Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Friday, December 09, 2005

Salt Lake City eats

With some of you traveling to the Beehive state over the holidays I thought I'd post a few recommended eateries.

The first batch is from Vanessa Chang, associate food editor at Salt Lake Magazine. I asked about slow food-type restaurants that focus on local and seasonal dishes. Check out her blog for more restaurant recommendations (and because it's a wonderful blog).

In Salt Lake City:
*Lugano (3364 S. 2300 East, (801) 412-9994—Cornerstone is Italian food, but it’s basically seasonal. Most folks come casual. In the Millcreek/Holladay area.

*Pine (4760 S. 900 East, (801) 288-2211—From the owners of Lugano. It’s “American” food that ranges from really good ribs and burgers to braised lamb shanks and fresh (sustainable) fish. Same seasonal principles apply here. All in a really chic setting. Most folks come casual. In Murray.

*Squatters Pub (147 W. Broadway(300 South), (801) 566-5474)—A casual brewery, where the vibe is urbane. The food is ecclectic and has a conscience (sustainability is part of their business plan) and the beer is actually good. The chef is also on the Slow Food board. Casual. Downtown SLC.

*Metropolitan (173 W. Broadway(300 South), (801) 364-3472)—Right next door to the brew pub. The place has been a mainstay for local fine dining. Very posh. I’d pull out a sexy outfit for this one. Downtown SLC

*Martine (22 E. 100 South, (801) 363-9328)—They’ve been written in every national mag when there’s a blurb about SLC. Tom, the chef, is really in tune with Slow Food principles. They specialize in tapas (generously portioned)—and they have since they opened, not simply something they joined in on. They have great multi-course pricing options. Casual to dressy. Downtown SLC

*Em’s (271 N. Center Street, (801) 596-0566)—They have weird hours, but the food is always seasonal and mostly good. In the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

*Red Iguana (736 W. North Temple, (801) 322-1489) Some of the best Mexican food in the western US. The place is a trip. They don’t take reservations for small parties. So there will be a wait unless you get there at some different hour. Cochinitas pibil, fish a la veracruzana, and the moles are killer. Diane Kennedy ate here when she stopped in town and loved the mole verde. I’m a fan of the enmoladas and the enchiladas suizas.

You can also get more info at

We went to Martine for lunch. The food was great, though they don't do tapas for lunch and the service was awful. I'm pretty sure that when our waiter isn't at work he's hanging out in a freezer in greying old underwear listening to Kraftwerk. (Lane didn't find that last line funny. Dang, he's a tough audience sometimes.) And Mr. Gloom gave us our bill WITH OUR ENTREES. Also, my tuna came back thoroughly cooked, which is a crime in New York.

We also went to Em's. We loved the food the the service was glacial -- slow and cold. Keep in mind we had Jasper both times (at Em's and Martine). I think the bad service was due to many non-Mormon Salt Lakers' extreme aversion to anything remotely Mormon-like (kids, for example). Leave the little one at home and they'll probably greet you with open arms.

Salt Lake often struggles against its country, small-town image by erring to the other extreme. A lot of service there is cloyingly familiar, so the Lords of Gloom are apparently trying to be more sophisticated. Kind of like how those girls with chunky streaks and overly complicated cuts are trying really hard not to look like Mollie Mormon with curly blond hair. Guess what -- YOU STILL LOOK LIKE HICKS.

I keep hearing about the Beehive Tea Room. I've never been but I'm dying to go.

Feel free to comment with other recommendations!


shaunamama said...

Bambara is absolutely a MUST when visiting SLC.

My hubby and I were having dinner there when Sting was right upstairs at the hotel before his show. Our waiter said we just missed him...drat my luck! The chef there is amazing. funny!

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you were thinking of me, but we will be in Utard for 10 whole days, so this is perfectly timely. I just wish there were some Utah Valley restaurants on your list. If we happen to hit any of these I'll let you know how they turn out.