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December 30, 2011 / foodradar

Michelangelo Ristorante

Michelangelo Ristorante

3005 South Highland Drive

Salt Lake City, UT 84106

http://michelangeloristorante.com

Nestled in the shadow of the majestic Wasatch mountains. (sounds like T.V program huh?) lies my favorite little Italian restourante – Michaelangelo.  This place used to be located in old Sugar House off of 2100 south by Fats Grill, but they have since moved to Highland Drive just north of 3300 south.  Michaelangelo has turned into one of my favorite lunch locations for 3 reasons.  1-  This food is awesome.  I’m not going to say it’s the best Italian I’ve ever tasted, that honor I reserve for my childhood days washing dishes over at Damico’s and Manzo’s in Centerville, Ohio, but I feel comfortable calling this the 2nd best Italian I’ve had.  2 – The service and atmosphere is classy and professional. and 3 – The lunch prices are phenomanal.  You can get their lunch special for only $5.99 which includes their amazing bread, soup, and entree.

Tomato Herb soup with a warm basket of fresh bread

I have not had the chance to have dinner at Michaelango, but I hope to in the near future, so I’ll take about their great lunch deal in this post.  As shown above, you are brought a warm basket of bread that is cut up in 1 inch cubes.  I’ve found that the 1 inch cube bread is the perfect size for snacking, dipping, or inhaling.  You can either dip your bread into your warm bowl of soup, or you can make a little side platter of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I prefer to have both options at hand.  If I want to give my little bread friend a tomato bath I can do that.  If I want to dunk him in my vinegar/oil concoction… I can do that too.  And don’t worry about running out of bread pieces,  your server will bring you more.

The soup choices are usually their tomato herb and another soup.  Now I must be vague on the “other” soup because admittedly I’ve never tried it.  For all I know it may be pure genius.  I always go with the tomato herb because the first time I tried it I fell in love with it, so there are certain things that if not broken, should not be changed.  If you are a fan of tomato soup, your wildest dreams are about to come true.  If you don’t like tomato soup, then you are STILL going to love this stuff.  Trust me, I used to HATE tomato soup, and really I have no one to blame other than that Campbell’s crap that comes in the can.  I really didn’t know any better.  This tomato soup is one of the best 3 tomato soups you can get in Salt  Lake.   The other 2 would be Soup Kitchen and Cafe Zupas.  I never leave this bowl with even the slightest hint of soup left.  That is what your bread is for.  The soup is so good I have to use ever last piece of bread to clean the bowl completely.

Spaghetti Michaelango – Garlic, Red Pepper, Arugula, and Parmesan Cheese

For the lunch option I have two favorites, the Spaghetti Michaelango if you are going pasta, or the Michaelango Club or The Piedmont if you would like a warm panini sandwich.  You ever eat something and your whole body seems to thank you?  That’s what this spaghetti dish did for me.  I felt I was really pampering my belly with this dish.  The balance of garlic, red pepper, and seasonings is just perfect. Even the Arugula spinich is just awesome. (Disclaimer:  I HATE SPINICH – This stuff is different!)  Notice from the picture above that the parmesan cheese is not shredded on top of the dish, instead they leave 2 thin slices of it so that it melts into the spaghetti directly.  Brilliant!  And what is even better, when you are done with your spaghetti, there is still just enough sauce in your bowl, to finish off the last few pieces of bread you have in your basket.

The panini sandwiches are equally impressive.  They are made with the same fresh bread that they give you with your meal.  What I love about these sandwiches, is that even though it is a sandwich, Michelango handles it with same class, love and care that they do as if it was an entree creation.  Ingredients are not just thrown together here.  The lettuce is carefully selected, the tomatoes are the juciest red.  The mayo is carefully applied.  Every bite of this sandwich is amazing.

There is sometimes a fine line between good and great when it comes to restaurant.  Do you want your lunch to be “Just Good” or do you want it to be “Exceptional”?  I compare this to the NBA, NFL, MLB etc.  Even the poorest players in the NFL are amazing athletes in their own right.  The difference between a bench warmer and an All-Pro really isn’t that much.  So when I go to restaurants there may be subtle nuances about how the dish is prepared, or perhaps a piece of artwork.  It could be ANYTHING.  Michaelango has these subtle nuances that turns a great restaurant into an “All-Pro” restaurant.

I rate this restaurant very high.  I have not had everything on the menu, but I am getting there.  The lunch gnocci (hand rolled mini potato dumplings) was pretty good and the lunch lasagna are exceptional.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the carbonara, and I’ve yet to try other dishes, but if you are looking for an awesome lunch experience either by yourself, or with friends, and you want fine food without paying an arm and a leg, then try this place!

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