Friday, November 20, 2009


Finally, something besides hamburgers. Salt Lake has always had a pretty strong Italian influence. The first Italians who came to Utah were protestants from Northern Italy who had converted to the Mormon church, but the bulk of Italians came in the huge wave of Italian immigration from 1890s to 1920s. These Italians came to work in the mines and on the railroads. Utah's "little Italy" is small relative to other big cities, but it has always been centered on the area between Pioneer park (which still has a farmer's market) and the Rio Grande station. That's where you'll find some true gems: Tony Caputo's Deli/Market and the fabulous, but somewhat expensive Cucina Toscana. (If you've got a special occasion, it's worth the money, and actually not a whole lot more for some dishes than Macroni Grill or other chains.) If you go to CT, you may never be able to go to Olive Garden again. In Salt Lake City, you will also find Settebello, certified Vera Pizza Napoletana. Downtown, by the Library, you will also find Cannella's, a Zagat-rated Italian restaurant in about the same price range as Macaroni Grill (family owned and operated since 1978).

This brings us to Fratelli (brothers). I was attending some meetings at Snowbird, and my wife and daughter and I drove down Little Cottonwood looking for a place to eat. We discovered Fratteli in the Quarry Bend Shopping Center (located at the old gravel quarry near 9000 South and about 1000 East). This restaurant is owned by Pete and Dave Cannellla (the brothers), whose uncle runs Cannella's. They have real-deal Italian food in a casual, family friendly environment (cups on the lids for the little kids). So although SLC has great Italian food, you can also find it in the South Valley, and a shorter drive from Utah Valley. (Check the Deseret News review.)

1 comment:

Jon W. said...

Fratelli sounds like a great place. I served a mission in northern Italy. I'll second your take on Cucina Toscana. When you go, Valter Nassi makes a point of greeting you at your table, making you feel welcome. Your server can help you order an "Italian Experience" meal, where you'd eat courses like they do in Italy: appetizers (antipasto) pasta (primo piatto), meat (secondo), salad, and some sort of dessert.

I also like Cafe Fresco, at 15th and 15th, next to The King's English bookstore. It's incredibly small. I'm not sure how many tables they've got, but it's probably less than 10. While the food isn't as good as CT, the atmosphere is wonderful