If you’ve ever spent time in downtown Salt Lake, especially around the Capitol Theatre, then you’ve probably noticed the art deco stylized Hotel Monaco that houses Bambara Restaurant – an award laden “New American” bistro set in the transformed historic Continental Bank lobby.
This was my second visit to Bambara. My first was in the spring of 2013 where I was wowed at Chef Nathan Powers ability to experiment and create 4 unique dishes inspired by 4 different Epic beers. I couldn’t wait to see what he had up his sleeve this season.
There will be a handful of things that stick out if you’re visiting for the first time. They’ve successfully pulled off a fashionable atmosphere with elements of their past through gestures to the building’s history as a bank through features such as: the safety-deposit box artwork and host stand adorned with pennies, an impressive stainless steel wine cabinet filled with wine bottles dipped in gold, inspired by old safety deposit boxes, and an open, central kitchen that allows you the opportunity to be treated to a show by Chef Powers and his team.
The theme of the evening was, without a doubt, variety. Once you’ve been in Salt Lake for several years, you tend to narrow down your favorite places for certain dishes. I know exactly where to go for an amazing buffalo burger. I have a favorite brick oven pizza place. I’ve recommend a certain pasta carbonara dish at a particular restaurant to everyone I meet. But at Bambara, the most difficult part of the evening was choosing a dish. I overheard the comment “what a great menu…” more than once. I shared a table with 15 others diners and as our server went through the menu of appetizers and entrees, each description was accompanied by oooh’s and ahhh’s of delight. Everything sounded divine so we agreed to each choose something different so we could taste a little bit of everything.
The starters came out and we demolished them in seconds. Blue Cheese House Cut Potato Chips, Crab Stuffed Piquillo Peppers and Hawaiian Ahi Tuna Tartare.
Then came the entrees. The seafood choices were incredibly varied – from seared King Salmon to grilled Utah Red Trout. There was an amazing Ricotta Porcini Gnocchi and a Grilled Filet of Beef. I went with the Riesling Braised Duroc Pork Shank with asparagus-mascarpone risotto, tempura asparagus and Meyer lemon-asparagus chimichurri.
When each of our dishes came out, we all became incredible competitive – claiming that each of our dishes was by far the best. It was only when we taste-tested each other’s choices, we discovered it was a draw – they were all phenomenal.
The dessert highlight was Rebecca’s Filo Crisp – port soaked sun dried cherries, brown butter ice cream, caramelized pine nuts.
It was fun to discover a place where a great menu delivers even better results. Bambara is the perfect place for your family or group of friends with varied palates and tastes.
20+ Gluten Free or Can Be Made Gluten Free Options
Impressive wine and cocktail menu
Starters range from $8-$18
Entrees range from $24-$44
Bambara is located on Main Street at 200 South
|Breakfast:||Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. – 10 a.m.Saturday, 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.|
|Brunch:||Sunday, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.|
|Lunch:||Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.Saturday-Sunday, closed|
|Dinner:||Monday-Thursday, 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.Friday-Saturday, 5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.Sunday, 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.|