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Sugar House Journal

10 culinary offerings around the valley to whet your appetite

Mar 03, 2020 11h09 ● By Sona Schmidt-Harris

Stanza’s seasonal menus keep the palate guessing in wonderful ways. (Sona Schmidt-Harris/City Journals)

By Sona Schmidt-Harris | [email protected]

Great cuisine has been in the Salt Lake Valley for some time. Here is just a smattering of what is offered to food lovers. 

Oasis Café – 151 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City

Sunday brunch at the Oasis Café is a veritable sampling of who’s who in Utah. Local politicians and TV personalities don the lively scene along with students, artistic types and others who just want a hearty brunch. Of particular interest is the daily frittata special, both creative and filling. In pleasant weather (or even not so pleasant weather—Salt Lakers are a hearty bunch), the crowd congregates under hanging flower baskets and near the gentle-flowing fountain in the middle of the patio.  

Second to weekend brunch is lunch at Oasis Café. One of Salt Lake City’s best desserts, Oasis’ lavender-infused panna cotta, is not too sweet and is consistently tasty.

Another enticement is the adjacent bookstore, The Golden Braid. This ethereal bookstore features mostly spiritual awareness books, and psychic readings are available.

Layla’s – 4715 S. Holladay Blvd., Holladay

Located in Holladay, Layla’s provides Middle Eastern cuisine in a chic environment.   Pair mezze (hot and cold appetizers) with a “Layla Rose”– their distinctive rose-flavored cocktail. The beef shawarma, featuring thin slices of sirloin marinated in Mediterranean spices, is a favorite, and you can’t go wrong with any of the kabobs. Also of note is the warak malfouf consisting of cabbage leaves stuffed with grand beef and accented with mint. 

Eva’s Bakery – 155 S. Main St., Salt Lake City

On Main Street in the heart of Salt Lake City is Eva’s Bakery Boulangerie. The bright façade, unlike most in Salt Lake, truly gives one the feeling of being at a European cafe. Chef /Owner Charlie Perry created a varied artisan bread menu and taking home a loaf is a pleasure. Part patisserie, you can never go wrong ordering one of their delectable offerings beautifully displayed. Since Eva’s Bakery is bustling at lunch, try visiting for an early and relaxed dinner (they close at 6 p.m.). Enjoy a bowl of their remarkable French onion soup. 

Market Street Grill - Locations in Salt Lake City, Cottonwood Heights and South Jordan

Offering consistently high-quality cuisine is something Market Street Grill has been doing for decades. Though it may seem like an oxymoron, landlocked Utah has an exceptional seafood restaurant.  

Far from a relaxing atmosphere, Market Street Grill is a place to go and get energized. Tile floors, a long counter and the fast-moving staff in the exhibition kitchen magnify a bustling, bright ambience. Fresh fish markets, adjacent to the restaurants, are in three locations and add to the experience. Desserts are also consistently good.  

Stanza Italian Bistro and Wine Bar – 454 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City

Stanza, an Italian Bistro and Wine Bar, has been a wonderful addition to downtown Salt Lake City. Seasonal menus keep the palate guessing in wonderful ways. The holiday prix-fixe menus are arguably the best in the valley. New Year’s Eve at Stanza is especially enjoyable and features an adult, relaxed atmosphere.  

La Caille – 9565 Wasatch Blvd., Sandy

No restaurant in the Salt Lake area has a more beautiful outdoor setting than La Caille.  Nestled at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon, there are 20 elegant acres that include sculpted gardens, a natural environment and a three-acre vineyard enveloping the visitor and providing a sense of escape. Housed in what is fashioned after a French chateau, the indoor setting is lovely as well.

The French cuisine, as one might expect, is rich. No restaurant in the valley has better caviar.

Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops – 255 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City

Located in the Hilton Hotel downtown, Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops provides a warm and rich environment to savor their remarkable meats. In addition to aged beef, Spencer’s features other hearty dishes including seafood. The ambience and comfort of the place encourages lingering.

Tuscany – 2832 E. 6200 South, Holladay

Rated by Zagat in “America’s Top Restaurants,” Tuscany brings great Italian dining to the Salt Lake area—an area not replete with Italian roots. Architecturally, the restaurant resembles an Italian Alps chalet, and has an unusually elegant yet approachable atmosphere.  One of Tuscany’s crowning indoor glories is a hand-blown glass light fixture by local artist, Tom Holdman. In lovely weather, eat outside on the patio among the trees and fall in love. It’s a remarkably wonderful venue for special events.  

Log Haven – 6451 E. Millcreek Canyon Rd., Salt Lake City

No place offers quintessential, fine Utah dining like Log Haven. In business for decades, Log Haven is located up Millcreek Canyon east of Salt Lake. Housed in a historic, log mansion, Log Haven is surrounded by the Wasatch National Forest and offers stunning views any time of year. Featuring New American cuisine, the food is hearty yet refined. Open Table listed this canyon getaway as one of the “Most Romantic Restaurants” in the U.S., and Wine Spectator has bestowed Awards of Excellence on Log Haven. It’s an exquisite alpine dining experience.

Valter’s Osteria – 173 W. Broadway, Salt Lake City

No restaurant in Salt Lake has had such a meteoric rise as Valter’s Osteria. Valter’s has proven itself to be extraordinary in every way. The proprietor (Who else but Valter?) greets his guests warmly and is so attentive it is difficult for customers not to come back for more. Though Valter is welcoming, he also runs a tight ship focusing on every detail. Hands-on and engaged, he epitomizes the fussy restaurateur. Excellent tableside service is provided, and special care is given to the Caesar salad with the classic, requisite fresh anchovies.

Every authentic Tuscan (Valter is from Tuscany) entrée comes with hors d’oeuvres and is finished with a European hot chocolate and biscotti. It is an event. Plan on staying a long time.

Do you have a favorite restaurant in the Salt Lake Valley?  We would love to hear from you. Leave your comments at mycityjournals.com.