Friday, November 7, 2008

My Top Ten Restaurants

I was reading the City Weekly (artsy fartsy SLC newspaper) last week and they had a top 100 restaurants in Utah article in it. I love to eat out. LOVE it. Can't think of any way I'd rather spend my money. So I was stoked. I have already tried a couple of their suggestions (The Vienna Bistro was wonderful!). Anyway, it inspired me to do a top 10--I'm not going to try to get overly ambitious here-- of my own. So, in no particular order (other than #1), here are my top 10 favorite restaurants in Utah:

10. Bombay House. If you don't eat Indian food, you should. You have to get over the fact that it looks like something from a baby's diaper and just try it. If you're scared, go with the Chicken Tikka Masala. Every picky eater I know who has tried that has loved it. Me, I like the baby diarrhea-est of them all: the Saag Paneer (spinach with chunks of farmer's cheese).

9. Red Butte Cafe. It's on Foothill not far from the U of U. They have a standard menu with things like sandwiches and amazing enchiladas. But their weekly specials are the best. Steaks, chicken, fish...all prepared very interestingly and very well. Plus they have a really good bakery for dessert. And I like the ambiance too.

8. Ginza. This was my first taste of sushi. It's where I was deflowered, so to speak. It's where I was trained in the art of eating things I never thought I'd put in my mouth let alone love. The X-roll is to die for, and their Mars Roll is the best in the state. And it's all made by a classically-trained Japanese sushi chef.

7. Stoneground. It's not fancy. It's not swanky. Half of the place is a pool hall. But the other half is a fantastic restaurant that serves mouth-watering pastas, other pseudo-Italian foods, pizzas, and has only one dessert: a tiramisu from heaven above.

6. I've gotta go with sushi again here. Tsunami. Sugarhouse location, preferably. Their decor is modern and hip, and their sushi-made-by-white-guys is surprisingly creative and well-made. Try the Don Juan. It's like candy.

5. Noodles & Company. You know I'm not usually one to give props to the chain restaurants. But pasta is probably my favorite food; so what could be better than an entire restaurant dedicated to it? Oh, and they make really good rice crispy treats and have bottled Izzy's (all natural fruit pop).

4. Sampan. The biggest downfall of Chinese food as a whole is that it isn't very fresh or very high quality. You know you hate it when your orange chicken is mostly breading with parts-is-parts chicken inside. Well, that will never happen at Sampan. Their orange chicken is thinly sliced breast, barely breaded, crispy and delicious. And their cream cheese wantons are divine.

3. Pizzeria 712. I may have a personal connection to this restaurant, but I can say with all honesty that it's one of my favorite places to eat in the state. And the pizza is only an afterthought for me. The appetizers, salads, and desserts are so interesting and unique. And they change so often that I never eat the same thing there twice. Everything is freshly made with local ingredients. And the thin crust pizzas (cooked at 712 degrees in their brick oven, the Italian way) are about the best you'll ever eat.

2. Cafe Trio. My friend Kelli introduced me to this hip little restaurant this year. And though I've only eaten there 3 times (due to the distance from my house--Ft.Union or Downtown--I have loved every morsel I've put in my mouth. They serve American/European food. Nothing crazy. But everything is very fresh and prepared in really unique ways. The pork piccata is wonderful. The appetizers are wonderful. The desserts are wonderful. Don't miss this place.

1. The Tree Room at Sundance. This is definitely my favorite restaurant. It's not cheap. It's a bit of a drive (up Provo Canyon). But it's worth it once or twice a year on special occasions. You've never had such a mouthwatering steaks as the Pepper Steak with Mango Chutney or the Buffalo Tenderloin. I usually get whatever fish they have on special and I'm never sorry. I eat my weight in their currant and sunflower rolls. And despite being sickeningly full at that point, I never leave without a warm chocolate cake (gooey souffle style). It might be a bank breaker, but treat yourself once in your life if once a year is too much. Plus, you just might get to sit next to Bob. I have. Twice.

Now you know where to eat. Don't let me catch you at the Olive Garden or Chilis ever again!


Hildie said...

I guess I'm downscale because I thoroughly love Zupas.

and that brewpub at Trolley Square.

Chelsea said...

The Tree Room is the only one I recognize, and I have to agree that it's awesome! That's where my parents got engaged. I really like the casual restaurant at Sundance too, I can't remember what it's called right now.

Omgirl said...

Chelsea--the Foundry Grill
Jennie, that ALMOST made my list. It should get an honorable mention, for sure.

Anonymous said...

I think I've spent way too much time eating out for work when out of town, so I like to eat at home. I've also noticed that just because a place is expensive doesn't mean it's good. Just because a place looks like it should be condemned doesn't mean it sucks.

Mindi said...

okay, i am feeling super sheepish and un-hip because i haven't eaten at ONE SINGLE PLACE that you've got on this list. i suck.

my kids think chili's and cheesecake are fine dining. (okay, me with c.f. as well. so lame.)

Tiffany said...

Cafe Trio, Tsunami, and Red Butte Cafe are (were?) three of my absolute FAVORITES! I frequently crave the Sunshine Roll at Tsunami. Please go have one for me!

gina bina said...

Mindi, WTF girl? I love all the places on your list too, except Ginza because I've never eaten there. I was deflowered at Ichiban, and well, I stick with what I know. The SLC Bombay is in our neighborhood so we eat there often and my mouth is watering just thinking about it! Good pics!

Unknown said...

Girl, as tight with money as I am, you really have my mouth watering and my interest piqued. Lets see, if I live ten more years, and you treat me to dinner on each birthday -- maybe I can taste them all!


tiburon said...

Frickin HATE Bombay House - went there with you. Me and the curry are not friends. Me and you ARE.

Sushi is a no go.

And I am a little bummed that you left the Rio off.

Christie said...

I LOVE the Bombay house. LOVE it. I used to eat at the one in Provo All. The. Time. and I miss it.

Becky, yep said...

that is my list EXACTLY!!!

alex dumas said...

I obviously don't get out enough. Or to the Salt Lake area, where most of these are.