In the last couple of years, there has been a small gastronomical uprising in downtown Salt Lake City. Intriguing, cafe-style restaurants have been popping up and making names for themselves by having creative menus, neat atmospheres, and affordable prices. One such place is Caffe Niche.

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Caffe Niche (Photo from caffeniche.com)

Caffe Niche opened its doors to Salt Lake City foodies in June 2010. This restaurant has been recommended to me several times and I finally made the time to go see what all of the hoopla was about.

Upon my arrival, I was politely greeted by a friendly host and led to my table. The place definitely had a welcoming, positive attitude that got things started off right. Throughout the meal, the server was attentive, fast and helpful. The restaurant itself had a modern decor that went well with the atmosphere as a whole. The floor-plan provided plenty of room to sit and eat comfortably. Although the restaurant was full, the noise level was very tolerable and I was able to have a conversation with my guests without ever straining to hear or having to shout.

Ambience and service are both important but my primary focus when I dine out is food. Caffe Niche’s chef Ethan Lappé has got this down very well! Lappé uses primarily sustainable, local and fresh ingredients in his foods. Caffe Niche’s website has an entire section dedicated to showing off the local connections that the restaurants has which is very neat. The daily fish is sustainably fished and shipped in daily in order to ensure freshness, another feature that demonstrates Lappé’s above-and-beyond attitude.

The restaurant offers different menus for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, and dessert. Each menu is contains a clever balance that will satisfy just about any palate. Standouts include a large variety of small plates, sandwiches, and salads. The prices are very fair, especially considering the good portion size and quality of ingredients used. There is also pretty good selection of wine and liquor, as well as coffees and teas.

On my visit, I tried the Reuben sandwich with house braised Snake River Farms Kobe-style corned beef. I have a soft spot for Reubens (Similar to my love of carrot cake!) and like to treat myself with one every now and again. The sandwich was excellent. The rye bread was toasted but not dry or hard, there was just the right amount of sauce, cheese, and sauerkraut, and the meat was perfect. I was very pleased that this sandwich was served with a side salad as I put an emphasis on healthy eating in order to optimize my training. This was no brewpub Reuben, it was quite a delight!

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Caffe Niche’s Corned Beef Reuben Sandwich

My guest opted for the roasted chicken and spinach salad which was well seasoned and garnished generously with cashews, bacon, and other tasty bites. There were no starving vegetarians in this restaurant!

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Caffe Niche’s Roasted Chicken and Spinach Salad

All around, this was a great experience. The food really stood out, and the awesome atmosphere and service were the icing on the cake. My sampling of the food was limited but I read through all of the menus and kept an eye on what other patrons ordered and everything looked very fresh and appetizing. It’s hard to go wrong with this restaurant. I recommend it for any time of the day that you are looking for a good meal with healthy options and a warming atmosphere. My only regret is that I waited this long to try Caffe Niche. I suppose that I will just have to make up for lost time!

Caffe Niche is located at 779 East 300 South in Salt Lake City, Utah. You can contact them by calling (801) 433-3380, visiting their website at www.caffeniche.com, following them on twitter at @CaffeNicheSLC, or by liking them on Facebook. Bon appétit!
Caffe Niche on Urbanspoon