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Salt Lake City Restaurants You Need to Try ASAP

Our favorite spots to sit down and enjoy food with family and friends.

In 2005, when one breezed through downtown Salt Lake, there wasn’t much of a question of where to eat. Just a few tasty restaurants dotted the main drag, and the locals knew where to go and when.

Now, however, the question of where to eat in Salt Lake City is a much hotter topic. Hundreds of new restaurants have shot up on the downtown scene, and foodies have their work cut out for them when trying to make heads or tails of which restaurant to go to.

group of people enjoying their time at a restaurant in Salt Lake City

That’s where we come in. SLC is full of yummy spots, and usually, the best way to figure out where to go is to pop your head in and feel the vibe of a place. To get you started, though, we’ve got a list of some of the best restaurants in Salt Lake City at which you can’t go wrong.


Best Restaurants in Salt Lake City

  1. Ozora Izakaya Bar
  2. The Beehive Pub & Grill
  3. Takashi
  4. Arlo Restaurant
  5. Table X
  6. Bambara Salt Lake City
  7. Valter’s Osteria
  8. The Bayou
  9. Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana
  10. The Copper Onion
  11. Spitz
  12. Caffe Molise
  13. Stoneground Italian Kitchen
  14. Current Fish and Oyster
  15. Oquirrh Restaurant
  16. Stanza Italian Bistro & Wine Bar
  17. HSL
  18. Whiskey Street Cocktails & Dining
  19. Lake Effect
  20. Ruth’s Chris Steak House
  21. Eva
  22. Siegfried’s Delicatessen

Ozora Izakaya Bar – Downtown Salt Lake City

1078 E 2100 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84106
Phone: 801-845-0405
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The first stop on our gastric tour of Salt Lake is nestled downtown. Ozora is the name given to an Izakaya Bar founded by TJ Batulga. An Izakaya Bar is a fixture of Japanese culture, a street bar that serves as a place for the hard-working people of the city to unwind after a long day at work.

In the theme of the Izakaya Bar from his native Japan, TJ Batulga’s Ozora is full of the flavors of Japan, but in some dishes twist the traditional recipes with modern fusions. Try the triple sushi tacos or the okonomiyaki – a savory Japanese seafood pancake.

You can find Ozora off of East 2100 Street, right next to Hopkins Brewing Company and just a 15-minute walk from Sugar House Park.


The Beehive Pub & Grill

255 S Main Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84321
435-753-2600
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The Beehive Pub & Grill has a fitting name, and not just because of its location in Salt Lake. Patrons flock to the Beehive like bees to honey because the family-style eating at Beehive is some of the best you’ll find anywhere.

For a great starting point, check out the pulled pork sandwich: your tastebuds will thank you.

Look for this delightful American restaurant over by Logan High School and the Logan Community Recreation Center off of South Main Street.


Takashi

18 W Market Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
385-202-7500
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Takashi, considered by many to be Utah’s best sushi restaurant, certainly deserves the hype. Eponymously named for its owner, founder, and head sushi chef, Takashi serves classic Japanese flavors but in a style that you won’t find anywhere else. 

Takashi-san has spent his life perfecting the art of sushi making and has become what is called a shokunin — an artisan or craftsman of the Eastern style, where one’s work is the center around which one’s life and society is brought to order.

Like the archer who hits the center of the target every time, Takashi-san’s craftsmanship and expertise are most apparent when tasting the sashimi (the simplest and most honest sushi dish: a sushi chef is judged by his ability to render proper sashimi).

Check out Takashi in the heart of Downtown Salt Lake City by attractions like the Gallivan Center, easily accessible via the Gallivan Plaza Station light rail off Main Street.


Arlo Restaurant

271 Center Street, W. Salt Lake City, UT 84103
385-266-8845
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For brunch or dinner, consider a stop at Arlo Restaurant. Conveniently located on 271 Center Street near the Utah State Capitol, Arlo has simple, flavorful fare and a pared-down menu that hits the spot with every single item.

Take, for example, one of the most popular appetizers: bread & butter. The steaming fresh artisan bread topped lightly with incredibly rich French butter has almost every table asking, “should we order more?”

If you’ve never had duck before, Arlo may be an excellent place to try it. Duck can be difficult to cook and is all too often bone dry. The Arlo duck is sumptuous and tender, served with roasted greens and delectable apricot chutney.


Table X

1457 E. 3350 S., SLC, UT 84106
385-528-3712
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If you’re a fan of good bread, look no further than Table X. The homemade bread is so popular at Table X that there’s an entire section on their website concerning making bread reservations before you show up for dinner, just to ensure you get a slice.

For dinner, you’ll choose between a five-course and a seven-course tasting menu. These meals take you from house sourdough with cultured butter through a soup, a main course, eventually landing you with a scrumptious sweet. The olive oil cake with local blueberries is especially unusual and very worth a taste.

If you want fine dining in Salt Lake, Table X is your spot. They’re also open for breakfast between 8 am and 3 pm Wednesday through Saturday if you just want bread and coffee. Check them out off of Highland Drive, across the street from The Home Depot.


Bambara Salt Lake City

202 South Main St., Salt Lake City, UT 84101 
801-363-5454
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Bambara is a place where Salt Lake’s pioneer past and food-pioneering present meet in unique architecture and unique dishes. Nathan Powers, the head chef at Bambara, created an exhibition kitchen to bring the best of traditional American cuisine into the present with modern flavors and designs.

In the Bambara building, too, we see the incredible merging of the past with the present in one aesthetic design. The great towering arched windows shedding light onto the marble floor that flows seamlessly with the restaurant’s modern design gives one the feeling of grandeur and modernity all at once. 

For something you may not have had before is the Seared Elk au Poivre. If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, fret not! Bambara can accommodate you as well with brilliant showpiece dishes carnivores and herbivores alike will appreciate. 


Valter’s Osteria

173 West Broadway,  Salt Lake City UT 84101
801-521 4563
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At Valter’s Osteria, the tastes of old Tuscany meet a modern American sensibility. Osteria is a take on an old Tuscan Granary, with homemade sauces and pasta to show for it.

Valter, the head chef and owner, brings what he learned from his mother’s cooking to Salt Lake City, where the influences extant have shaped some of the best Italian food you’ll eat anywhere.

If you go, try the Homemade Gnocchi in Mushroom Sauce. Try a dish with Valter’s Mother’s Meat Sauce, especially on the butternut squash ravioli if you want to feel transported to old Tuscany. Pay them a visit just east of Pioneer Park and The Residence Inn by Marriott Salt Lake City.


The Bayou

645 S State Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
801-961-8400
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Beer lovers in Salt Lake City sometimes don’t know where to start. We’ll tell you: start at The Bayou. The Bayou is a beer lover’s paradise with incredibly friendly staff and two owners who are uniquely passionate about what they do.

Mark and Kileen Alston are the co-owners (and happily married couple) running The Bayou. Come and see them off of South State Street, right across from The State Room and just south of Mercedes-Benz of Salt Lake City.

For those who are expecting Cajun cuisine due to its name, The Bayou won’t let you down. Outside of the south, it’s hard to find Cajun cooking as you have at the Bayou. If you’re someone who doesn’t like Cajun cooking, well, chances are you just haven’t had it right.


Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana

260 South 200 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
801-322-3556
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Fifteen years ago, Settebello moved into its current location in downtown Salt Lake and brought the simple perfection of Neapolitan Pizza to the good people of Salt Lake. Since these innocuous origins, the taste of Napoli has graced the palates of many Salt Lake City residents who just keep coming back for more. 

With a highly experienced management team and incredibly loyal pizza chefs, Settebello is a favorite of every Salt Lake Pizza Lover.

You’ll find this pizza haven downtown near the Salt Lake City Greek Festival and the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.


The Copper Onion

111 E. Broadway, Suite 170, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
801-355-3282
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Ryan Lowder, the head chef and owner of the Copper Onion, certainly has the credentials to back up his cooking. He was trained by the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) and afterward spent a great stint abroad and at the epicenter of American culinary innovation, New York City.

In Columbia, Lowder learned many of the recipes and techniques that allowed him to be the head chef at a traditional Catalan in New York and design the menu for another Catalan restaurant while he was at it.

After getting married and traveling, Ryan Lowder and his new spouse decided to return to his native Salt Lake City to participate in SLC’s burgeoning food market. From Columbia to Catalonia, from the Big Apple to the Copper Onion, Lowder’s menu offers hometown cooking with the flair of Spanish cuisine mixed gloriously by a master craftsman.


Spitz

35 Broadway, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
801-364-0286
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On the casual side of things, check out Spitz. Spitz probably has the best Doner Kebab you’ll find in Salt Lake, but its sandwiches and baskets are also a revelation. 

Try the Doner Basket for lunch to take your taste buds for a ride. Try a dish with the deeply expressive sweet potato fries and a growler of takeout Sangria for dinner.

This place is located next to the massive Gallivan Center and the Salt Lake City Marriott City Center hotel.


Caffe Molise

404 S West Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101
801-364-8833
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Caffe Molise brings the flavors of the Molise region of Italy (just north of Naples) to Salt Lake City sourced from only fresh local ingredients. 

On Friday evenings, show up, order the Pollo Masala and relax as you listen to the sweet tones of the John Flander jazz trio. 

If you’re seeing a sporting event, a play at Pioneer Theater, or the opera, Caffe Molise is perfectly located off of University Boulevard to fill you up, in the words of Wham!, before you go-go.


Stoneground Italian Kitchen

249 East 400 South, Salt Lake City, Utah
801-364-1368
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Stoneground Italian Kitchen is a classic Italian kitchen with excellent, traditional fare from all parts of Italy. If you’re in the mood for a wide, flat, and stately Neapolitan pizza, Stoneground is the place for you.

Fresh pasta is a Stoneground Italian Kitchen specialty, and many guests buy containers of the stuff to take home and put on their own Italian cooking. 

In 2020, Stoneground Italian Kitchen was voted “Diner’s Choice” for Salt Lake, and it’s not hard to see why. The comfort of Italian cooking, combined with the brightness of the locally sourced flavors, makes every dish at Stoneground worth a taste.

Stoneground is conveniently located off of University Boulevard across from the Salt Lake City Public Library and the Liberty Station light rail stop.


Current Fish and Oyster

279 E 300 S, Salt Lake City, UT
801-326-3474
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The Current Fish and Oyster, at the corner of South 300 East and East Broadway, is intentionally designed to let the food speak for itself with a completely unassuming name and a fully unassuming appearance. And boy, does it.

At Current Fish and Oyster, the modernity implicit in the word “current” meets the rich and storied tradition of American seafood cooking. 

From the docks of San Francisco, from the slow Summers of the Louisiana Bayou, from the hardened disposition of the Maine Lobsterman, Current Fish and Oyster brings together everything that makes American seafood cooking great and updates it for a modern palate. Check them out off of


Oquirrh Restaurant

368 East 100 South, Salt Lake City, UT
801-359-0426
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Oquirrh is elegant and simple in its mission: locally sourced, American fare. Andrew and Angela Fuller, who opened the project, are both committed to bringing quality food to the people of Salt Lake while supporting local artisans and offering excellent dining service. 

A pared-down menu available only Thursday through Saturday from 4:30 pm to 10 pm makes Oquirrh something of a hot ticket item. Groups of six or more should call ahead, although it might be a good idea for any group to reserve to ensure a seat at the table.


Stanza Italian Bistro & Wine Bar

454 E 300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
801-746-4441
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For modern Italian cooking in a brilliant ambiance, try Stanza Italian Bistro & Wine Bar off of East Broadway next to The Clairmont Apartments. 

Like a single line of poetry, Stanza’s meals each offer dashes of beauty, while even further beauty is achieved in the unity of the whole. Each dish harkens back to Italy while also speaking directly to an American taste sensibility, leaving us wanting more every time.

The Salmon is a perfect example: perfectly done, with a stately but unassuming crushed corn sauce and crispy sweet potato strings.


HSL

418 East 200 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
801-539-9999
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American fare for foodies, HSL is a place with classy dishes but a totally unpretentious vibe. HSL is the evolution of the owners’ original restaurant, Handle in Park City. HSL, which we assume stands for Handle Salt Lake, brings all the tastes that made Handle successful and adapts it for the more urban Salt Lake environment.

Everything is good at HSL, but the fried chicken provides the perfect tender comfort for a rainy day.

Look for HSL off of East 200 South, right next to the Phillips Gallery and the Historic B’nai Isreal Temple.


Whiskey Street Cocktails & Dining

323 S. Main Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
801-433-1371
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Those with a love for fine drinking and fine food must check out Whiskey Street. Whether you’re an executive, a youthful urbanite, or a brand new Utahn, Whiskey street is a place filled with great spirit and great spirits. 

Interestingly, Whiskey Street takes its name from the former name of Main Street. Before the road was renamed in 1906, Brigham Young himself recommended liquor be sold in Salt Lake City “for washing and for health.”

You’ll find Whiskey Street off of South Main street next to the Judge Building and near Gallivan Center.


Ruth’s Chris Steak House

275 S West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
801-363-2000
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You’re not in Omaha, the capital of American Steak, but close your eyes when you take a bite, and you might think you are. Ruth’s Chris Steak House provides far and away the best steaks in Salt Lake City. Check them out off of South West Temple, just south of the Holiday Inn Express Salt Lake City and the Salt Palace Convention Center.

For a special occasion or to host an important business meeting, Ruth’s Chris Steak House is a perfect place, whose elegant interior will leave a mark on anyone who dines there. At the same time, the brilliant taste of Ruth’s Chris’s steak will linger in your memory for years to come.


Lake Effect

155 W 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT, 84101
801-285-6494
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Cocktail lovers sometimes think that you can’t get a proper cocktail in Salt Lake, that you’ll have to go to Vegas for that. Those who say that are wrong.

Introducing Lake Effect, a restaurant with incredibly crafted cocktails, wonderful food, and a unique ambiance with live musicians right in the middle of downtown, just walking distance from Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art.  

Check out the whiskey and wine tasting classes, or the Jazz game nights, or simply go out on the town and enjoy your meal while some of Salt Lake’s Hottest musicians shred away.


Eva

317 S Main, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
801-359-8447
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Eva brings small American plates for sharing right to Main Street. This restaurant is a particular favorite of families and big groups, who enjoy the communal meal sharing that we so rarely see in our highly consumerist culture.

Although Eva doesn’t have a liquor license, guests are welcome to bring their own beer for a small fee. Keep an eye out for Eva directly across the street from Zions Bank Broadway and the Frank E. Moss United States Courthouse.


Siegfried’s Delicatessen

20 W 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT
801-355-3891
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The buck for hearty and heartwarming German fare stops at Siegfried’s. As the only German restaurant in Salt Lake, Siegfried’s deserves special mention.

Even if there were hundreds of German restaurants, though, one imagines Siegfried’s would still make this list – over the years, Siegfried’s kitchen has perfected the flavors of German sausage, sauerkraut, and the ubiquitous pretzel.

For a lovely snack, you can’t go wrong with the warm, chewy pretzel dipped in a bit of mustard. The perfect stop after a show at the Capitol Theatre right next door.


Final Thoughts

Salt Lake City restaurants, all told, offer a shocking diversity of tastes and flavors that is unprecedented for the valley. Even in a long list, cuts must be made, and some excellent spots had to be left out. 

Remember, in the end, the best Salt Lake City Restaurants are the places you feel you belong in. Whether you love the spices of Cajun cooking or light artisan olive oil atop homemade Italian pasta, Salt Lake City has your spot. 

Use this guide as a starting point, and start exploring! And if we missed anything, comment below so that we can look into it ASAP.

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Written by Ryan F.

Ryan is a Philadelphia local who enjoys checking out Philly's restaurant scene every chance he can. He grew up in South Jersey and now lives in Philadelphia's Point Breeze neighborhood. Ryan also enjoys traveling and checking out local eateries in every city he visits.