Utah is home to some of the nation’s most stunning national parks.
Moreover, Salt Lake City is a burgeoning capital city that upholds Utah’s natural beauty standards.
Bordered on one end by the gorgeous Wasatch Mountain Range and the Great Salt Lake on the other, Salt Lake City has stunning views, hikes, and parks.
With epic scenery surrounding and pervading the city, you can count on plenty of outdoor dining options.
As Utah’s main cultural hub, Salt Lake City has a diverse and creative dining scene.
Whether you’re looking for an Italian kitchen, an old-fashioned diner, or a neighborhood brewpub, you’ll find the best outdoor dining in Salt Lake City on my eclectic list of restaurants below.
4160 Emigration Canyon Rd, Emigration Canyon, UT 84108
The second oldest restaurant in Utah, Ruth’s Diner opened in 1930 in downtown Salt Lake City and moved to its current location inside an old trolley car in East Bench in 1949.
The classic American diner hasn’t changed much, its old-fashioned interior is lined with pictures of Ruth, her family, and employees.
Today the diner is under the ownership of longtime customers Tracy and Eric Nelson.
The Nelson’s honor the nearly 95-year-old diner tradition, offering the same treasured diner dishes of old.
I recommend going for a breakfast of Ruth’s Famous Mile Hight Biscuits and Gravy with a side of hashbrowns.
404 S W Temple St, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Named for the central Italian region on the Adriatic coast, Caffe Molise is an Italian bistro in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City.
Its high-ceilinged interior with black and white tiled floors, marble tables, and antique Victorian furniture is the height of elegance.
The charming and intimate patio garden is the perfect setting for a pre-opera date-night dinner.
The traditional Italian multi-course menu uses the finest imported ingredients and high-end plating.
I started with the butternut squash ravioli in brown butter sauce with balsamic reduction.
For the main dish, I tried a regional dish I had never heard of called Arista, a spice-rubbed pork tenderloin, oven-roasted and topped with black mission fig compote.
6451 Mill Creek Canyon Rd, Salt Lake City, UT 84109
Winner of Diner’s Choice and TripSavvy Awards for the most scenic and romantic restaurant in Salt Lake City, Log Haven is an iconic American fine dining restaurant inside a century-old log cabin.
It originated as a retreat and mountain home built inside the Wasatch National Forest by a steel baron in 1920.
Today, Log Haven maintains its original structure and is the most sought-after venue for weddings, romantic dinners, and special occasions in Salt Lake City.
The fine dining menu offers an award-winning New American menu with a wine list that has won the Wine Spectator’s Award.
Executive Chef Dave Jones creates playful and creative dishes like Jalapeno Queso Fresco Crab Cakes.
I loved the Bison Steak Au Poivre with charred Brussel sprouts, truffle aioli, and French fries.
279 E 300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Current Fish and Oyster is a high-end New American seafood restaurant and bar inside a lovely industrial-chic warehouse space in Central City.
They’re committed to sourcing the freshest, most sustainable seafood to create authentic seafood dishes from coastal regions across the country.
Their craft cocktail bar also showcases local artisanal beer from Salt Lake City’s growing brewery scene.
Whether you want shrimp and grits or a decadent seafood tower, Current Fish and Oyster has an eclectic menu.
My favorite dish was Current’s Fish Stew, a Thai-inspired dish with scallops, prawns, mussels, fish, peanuts, and serrano pistou, in a coconut lemongrass broth.
249 E 400 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Receiving Salt Lake City Magazine’s Dining Award, Stoneground Italian Kitchen is a refined, contemporary Italian kitchen in downtown Salt Lake City.
Local owners and cousins Paul O’Conner and Robert McCarthy create a stunning menu of regional Italian comfort foods made from scratch.
Their bright and airy dining space opens out to an upstairs deck that’s been lauded as the best patio dining spot in the city.
The menu has numerous wood-fired street food specialties from focaccia to Neapolitan pizzas, not to mention scratch-made pasta.
Their wild mushroom pizza with oyster, shiitake, and cremini mushrooms over garlic oil and mozzarella, topped with arugula and balsamic glaze made me a repeat customer.
271 N, N Center St, Salt Lake City, UT 84103
Located in a sophisticated yet welcoming dining space and urban patio in central Salt Lake City’s Marmalade neighborhood, Arlo Restaurant is a contemporary farm-to-table eatery.
Led by native SLC chef Milo Carrier, Arlo uses locally sourced seasonal vegetables and a whole-animal butchery program that ensures sustainability.
Chef Carrier draws inspiration from global culinary traditions for his creative and seasonal menus. Since the menu is market-driven, it changes according to the availability of produce from local farms.
I think it is the most inventive menu on my list.
I went in the summer and found a very vegetable-forward menu.
I had the gem salad with avocado pesto, marinated summer squash, goat cheese, apricots, and pepitas to start.
376 8th Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84103
Avenues Proper is a friendly and cozy neighborhood gastropub and brewery in The Avenues with a charming outdoor patio.
They craft a wide selection of artisanal beers on tap to accompany an elevated menu of American pub food.
They source their ingredients from local farms and purveyors, serving an eclectic and gourmet menu for brunch, lunch, and dinner.
They have year-round brews in colorful cans and a rotating seasonal selection on tap.
I tried their English-style Golden Ale that won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival.
I paired it with one of the best burgers I’ve eaten, the Avenues Proper Burger with arugula, fried shallots, bacon, a fried egg, white cheddar, tomato, and roasted garlic aioli on a brioche bun.
6263 Holladay Blvd E, Holladay, UT 84121
Franck’s Restaurant is a romantic and intimate French comfort food bistro in an old, refurbished bungalow surrounded by trees and greenery in the Holladay neighborhood.
Chef Robert Perkins uses French flavors, cooking methods, and high-end presentation for dishes that fuse French and American comfort foods.
The bungalow has charming country chic décor with an old greenhouse surrounded by the greenery of Knudsen Park.
On Tuesdays, Chef Roberts creates a unique chef’s tasting dinner.
The a la carte menú has American and French favorites for every course; you can choose between brioche rolls and Texas toast or Wagyu culotte and meatloaf.
326 S W Temple St, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Located in a large multi-story warehouse space in downtown Salt Lake City, Gracie’s is a cocktail bar, music venue, and New American gastropub with a giant rooftop deck.
The atmosphere is lively, high-energy, and entertaining, with live music serenading outdoor drinks and dinner.
Gracie’s is a favorite for sunset happy hours and boozy brunches with friends.
Their menu serves hearty portions of bar fare from around the U.S., whether it’s tacos, burgers, or buffalo wings. There are ample vegan and vegetarian options, too.
I enjoyed a margarita on the rocks with a blackened Mahi taco with pineapple mango salsa and a fried avocado taco with corn and bean salsa.
333 W 2100 S Expy, South Salt Lake, UT 84115
Grid City Beer Works is a hip South Salt Lake brewery, taproom, and gastropub with an incredible rooftop deck with panoramic views of the mountains and downtown skyline.
Featured in Slug Mag, Salt Lake City Weekly, Salt Lake Magazine, and Utah Beer News, Grid City Beer Works has a unique beer program and an equally creative food menu.
They use three different brewing methods for their vast lineup of beers, balancing old brewing methods with Avant guard methods like nitro-brewing.
They also offer tasty seltzers. I loved the rose seltzer with raspberry, tart cherry, pear, and muscat Canelli grape juice.
The vegan-friendly pub menu had amazing salads, sandwiches, burgers, and snacks.
My favorites were the fried green tomatoes and fresh Bavarian pretzel.
151 S 500 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84102
A true urban oasis, Oasis Café is a quaint country-chic New American café and bar with an enclosed, hidden outdoor patio surrounded by flowers, potted plants, and Buddhist sculptures.
Oasis Café creates gourmet New American dishes using Utah’s local bounty, including a wide selection of locally brewed beers from the surrounding microbreweries.
Open for lunch, brunch, and dinner, Oasis Café has one of my favorite outdoor atmospheres to retreat from the fast-paced city.
I went for a mid-morning brunch and had their incredible German Buttermilk Pancake, a thick, skillet cake that’s oven baked and topped with house-made blueberry compote.
3364 S 2300 E, Millcreek, UT 84109
From chef and owner Tyler Stokes, Provisions is an award-winning neighborhood bistro in the southern suburb of Millcreek.
Winner of Salt Lake magazine’s Best Restaurant Award, Provisions is a farm-to-table and ranch-to-table New American kitchen serving creative ingredient-driven multi-course tasting meals and wine pairings.
I loved the vintage-chic décor, replete with bright wallpaper, mid-century modern furniture, and ornate wood-carved finishes on the walls.
The outdoor garden is an intimate and romantic setting.
The a la carte menú runs the global gamut of dishes.
My favorite main course was the roasted duck breast with peach, lavender glaze, foie gras, and herb spaetzle.
3474 S 2300 E, Millcreek, UT 84109
Roots Café is a quaint coffee house and farm-fresh, healthy eatery in East Millcreek.
Owned by local couple Wendy Phelps and Bill Peterson, Roots Café has a welcoming atmosphere and a health-conscious and locally sourced philosophy.
They serve breakfast and lunch from a hearty menu of scratch-made affordable sandwiches, salads, casseroles, and burritos.
They serve freshly squeezed juices, house-roasted coffee, and espresso drinks.
I went for breakfast and had oat milk late with The Benni, a plate of poached eggs, applewood smoked bacon, and heirloom tomatoes over an English muffin smothered in hollandaise sauce and served with house potatoes.
11332 S Big Cottonwood Canyon Rd, Brighton, UT 84121
Silver Fork Lodge and Restaurant is a historic log cabin resort that opened in 1947.
The restaurant maintains a rustic mountain cabin interior replete with a stone fireplace.
The outdoor deck is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and thick forests.
It’s a quick drive from Salt Lake City to this wild west resort in the heart of Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
Silver Fork Lodge Restaurant is open to guests and visitors alike, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner featuring traditional American meals.
They’re the perfect rugged yet cozy setting to refuel after a day of hiking.
I was more than satisfied after polishing off a plate of St. Louis Ribs smothered in house-made barbecue sauce and served with baked beans.
2832 6200 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84121
From the owners of Franck’s, Tuscany Restaurant is the first of the two restaurants, located in the most beautiful 19th-century mountain home on the same Knudsen Park grounds as Franck’s.
As the name implies, Tuscany Restaurant is a southern Italian bistro with a rustic interior reminiscent of an Italian Alps chalet.
The authentic menu has received praise from Bon Appetit, Zagat, and Utah Business Magazine.
The wine list has received a Wine Spectator’s Award.
I started with a tasty plate of fried calamari with red pepper aioli, followed by a comforting dish of wood oven lasagna with bechamel, fennel sausage, spinach, mushrooms, meat sauce, and parmesan.