For excellent French cuisine, drive a few miles south of downtown Salt Lake City to the Paris Bistro (1500 South 1500 East, 801/486-5585, www.theparis.net, 6-9:30 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 5-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 5-9:30 p.m. Sun., $16-29), a lovely dining room in gold and burgundy that serves up classics such as duck confit, steak au poivre, and mussels mouliniere, plus pasta and wood-fired pizza.
Martine Cafe (22 East 100 South, 801/363-9328, http://martinecafe.com, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-10:30 p.m. Fri., 5-10:30 p.m. Sat.) offers equally delicious food in a less formal atmosphere. The antique high-ceilinged dining room is coolly elegant, and the cooking and presentation subtly French and Mediterranean. You have a choice of ordering tapas-style ($8-12) or à la carte dinners ($28-32), featuring delicacies such as coriander-seared halibut.
For classic French cuisine when budget is no issue, La Caille Restaurant (9565 Wasatch Blvd., near Little Cottonwood Canyon, 801/942-1751, www.lacaille.com, 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun., $36-63) offers superb pastry, crepes, seafood, and meat dishes in an 18th-century rural French atmosphere. Vineyards, gardens, ponds, and manicured lawns surround the re-created French chateau—it's hard to believe it's in Utah. Antique furnishings grace the dining rooms and halls. Dress is semiformal and reservations are advised. The brunch (Sun., $26-36) is where to head if you feel like putting on the ritz.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition