Italian and Mediterranean
Salt Lake City has a couple top-notch Italian restaurants. Not far from downtown, Cucina Toscana (307 W. Pierpoint Ave., next to Caputo's Market, 801/328-3463, www.cucina-toscana.com, 5:30-10 p.m. Mon.-Sat., $12-28) offers high-quality grilled meats, salads, and pasta in a coolly elegant dining room. Reservations are a must, as Cucina Toscana is frequently jammed—for the best service, try to avoid peak dining hours.
Many people feel that Fresco Italian Cafe (1513 South 1500 East, 801/486-1300, http://frescoitaliancafe.com, 5-9:30 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 5-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat. May-Oct.; 5-9 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 5-9:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Nov.-Apr., $18-27) is SLC's finest Italian eatery, if not the city's best restaurant overall. The pleasant setting features an intimate dining room entered through a garden, and the property is on a quiet street a few miles south of the city center. The main courses are full-flavored yet subtle: housemade agnolotti is served with roasted chicken and wilted greens, and a house specialty is pork scaloppine with Parmesan gnocchi, fresh arugula, and heirloom tomato salad. The same owners run Café Trio (680 South 900 East, 801/533-8746, www.triodining.com, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun., $12-25), serving a somewhat more casual version of the same lovingly prepared food, set in a hip dining room between downtown and the University.
Other Italian restaurants of note include downtown's Caffé Molise (55 West 100 South, 801/364-8833, www.caffemolise.com, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-9 p.m. Sun., $15-28), which offers a bistro atmosphere and tasty mid-priced Italian specialties, including pasta and grilled chicken and beef dishes.
Stoneground (249 East 400 South, 801/364-1368, www.stonegroundslc.com, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 5-9 p.m. Sun.) has at least two personalities—it's both a hipster hangout with pool tables and a reasonably priced Italian restaurant and pizzeria. The atmosphere is industrial, but windows look out onto a gorgeous view of the Wasatch Front. Pizzas are excellent, and pasta dishes are flavorful and full of character. On Sunday evenings only pizza is served (not the full menu).
Even though Tin Angel Café (365 West 400 South, 801/328-4155, www.thetinangel.com, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., $9.50-27) offers small plates and tapas, the excellent preparations are largely Italian. In addition to a selection of tempting salads and pasta, bravura main courses include seared bison tenderloin with a roasted scallion-potato galette.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition