the communal dining table or sit at the counter and watch your Clifford Farm’s pork loin cook in the open kitchen. With parsnip puree, pear compote and fried sage, it’s the post-holiday dish you didn’t know you needed. Serving brunch, lunch and dinner, there’s never a bad time to get out of the cold and enjoy a little comfort food at Communal.
102 N. University Ave., Provo
Curious how to pronounce “hygge”? Skip it and say Hearth on 25th instead. Part restaurant, part pantry, this Ogden establishment on historic 25th Street is an ideal destination after a few powder turns at Snowbasin. Its “Appy Hour” Monday through Saturday, 3–6 p.m., is the place to enjoy half-off select appetizers such as yak meatballs ($10) and truffle fries ($5), plus $5 glasses of wine on Wednesdays. Relax on a Chesterfield sofa near the bar, or score a table by the window for snow-capped mountain views.
Hearth on 25th
195 25th St., Ogden
You don’t need luck to score one of Nuch’s few tables … just a reservation. This pint-sized pizzeria is absolute perfection when the temps are frigid. Order the New Haven pizza ($16.95). Its Yukon gold and roasted garlic mashed potatoes, bacon, asparagus and mozzarella make for a pie that sticks to the ribs and warms the soul. Be sure to save room for dessert; the ricotta cheesecake ($5.95) is reason enough to put your New Year’s resolution on the back burner.
2819 S. 2300 East, Millcreek
If you’ve spent time in Cache Valley during the winter, you’re familiar with the special kind of cold that settles in between Wellsville and the sled hill on Old Main. But nestled in a restored Victorian home near the historic Logan Tabernacle, you’ll find a Tuscan restaurant by the name of Le Nonne inviting you to remove your coat and warm up with chef Pier Antonio Micheli’s homemade ravioli de granchio ($18), a fresh pasta hand-stuffed with Alaskan king crab, ricotta and cream sauce. The only thing better is enjoying it on a Friday when Le Nonne features live jazz.
129 N. 100 East, Logan
Slide Your Shoes Off
No matter the season, there’s never a bad time to bite into pillowy soft gyoza. But at Koyo, they serve up gyoza pot stickers with a spicy dipping sauce (from $7) that is especially adept at chasing away the chill of winter. Along with traditional Japanese teriyakis, Koyo also serves sushi in its tatami rooms where you can take off your winter boots and sit around low tables with warm Japanese lanterns glowing overhead. Prefer a shoes-on dining experience? There are plenty of regular tables partially enclosed with shōji—paper screens—for an intimate dinner.
2275 E. 3300 South, SLC
On a snowy evening, a short drive up Millcreek Canyon to Log Haven gives us all sorts of over-the-river-and-through-the-woods vibes, and with a low cal/high impact nightly special (MP) from chef Dave Jones—ideal for those of us with resolutions to lose a few pounds—there’s more room to splurge on calories from their impressive wine list, which has won multiple awards from Wine Spectator. Reserve a table by the fireplace and pay the babysitter extra—you’ll want to stay awhile.
6451 E. Millcreek Canyon, SLC
St. George tends to be the warmest city in the state, but it still sees its fair share of southern snowstorms. This is the time to saddle up to The Painted Pony with its sandstone and terracotta decor for an ambiance that nods to warm desert days. The bacon wrapped duck ($29) is a local favorite, but if you’re there for lunch you’ll want to try the torta abogada ($9), a south-of-the-border take on the classic French dip with spicy guajillo chile dipping sauce.
The Painted Pony
2 W. St. George Blvd., St. George
Haven for Cozy Italian Eats
Haven’t been to Stoneground since the early aughts? Then you might not know how far it has come in Salt Lake’s rapidly growing Italian dining scene. Its pool tables replaced by a gorgeous enclosed glass fireplace, its college vibe decidedly more fine dining, Stoneground is a haven in the winter, rising above the muddy slush on 400 South and offering a unique perspective of Library Square. It’s a gathering spot where you can thaw out with chef Justin Shifflett’s rich, comforting bowl of homestyle bolognese topped with San Marzano tomatoes, house ricotta and basil ($20).
249 E. 400 South, SLC
In the January tradition of “Auld Lang Syne,” consider taking “a cup o’ kindness yet” with an old acquaintance at Pallet. Make a res-y so you’re sure to score a candle-lit corner table, then choose from their artfully selected wine list or ask the bartender to make you one of many rotating craft cocktails. Either go well with the full board ($31), a spread of cheese and charcuterie that begs to be paired with long conversations, close friends and warm memories.
237 S. 400 West, SLC
Splurging at a steakhouse when the whole family is in town for the holidays can be overwhelming. But treating yourself to a decadent lunch date in between returning gifts at City Creek? Yes, please. Spencer’s steak frites ($38) indulges your taste buds with 8-ounce Wagyu bavette, Idaho potato crisps and Spencer’s classic green peppercorn cognac sauce, among cozy craftsman-style decor like coffered ceilings and rich, leather banquettes.
Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops
225 S. West Temple, SLC