The 2002 Winter Olympics cast Salt Lake City in a new, contemporary, more diverse light. Visitors discovered a panoply of cultural influences, brewpubs, ethnic flavors, and progressive chefs. Salt Lake City may not have the depth of restaurants seen in other big cities, but there are a couple of outstanding choices for nearly every budget and cuisine. Restaurants like Lamb’s Grill Café, Hire’s Big H, and Ruth’s Diner trace their roots back five-plus decades, and their colorful proprietors are more than willing to share the history they’ve witnessed from their kitchens. Returning LDS missionaries have brought back their favorite flavors from Asia, Europe, and Latin America, with impressive results. You may not find the five-star San Francisco dining experience, but you’ll find almost as many influences as in the city by the bay. Seafood, Japanese, Tibetan, Indian, Spanish, and Italian are all suitably showcased in Salt Lake eateries, and when all else fails, there are great burgers and Rocky Mountain cuisine, a fusion inspired by frontier big game, seafood fresh from the great Pacific ports, and organic produce grown in Utah’s fertile valleys. You'll also find creative wine lists and knowledgeable service. Bakers and pastry chefs defy the 4,400-foot altitude with rustic sourdoughs and luscious berry-filled treats. Multiple weekly summer farmers' markets are thriving, and chefs are building more and more of a food community. All in all, Salt Lake's culinary scene has finally grown up and offers something for every taste, from simple to sophisticated.
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