The Salt Lake Scene

Romano's Macaroni Grill in Downtown Salt Lake

Outside the Macaroni Grille and the Peery Hotel in downtown Salt LakeThe other day found me in downtown Salt Lake celebrating the graduation of a friend with a lunch at Romano's Macraroni Grill located on West Temple. What some may say it lacks in authenticity or unique local flair, it makes up for given its location in the historic and very chic Peery Hotel.

Built in 1910, the Peery is Utah's only hotel listed on the National Historic Register and as far as downtown boutique hotels the Peery is tops in its class.

Back to lunch, it was an enjoyable affair. There were 10 of us in the group. It was a mellow atmosphere with nice architecture that offered a number of nooks, often a rarity in these chain type restaurants. Parking for lunch looked to be easy, but I had walked from the Convention Center enjoying a nice spring day in Salt Lake.

For starters the focaccia bread was delicious, warmed and easily devoured with olive oil. I wasn't alone as the only one from our group that appreciates dipping bread in oil with balsamic vinegar, but they only offered the oil. No matter, the bread was tasty enough as is.

The house garden salad was next with a light oil dressing. Healthy and spot on. I ordered a raspberry lemonade to drink and what I received was more of a "pink" lemonade than anything red raspberry.

Inside view of the Macaroni Grill in downtown Salt Lake For the entre I tried the Pasta Milano which the menu describes as "Imported bowtie pasta with tender, grilled chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh mushrooms in a roasted garlic cream sauce".

As a fan of sun-dried tomatoes in pasta cream sauces I was very happy as they were plentiful, but the sauce wasn't quite as vibrant in taste as I expected. No, I wasn't looking to scare off any vampires with garlic breath but I did expect to indulge myself.

However, at $8.99 on the lunch menu ($10.99 dinner) and given the ample supply of sun-dried tomatoes it was worth the reasonable price.

Expectations at a location like this are rarely high so the question remains, would I go back? Depends on the circumstance but if I was looking for an evening out with my someone special, I'd go for the real Italian thing elsewhere. If it were a lunch meeting or a quick bite, most certainly.

I'm sure that during meetings and conventions this place is hopping. A short walk of 2 blocks south of the Salt Lake Convention Center, if you're looking for an affordable and reasonable restaurant this is a great option.