Salt Lake City might have a reputation for being traditional, but a culinary adventure here tells a different story. This selection runs through some of the top-rated places to eat that Ski City has up its sleeve. There are sesame-scented Middle Eastern mezze joints rubbing shoulders with ramshackle Mexicana taco stalls, all punctuated by menus of Vietnamese broths and Thai noodles.

    There are also chic bistros in Downtown for romantic evenings with fine wines and fusion dishes. You'll find hearty steakhouses in the hills for post-hike dining. And there are some casual street-food spots for good measure. Bon appétit with our guide to the best restaurants in Salt Lake City.

    1

    Red Iguana

    An award-winning Mexicana hole-in-the-wall

    • Food

    Red Iguana bills itself as one of Utah's most decorated restaurants. True enough, the staple eatery is a regular on lists of SLC's best. It's been going since 1965, mind you, and now boasts 2 individual locations in the heart of the city.

    The vibe is casual, folksy Mexican cooking, served up in a relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere. Menus range from small-plate appetizers like homemade guacamole to smoky mole sauces. Meanwhile, in-house specialities are a fusion of Californian and Latin flavours – just check out Quesadilla San Francisco, a mix of slaw, black beans and jalapenos.

    Location: 736 W North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, USA

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 11 am to 10 pm, Friday from 11 am to 11 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 11 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 801-322-1489

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    photo by Jonathan Grado (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    2

    Log Haven

    Steaks and fries by a roaring fireside

    • Food
    • Luxury

    Log Haven draws diners away from the hustle of central SLC, out to the wild canyons and babbling creeks of the Wasatch National Forest, some 25 minutes' drive from Temple Square. It's part Rockies lodge, part fine-dining experience, with a setting and menu that mingle the cosy and the elegant.

    You'll tuck into succulent bison steaks and ahi tuna fillets, enjoy dishes glazed with truffle aioli and tomato-jalapeno broths, and finish it all off with a varied selection of Sonoma County and Napa Valley wines. The dining area is warmed by a crackling fire in winter. Summertime weddings and events take place in the pine-shaded gardens to a backdrop of rugged Utah mountains. 

    Location: 6451 Millcreek Canyon Rd, Salt Lake City, UT 84109, USA

    Open: Daily from 5.30 pm to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 801-272-8255

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    3

    Ruth's Diner

    Flipping burgers since 1930

    • Food

    Ruth's Diner is just about as local as they come to Salt Lake City. It's been a mainstay on the city’s food scene since the 1930s when eponymous owner and raconteur Ruth first started a burger joint in the Downtown. Later, it shifted out to the more serene reaches of Emigration Canyon, but the homey character is still intact.

    Hearty and filling are the keywords for the daytime menu. You could start early with some eggs benedict or enjoy homemade hash browns with cheddar cheese. In the evening hours, the selection flips to the likes of flame-grilled hamburgers, Buffalo wings, cobb salads, and pulled-pork tacos.

    Location: 4160 Emigration Canyon Rd, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA

    Open: Sunday–Monday from 8 am to 9 pm, Friday–Saturday from 8 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 801-582-5807

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    4

    The Dodo

    Mediterranean fusion dishes with famous desserts

    • Food

    The Dodo champions tasty American-European fusion food in Salt Lake City. Chatty evening meals can range through starters of red-pepper hummus and polenta cakes, portabella ravioli, Cajun chicken and feta quiches, with a final act offered by fresh sweets prepared daily by the in-house pastry chef.

    The setting is relaxed but refined, in a dining area that spreads through a modern and contemporary interior to a leafy garden space. The centrepiece is the metal-stone bar inspired by Paris, which serves up Californian white wines and Spanish Riojas alike, alongside Utah craft beers and creative cocktail choices. 

    Location: 1355 E 2100 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84105, USA

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 801-486-2473

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    5

    Mom's Kitchen

    A taste of the Far East in the shadow of the Rockies

    • Food

    Mom's Kitchen transports you across to the steaming cookhouses of Taiwan, although you'll only need to mosey down to State Street in South Salt Lake City to get there. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the establishment because it's an unassuming little spot.

     5-spice stir-fries mingle with rice noodles in soy broths and chow mein. You can order a smorgasbord of shrimp rice, topping it off with soured cabbage and kimchi. There are bean curds with bell peppers and Sichuan pork or pig intestines. It's an excellent place for adventurous eaters who like to challenge the Scoville scale.

    Location: 2233 State St, Salt Lake City, UT 84115, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 11.30 am to 10 pm, Sunday from noon to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 801-486-0092

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    6

    Oquirrh

    Creative American food with Utah's farm-to-table ingredients

    • Food

    Named for the snow-capped peaks that run down the edge of the Salt Lake Valley, little Oquirrh is a community-centric kitchen that's all about showcasing the farm foods of Utah. It's run by couple Andrew and Angelena Fuller, in a charming redbrick saloon between Downtown and Lower Avenues.

    The menu is rarely complicated and usually small. It's all about making the most of what's in season and what looks good. Cue spicy racks of sharing ribs, Caesar salads with grilled chicken breast, and hoagie bread filled with Italian cold cuts. Ready for dessert? Sorbets and cookie bars await.

    Location: 368 E 100 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111, USA

    Open: Thursday–Sunday from 4.30 pm to 9 pm (closed Monday–Wednesday)

    Phone: +1 801-359-0426

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    7

    Valter's Osteria

    Caprese and tomato-packed pasta in a chic Italian kitchen

    • Food

    Valter's Osteria, right in the heart of the Downtown of SLC, is a charming Italian kitchen that's all about simple food, done right. You could be forgiven for thinking that you'd strolled into a trattoria in a rustic Tuscan hill town when you smell the arrabbiata and truffle sauces drifting from its kitchen.

    So, ready yourself for salty gorgonzola ravioli, platters of salami, and rocket and eggplant mozzarella. Just try to resist that succulent porchetta or the juicy cherry tomato pappardelle. Of course, there's a suitably Italian wine list backing all that up, which means rich Tuscan reds and bubbly to boot.

    Location: 173 Broadway, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 5.30 pm to 10 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +1 801-521-4563

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    8

    Manoli's

    A mezze to make Greece proud

    • Food

    Manoli's chefs see Greece as their muse, serving up inspired Mediterranean mezze plates in a modern-look establishment. The restaurant is just a single block over from Liberty Park in Salt Lake City. 

    Despite the Aegean theme, there's also a big push to use local ingredients. That means there's a taste of Utah in the crispy chicken wings in lemon oil, the pork meatballs, and the caper-topped ribs. You'll also find lots of dishes for vegetarians, ranging from piquillo peppers in smoked feta to mushroom hummus with roti bread. 

    Location: 402 E 900 S #2, Salt Lake City, UT 84111, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Friday from 5 pm to 10 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 10 am to 2.30 pm and from 5 pm to 10 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 801-532-3760

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    9

    Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana

    Buffalo mozzarella meets Campanian passata

    • Food

    Settebello is hailed by some as the finest pizzeria in all of Salt Lake City. It's got several establishments across the western US, but the outlet in Downtown SLC remains as one of the flagship operations. Inside, you'll find 2 roaring wood-fired ovens and plenty of seating before an open kitchen.

    Pizzas are obviously the star of the show at Settebello. They are cooked following the centuries-old traditions of Naples, which means a 00-graded flour base and buffalo mozzarella on top. That's finished with a charred crust and just a dousing of olive oil. That said, a few breaks from tradition do allow for some other flavours to boot. 

    Location: 260 S 200 W, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from noon to 8 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +1 801-322-3556

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    10

    Laziz Kitchen

    Smell the tahini and za'atar

    • Food

    The young and creative brains over at Laziz Kitchen have challenged themselves to reinvent the cuisine of Lebanon and the Middle East. To see how they're going about it, you can hit this cool and dapper joint on Jefferson Street, only a few blocks south of Salt Lake City’s Downtown.

    The fare is a medley of za'atar and tahini, chickpeas and millet salads. It's healthy and fresh but also packed with earthy flavours and twists of spice. Sharing foods are the way to go, thanks to its extensive array of mezze. Particular standouts are the muhammara walnut dip and the griddled halloumi dusted with sumac. 

    Location: 912 Jefferson St W, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from noon to 8 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +1 801-441-1228

    Map
    Joseph Francis | Contributing Writer

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