Crystal Park Cantina
Crystal Park Cantina, Park City—One of my favorite dining spots for a number of years in Park City was Bistro 412, which specialized in French bistro fare—a cuisine that there’s woefully little of in Utah.
Well, as my wife and I were strolling Main Street on a recent Sunday, heading to the Park Silly Market, we decided to pop in to Crystal Park Cantina, the restaurant that has opened in the old Bistro 412 space.
There’s hardly a hint of the old Bistro.
The new owners—who also operate the original Crystal Park Cantina in Manitou Springs, Colorado—completely remodeled and refreshed both the interior and exterior of the restaurant.
Where bistro hues once reigned, now bold splashes of color and vibrant art dominates the decor.
On a sunny afternoon or a balmy evening, I recommend garnering one of the sidewalk patio tables; it’s always fun to watch the world stroll by while you dine.
As you peruse the menu, you’ll quickly have to come to terms with how varied and extensive it is.
It’s divided into these sections: Tapas, Specialties, Enchiladas, Burritos, Tacos, Sides and Drinks.
And, for example, there are nine Tapas to choose from, ten Specialties, a lengthy list of beverages, desserts, etc.
So, nibble on a bowl of gratis chips and salsa and perhaps a cocktail or cold cerveza while pouring over the menu.
Most, but not all of the dishes have a Mexican theme. Exceptions include a Navajo Tostada ($16), Cantina Burger ($16), Chilean Empanada ($16), Portobello, Spinach & Cheese Enchilada ($16), Garlic Mashed Potatoes ($4), and so on.
Pulled Pork Burrito
I got a quick case of sticker shock looking at burritos priced from $15 to $18 and tacos (two per order) going for $14 to $18. But then, this is Park City with Park City prices. And so, I settled on an order of pork burritos ($16).
Flour tortillas were stuffed with tasty slow-roasted pulled pork and topped with a sort of chile verde type sauce which was just so-so.
The best part of the dish was the saffron-infused rice (not at all traditional Mexican, but delicious) and a bowl of pinto beans that came alongside the burritos.
Other burrito options include pork with guacamole ($18), grilled steak with pineapple juice ($18), organic shredded beef ($16), roasted chicken ($16) or sautéed seasoned vegetables ($15).
Like the food menu, the drinks menu is quite varied and extensive as well.
There are 11 Margaritas to choose from alone, along with a half-dozen signature cocktails, imported and local beers in cans and bottles, red, white, sparkling, and rosé wines, plus refrescos, jugos, and jarritos.
I decided to enjoy a Skinny Margarita ($14) made with Don Julio Silver Tequila, Cointreau, and fresh lime juice. Kudos to Crystal Park Cantina for making their cocktail syrups with organic cane sugar; no high-fructose corn syrups are allowed here.
My wife enjoyed her Tostada Chopped Salad ($14), which was a bowl of mixed greens and a veritable garden of toppings including thin-sliced red onion, chopped cucumber, tomato wedges, corn, pumpkin seeds, black olives, radishes, and crunchy fried tortilla strips.
She very much liked the cilantro vinaigrette that was one of the dressing choices for the salad.
One criticism, however: 5 bucks to add shrimp to the salad—which was already a $14 salad—seems excessive when that 5 bucks only gets you 5 shrimp. A dollar apiece for shrimp???
There are places in Park City with more authentic Mexican fare to be sure, but not with a better vibe or better views than from the sidewalk patio at Crystal Park Cantina.
Culinary quote of the week:
Fish, to taste right, must swim three times – in water, in butter, and in wine. — Polish Proverb
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
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