The new year is a blank slate for all sorts of things: goals, achievements, adventures, places to eat. That’s right, a whole new calendar full of meals that need eating. Everyone might be in diet mode right now but we all know that’s not going to last. To prep you for when that times comes, here are 7 restaurants to try in 2015:
1. Chabaar Beyond Thai
Chabaar is without a doubt the best Thai food in Salt Lake City. The menu covers a wide range of dishes, each uniquely flavored and awesomely prepared. But–and this is a big but–they do not take heat lightly! Their dishes are incredibly spicy so order 1 or maybe a 2 if you’re feeling daring; anything beyond that you’ll suffer. (They make you sign a waiver if you order over a 5!)
Must Order Dish: the eggplant stir fry with chicken. It’s not actually on the menu but if you ask for it, they’ll make it. And it’s amazing.
2. R&R Barbecue
When it comes to barbecue, R&R Barbecue does not mess around. They’ve won nationwide awards for their slowly smoked meat and once you taste it, you’ll see why. Their brisket is smoked for nearly 20 hours until it’s a perfection of smokey goodness. But the secret is out so arrive early before the goods are gone.
Must Order Dish: brisket, in any form. I prefer the two meat plate with sliced brisket and pulled pork, hush puppies and a side of mac and cheese–plus a glass of Evolution beer to finish it off.
The south end of Salt Lake City used to be a black hole of chain restaurants but now a whole line of restaurants have opened in the Holladay area, giving downtown a run for its money. One of the best restaurants in the neighborhood is Provisions, a small plates place serving New American dishes created from local ingredients with a menu that changes almost weekly. Plus their cocktail menu is worth stopping for by itself.
Must Order Dish: the pumpkin tortelli (if it’s still on the menu).
See my full review on Provisions here.
Rye is hard to define. It’s part coffee shop, part diner, part really good food, plus it’s almost a concert venue. Next door to Urban Lounge and sharing the same owners, concerts are piped into Rye on live TV screens. They serve breakfast weekdays starting at 8 am (9 pm on weekends), evolve into dinner at 6 pm, then go back to their morning menu til midnight. And their cuisine? It, too, defies explanation; it’s part Asian fusion, part American diner. All I know is the shoyu fried chicken is phenomenal.
Must Order Dish: shoyu fried chicken.
See my full review on Rye here.
When many people think of Italian food, they think of pasta-heavy dishes drenched in red sauce. (And that’s ok, that kind of Italian is great!) But there is another side of Italian food full of sensual sauces, rich risottos and hearty dishes like wagyu beef gnocchi. And the best place to find it is at Fresco. The quaint restaurant was once a house and its patio will make you feel right at home.
Must Order Dish: you can’t go wrong with the daily risotto.
See my full review on Fresco here.
6. Pig & A Jelly Jar
When I first heard of chicken and waffles I thought whoever came up with the dish must have been crazy. Then I tasted the way the crunchy, salty fried chicken meshes seamlessly with the sweet syrup and buttery goodness of the waffle and how the egg yolk seals the whole scene together. And I realized that crazy is often confused with genius, and chicken and waffles is pure genius. It’s the specialty at Pig & A Jelly Jar and they serve them alllll day long. After all, the dish is part breakfast, part dinner!
Must Order Dish: as if it needs saying: chicken and waffles!
See my full review on Pig & A Jelly Jar here.
7. The Gibson Lounge at the Grand America
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Two little secrets, in fact. First, the Gibson Lounge at the Grand America is one of the best bars in the city. They make exceptional cocktails in a snazzy bar that feels straight out of the 1920s and the best part is it’s not overcrowded with the usual SLC crowd (you know that scene starts to get old). Second thing, their burger is incredible. I know, I know, it’s a bar at a hotel. But trust me on this one. Order the burger. They serve it (and the rest of the menu) til midnight seven days a week.
Must Order Dish: the Grand Burger with onion marmalade and melted blue cheese.
See my post on my staycation at the Grand America here.
Ok, there you have it: 7 restaurants to try in 2015. And if you’ve been to them, maybe it’s time for a revisit. We have a long year of eating ahead of us!