By Christine Humphrey

Summer arrives a little earlier just a few miles down the canyon, so if you’ve got a hankering for some patio time and al fresco dining, it’s time to meander down the mountain and sample some of these Salt Lake City hotspots.

Pallet’s historic 1900s building served as the loading dock for Salt Lake’s first creamery. The building’s heritage has been preserved, winning City Weekly’s Critics Choice Award for Best Design and Best Atmosphere. Pallet’s menu is no slouch either, winning Readers Choice, Best New Restaurant and Best Restaurant in the 2013 Dining Awards. Chef Buzz Willey has created a lively menu of seasonal items including: pâté with blood orange, carrots and turnips; mussels in coconut curry; and shrimp and grits that will transport any Southerner back to the bayou. The beet salad served with goat cheese mousse, prosciutto and almonds is a crowd favorite as is the hand-rolled ravioli with short ribs, porcini, asparagus, currants and chard. Sit on the tree-shaded patio and sip a specialty cocktail like a campari smash or pear-and- lime fizz and celebrate getting a head start on summer.

Thomas Jefferson said, “Good wine is a necessity of life for me.” If you agree with this noble statesman and are looking for a grand wine tasting experience, look no further than BTG (by the glass), a new wine bar owned and operated by neighboring Caffe Molise. BTG offers over 75 wines available in 2- or 5-ounce pours, bottles, or in flights of five 2-ounce pours that will take you on a tour of the world of wine and bubbly. You can also select from a menu of small plates and desserts, or choose from the full Caffe Molise menu. Open seven nights a week, BTG is conveniently located near the Salt Palace and Capitol Theater and offers a full bar. Patrons must be 21 or over.

Bistro 222 boasts a stylish, modern décor with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Main Street. Opening in October 2013 to rave reviews from area foodies, Bistro 222 won the 2014 Best Wine List Readers Choice Award by Salt Lake Magazine, second place in City Weekly’s By the Glass Award and a Wine Spectator Award nomination. Chef Michael Jewell’s modestly-priced menu includes inventive starters like asparagus and mushroom tartine, stone oven-fired mussels in coconut red curry, and butternut squash soup with arborio rice and blue cheese crumbles. Try one of the housemade pastas or the “hangover” pizza of pancetta, roasted egg, house ricotta, mozzarella and smoked gouda, or Utah red trout with fennel and lemongrass chowder. Dine inside or on their off-street patio Monday through Friday for long lunches or dinner, Saturdays are open for dinner only.

Caffe Niche has been a neighborhood favorite for five years, and new owner/chef Ethan Lappe’s passionate quest for quality is reflected in the menu of small plates, salads and entrees. While the menu is simple, and seasonal vegetables are the stars, daily specials include organic smoked salmon, Utah elk burgers and spear- caught sustainable fish from Hawaii—even the pan-fried fish is sashimi grade. Try the warm quinoa salad with organic red quinoa, roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions and arugula, or the Thai salad of marinated local steak, noodles, napa cabbage, toasted coconut, mango, avocados, tomatoes, peanuts and Thai dressing. Enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner on their shaded outdoor patio or gather with friends for a “blossom drop” or other featured cocktail.

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