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Creative Cuisine in an Elegant, Cozy Atmosphere

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating



Stuffed Chicken

Courtesy Faustina
Faustina, on a quiet, tree-lined stretch of 300 South, offers a cuisine and an atmosphere that are both elegant and sophisticated, yet cozy and approachable. It's one of my favorite spots in downtown Salt Lake City for lunch, dinner or weekend brunch.

For lunch, Faustina offers a selection of salads, sandwiches and pastas, with everything priced at $12. Lunch includes a homemade strawberry roulade for dessert. Other desserts, like the vanilla bean panna cotta and the croissant bread pudding, are available for an additional charge. Sandwiches are served with either house made sweet potato chips or house salad.

Some of Faustina's lunch favorites include the salmon BLT with smoky, faintly sweet applewood bacon and dill mayonnaise; a locally sourced turkey burger with roasted garlic, asiago cheese and cranberry relish; and Sonoma chicken salad, an addictive blend of greens, smoked chicken, blueberries, apples, almonds, Gorgonzola, caramelized onions and pomegranate vinaigrette. Recently for lunch I tried the turkey burger, which was delicious, although the garlic was a little strong for my taste and I would have enjoyed having more of the cranberry relish. The strawberry roulade, a sweet swirl of light sponge cake, cream filling and strawberries, was a refreshing end to the meal.

For dinner, Faustina Executive Chef Billy Sotelo puts a sophisticated, creative spin on traditional dishes such as stuffed chicken breast, asiago crusted scallops, potato crusted seabass and beef tenderloin medallions. To complement the food, General Manager Hillary Merrill has selected a variety of unique wines from around the world, including boxed wines that are both wallet-friendly and environmentally friendly.

On a recent dinner visit, my companion and I enjoyed a wonderful amuse-bouche of grilled zuchinni rolled up with mushrooms and ricotta cheese, accompanied by a fresh-tasting marinara sauce. We both loved the next course, a brightly flavored watermelon salad with arugula, blueberries, goat cheese, pink peppercorns, toasted cashews and watermelon vinaigrette. My friend selected the mushroom ravioli entree, with porcini-flavored pasta, flavorful mushroom filling and pomodoro sauce. I had the stuffed roasted chicken breast, with feta cheese, spinach and bell pepper, served with grilled asparagus over soft polenta and surrounded by chorizo broth. For me, the chorizo broth was the surprise of the evening and one of the highlights of the entire meal, complementing the stuffed chicken breast perfectly. For dessert, we had the blueberry souffle with honey lavender sauce, which was gorgeous and smelled amazing, but was too sweet for my taste.

Faustina's brunch is served from 9-3 Saturday and Sunday, with appetizers, egg dishes, breakfast breads, sandwiches and salads on the menu. My two favorite brunch items are both wrapped in puff pastry. One is the brie puff pastry served with roasted grapes and a moutarde made with dried fruit and mustard seed. The other is the black forest ham and egg puff pastry - ham and Jarlsberg cheese baked in puff pastry, topped with an egg any style, hollandaise sauce and avocado, and served with breakfast potatoes and Mosiah sauce, a creamy avocado-based sauce named after one of Faustina's chefs. It's a rich dish, so I would recommend asking for roasted grapes or some sliced tomato to cut the richness. If you like herbal teas, I also highly recommend the South African Gingerbread Roobios, which Faustina gets from The Tea Grotto in Salt Lake City. It's one of the best herbal teas I've ever tasted.

Faustina has a hip and elegant, yet approachable and friendly atmosphere, with sleek mid-century modern decor and abstract art by local artist Stephanie St. Thomas. There's an intimate lounge area in addition to the main dining room. Faustina has a pleasant garden patio, shaded by colorful canopies during sunny weather. Faustina also features a banquet room, beautifully decorated with an aspen theme, that almost feels like dining in a forest.

Faustina strives for friendly, knowledgeable service, which is what I've experienced on my visits there. I would recommend Faustina for almost any occasion, including a business or friendly lunch, casual evening with friends, date night or special celebration.

454 E. 300 S.

Lunch: All entrees $12
Dinner: Appetizers $9-$12
Soups and Salads: $5-$13
Entrees $14-$26
Desserts $6-$7
Brunch items $5-$11

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