Food with finesse and grub with gusto in Utah's wide range of restaurants
It should perhaps be no surprise that, in a state as geographically diverse as Utah, a superb range of food can be found – from sophisticated high-class eateries to classic diners.
In the state capital, Salt Lake City’s thriving restaurant scene plays out across downtown. Market Street Grill and Oyster Bar, a name that has lit up the city's grid since 1980, now extends to three locations, specializing in oysters and fish, including a fine Utah rainbow trout. Valter's Osteria brings Italian fine-dining with rich Tuscan flavors to West Broadway. The Copper Onion is an example of the cutting-edge fare increasingly found in the city, supplying inventive twists on American favorites and offering dishes such as its house meat loaf with mashed potatoes.
Eating out is also an enticing prospect on the Wasatch Front, the urban corridor running north-to-south for over 240 kilometers along the edge of the Wasatch Mountains with Salt Lake City as its hub. La Caille is an intriguing eatery; the French-style bistro occupies a fairy-tale cottage southeast of the city in Sandy, selling favorites such as onion soup and lobster bisque. Historic Brigham City, about 95 kilometers north of the capital, is home to Idle Isle Café. The menu at the traditional diner on Main Street includes Reuben sandwiches and clam chowder to be enjoyed in early 20th century décor.
There are plenty of culinary options in southern Utah, where the rugged landscapes protected as national parks also offer choices for hungry travelers. Bryce Canyon City has Western-themed Ebenezer's Barn & Grill, where cowboy minstrels sing as patrons eat pulled pork with hot sauce. Hell's Backbone Grill in Boulder is anything but hellish, making Zagat-rated, locally sourced organic delights such as the Boulder Beef Braise, slow-cooked beef and polenta.
- In Bluff, one of Utah's gateways to the Four Corners region and Monument Valley, hungry group travelers can enjoy a meal at the Cow Canyon Trading Post restaurant next to a classic trading post. Cow Canyon serves a minimum of 15 per group booking and is open April to October.
- Ebenezer’s Barn and Grill in Bryce Canyon City is affiliated with Ruby's Inn, a well-priced motel with in-room hot tubs and a communal swimming pool. It’s an easy walk across the road to enjoy a cowboy dinner.
- For those on the road looking for traditional diner snack – specifically along Interstate 15 through central Utah – a stop at a traditional 1950s-style diner, Cluff's Car Hop in Filmore, is recommended. In its fifth generation of family operation, the sandwich joint is known for its patty melts, Reubens, light tempura onion rings and fresh-cut french fries.
- Across the Wasatch Front, as well as in some of southern Utah's national park gateway towns, a burgeoning farm-to-table movement is taking place. Notable examples are the Oasis Café and Pago near downtown Salt Lake City, Provisions and Log Haven on the East Bench, and Copper Kitchen in the mid-Salt Lake Valley.
- The western city of Ogden, 16 kilometers east of the Great Salt Lake, offers plentiful dining options. Try Hearth, serving up locally sourced seasonal dishes with a focus on live fire cooking, and the quaint Two Bit Street Cafe with a passion for humanely raised cows, no trans fats, organic and gluten-free options. Both restaurants can be found on the historic 25th Street.