Waaaay out here in the middle of nowhere is an upscale cafe which could be a destination in-and-of itself. No kidding; it's listed in New York Time's "1,000 Places to See in the U.S. and Canada Before You die". This was our "splurge" meal on the last night of a two-week hiking trip in Utah and the perfect ending to a fabulous vacation.
We showed up shortly before the switchover from lunch to dinner menus so kicked back with a couple of craft beers at a table in the sunshine. The patio is very pretty, surrounded by plush green lawn (rare for Southern Utah), flower beds and a few shade trees. Looking over the menu we decided to make dinner of shared appetizers - delivered one at a time - so we could explore a variety of interesting small-plates:
Thin, chewy rattlesnake cakes with ancho-rosemary aioli, pesto and red cabbage
Sope Camarones: shrimp, sofrito and pipian sauce with fruit-and- watercress salad in a masa cup
Coconut calamari: with pineapple, mango and kiwi salad
Firecrackers: 3 varieties of deep-fried, sweet-and-spicy fingers made with potatoes, shrimp or chicken.
Everything was alive and kickin' with flavors and textures, and beautifully presented. And fresh? When the chef trots out to hack off a handful of herbs planted among the flowers, you KNOW it's fresh. They even have their own greenhouse. To top it off, a complimentary plate of cotija-sprinkled pickled veggies and hearty bread is delivered to your table after ordering to keep you busy until the first course arrives. Pleasant and attentive waitstaff, too.
The only downside? We were too full for one of their killer desserts. Damn.
Our small-plate selections were all under $12.00
Cuisine type: creative Southwestern
Very, very busy during peak-season dinner hour - make a reservation!!!
Full bar list including wines and microbrews
Open seasonally from about mid April to end of October
Casual: lots of Capitol Reef park-goers in hiking boots and cargo pants
11:30 am – 10:00 pm, 7 days a week
This is the Rim Rock's laid-back cousin and a better choice for visitors watching the pennies. We came here on a gorgeous evening for one thing: the killer view. From a picnic table on the big patio, with a cold brew in hand, it's the best seat in Torrey for watching the late-afternoon sun light up those amazing red cliffs. They have a small menu: pizza, pasta, salads, BBQ sammies and whatnot, and sodas, beer and juices. We went with pizza as that seemed to be the hot item. Good? I'd give it more stars if we could have gotten a choice of crusts as they only have one and it's too thick for our thin-crust taste. We only managed part of it and ended up eating some of the rest for breakfast over the next two days - never did get through the whole thing.
The inside dining area is small and has a flat screen for watching sports; no bar. There are horseshoe pits and a frisbee golf course outside, and they have live music on weekends after dark. Service was a little slow for not being terribly busy but heck, with awesome scenery to keep us occupied, we didn't mind the wait. Good spot for families, post-hike refueling or round of darts, and best before dark as the backdrop makes up for any shortcomings in the menu. Oh, and you can get your pie to go.
Open all year from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm or later, and for lunch Jun - Sept.
Being we don't travel with dress clothes on our hiking trips, it's nice to be able to go for a grown-up dinner now and again in our jeans and (clean) T's. This is one of those places. It's one of two eateries belonging to the Rim Rock Inn and is the higher-end of the pair.
That they don't post the menu/prices on their website is a little annoying - especially with most entrees hovering around the $20 and some pushing the $30 mark. We noticed a few people leaving shortly after being seated and handed a menu; I don't think they expected that type of price tag in tiny Torrey, or not when feeding a family, anyway. And because they don't post a menu, I can't remember for sure what's on it except that it leans to steaks, chops, ribs, chicken and pasta, and sides include steamed vegetables, rice, and several types of potatoes. The Husband had pan-seared trout with pinenuts and steamed vegetables, and I had smoked ribs with a baked spud. Both dinners came with side salads and a small bread basket, and both were just fine but not outstanding. A couple $5 glasses of so-so wine (2 for him, one for me) and the bill came to $56.00 without tip; not bad, really, for a nicer place but a bit out of budget for some national park visitors.
The dining room is done up in warm, non-fussy arts and crafts style with two fireplaces to take the chill off nippy evenings. There are two sections: the one towards the front appears to be reserved for bus-tour seatings, and so was the case when we were there. Fortunately, they had already been served so the waitstaff wasn't stressed but I read that they can be stretched thin on a very busy night. The star of the show are the windows: great big ones framing red rocks cliffs that positively glow if you're lucky enough to be there before sunset - which we were. For dinner with a view, you can't do any better than this in Torrey except for the Rim Rock's more casual cousin, Rim Rock Patio, just down the hill.
Open 5:00 - 9:30 every day from end of March through end of Oct. Full bar menu (but no bar)
Last visited: September 2010
I would doubtfully recommend it. Perhaps just to try the rattlesnake.
We had heard good things about this Café, both from our guidebook as well as from the staff at red river lodge so we had to try it out.
It was a crowded place so we figured this would be an excellent meal. But we seemed to be unlucky this day.
It did take a looong time before we got any service at the table. When we finally had decided what to eat it was yet another long wait for our drinks. When our starters finally came we found that we got som extra protein with the salad; A small spider was crawling about.
We told the waitress and she instantly took the plates and asked us if we wanted new starters. We declined the offer since we actually didn´t like the starters anyways(rattlesnake cakes).
Another wait and then the maincourse arrived to the table. I have nothing to complain about regarding the main dish. It was quite ok. During the dinner the same waitress accidently tipped our waterglass over the table.
The atmosphere was nothing like I was expected. Due to the name I had expected a red theme throughout the restaurant, but it more or less looked like a typical dining room in a senior home. Nothing too exciting. The one exception was the funny masks at the entrance.
We had the rattlesnake cake for starters because we wanted to try something new. It wasn´t anything we would order again. The taste just didn´t suit us.
Our mains was the mayan Tamale and the trout.
I would not say that our visit was "Somewhat unsatisfied", but rather "Somewhat satisfied".
Two thumbs up
- Regardless of the long waiting times, the spider in our food and the spilled water I really think that the waitress deserves some credit as well! She did excuse herself for the waiting time, she did offer us a new starter and when we declined she pulled it of the tab totally, and we even laughed about the spilled water. Hey! Everybody can have a bad day at work, even YOU!
Two Thumbs down
- I don´t like spiders in my food unless they´re on the menu
- Long waiting times
- The high expectations were not met
- We were a bit surpised by the prices
Excellent restaurant in this small town in the middle of nowhere. Was very busy when we went - very popular place. American/Mexican food. Best meal we had on the whole trip through Utah. Beautifully presented food and good service. Only open between April and October.
Favorite Dish: Ginger and pumpkin cheesecake with cinnamon ice cream
On of the few restaurants in town. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. All pretty standard fare: steak, chicken and sandwiches. Dinner was pretty reasonable (about $15 with tip). Nothing extraordinary but not bad either.