Utah Stories

Lamb Me Up!

Any excuse to visit Manoli’s restaurant for chef/owner Manoli Katsanevas’ ethereal Mediterranean cuisine is a solid one. But for me, that’s especially true during the four evenings or so throughout spring and summer when Manoli cooks up an entire lamb on a spit outside the restaurant over hot coals.


During those special lamb on the spit nights at Manoli’s, $55 gets you a big plate of lamb, a salad, and a side dish. Of course, the regular dinner menu is available as well. 


At Manoli’s there are three types of meze – Greek appetizers – offered: vegetarian, seafood, and meat. Meze ranges from charred octopus, piquillo peppers, seared Kefalograviera cheese, crispy Iberian pork cutlet, and seared scallops, to crispy chicken wings, pork & beef meatballs, and a classic favorite of mine: Dolmades ($12) – grape leaves stuffed with rice, herbs, and tomato on a bed of tangy Greek yogurt, the plate drizzled with olive oil and dusted with pepper. 

Gem Lettuce Salad

I really like the Roka salad ($14) at Manoli’s, which is arugula with seasoned fruit, house Myzithra, toasted almonds and white balsamic vinaigrette. But I also enjoyed the Gem Lettuce salad that accompanied my spit-roasted lamb, with snap peas, radish slices, Manouri cheese, and herb chermoula. 

Lamb from the Spit

One thing I love about the spit roasted lamb dinners is that guests get to try an assortment of different lamb delicacies, from shoulder and leg, to neck, loin, belly, back, crispy skin, and more, all roasted to perfection and subtly seasoned with oregano. 

While at Manoli’s you may want to belly up to the bar for eclectic cocktails like the Aridea, made with Stray Dog Gin, dry vermouth, grape leaf and olive brine, seeded spice blend, and paprika oil ($17). 


My wife – not a lamb lover – opted for her favorite Manoli’s dish: Lavraki ($45), which is pan-seared branzino with thin pan-roasted potatoes, lemon wedges, and horta – boiled Greek wild leafy greens. Other tempting main dishes include a lamb and beef burger ($19) and house fettuccine with caramelized fennel cream, lemony herbed croutons and parmesan ($22). 


Side dishes at Manoli’s are far more than just an afterthought and include the aforementioned horta ($9), grilled artisan pinsa bread with olives and olive oil, called psomi ($9), crispy fingerling potatoes with red pepper feta ($9), and my favorite: a creamy long grain rice dish called pilafi ($9) cooked in chicken stock with lemon and topped with house Greek yogurt. 

Anytime is a great time to visit Manoli’s – Utah’s best Greek restaurant. But I suggest signing up for Manoli’s emails to stay abreast of special evenings like lamb on the spit nights and pop-up specials like when Manoli makes gyros to go. You don’t want to miss out! 

Photos by Ted Scheffler

Culinary quote of the week: “When you get to my age, you don’t even buy green bananas anymore.” Arnold Palmer 

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