Unique Cultural Restaurants To Try In Salt Lake City, Utah (Part 1)

A huge incentive to travel is the dream of trying foods from all the countries I might visit. I positively fell in love with Korean food during my sixteen-ish months in Seoul and I firmly believe that it opened my heart to all kinds of ethnic cuisine.

Fortunately, we don't have to venture to the far reaches of the world to improve our taste palates. Here are some of many authentic restaurants that offer unique meals for the adventurous foodie! 

Read Part 2 and Part 3 of this series for more delicious suggestions!

MYUNG GA - SOUTH KOREA



kimchi jjigae and panchan

If you have never had kimchi, it is time you tried it. Never heard of kimchi before? Basically, it's spicy pickled cabbage and it goes with everything Korean. 

Even if fermented vegetables are not your thing, there is a dish for you at Myung Ga. It's one of the top rated authentic Korean restaurants in the Salt Lake Valley. And I love this place! I am biased thanks to the year and a half I lived in Seoul, South Korea, but I can guarantee this place offers the real stuff. 


dakk galbi

Myung Ga has all your basic Korean dishes and then some. First timers are likely to enjoy bulgogi (marinated barbecue beef or pork) and bibimbap in a hot stone bowl (I'm sorry. Cupbop is just not nearly as good). Bibimbap is served with a spicy red sauce which you add to your dish yourself. It's supposed to be mixed thoroughly until the egg is broken up and the sauce is mixed in. Fun fact, bibimbap means mixed rice!

If you want a full-on Korean experience go for a bowl of kimchi jjigae which is a  spicy soup, or try out dakk galbi: a spicy dish made with chicken, vegetables and chewy rice cakes. 

Traditional Korean meals are served with panchan or side dishes like kimchi, dried seaweed (called kim), steamed bean sprouts, and other vegetables. Panchan are presented in small bowls and are meant to be shared by everyone at the table. If you run out of any of the panchan you can ask for as many free refills as you want!  

You can finish your meal with Korean style shave ice: bingsu. Myung Ga shaves frozen milk so fine it's like snow! It's often topped with fruit (mango bingsu is very popular) or traditional red bean paste. 


SAKANA SUSHI BAR - JAPAN



Okay, so this place isn't exactly unique but it is my favorite sushi restaurant and one of the top rated in Salt Lake. 

Everyone should try sushi at least once in their lifetime. It's even for those who are sure they won't like sushi, and it's healthy to step outside our comfort zones every once in a while. 


If you have never tried sushi before and you want to taste it but don't want to make it a meal, go out with a friend who loves it and try it out. We all have that friend who likes raw fish and no doubt they will be glad to finish what you don't want. 




Sakana is a great place to start. In fact, it's the first place I ever had sushi thanks to a high school friend who took me out try it by my request. This place has good quality sushi rolls in a wide variety. 


My favorite is the Playboy Roll featuring shrimp tempura, cucumber and avocado topped with tuna, spicy mayonnaise, eel sauce, and tobiko.

If you are a sushi virgin and raw fish makes you nervous you can start with something cooked like the Vegas roll: crab and cream cheese, wrapped in rice and lightly fried in tempura batter. My favorite cooked roll is the Hawaii: fried white fish wrapped in seaweed and rice and topped with fresh mango. Yum!


TONKATSU RAMEN BAR - JAPAN 


tantanmen ramen

Just around the corner from Myung Ga is Tonkatsu Ramen Bar. Josiah and I discovered this new favorite when we had a craving for the ramen we encountered on our honeymoon in Kaua'i.

This is the real thing, not the sad packaged stuff you can get at Walmart for 15 cents a package. Honestly, Tonkatsu is not quite as good as Japanese style ramen I have eaten in Korea or Hawaii, but it's pretty darn close. 

Our favorites include the spicy Tantamen Ramen and the Curry Katsu Ramen which has breaded katsu in a think Japanese curry broth!

Not in the mood for ramen noodles? Try tonkatsu curry! (pronounced like "tone-kaht-soo")
It's a breaded pork or chicken cutlet served over rice with a rich brown curry. I order it with a side of kimchi to take my taste buds back to Korea and curb my homesickness for Seoul. The key is to get a little bit of everything in each bite and it tastes like heaven. 


tonkatsu curry



freshly made gnocchi in a tomato sauce and spinach ravioli

Cucina Toscana has been deemed the finest Italian dining in Salt Lake City for the past decade!  Anyone who has been to the fancy French restaurant, La Caille and loved it will fall for this high end place too. 

This five star dining experience is totally worth the price, though you may want to save this one for a special occasion. Every dish is a masterpiece, the portions are perfect, and the staff is friendly but not overbearing. We had some great conversations with our amiable waiter who added greatly to our overall experience.  



Italian style salmon with clams

We enjoyed a fabulous cheese platter, salmon, and the best pasta I have ever tasted. I typically don't care for pasta, but the gnocchi and spinach ravioli that Josiah ordered was a heavenly surprise! I asked for veal with white truffle fondue and chanterelle mushrooms. I go crazy for anything truffle! (Like the truffle fries we tried in Ann Arbor, Michigan.) 


For dessert we shared salted lemon and honey gelato and some delicious cannoli. I'm certain Josiah was tempted to order the entire dessert menu. We finished with complementary dark hot chocolate and biscotti. I was so full and so happy by the end of the night. 


This place was expensive yet so worth it! I really hope we go back one day even if it is just for dessert.     



BOHEMIAN BREWERY  - GERMANY


Chicken schnitzel with fries

If you are hesitant on your adventure in the culinary field Bohemian Brewery is a great place to start. This family-friendly restaurant is one of the few in the valley that offers truly traditional German food like chicken or pork schnitzel, Bavarian brats, pierogies (potato dumplings), or spƤtzle which is a type of  German pasta. They have other options like salmon fish and chips, plus the beer-battered fries are fantastic! 

I dare you to order a side of sauerkraut. It's pickled cabbage with a hint of apple. Mmmm. . . You might not like it, but that's the whole point of trying new things, right? Go for it!



Brats and sauerkraut. You can order it with mashed potatoes or fries 

Pierogies! This is one of my favorite things to order


THE VIKING YURT  - NORWAY



Braised ribs atop jarlsberg mashed potatoes with winter vegetables

Okay, this one isn't in the Salt Lake Valley but it deserves a special place in this post. It's a totally unique dining adventure and worth every cent!  The Viking Yurt is only open in the winter and reservations fill up fast. The six-course dinner menu is set unless, of course, you have diet restrictions. The total cost is included when you book your reservation online, but they don't give refunds for last minute cancellations. It's a miracle we made it through the biggest snowstorm of the season for our very special dinner!

A sleigh pulled by a snowcat takes guests gliding 1,800 feet up a mountain to a cozy little yurt brimming with warm light and soft piano music. It's so remote that the food has to be carried up by snowmobile every evening! Upon arrival we were immediately served a mug of hot glog. It's a spiced berry cider and oh so good! 


You can see the full dinner menu at The Viking Yurt website. And you can read about our night at The Viking Yurt here!


Marzipan and chocolate cake with cardamom ice cream!

Which of these restaurants would you want to try first? 




Hi! My name is Kait. Follow this link to learn more about me and my blog.


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