Every year, it gets harder to put together the Best of the Beehive’s food and dining section. Utah's dining scene keeps getting better. But we did it anyway. Here is our list of this year's best dishes, products, restaurants and more (find more of the year's best restaurants in our Dining Awards).

Best Bean to Brew 

We got lotsa coffee shops and lotsa roasters, but the best place to get a cup of locally roasted coffee is Caffe d’Bolla, where John Piquet has been obsessive about roasting beans and pulling espresso shots for the better part of a decade. No one pays more attention to the beans, the brew and everything in between than Piquet. 249 E. 400 South, SLC, 801-355-1398

Best One-dish Meal


Salomon Figueroa
 

Walk down the line at Zao Asian Cafe and get handed a deliciously balanced meal in a bowl: protein, starch, green and yellow vegetables and the other minimum daily requirement, hot sauce. Zao rice or noodle bowls redefine fast food. 639 E. 400 South, SLC, 801-595-1234

Best Place for Seasonal Kit Kats 

Kit Kats are kind of a big deal in Japan. In the Land of the Rising Sun, Kit Kats come in far-flung flavors, including cherry blossom, wasabi and cheese. “I thought there were only 30 or so flavors, but Tosh [of Tosh’s Ramen] told me there are over 200,” says Thanh Trang, manager of Southeast Market—which is the best place to get these Asian Kit Kats. Flavors are seasonal and tend to sell out quickly at Southeast, especially after they announce new arrivals on social media. 422 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-363-5474

Best Falafel Folly

Every chef wants to come up with an inventive twist on a classic that will itself become a classic. It’s one of the hardest culinary tricks, but Phelix Gardner may have done it with his fresh green pea falafel at East Liberty Tap House. 850 E 900 South, SLC, 801-441-2845

Best New Rendition of a Tired Vegetable 

Brussels sprouts have become the kudzu of green vegetables. If your palate’s weary of the tiny cabbages, try the ones on the new menu at Trio, studded with frizzled pancetta and sweetened with balsamic. You’ll fall in love with the little guys all over again. 680 S. 900 East. SLC, 801-533-8746

Best wake-up call 

Your first meal sets the tone for the rest of the day, so not only must the coffee be hot, the chicken and waffles and eggs excellent, but the music must be grand. So kudos to the Pandora selection at Pig & A Jelly Jar. 401 E. 900 South, SLC, 385-202-7366

Best beer

Dozens of great beers are being brewed in Utah now, and tastes are subjective, so we let our staff’s biggest beer fan Jefe de Operaciones Damon Shorter pick his favorites. Now we all have something to debate while we drink our Utah beer.

Best local session beer

Time to put away the PBR and pop a Viennese from Bohemian. It’s the best, according to our one-man tasting panel who said so. 94 E. 7200 South, Midvale, 801-566-5474

Best Local High-point Beer 

The same in-house beer aficionado claims Red Rock’s Secale is the best locally brewed high-point beer. Is he correct? You decide. 254 S. 200 West, SLC, 801-521-7446

Best proof bacon isn’t over yet 

Best add-on

Along with its draft ales and lagers, Avenues Proper offers contemporary American pub fare. The veggie burger is a diamond as far as veg patties go. But there’s one thing that could make it better: bacon. Does it seem sacrilegious to put the house-smoked slab of pork awesomeness on a perfectly excellent veggie burger? Call us heretics, then. 376 8th Ave., Suite C, 385-227-8628

Best Free Fix

When you head to The Republican, the thought of a frothy brew makes your salivary glands sing. And then when you walk through the door, you just can’t help but drool. Ah, the smell of bacon. And it’s free for quaffers on Wednesdays. Bacon as you watch soccer, bacon as you play shuffleboard or darts, and bacon as you drink a Guinness. 917 S. State, 801-595-1916

Best Disguise

You know our local wurstmeister Frody Volgger is the best, and we hope you’ve discovered his sausage boutique, Salt & Smoke. But you may not have tried his Bacon Wurst, a pork-lover’s fantasy come true. 155 W. Malvern Ave., SLC, 801-680-8529

Best cult winery 

Evan Lewandowski’s wine list at Pago reflects an intensely felt wine philosophy. But his starry-eyed idealism is best seen in his own Ruth Lewandowski Wines. Named after Evan’s favorite book in the bible, Ruth, the winery in South Salt Lake produces of-the-Earth, organic, totally “hands-off” wine. The product of a creative Spirit (the “S” is upper-case on purpose) Evan’s wines are unique and urban. And somewhat mysterious. 3340 S. 300 West, SLC, 801-230-7331, by appointment only

Best tater tot

Tater tots are having a moment. The kitsch crispy may be a trademark of Ore-Ida, but Ryan Lowder’s Copper Common makes them in house, from scratch. 111 E. Broadway, SLC, 801-355-0543

Best use of yuzu

This little citrus fruit originated in China and is widely used in Japanese cuisine. Chefs in the U.S. have taken a liking to it and yuzu can be found in everything from beer to pastries. The best use of yuzu locally can be found at Current Fish & Oyster, where pastry chef Alexa Norlin places the perfect amount of the piquant fruit in her posset. 279 E. 300 South, SLC, 801-326-3474

Best wine flight

A great example of why we need a wine bar and not just bars that serve wine, the Little Islands Flight at BTG Wine Bar offers tasting portions of three different Madeira wines. It’s an education! It’s a cocktail! It’s delicious, and you won’t find anything like it anywhere else. 53 W. 100 South, SLC, 801-359-2814

Best strip mall sushi 

For those who think going out for sushi in landlocked Utah is suspect, trying a place located at a strip mall is probably an even further stretch. The way food supply chains are setup, however, anyone can have great fish flown in. And Kobe Japanese Cuisine, located at the Olympus Hills Shopping Center, is getting the good stuff. 3947 Wasatch Blvd., SLC, 801-277-2928

Best wasabi 

No, it’s not all the same. Here’s a dirty little secret: Wasabi at most Japanese restaurants comes from a tube. But at Naked Fish, chef Sunny Tsogbadrakh will proudly show you how he grates the pungent vegetable to a fine paste that’s unlike any you’ve ever tasted. You thought you knew wasabi? 67 W. 100 South, SLC, 801-595-8888

Best bao 

In Chinese “bao” is sort of a generic term for bread. They can be steamed or baked. They can be savory and stuffed with BBQ pork. They can resemble soft taco shells and be used to hold slabs of pork belly. But the best bao for the buck (at least our latest bao obsession) is the baked liu sa bao, a sweet roll with a crispy, sugary top filled with a salted custard. The best, and possibly the only, place for these baos in Salt Lake is Lucky Star in West Valley during their weekend dim sum service. 3361 S. Redwood Rd., West Valley City, 801-972-2629

Best reason to lose sriracha

 

It’s time to toss your sriracha. Kick it up with Chili Beak, a chili oil made by Utahns Jason and Giselle McClure. It’s good on  everything. Even, say the McClures, vanilla ice cream. Find it at Liberty Heights Fresh, Caputo’s and Pirate O’s.

Back>>>Click here for more from our 2015 Best of the Beehive

Back>>>Click here for more stories from our July/August 2015 issue.

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