We were invited to the pre-opening night at Zola a new Spanish tapas (small plates) restaurant that is opening this week in the long unused space above Squatters Brewpub in downtown Salt Lake. These aren't the best pictures, but here is an idea of what it looks like inside. The main dining room is a dramatic explosion of space snaking out from beyond the sleek reception area, glass top bar and decidedly open kitchen area. It's one of the more unique frameworks in the city.
Having seen the space in the weeks before it was finished, I was suprised the overall feeling is slightly more trendy euro-cafe than rustic or exotic as the raw elements of the building might suggest, yet the renovation (which was up to the last minute) and architecture have beautiful features that won't go unnoticed. Check out the many exposed beams set against stainless steel, glass and the interesting melted fiberglass treatment used to seismically preserve the original brick walls.
We tried almost everything on the menu with four people at our table and each plate serving two. I particualarly liked the flank steak, the gazpacho and clams, which had perfectly spiced sauce and traditional sausage. Everything else was delicious and different but I can't quite recall specifics because in the end we had sipped on too much wine from the expansive list (one of the best in the city) as well as the fantastic signature cocktails, all expertly commissioned by "Jen", formerly of Em's Restaurant on Capitol Hill. My friend Rodney commented that it's the only place he's been in Utah where the margarita glasses were properly salted.
Zola is going to be another great addition to the ever diverse fooding options in downtown so give it a few weeks to settle and try it for yourself. Just avoid sitting in view of the flying cow outside the front window.
Zola - Small Plates & Wine Bar is located at 145 W. Broadway, Level 2, Salt Lake City. 801-990-0652