Monday, March 30, 2009

Dislike chain restaurants...looking for something new??? - Revised

Then this post is for you. This post is dedicated to those looking for a "new, or maybe old and undiscovered" place to eat. This post is dedicated to those who, although don't necessarily hate eating at establishments like Chilis, Olive Garden, and Applebee's, but long for something different. Now, I had to clarify, for my husband's sake, that when I say non-chain, I mean it doesn't exist outside of Utah. I realize that a couple of these have multiple locations within Utah....and some may have even branched out recently to other states...

This is a list of my favorite restaurants in the Salt Lake and Utah County areas.

and in no particular order:

1.) Zupa's - although there is more than one in Utah, it is a great place for sandwiches, soups and salads. I recommend their tomato basil with orzo pasta soup, and any panini. A plus, every combo comes with a chocolate dipped strawberry and a roll. $

2.) Market Street Grill - Their halibut is D-licious. This is a great place for fresh fish and delightful sour dough bread. I recommend their halibut and raspberry torte's refreshing and delicious. A tip: Get there before 6:30p.m. to take advantage of the early bird special which comes with sour dough bread, your choice of several entrees, a side, the best clam chowder-EVER, and for dessert, a scoop of delicious ice cream with a cookie. I believe this also comes with a soda. Another tip: Go to the one at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon. It is light, and refreshing, the view is beautiful and the ambiance is delightful. $$ - $$$$

3.) Cafe Trio - This restaurant can be found across the street to the North of Market Street. You will find on the menu pastas, salads, pizzas, fish, beef and chicken entrees. They also have AMAZING appetizers. Everything I have had there is delicious. They change their menu seasonally so you're always in for something new. The butternut squash ravioli is so tasty, and the pistachio panna cotta is so light and refreshing. Never leave without dessert. I also recommend the flatbread with hummus, pesto and another dip that I really don't care for...too salty for me. But someone at your table will love it and help you clear your plate. $$ - $$$$

4.) Flour Girls and Dough Boys - This is a little tiny restaurant in American Fork. It's a bakery where you can also find delicious sandwiches on all kind of homemade, fresh baked breads. They have adorable cakes, and delectable desserts. The ambiance is french couture. (at least that's how I describe it.) They have turquoise painted walls, and crystal chandeliers. $

5.) P712 - This restaurant is in Orem. They use fresh ingredients to make pizzas, and amazing appetizers. The braised beef appetizer is delicious and not something I would normally order. friend, Arianne, who is much braver than I am, ordered this and shared and it was so tender, melt in your mouth. They also have a really good berry panna cotta. Their pizzas are not your typical pepperoni. They have squash, and speck, and prusciutto, and really make a name for themselves. All of their food is cooked in a pizza oven, and no microwaves are used in preparation. You will not be disappoined in this restaurant. $-$$$

6.) The Tree Room at Sundance - I had always heard from my parents that this restaurant was overpriced bird food, but when I actually tried it for myself, it was spendy, but so good. My favorite is their coconut encrusted halibut. Like Cafe Trio their menu changes seasonally and you are likely to find new and exciting things on the menu each time you dine there. I do not like their salads... but that's just me, and I don't find the appetizers super appealing, but the dessert and entrees are delicious. Also, the atmosphere is pretty laid back. I thought it would be super stuffy, but it's more like dining at a lodge. And if you're lucky enough to get a table with a bench, make sure you sit on the same side with your girlfriend so people can stare at you the whole time like you're lesbians. ...and who knows, maybe you'll be lucky enough to get a seat next to Robert Redford. Also, make sure you stop in the gift store after for a sucker. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the delicious rolls with what might actually be bird seed. :) They really are delicious. $$$$$

7.) Bombay House - This is by far and beyond the best Indian Food in Utah. However, I did hear recently that they changed their recipe for Chicken Coconut Kurma and it's not fantastic anymore. But they do have excellent naan, saag, and Chicken Tika Missala. I would also highly recommend their samosas. Now, if you're the buffet type, the India Palace on Center Street in Provo is pretty good. One of the guys from the Bombay House moved over to the India Palace and it has gotten better as time has gone by. They typically serve the chicken tika missala and the chicken coconut kurma on the buffet, as well as naan, and the last two times I've been there, they have also had saag. We had to start cheating on the Bombay House because it doesn't not offer lunch. $$ - $$$

8.) Best non-chain burger joint - JCW's hands down - Great burgers - char broiled, thick delicious shakes, and really good fries with homemade fry sauce. $

9.) La Dolce Vita in downtown Provo - This is probably the most authentic Italian food I have had in Utah County. They have delicious gnocchi and homemade sauces. I have always been happy with their menu. Their side salads are not fantastic, but you're there for the entrees, right? $ - $$

10.) Magelby's Oyster Bar & Grill - This restuarant is located in Provo in the Riverwoods. You'll find delicious fresh fish, chicken and pasta entrees, and an assortment of sandwiches. I love their halibut. It's fresh, flaky, and never "fishy." However, I would suggest staying away from the fish tacos...the only menu item I have ordered and wished I hadn't. They amazing favorite is the buttermilk pie which is more like a cake in my opionioin. And the best part about this restaurant, the breadsticks, delicious, delicious breadsticks, covered in herbs and parmesan cheese and a gazillion pounds of melted butter. Oh My Gosh, they are good. $$ - $$$$

11.) Big City Soup - Downtown SLC. 12 or more varieties of soup, a slice of bread and a cheesestick. That's it! Simple, and delicious., I just looked this one up on the net, and uh oh, it's closed until further notice. I hope they reopen. It really was delicious. There is another soup joint in SLC called The Soup Kitchen...not the actual soup kitchen for homeless people, but a restaurant called The Soup Kitchen. I haven't tried it, but it got good reviews. It's also in SLC, and they serve sandwiches as well as soup. $

12.) Stoneground - This restaurant has excellent pizza, and the best, let me say it again, the BEST tiramisu to exist. It's a super low key joint where you can play pool, and hang out, and according to local myth, see hot lesbos...I can't really verify if this is true or not, but I can give you the names of the guys who say it is. $-$$

13.) Sampan - This is a great chinese restaurant at South Towne Mall. They have the best cream cheese wantons, and they serve every meal with crisp wanton strips and sweet and sour sauce to dip it in. If you're looking for Orange chicken a' la Panda Express, you won't be happy with this restaurant. Their orange chicken is fresh, and zesty. Tastes like REAL oranges. I'm not sure if this restaurant is a chain or not, but I haven't seen it anywhere else and it's really good. $-$$$

14.) Breakfast joint whose name I can't remember on Park City Main Street...Arianne, if you can remember the name of this place, help me out. They have a GREAT breakfast. Maybe it's just being on Park City Main, but I actually believe that it was one of the best breakfasts I've had, and I had to eat every single last morsel even though I was so completely overstuffed! $-$$

15.) The Asian Star - I still think that Sampan is better than the Asian Star, but the Asian Star comes in a close second. Give it a try...the ambiance is great now that they've moved. The only downfall is the parking is limited, but they do offer valet. $-$$$

16.) The Pizza Factory - There is one in Lindon, St.George, and Provo. This makes the list for their BBQ Chicken pizza, sans onions. This is my FAVORITE BBQ Chicken pizza, and none others compare ...and also their delicious bread twists with ranch dressing. If you're feeling cutting edge, order the sweet bread twist with sweet cream. You will not be disappointed. $-$$

17.) Yapona - This restaurant is in American Fork, and surprisingly good. I do not like sushi, so don't ask me if their sushi is good, because I have NO idea. But, I can tell you that their shrimp and vegetable tempura is so delicious. Also, their chicken teriyaki is TASTY! The ambiance is great. Romantic/Sexy curtained booths, dark lighting, candles on the tables, great place! $$-$$$

18.) Apple Spice Junction - This little joint is in Orem, and unfortunately they have VERY limited hours. They are basically only open for lunch, and I don't believe they are open on Saturdays. They have really delicious sandwiches and soups. I don't know about their salads, but if they are anything like the rest of their menu, then I'm sure they are good. I recommend the vegetarian sandwich, minus cucumbers and the baja tortilla soup. Every meal comes with a butter mint, a pickle and a cookie. A very complete lunch. $

19.) Art City Trolley - Hands down the best Oriental chicken salad, and quesadillas. They also have really yummy chips and salsa. It can be a bit loud in the restaurant, but if you can deal with that, head on out to Springville and try this restaurant out. $-$$

20.) Costa Vida - Cliche, maybe, but how could a favorites list be complete without including either Costa Vida or Cafe Rio? Costa Vida is my favorite. The chicken salad, with no beans, and extra dressing tops my list at this joint.

I'm sure I could think of other favorites, but my cold is kicking in again, and I need to get some rest. Please post your favorites, and if there's a restaurant you think I need to add to this list, let me know and I'll revise.

I have revised this to include price points:
pricing is per person

$ - $10 and under
$$ - $15 and under
$$$ - $20 and under
$$$$ - $30 andunder
$$$$$ - $50 and under