Salt Lake City  has become a hotbed of local and seasonal cooking; many restaurants boast adventurous young chefs cooking with locavore directives.
Metropolitan (173 W. Broadway, 801/362-3472, www.themetropolitan.com , 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 6-9:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 6-9:30 p.m. Sat., $18-38) is easily Salt Lake City's most ambitious restaurant, taking New American cooking to new heights. In this high-design dining room (reserve tables near the fireplace-cum-water-sculpture), the foods of the world meet and mingle on your plate in preparations that are sometimes unexpected but always stylish. Pan-fried local trout is served with fiddlehead ferns, radish and pear relish, and pistachio puree. Crabmeat Napoleon comes with caviar and fresh lobster sauce.
Copper Onion (111 E. Broadway, 801/355-3282, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri., 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Sat., 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun., $12-22) always gets a mention when people talk about the best new restaurant in Salt Lake City. Emphasizing full-flavored New American cooking, the Copper Onion offers a choice of small and large plates, with such delights as mussels with creamy black pepper sauce and pork belly salad with cilantro, mint, and jalapeño. For the quality, the prices are very reasonable.
Bambara (202 S. Main St., 801/363-5454, http://bambara-slc.com , 7-10 a.m., 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 5:30-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs.; 7-10 a.m., 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 5:30-10:30 p.m. Fri.; 8-11 a.m. and 5:30-10:30 p.m. Sat.; 8 a.m.-noon and 5:30-9 p.m. Sun., $20-28), in the Hotel Monaco, is another exciting fixture in the Salt Lake dining scene. The menu emphasizes the freshest and most flavorful of local meat and produce, with preparations in a wide-awake New American style that's equal parts tradition and innovation. This is easily one of the most beautiful dining rooms in the city.
At Em's Restaurant (271 North Center St., 801/596-0566, www.emsrestaurant.com , 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tues.-Fri., 5:30-9 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and 5:30-9 p.m. Sun., $13-21), you'll find carefully handcrafted food based on local ingredients and served in a lovely art gallery storefront just north of downtown, with a very nice garden area for alfresco dining. A number of vegetarian options will tempt even committed carnivores (potato lasagna), but rack of lamb with shallot custard and jalapeño jelly is hard to resist.
A log cabin in the woods might seem like a perfect Utah destination, and at historic Log Haven (6451 E. Millcreeek Canyon Rd., 801/272-8255, www.log-haven.com , 5:30-11 p.m. daily, $20-40) that cabin also serves remarkably good food. Built in the 1920s, the restaurant is splendidly rustic yet upscale, with ample outdoor seating in good weather. Though probably best thought of as a steakhouse, the menu offers a wide selection of New American dishes, including game, fresh seafood, and pasta. Log Haven is four miles east of Salt Lake City, up Millcreek Canyon.
Some of the best views in the city are from the top of the 10-story Joseph Smith Memorial Building (15 E. South Temple St., www.templesquarehospitality.com ), the former Hotel Utah, where you'll find two excellent restaurants. The Garden Restaurant (801/539-1911, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., $10-18) offers unparalleled views onto Temple Square and downtown Salt Lake City. What's more, the restaurant is reasonably priced, offering sandwiches and salads for lunch and steaks, seafood, and continental dishes at dinner. With even better views onto Temple Square, the Roof Restaurant (801/539-1911, 5-9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 5-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., $37 adults, $16 children 11 and younger) offers an upscale buffet with prime rib, salmon, ham, shrimp, salads, desserts, and all the trimmings. Reservations are recommended; no alcohol is served.