Salt Lake City Restaurants

The 2002 Winter Olympics cast Salt Lake City in a new, contemporary, more diverse light. Visitors discovered a panoply of cultural influences, brewpubs, ethnic flavors, and progressive chefs. Salt Lake City may not have the depth of restaurants seen in other big cities, but there are a couple of outstanding choices for nearly every budget and cuisine. Restaurants like Lamb’s Grill Café, Hire’s Big H, and Ruth’s Diner trace their roots back five-plus decades, and their colorful proprietors are more than willing to share the history they’ve witnessed from their kitchens. Returning LDS missionaries have brought back their favorite flavors from Asia, Europe, and Latin America, with impressive results. You may not find the five-star San Francisco dining experience, but you’ll find almost as many influences as in the city by the bay. Seafood, Japanese, Tibetan, Indian, Spanish, and Italian are all suitably showcased in Salt Lake eateries, and when all else fails, there are great burgers and Rocky Mountain cuisine, a fusion inspired by frontier big game, seafood fresh from the great Pacific ports, and organic produce grown in Utah’s fertile valleys. You'll also find creative wine lists and knowledgeable service. Bakers and pastry chefs defy the 4,400-foot altitude with rustic sourdoughs and luscious berry-filled treats. Multiple weekly summer farmers' markets are thriving, and chefs are building more and more of a food community. All in all, Salt Lake's culinary scene has finally grown up and offers something for every taste, from simple to sophisticated.

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  • 1. Layla Grill and Mezze

    $$ | Cottonwood | Mediterranean

    Venture a few miles from downtown to find the Tadros family's Mediterranean restaurant that has debuted with savory dishes in a crisp, contemporary...Read More

  • 2. Red Iguana

    $$ | Downtown | Mexican

    One of America's best Mexican restaurants, this lively place doesn't look like much, and it's off the beaten track. But everyone in Salt Lake...Read More

  • 3. Bombay House

    $$ | East Side | Indian

    You're enveloped in exotic aromas the minute you step into this dark, intimate restaurant that shares a massive parking lot with a Walmart....Read More

  • 4. Café Trio Downtown

    $$ | East Side | Italian

    Start with a selection of cheeses and flatbreads to tempt your appetite, but save room for balsamic-drizzled pizzas, hearty baked pastas, and...Read More

  • 5. Em's

    $$ | Capitol Hill | Eclectic

    Fresh, flavorful, creative, and artsy—chef Emily Gassmann's small café combines it all in a renovated brick storefront in the Marmalade District...Read More

  • 6. Este Pizzeria SLC

    $$ | Downtown | Pizza

    You may recognize the lettered circles resembling the New York City subway before you inhale the scent of fresh-baked pies: either will take...Read More

  • 7. Lamb's Grill Café

    $$ | Downtown | Mediterranean

    Founded by Greek immigrant George Lamb in 1919, this downtown power-broker's favorite has demonstrated unusual staying power. With its long...Read More

  • 8. Mazza Middle Eastern Cuisine

    $$ | East Side | Middle Eastern

    Consistently voted the city's best Middle Eastern restaurant, Mazza is all about authentic and affordable fare in a casual setting. You can...Read More

  • 9. Mazza Middle Eastern Cuisine

    $$ | East Side | Middle Eastern

    ...Read More

  • 10. Oasis Café

    $$ | Downtown | Eclectic

    Joel and Jill LaSalle own this comfortable, progressive establishment. From morning to well into the evening, a selection of fine teas and espresso...Read More

  • 11. Porcupine Pub and Grille

    $$ | Cottonwood | American

    Above a ski- and board-rental shop at the mouth of Big and Little Cottonwood canyons sits one of the Valley's most lively pubs. Inside the large...Read More

  • 12. Red Rock Brewing Company

    $$ | Downtown | American

    Enjoy one of their celebrated ales, or grab a tasty bite at this contemporary brewpub. Stick to the creative whole-meal salads, thin-crust wood...Read More

  • 13. Ruth's Diner

    $$ | East Side | American

    Families love the gussied-up old railcar that serves as Ruth's dining room and the city's best creek-side patio in the city—although you have...Read More

  • 14. Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana

    $$ | Downtown | Pizza

    Two ambitious restaurateurs set out to re-create authentic ultra-thin pizza from Naples, and did they ever succeed. Using an oven, flour, cheese...Read More

  • 15. Squatters Pub Brewery

    $$ | Downtown | American

    Check out the gleaming fermentation tanks from the bar at this casual, high-energy brewpub in the 1906 Boston Hotel building. It's a happening...Read More

  • 16. Stoneground Kitchen

    $$ | Downtown | Italian

    On the top floor of a glass-fronted building across the street from the city's architecturally spectacular main public library, this is a casual...Read More

  • 17. Takashi

    $$ | Downtown | Japanese

    One of Salt Lake's most popular Japanese restaurants is hip and lively, and has the city's finest sushi, including uni nigiri (sea-urchin...Read More

  • 18. The Bayou

    $$ | Downtown | American

    You'll find more than 200 microbrews, both bottled and on tap, at chef-owner Mark Alston's lively, often crowded bar and restaurant. There's...Read More

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