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The Salt Lake Tribune last week handed out its first Salt Awards, which honored excellence in Utah products, services and experiences.
Winners were selected in two categories. In the Readers' Choice division, fans voted for the best places to enjoy the arts, chow down on burgers, raise a local brew or explore with family. The full list of winners is available at tribsalt.com.
The Tribune staff also selected a few favorites, honoring places that readers might not have tried yet.
Here are the seven restaurants that received our Editors' Picks.
Best new cheap eats
Straw Market Salt Lake City
In this day and age when $5 buys you little at a restaurant, Straw Market stands out as an inexpensive treasure in the Avenues. Like the original location in Ogden, Straw Market is best known for the $1 pastries and cinnamon rolls sold out of the case every day. Plenty of other breakfast items are just $4, like the three-egg Denver omelet generously laden with ham and sautéed peppers, or the breakfast quiche loaded with fresh mushrooms, green pepper, spinach and cheese surrounded by a flaky, buttery crust making the case that quality and affordability are not mutually exclusive. At lunch, $5 and $6 sandwiches are a delicious bargain, too.
Straw Market • 390 4th Ave., Salt Lake City; 801-935-4420. Open Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.straw-market.com.
Best new Indian
Everest Curry Kitchen
Sandy's Everest Curry Kitchen features a vast menu highlighting Nepalese and Indian dishes, such as curries and kormas along with items baked in the tandoor clay oven. Across the menu, Everest Curry Kitchen artfully balances flavors like the coriander and cumin spices supporting braised lamb in a tangy tomato coconut cream sauce found in the classic lamb coconut korma entrée. Pair the korma or any of the dozens of other offerings with bubbly and buttery naan served hot from the tandoor to scoop up any saucy leftovers on the plate. Topping off spot-on tastes, dishes are served in beautiful copper bowls with a large dish of perfectly prepared basmati rice.
Everest Curry Kitchen • 68 E. 10600 South, Sandy; 801-571-4015. Open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 4 to 8 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.everestcurrykitchen.com.
Best new Italian
Tucked in a strip mall in Millcreek, you'll find the charming Sicilia Mia. Inside the restaurant, owner and chef Franco Mirenda and his son Giuseppe bring their rich Italian culture to life with laughter, fine food and decadent desserts. This is no better illustrated than with an order of the spaghetti alla carbonara. Fresh spaghetti is tossed with eggs and pancetta that's then delivered to a flaming half wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano in the center of the restaurant, where it's twirled around to pick up melting bits of cheese and then plated in a bowl artfully garnished with balsamic vinegar and parsley. A shave of Reggiano tops the eggy, rich dish that will leave guests swooning. If that weren't enough, pastry chef Gaetano Cuttaia's works of sugary art such as the Sicilian staple cannoli are always on display in the dessert case.
Sicilia Mia • 4536 Highland Drive, Millcreek; 801-274-0223. Open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Closed Sunday. For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/Sicilia-Mia-570959233066509.
Best new fine dining
HSL, the sophomore restaurant of Briar Handly, brings fresh and fascinating American cuisine to downtown Salt Lake City. A remodel of the former Vinto space with a calming green color palette and a lineup of some of Utah's best restaurant minds mean that HSL is the talk of the town right now from what many consider the best burger in town to a stellar cocktail program. Start dinner with the lavash, featuring dry-aged beef tartare topped with capers, cornichon, an egg yolk and herbs. Then move on to the addictive General Tso's cauliflower brined in coconut and soy. Every dish at HSL is artfully presented with great attention paid to even the last microgreen. Furthering the dining experience here are ingredients carefully roasted in the wood-fired brick oven and pastry chef Alexa Norlin's imaginative dessert creations.
HSL • 418 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City; 801-539-9999. Open Sunday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.hslrestaurant.com.
Best new Greek
Owner and chef Manoli Katsanevas grew up in the restaurant business. With Manoli's, he crafted a fresh take on the small plates or "meze" concept and offers inventive vegetarian, seafood and meat selections in addition to salads, larger main courses, filling sides and delectable desserts. Standout meze include the creamy three-cheese orzo loaded with white cheddar, parmesan and feta, and mouthwatering piquillo peppers stuffed with a creamy smoked feta and black sea salt. A weekend brunch menu delivers some crossover items from the dinner menu, but notable Greek nods such as the citrus ouzo-cured salmon dako with a green olive relish and whipped myzithra cheese bring new flavors to the table, too which can all be enjoyed while sitting at the kitchen counter watching the chefs on the line, in the main dining room or outside on the patio.
Manoli's • 402 E. 900 South, #2, Salt Lake City; 801-532-3760. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Monday. For more information, visit http://www.manolison9th.com.
Best new Park City
When new restaurants open on Park City's Main Street, everyone takes notice. In Tupelo, it's immediately apparent that executive chef and co-owner Matt Harris and his team have thought long and hard about the best ways to deliver fresh ingredients and fine service to every guest. The menu is inspired by both Harris' and his wife and co-owner Maggie Alvarez's travels around the world in addition to the people who catch, make or grow what appears on the plate in the form of starters and entrées. Don't miss the lightly fried Maine crab fritters accented with hot sauce butter and tangy okra. Game meats, such as rabbit and elk, are widespread across the menu. And Sunday brunch features a photo-worthy Bloody Mary bar. Finally, save room for dessert as pastry chef Shirley Butler makes the biscuits and all the sweets like the sticky toffee pudding with Earl Grey bitters ice cream from scratch in-house.
Tupelo • 508 Main St., Park City; 435-615-7700. Open Wednesday through Saturday at 5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.tupeloparkcity.com.
Best new atmosphere
Stanza Italian Bistro & Wine Bar
Rising from the rubble of the former Faustina, Stanza Italian Bistro & Wine Bar beckons diners from 300 South with the promise of fine Italian-inspired cuisine enjoyed in sleek and beautiful surroundings. Prominent wooden arches float above the main dining room, which is drenched in daylight from floor-to-ceiling windows, while modern lighting elements add visual interest from the ground floor and second-floor event area. By adding 3,000 square feet of restaurant space, the new two-story restaurant can seat more than 350 guests including patio seating for 80. But not all of the historic Faustina has disappeared. To maintain grandfathered status in the state's "Zion Curtain" liquor law, contractors built a plywood box around the existing bar while the rest of the restaurant was demolished and the new Stanza rose around it. With no structural changes made, Stanza's customers can watch their drinks being made or poured in full view.
Stanza • 454 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City; 801-746-4441. Open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m. Closed Sunday. For more information, visit http://www.stanzaslc.com.