artichokeJane Wise, utahvalley360.com

You have to admire the first person who looked at the spiny, barbed globe of an artichoke plant and thought, “Delicious!”

The Roasted Artichoke restaurant on Provo’s Center Street spotlights the artichoke in many appetizers, salads, sandwiches and pasta.

You can start with the artichoke pâté, move on to the roasted artichoke salad (tossed with roasted vegetables in a raspberry vinaigrette), try the roasted artichoke club (smoked ham, smoked turkey, with roasted peppers and — you guessed it — artichoke hearts on a grilled panini roll), and finish with pasta with prosciutto and artichoke hearts.

If you want to stray from the artichoke-strewn path, The Roasted Artichoke serves a marvelous chicken Marsala over spinach fettuccini, and its spicy cranberry chutney is perfect on a smoked turkey sandwich.

Although the artichoke is absent from the dessert menu, the cheesecake is a smooth, creamy indulgence. And the spiced house lemonade is a must.

Owner Kent Werner has lovingly restored the setting of his restaurant in one of the oldest buildings on Provo’s Center Street. The hardwood floors have been refurbished; the stamped ceiling is unique. Original artwork hangs on exposed brick.

The setting is reminiscent of a European café with an open view to a bistro-like kitchen. Evenings at the Roasted Artichoke on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays are set aside for dining accompanied by a band with dancing. If the weather is fine, tables are set up outside.

Jane Wise is a law professor at BYU and also writes for the Salt Lake Tribune’s dining section.

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