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 the best restaurants in Salt Lake City to go to.
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.
173 West Broadway, Salt Lake City UT 84101
This spot is easily one of the best restaurants in SLC. 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 the 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.
736 W North Temple St, Salt Lake City, UT 84116
Opened in 1985, Red Iguana is one of the oldest restaurants in Salt Lake City. The corn tortillas here will blow your mind away if you’re craving Mexican food. Ramon and Maria Cardenas are the proud owners and managers of the Red Iguana, one of Utah’s leading Mexican food joints. Topping their list of fan-favorite meals on their menu is the puntas de filete a la nortena. This meal comprises Jalapeno strips, sirloin tips and bacon, and almond mole, with fresh tomatoes and onions to garnish. Getting here early to grab a table is better as the Red Iguana does not take reservations and gets full quickly.
18 W Market Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
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 by attractions like the Gallivan Center, easily accessible via the Gallivan Plaza Station light rail off Main Street.
774 S 300 W, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
When I’m in the mood for some comfort food, the Roots Café is the first place that comes to mind. The food here isn’t only delicious, but much effort goes into preparing every meal. There is no doubt in my mind when I say I genuinely believe it to be one of the best restaurants in Salt Lake City. What sets this place apart is its vast selection of beverages. While most restaurants in Salt Lake focus on providing excellent meals, Roots Café is where you can have exceptional food and expect to down it with a befitting drink. If you visit this restaurant, try their bacon or potatoes for an otherworldly experience.
2731 E Parleys Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84109
Formerly known as Bombay House, Mumbai House is a fun, ambient, family-friendly Indian restaurant. This all-natural eatery is one of the best restaurants to satiate your Indian food cravings. It prides itself on being the only remaining eatery still using old traditions to prepare real Indian food. It includes using clay ovens and grinding whole herbs from scratch. Mumbai House has exquisitely mastered blending Indian culture and food. People come here to taste something different while experiencing authentic Indian cuisine. I couldn’t wait to try their chicken tikka, shrimp tandoori, and lamb roti kabob on the few occasions I’ve been here.
Caputo’s Market & Deli
314 W 300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Imagine if you could eat and shop simultaneously at your local grocery store. Matt Caputo, the owner of Caputo’s Market & Deli, had his hometown in mind when he opened it. Greece, Italy native introduced this restaurant to Salt Lake City residents looking to offer them a rare taste of his homeland. This old-school joint prepares sumptuous desserts, sandwiches, salads, and pasta. What I liked is that their tiramisu is made from scratch. They also have a cheese cave which they use to age artisanal cheeses. Therefore, if you’re into cheese, this is one of the best restaurants in Salt Lake City. Visit Caputo’s Market & Deli to shop for groceries, have a snack, and participate in frequent training and workshops. Here, you will learn much about making and preserving wine, spirits, chocolate, and cheese.
2005 E 2700 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84109
At first, I was afraid to go to Feldman’s Deli as I wrongly assumed it would be crowded, considering it was on a Saturday afternoon. It turns out that this is the perfect spot for brunch, as it took my friend and me a meager 15 minutes to get a table. The Feldman’s Deli has a wide selection of other foods on its menu, but they remain the unbeaten maestros of sandwich making. The deli serves fresh sandwiches like Sloppy Joes, Pastrami, and Corned beef. If a sandwich is barely enough to fill your stomach, try the brisket, stuffed cabbage, smoked whitefish salad, pierogies, chicken paprikash, and kielbasa.
418 East 200 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
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 city 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.
912 Jefferson St W, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
The one thing I always do when I visit a restaurant for the first time is take pictures of my order. At Laziz Kitchen, the food was so good I forgot to take pictures! Former state Senator Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity jointly founded Laziz on a quest to introduce something sweet yet different to the palates of Utah residents. The storefront restaurant on Jefferson Street has an intricate menu featuring unique dishes like kafta burgers, za’atar fries, chickpeas and millet salad, and homemade hummus. The place appeals to people close to downtown Salt Lake City who want to taste healthy fresh middle eastern food.
1675 E 1300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
Modern and casual is how many would describe the Nomad East eatery. The pizza joint is ever buzzing thanks to their prowess in making Neapolitan-style pizza which often comes with shared platters. There’s plenty of indoor seating, but the patio is far better as one can enjoy the enchanting city views while enjoying their favorite pizza. I was awed by their fantastic selection of wines and beers and wasted no time trying out the cocktails. Considering its proximity to the SLC Airport, Nomad East is an excellent place to stop over before your flight.
146 Regent St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Pretty Bird is a haven for people who love fried chicken. Chef Viet Pham, a celebrated fine dining pro featured in TV shows like Beat Bobby Flay and Iron Chef America, is also the pack leader at Pretty Bird. He is known for frequently changing things at the restaurant, including a limited menu featuring Mexican street corn salad, Nashville-style fried chicken sandwiches, cider slaw, and crinkle-cut fries. They also have tasty sauces like the buttermilk sauce, which goes well with most meals.
20 W 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT
The buck for hearty and heartwarming German fare stops at Siegfried’s. As the only German restaurant in the city, Siegfried’s deserves special mention for delicious food. 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.
The Park Cafe
604 E 1300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
It’s comfortable, serene, and family-friendly. No wonder The Park Café fills up within minutes of opening its doors. Most of the food here is made from scratch as the café is unwilling to compromise on quality food for its patrons. Suppose you’re near Liberty Park, dash into The Park Café for fresh breakfast or lunch treats. Choose between indoor and outdoor seating and prepare to enjoy extraordinary services. Fan favorites on their menu include tuna melts for lunch or pancakes, egg-white omelet, bacon, or taters for breakfast.
368 East 100 South, Salt Lake City, UT
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 seat at this restaurant was a hot ticket during the pandemic, as they offered limited hours, but thankfully they are now open every day from 4:30-10:00 and for Saturday and Sunday brunch. 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.
Freshie’s Lobster, Salt Lake City
356 E 900 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Freshie’s Lobster is a restaurant on wheels that aims to bring tantalizing lobster-based meals to various convenient locations across Salt Lake City. Lorin Smaha, the Lebanon native who owns Freshie’s Lobster, loved eating lobsters, a passion she turned into a business. She now prepares delicious meals using fresh lobster from Maine. Sliders, bisque, lettuce cups, and rolls are the different entries on the restaurant’s menu that diversify how one can take lobster. A worthy try if you ever come across the food truck.
856 E 900 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
Lola gives other Mexican restaurants a run for their money. Lola specializes in Mexican cuisine infused with everyday local dishes. What caught my attention about the restaurant was their outstanding service, of course, but I couldn’t help noticing the insanely affordable prices. Their best-reviewed dishes include shrimp tacos, carne asada burritos, beet salad, chicken tinga tacos, watermelon salad, chips and guacamole, and more. Worth mentioning is that I loved the outdoor seating, and I will certainly be back.
1515 S 1500 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
Ali Sabbah came to the US from Lebanon and landed in Salt Lake City to study Economics at the University of Utah. He fell head over heels for the people and opened Mazza, an eatery that prepares mouthwatering traditional Lebanese dishes. A highly reviewed dish on the Mazza menu is the tender, bone-in lamb shank and couscous, which comes with dips like baba ghanoush, muhammara, and hummus. The restaurant boasts a wide selection of wines and beers from Morocco, Greece, and Lebanon.
Current Fish and Oyster
279 E 300 S, Salt Lake City, UT
The Current Fish and Oyster, at the corner of South 300 East and East Broadway, is intentionally designed to let the great 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.
The Copper Onion
111 E. Broadway, Suite 170, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
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. It’s pretty obvious how they ended up on our ranking of the best restaurants in the area! 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.
271 Center Street, W. Salt Lake City, UT 84103
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.
Ozora Izakaya Bar – Downtown Salt Lake City
1078 E 2100 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84106
The first stop on our best restaurant list 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.
1457 E. 3350 S., SLC, UT 84106
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, 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.
645 S State Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Beer lovers in this city sometimes don’t know where to start. We’ll tell you: start at The Bayou. The Bayou is a beer lover’s paradise (and one of the best restaurants) 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.
The Beehive Pub & Grill
255 S Main Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84321
The Beehive Pub & Grill has a fitting name, and not just because of its location. 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. That’s why it’s on our list as one of the best restaurants in the city! 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.