Here are 10 of our favorites.
Nona Bistro Chopped Salad
One of my favorite summer dining destinations is Will and Emily McMaster’s Nona Bistro, an al fresco eat-under-the-stars backyard oasis of a restaurant with a garden setting that feels like a friendly neighborhood block party most nights. Salad lovers won’t be disappointed with the generously portioned chopped salad with mixed greens, avocado, bacon, blue cheese, tomato, and organic roasted chicken (an add-on), all tossed in a light, lemony vinaigrette.
Celeste Ristorante Carpaccio de Manzo
Enjoying meat doesn’t necessarily mean digging into a huge steak or roast. That’s especially true if you order the light but sensational beef carpaccio starter at Celeste Ristorante. Paulo Celeste’s namesake restaurant is one of the best Italian eateries in the state and his carpaccio di manzo is second to none: a generous plate (plenty big enough to share) of thinly-sliced top sirloin beef dressed with sliced baby artichokes, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, watercress, extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
Caffe Molise Polenta with Tomato-Basil Sauce
Another great Utah Italian restaurant is Fred Moesinger’s Caffe Molise. There are at least a couple of outstanding summer-friendly dishes on the menu at Caffe Molise, including my wife’s favorite: gamberetti insalate – a salad with grilled Gulf shrimp on mixed greens with seasonal fresh fruit salsa, red onion, tomato, artichoke hearts, and imported feta cheese. But we also love the light tasting polenta – homemade savory Italian corn cake roasted and served with a delicious fresh tomato-basil sauce and topped with fresh julienned basil and parmesan.
Weller’s Bistro Seafood Cocktail Appetizer
Weller’s Bistro in Layton is best known for its traditional German comfort foods like spaetzle, schnitzel, bratwurst, rouladen, sauerkraut, goulash and such. But Weller’s also offers lighter fare such as their veggie burger, summer salad, pan-seared steelhead trout and – if your timing is right – weekly lunch and dinner specials like the scrumptious ceviche style seafood cocktail loaded with shrimp, scallops, crab, avocado, tomato, jalapeño and cilantro, served with crispy homemade chips.
Feldman’s Deli Chilled Borscht
It’s hard to resist scrumptious summer soups like a great gazpacho or the bodacious borscht served at Feldman’s Deli. The Eastern European chilled beet and cucumber soup with sour cream and fresh dill is the perfect solution to beating the summertime heat. But supplies run out of this popular seasonal menu item, so get to Feldman’s Deli early to order!
Emigration Brewing Co. Roasted Beets Salad with Chicken
You might not expect a brewery to offer upscale fare and even healthful menu options. But that’s what you will find at Emigration Brewing Co., with items like green ceviche, crab cakes, and sensational salads like the roasted beets salad with red and golden beets, arugula, goat cheese, cashews, red wine vinaigrette and option add-ons like pretzel croutons, bacon, chicken, and smoked salmon.
Nikko Sushi & Ramen Hamachi Jalapeño
Sushi and sashimi are always go-to eating options for us when we’re looking to feast on food that’s not too heavy. One of our favorite sushi spots is hidden away in a shopping center in Kaysville: Nikko Sushi & Ramen. We especially love the hamachi jalapeño appetizer at Nikko – generous pieces of delicate, almost ethereal, hamachi sashimi served with julienned daikon, thin slices of fresh jalapeño, and drizzled with a heavenly yuzu-miso sauce.
Dali Crêpes Black Forest Crêpe
At Dali Crêpes, Dalibor Blazic treats his happy customers to a variety of savory and sweet crêpes, including Nutella, raspberry, banana, mango, Philly cheesesteak, chicken Alfredo, turkey-avocado, veggie, Caprese, and plum with walnuts, to name a few. I’m especially fond of the Black Forest crêpe made with Black Forest ham, shredded cheese, spinach, cherry tomato, and avocado mayo.
Mi Buena Vida Shrimp Ceviche
Ceviche is always a good call on a hot summer day or night. And, that’s especially true if you order the stupendous Sinaloa-style shrimp ceviche at Mi Buena Vida. It’s a generous bowl of tender, medium-size shrimp with red onions, pineapple, jalapeño, and avocado, in a green sauce of cilantro and mint, garnished with microgreens.
Franklin Ave. Cocktails & Kitchen Baby Gems Salad
Finally, let’s toss one more salad into the summertime mix. It’s hard to beat Chef/Partner Matt Crandall’s awesome baby gems salad served at Franklin Ave. Cocktails & Kitchen, which has become one of my wife’s favorites. And what’s not to like with this eye-popping salad that includes baby gems lettuce with grilled avocado, cherry tomatoes, crab meat, pepitas, radish slices, and olives, all bathed in a silky buttermilk dressing.
If you have a favorite summertime dish, we’d love to hear about it!
Culinary quote of the week: “Summer has a flavor like no other. Always fresh and simmered in sunshine.” – Oprah Winfrey