Right now, for me, it doesn’t get better than Eva in Salt Lake City. After several dinner and brunch trips to this small, quaint, intimate Mediterranean tapas restaurant, I can safely say, that it doesn’t get much better for the price and atmosphere. There also seems to be an endless selection of amazing dishes and specials that rotate enough, but not so often that you can’t ever get the same dish if you had it on special.
On this particular evening, I tried a few dishes that I had previously had and a few new ones. The service at Eva has always been fantastic and they are great at recommending things and answering questions. I would highly recommend asking your server to give you some highlights for that evening. Remember, if the staff is eating a certain dish, you can almost guarantee that it is one of the best things on the menu. And usually, a server won’t lie about not particularly enjoying a certain item. Never feel strange about aking your server questions. After 10 years waiting tables, I will tell you that being able to talk about the food being served was a highlight.
First off, the Brussel Sprouts are a must at Eva. They are shredded and then cooked with toasted hazelnuts and cider vinegar. They have a marvelous and surprising flavor. The vinegar creates just enough zing to notice and the hazelnuts really round off the full flavor. Don’t forget to order this dish.
After the Brussel Sprouts, another one of my favorite dishes made its way to the table; the Butter Lettuce Salad and Goat Cheese Crustini. Anything with goat cheese is my dear friend. This creamy and potent cheese is one of my favorite things to eat. The dish comes with two crustini topped with goat cheese and a beautiful butter leaf lettuce salad in the center with a wine reduction for dressing. Usually this dish comes with a tasty and fresh pear relish on the side, but this evening, it came out with a cranberry relish that was good–but not as awesome as the pears. I could eat this dish every day–no joke.
Along with the Crustini, the Calamari also came out. Calamari can be difficult to do well, I think. Actually, I think that most fried food can get messed up pretty fast. It is a balance between not enough and too much batter–or if the batter is too light or still soaking in oil. The calamri at Eva is near perfection. The breading isn’t overwhelming so you can really taste the squid and also enjoy the texture. I figure for those readers who actually like calamari, they really do enjoy the texture–which is why I mention it. The aioli is made with sherry and cayanne and is pretty intense, so you don’t need much of it. I also like this, because with such fresh calamari, you don’t want to drown it in sauce. This also is presented with greens and topped with sea salt. Such a great dish.
Next on the list was something I had not tried before, the Spanakopita with spicy feta and balsamic. This was my favorite of the evening. First off, look at it. Have you ever seen Spanakopita presented this way? It was beautiful. The spicy feta was a great asset to the spinach filled filo dough and the balsamic was a nice sweet afterthought. This dish truely wowed me.
In fact, all of these dishes wowed me. This is why I really enjoy eating at a tapas restaurant; you can order several different dishes and taste so many flavors at one time. And you can’t forget dessert. Eva is famous for these delectable donut holes that come with strawberries and whip cream, but instead we got the chocolate cake. This was the only thing I didn’t love. It looked pretty and tasted ok, but we should have gone with the donut holes for sure. Always go with the house specialty!
And, what kind of meal would this have been without wine? I normally don’t order $60 bottles of wine, but my date on this night lived near the Adelsheim winery in Willamette Valley Oregon and wanted to order this amazing bottle of Pinot Noir. It was, hands down, the best wine I have had in months. If you can spring for it, you must enjoy this bottle of cherry accented Pinot Noir. This wine is rich with fruit flavors, but mild at the same time. It went with our menu choices perfectly and I wish I could afford to drink bottles of this caliber regularly. The difference between this $60 bottle and the $15 or $20 I usually buy was very appreciated.
If you live in Utah, even if you don’t live in the city, I recommend you get to main street as soon as possible and check out this divine restaurant. Make a reservation if it is weekend, as this is a small restaurant and can not accommodate many tables at once. Oh, and if you are a big bruncher, like I am–don’t miss their Eva’s Eggs Benedict with the chicken sausage. Wow. I have yet to taste anything at Eva that didn’t sit pretty well on my taste buds!
Check out Eva on 317 South Main in Downtown Salt Lake City. Brunch, Lunch and Dinner. GOOOO!!!!