Salt Lake City has more Asian restaurants than you might expect; Thai food is popular in these parts. Thai Siam (1435 S. State St., 801/474-3322, http://thaisiam.net, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri., noon-10 p.m. Sat., 3-9 p.m. Sun., $6-17) serves top-notch Thai food in an attractive storefront just south of downtown. The highly readable, foodie-focused menu is especially commendable, and everything is very fresh and flavorful.
In the Gateway Center, Thaifoon (7 North 400 West, 801/456-8424, www.thaifoon.com, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat., noon-8 p.m. Sun., $9-17) has a stylish dining room (think indoor waterfall and patio with fire pits) that highlights the upscale Thai and Thai-influenced cooking. Expect delicious and temptingly named dishes such as Evil Jungle Prince Shrimp and Firecracker Chicken. This is also a good spot for drinks and appetizers, with excellent coconut shrimp.
There are several excellent Japanese restaurants. For the best and freshest sushi, go to Takashi (18 W. Market St., 801/519-9595, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5:30-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5:30-11 p.m. Fri., 5:30-11 p.m. Sat., $6-16), though the nonseafood dishes are also excellent (try the Asian ribs).
At the Happy Sumo (153 S. Rio Grande St., 801/456-7866, www.happysumosushi.com, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., noon-9 p.m. Sun., $9-17), traditional sushi mixes with eclectic pan-Asian dishes in a lively, upscale setting. The outdoor patio features live music some evenings.
Ichiban Sushi and Japanese Cuisine (336 South 400 East, 801/532-7522, http://watkinsrg.com, 5-10 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 5-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat., $10-19) is a transplant from Park City, where it had a huge reputation as a superlative sushi house. Its reputation has only grown since its move to Salt Lake, where it's currently housed in a converted Lutheran church.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition