“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.” – George Bernard Shaw

So it is Friday night... you took way too long getting cute for your date, now you are down to an hour and a half before your Indie movie at the Broadway starts ─ and you don't have your tickets yet (!!!). To make things worse, you made that terrifying call to the Copper Onion and they've just informed you that they have a two hour wait for a table for two… yup, your life is basically over...

Fret not, my friends… I am here to help. Yes, trendy restaurants are everything in life. It’s the experience of being part of something that so many people love, which always gives us a sense of belonging. If the food is great, even better! You get to be seen at a hot spot and get to enjoy a fantastic meal… life just does not get any better than that. The problem lies in but one cold fact; Salt Lake City is constantly growing, which means that there are a bunch of other people in our beautiful city who also enjoy getting out and having all kinds of life experiences, which totally makes for cray cray wait times, among other things.

This post is about the hidden gems around the city ─ they are dying to get discovered by you. They are much more low key, considerably more quiet, and the food is just as great as the trendier spots. The service is fantastic and personal ─ that’s right, you won’t be just one more body in there, the staff will be genuinely happy to see you there... dare to imagine that!

Without further ado:

• Tasty Thai (1302 S 500 E, SLC │ 801-467-4070)

Coincidentally, this place was recommended to me by a foodie Baile friend... I have been addicted ever since. The food is just fantastic! It is perfect for lovers of spicy food. This spot reminds me of big city eats ─ this would be the place around the corner from your house... the one you always run to for comfort and a damn good meal. The staff is helpful (they know their menu like the back of their hand, so go ahead, pick their brain) and friendly (don’t be surprised if they quickly learn your name). This place is perfect for a date ─ you will actually be able to be in the moment, enjoy the company, and have a conversation. Word on the street is that this is a fantastic takeout option.

• Vinto (418 E 200 S, SLC │ 801-539-9999)

The best thing about Vinto is that 'it has been there, done that.' It’s been the hot spot… whatever. Vinto seems to understand that that can only get you so far. What remains is my personal favorite wood-fired pizza, delicious gelato (if you are lucky and they happen to have it, try the basil), and good cocktails. Also, the waiters are totes adorbs.

• Chunga’s (180 S 900 W, SLC)

Best authentic Mexican food in town ─ suck on that Frida’s and your pretentiousness. This comes to us straight from Mexico City ─ and trust, that's a great credential to have. This place is all about the food. I know, I know… but this place is always packed! However, I still don’t think of this place as trendy… people just know they are in for some great food.  Furthermore, they seem to understand that good things come to those who wait. I have loved this place years. And it has been fun to see it grow and turn into the monster hit that it is today. Plan ahead, you may not make it to the movie after all.

• The Kathmandu (7th East Shopping Center, 212 700 East, SLC)

For those times when you are craving Indian cuisine but you really don't feel like waiting an hour to get a table at Bombay House. This lovely joint is low key and its atmosphere feels intimate. The service is friendly and prompt. I've never not felt welcome there. Their dishes are consistently delicious. Oh, and their take on naan is just wonderful... it practically melts in your mouth.

Bon appetit!