With more than fifteen years experience covering the Utah food and drink scene under my belt – you might say I know a couple of decent bars and restaurants in town. You might also say that belt is more than a little stretched and marked with a few new holes. From mom and pops to the ritziest resorts in the mountains, I’ve eaten it all.
I’m constantly re-evaluating, revisiting and reinventing my list of what’s unmissable in Utah. The following isn’t your boring old best of list, full of names well past their sell by date. No, the following is a list of my favorite places around the state, mostly here in my stomping grounds of Salt Lake City and Park City.
This list is updated multiple times through the year. It reflects my ongoing work to showcase the very best chefs, restaurants, brewers, bakers, bars and more – the talented cast that make up the richly rewarding food and drink scene here in Utah. If you’re looking for a more organized list of suggestions, head on over to our in depth dining guide.
Please note, as you scroll through my personal favorites, you’ll find several of our sponsors listed – these are detailed at the bottom of the page. Take it from me, these are some of the very best restaurants and bars in Utah. These are restaurants I’ve dined at, enjoyed and continue to recommend over and over.
Best fine dining restaurant in Salt Lake City
Address: 6451 E Millcreek Canyon Rd, Salt Lake City, UT 84109
Located just four scenic miles up idyllic Millcreek canyon you’ll find this spectacular restaurant. Log Haven is a fine dining restaurant that has been serving customers in Millcreek Canyon, just outside of Salt Lake City for decades. The restaurant is housed in a historic log cabin that was originally built in the 1920s as a private residence. Today, the restaurant offers a unique atmosphere featuring stone fireplaces, wooden beams, and rustic decor.
Log Haven is known for its upscale American cuisine crafted by chef Dave Jones. The menu comprises dishes made with locally sourced ingredients and changes seasonally. There’s a variety of options for both meat and seafood lovers, as well as vegetarian and vegan options. The restaurant is particularly known for its extensive wine list, overseen by Ian Campbell.
In addition to its food and wine, Log Haven is also recognized for its commitment to sustainability. The restaurant uses compostable materials for its takeout containers and utensils, sources its ingredients locally to reduce its carbon footprint, and has implemented numerous other sustainable practices.
Log Haven has won numerous awards and accolades over the years, including being named one of the “Best Restaurants in America” by OpenTable and receiving a “Green Restaurant” certification from the Green Restaurant Association. Overall, it’s a highly regarded and unique dining experience in the Salt Lake City area.
Don’t miss – coffee and cocoa rubbed elk striploin, cherry – port gastrique, honey roasted carrots, brown butter yams. Read the full menu.
Best new restaurant in Salt Lake City
Neighborhood: Post District
Address: 510 S 300 W, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
This eye popping addition to the downtown SLC scene opened in late December 2022 and looks set to be one of THE spots to hit for those looking for something new and upscale. The restaurant is easily one of the fine dining gems in the city, powered by a stellar crew. Chef Nick Zocco has worked small boutique Park City restaurants through to mega Vegas operations like the SW Steakhouse in the Wynn.
The menu is one of elegant steakhouse with Southwest and International flair throughout. Urban Hill full menu. I first stopped by the restaurant in their opening week in 2022, see our full first look here.
Top tip – The restaurant has a specialized crudo bar, which features a range of rotating options. Be sure to ask your server what’s fresh and fabulous. While Utah might be located in a desert, we get daily, impeccably fresh fish flown in.
Most interesting Utah bar
Neighborhood: Central 9th
Address: 916 Jefferson St W, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
This innovative spot is located in the trendy Central 9th neighborhood. The neighborhood bar has the largest collection of hard cider in Utah. In fact, it’s probably one of the largest in the entire country. In 2023 the lineup comprised more than 200 options which the business reckons is the second largest on site selection of hard cider in America. If you love cider, this should be your first and last stop for hundreds of miles.
The modern space at Scion Cider affords a tap list featuring a rotating selection of ciders, some made in Utah and other parts of the Mountain West region and beyond. The bar also offers cider flights, which allow customers to sample several different ciders at once.
In addition to its focus on ciders, Scion Cider also offers a food menu designed to pair well with ciders, and includes options like charcuterie boards, conserves, and sometimes daily specials from other local makers. Scion Cider is a popular destination for cider enthusiasts and those looking for a unique drinking and dining experience in the Salt Lake City area. Scion Cider full menu.
Where to start – The huge selection can make getting started dizzying. Try one of the several cider flights that comes as a trio of sample pours. From there, kick off a cider journey around the world.
Best Thai restaurant
Address: 3011 E 3300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84109
Tucked away on the East benches of Millcreek, you will find Kao Thai, a fabulous Thai restaurant. The owners have been cooking away on the SLC dining scene for many years at a variety of restaurants you’ve probably enjoyed, and are now cooking up a great menu at Kao Thai. The menu also includes a range of Thai dishes you might not find elsewhere; check out that fork tender braised short rib above, and I have it on good authority that their Khao Soi is as good as you get in Chiang Mai.
Inside the well appointed modern space, you will find both authentically cooked Thai classics, as well as contemporary spins too – Thai ceviche anyone? The restaurant offers a range of dishes that represent the diverse flavors of Thai cuisine, including classic curries, stir-fries, and noodle dishes. Kao Thai is known for its use of fresh ingredients, attentive service, and welcoming atmosphere.
Essential eats – braised short ribs cooked in curry paste, coconut milk, Thai eggplant, Thai chili, fresh peppercorn, & Thai basil. Read the full menu.
Best appetizers in Salt Lake City
Garage On Beck
Address: 1199 Beck St, Salt Lake City, UT 84103
Garage on Beck is a bar and restaurant located in the Marmalade area of Salt Lake City. The restaurant is housed in a former garage and is bedeck with vintage-inspired decor. Automotive-themed memorabilia and artwork line the walls.
The Garage serves up a recognizable bar food menu (think burgers and deep fried things) executed with more aplomb and plenty of tongue in cheek. Case in point, their signature dish – Fried Mormon Funeral Potatoes. Eight bucks scores you a cheeky dish that plays on the traditional Utah spud prep. Idaho potatoes, cheddar Cheese, jalapeño, bacon and scallops are wrapped in a cornflake crust, then “Baptized in Hot Oil”. Served with Utah Ranch they come in regular, fiery, and vegetarian options.Salt Lake City, Utah, that is known for its casual atmosphere, live music, and classic American food.
Garage on Beck is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike, with a lively bar area and a spacious outdoor patio that features live music.
Must try – Southern twice-fried chicken, breast, leg and thigh brined for 24-hours, served with a side of coleslaw and French fries. Read the full menu.
Best noodles in Salt Lake City
Kin Sen Asian Noodle Bar
Address: 2819 S 2300 E, Millcreek, UT 84109
Pictured above are the stunning boat noodles from the fabulous Kin Sen, located in Millcreek. The mammoth bowl of comfort comes in a variety of options, but those in the know go for the combination bowl. This comes loaded to the brim with oxtail, beef short rib, beef, oxtail, beef meat balls, and a topping of fried pork. Join that array are authentic Thai rice noodles, bean sprouts, Chinese broccoli, and scallion. The key to the dish though is the sweetly cinnamon-tinged broth that’s cooked five hours.
Best Middle Eastern food
Neighborhood: Central 9th, Downtown SLC, Midvale
Address: 152 E 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Address: 912 Jefferson St W, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Address: 1076 Fort Union Blvd, Midvale, UT 84047
Now with three locations in the valley, his Meditaranean-focused restaurant offers some of the very best Middle Eastern cuisine in Utah. Start with the pictured trio sampler – our favorite is the vibrant roasted beet dip – before moving onto a selection of wraps, salad bowls and platters. All lean into big, bold flavors like earth za’atar and sharp sumac. Both restaurants also have great wine and beer lists, making them equally adept for a lingering lunch or fun dinner!
Be sure to sample – Lamb burger with ground lamb, lettuce, tomato, yoghurt sauce, caramalized onion, beet crisps. Read the full menu.
Best Utah brew pub
Salt Lake Brewing Co.
Neighborhood: Downtown SLC
Address: 147 West Broadway, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
SLC’s original brew pub in the contemporary sense, kicked off a local renaissance of sorts in the late 1980s. Before that, Salt Lake’s last brewery shuttered in the 60s. Yeah, we’re glad we weren’t around in that barren twenty years either. We’re fans of the downtown original, it offers a wide variety of food and beer in a cool historic building. The central downtown location means it also makes a great base to explore the rest of the city from.
Squatters long lived popularity meant it was acquired by Fireman Capital becoming part of the larger CANarchy group in 2012. That in turn was purchased by Monster Drinks in early 2022. The local brewpub part of the company returned to local ownership at that time – under the name of Salt Lake Brewing Co. Here’s the full story.
Best all in one night out
Flanker Kitchen + Sporting Club
Neighborhood: Downtown SLC
Address: 6 N Rio Grande St, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
The opening of thismassive 17,500 square foot facility was a huge coup for Salt Lake City. The SLC location of Flanker serves as the blueprint for a national rollout of the high end Vegas brand, that wants to rewrite how you think about a sports bar.
Located in the The Gateway in downtown SLC you’ll find multiple bars, upscale and fun bar food, not to mention tons of hands on fun, such as sports simulators, karaoke, bowling and more. The menu takes traditional pub grub and lends a refined hand. Chef Roman Contreras previously chef’ed in San Diego prior to Utah, so definitely begin your exploration of the menu with his fabulous taco platter.
Try a little of everything – The Big Tacowski with carnitas, carne asada, vegan chorizo and battered fish. Come Sith side of chips and two house salsa. Read the full menu.
Best Chinese food in SLC
Neighborhood: South Salt Lake
Address: 3424 State St, Salt Lake City, UT 84115
Found in the South Salt Lake Chinatown complex is this mighty fine Chinese restaurant that has everything from Chinese-American favorites through more authentic dishes like the pictured Sichuan dish – spicy boiled fish. Once you’re finished with your meal you can wander the well appointed Chinatown for a little shopping too!
Essential Sichuan – mapo tofu, silken tofu in spicy Sichuan sauce with pork. Read the full menu.
Best patio dining
Stoneground Italian Kitchen
Neighborhood: Downtown Salt Lake City
Address: 249 E 400 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
While Stoneground is located in the heart of the city, their patio is nicely hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets outside. Stop by in warmer months and enjoy their NY style pizzas and handmade pastas while dining al fresco.
The pretty patio space comfortably seats 45 and is also heated on colder days! While you’re enjoying one of the best outdoor spaces in the city you can choose from a creative Italian menu that features dishes such as pork tenderloin with fried polenta, burette with harissa oil and black tagliatelli with lobster.
Unmissable dish – The black tagliatelle with lobster claw & knuckle, cremini & oyster mushroom, chardonnay-cream sauce. Read the full menu.
Best South Asian restaurant in Salt Lake City
Curry Fried Chicken
Neighborhood: Salt Lake City
Address: 660 State St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
This fast casual restaurant offers a unique dish you won’t find anywhere else in Utah – and maybe surrounding states. Curry. Fried. Chicken. Take a moment to let that sink in. While you can find more common Indian dishes on the menu the star here is the lush chicken. This would be award winning fried chicken in its own right, but coupled with the lip smacking heat and flavour from Indian spices, this is a taste senstation like no other.
Beyond the curry fried chicken the restaurant also offers some great wraps and plates too – we love the pictured tandoori grilled chicken. Vibrantly colored chicken is served with a side of basmati, veggie curry, salad with sambal and raita plus a little pita too.
Essential eats – Chicken tikka plate with super basmati rice, veggie curry, house salad and warm pita. Read the full menu.
Best brunch in Salt Lake City
Address: 76 8th Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84103
This Avenues neighborhood staple has been a must goto brunch spot for nearly a decade. The first restaurant in the Proper group of business serves up one of the best morning starts in town at the weekend. Options include biscuits and gravy, steak and eggs, eggs benedict and plenty of modern twists to keep things interesting. Fancy one of their award winning beers or a cocktail to wash things down with? Go right ahead.
The original business in the Proper group, which now also includes other fine destinations like Proper Brewing, Proper Burger and Craft by Proper – the latter – Utah’s only, Utah only beer bar!
Essential bar eats – Burger with arugula, tomato, sharp white cheddar, roasted garlic aioli, fried shallots, toasted brioche. Read the full menu.
Best Vietnamese food in SLC
Neighborhood: Central 9th
Address: 917 200 W, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Another must visit spot in the hip Central 9th neighborhood is this cocktail bar slash street food spot. Tommy Nguyen (formerly of Rye, Takashi and Post Office Place) heads up the kitchen side of affairs and leads with Vietnamese cuisine cooking of his family and youth. Stand out dishes include the pork belly and egg rolls (his mom’s recipe).
The new for 2022 business is owned and operated by the some of the team behind downtown SLC’s Alibi bar, located on Main Street. The Pearl builds on the success of that cosy cocktail bar boasting far more seating indoors; expanding to more than 100+ when the outdoor patio is open in warmer months.
I wrote about the bar in more detail in this story. You can find the full menu on our sister site SLC menu here.
Best downtown SLC restaurant
Neighborhood: Downtown Salt Lake City
Address: 325 S Main St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
The third outing from the Bourbon Group’s trio of downtown hotspots (including Whiskey Street , Franklin Ave and Bourbon House) follows the same winning formula: great food, great drinks, great vibes. White Horse offers an upscale menu of modern American brasserie food in a chic setting. Located on downtown’s vibrant Main Street, you can stroll the heart of the city and sight see, before or after your meal.
Essential eats – American wagyu burger, Snake River Farms wagyu, smoked pork belly bacon, house pickles, American cheese, onion, dijonnaise, gem lettuce. Read the full menu.
Best Korean restaurant in Salt Lake City
EJO Korean BBQ
Neighborhood: South Salt Lake
Address: 633 3300 S, South Salt Lake, UT 84106
For Korean style BBQ our pick is EJO located in South Salt Lake. If you’re new to Korean BBQ you’re in for a real treat. The friendly staff bring plate after plate of raw meats to your table, which yo then grill yourself, there and then.
At EJO, the whole affair is an all you can eat setup too. As well as the table side meats there’s also a great buffet setup with hot and cold dishes, japchae to banchan – plus a number of hot dishes that you can order up cooked from the kitchen too.
Essential eats – The all you can eat Korean BBQ. Read the full menu.
Best lunch spot in Salt Lake City
Address: 2005 E 2700 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84109
Stop what you’re doing right now and head to Feldman’s for some of the most sublime sandwiches in all of Salt Lake City. The star of the menu at this NYC-styled deli is mammoth half pound sandwiches, each one an ode to the owners roots from back East, Jersey to be precise. Indeed that’s where the luscious pastrami and corned beef are imported from, not least other items like authentic pickles and NYC cheese cake too.
The fabulous corned beef and pastrami is hand carved daily at Feldman’s and everything that’s not carefully shipped from the East coast, is hand made in house.. From the classic corned beef with mustard through the funky sloppy Joe or soul satisfying reuben – each creation is a masterpiece. Moreover, these enormous sandwiches are enough to share, or split over two meals.
And it’s not just the best sandwiches in Salt Lake City you will find here (though honestly you’ll be hard pressed not to order one), the restaurant also seeks to offer a true taste of authentic Jewish deli’s from New York. The business offers a variety of homemade entrees including pierogi, stuffed cabbage, kielbasa, brisket, bacon-wrapped meat loaf, homemade bagels, matzo ball soup and more. Stop by for dinner (Thursday through Saturday) to check out some of these rustic entrees, plus a range of specials. Also keep note of Feldman’s breakfast hours and start your day with a bagel, some lox, and perhaps a schmear?
Essential eats – The sloppy Joe sandwich with corned beef, pastrami, thousand island and coleslaw on Jewish rye. Read the full menu.
Best Italian restaurant Salt Lake City
Neighborhood: Downtown Salt Lake City
Address: 55 W 100 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
A stalwart of the downtown dining scene and one of the best independent restaurants in Salt Lake City. Chef and owner Fred Moessinger focuses on fresh ingredients to power the seasonal and regional Italian cuisine Caffe Molise is known for. Dishes to keep an eye out for include the spectacular Pappardelle Al Sugo with house-made fresh pappardelle tossed with a slow-cooked sauce of pork and beef with tomatoes and topped with Asiago, or for something sweeter, the classic and elegant Tiramisu – one of the best in town.
Located conveniently next to the Salt Palace and all of SLC’s arts and entertainment venues, Caffe Molise makes for a great option for business dinners, convention dining or just a night out on the tiles. Which reminds us, be sure to check out the the adjoining wine bar, BTG, also owned by the same folks. BTG is perfect for pre or post dinner drinks and is the finest wine bar in Salt Lake city bar none.
Essential eats. Pappardelle al sugo, house-made fresh pappardelle tossed with a savory, slow-cooked sauce of pork and beef with tomatoes, topped with Asiago. Read the full menu.
Best chef driven restaurant
Neighborhood: Salt Lake City
Address: 1017 Main St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Paul Chamberlain and Logen Crew are the duo behind this powerhouse of a restaurant, offering one of the most unique menus in town. Not only does the restaurant check all the boxes in terms of local, organic, seasonal and more – but it also offers a completely unique dining experience – a modern take on the classic dim sum cart serving style.
In addition to the regular ala carte options at SLC Eatery, you’ll find the dim sum cart roving the restaurant space with highly specials aplenty. Inspired by San Francisco’s State Bird Provisions restaurant, SLC Eatery offers unique flavors coupled with a wholly unique experience in Utah. One not to miss. One of the best in the state.
Essential eats – Nightly cart service. Read the full menu.
Best Burgers in Salt Lake City
Neighborhood: Sugar House
Address: 1202 Wilmington Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84106
While BGR might be a national chain, it’s a modest, boutique one; and it’s one focused on quality and definitely one worthy of your attention and time. Currently the only BGR in Utah can be found in the heart of Sugar House on Wilmington.
First up, the name tells you right away what to expect at this gourmet burger joint. Burgers at BGR are grilled to order: rare, medium, welldone, or anything in between – you call the shots here. Same goes for your bun choice too where you can select from a brioche bun, gluten free, pretzel bun or lettuce wrap.
And you know when a restaurant is happy to serve you a burger to order – that means you can count on quality. At BGR everything is top shelf and fresh, from the premium 6 oz beef patties to their all natural chicken burgers, turkey burgers, sushi grade ahi and hand made veggie burgers. The same goes for their range of complimentary and premium toppings too – made fresh in house when appropriate. There’s a great selection of craft beer, wine and thick hand-spun milkshakes too!
Essential eats – Wagyu Wellington, custom blend wagyu truffle infused burger, deep-roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions with bleu cheese and mojo. Read the full menu.
Best Japanese restaurant Salt Lake City
Neighborhood: Salt Lake City
Address: 1080 E 1300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
A staple since the 1980s and one of Utah’s first Japanese restaurant’s is Kyoto, located on the East side of town. Focused on authentic Japanese cuisine, not to mention housed in a traditionally upholstered Japanese space that’s relaxed and bubbling with atmosphere. The space features private tatami style booths, a sushi counter and is always busy. Parking can be tight so plan ahead, or arrive early/later to avoid the rush.
One particular specialty at Kyoto Japanese Restaurant are the fabulous tempura shrimp served as part of a complete dinner with salad, soup and rice. They’re the stuff of dreams, epic in both size and terrific crunch. In fact all the traditional comfort food dishes here rock: tonkatsu, sukiyaki, teriyaki, tempura and more.
Essential eats – Six piece tempura shrimp entree with salad and rice. Read the full menu.
Best hole in the wall
Best Chicken And Ribs
Neighborhood: South Salt Lake
Address: 111 E 2700 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84115
What do we mean when we say holes in the wall? For me it’s not a negative, far from it; we’re talking about a restaurant that is focused more on the food than the fancy light fixtures. Humble and homespun. Cheap and cheerful. Reliable and rock solid.
Best Chicken in South Salt Lake meets all those criteria and more. Sporting a menu strikingly familiar to nearby Chicken Express, this completely separate location on 27th South is our favorite of the two. The restaurant is the epitome of humble mom and pop and their chicken is some of the very best in town.
Essential eats – Double chicken kabob over rice with house salad. Read the full menu.
Our sponsors and this page
This page contains some of the sponsors of our website. We only work with the very best restaurants in the state, and routinely turn down offers to work with businesses we don’t love, or don’t dine at. The following businesses on this page our supporters of our site and are listed above as such: Log Haven, Urban Hill, Scion Cider, Kao Thai, Garage On Beck, Laziz, Flanker, Stoneground Italian Kitchen, Avenues Proper, White Horse, Whiskey Street, Bourbon House, Feldman’s Deli, Caffe Molise, SLC Eatery, BGR, Kyoto, Salt Lake Brewing Co. I encourage you to Google any of those businesses and see the stellar reviews on multiple sites that they enjoy.
Want more Utah food recommendations?
So you’ve tried all the above? You want more places to check out? We’ve got you covered. Head on over to our comprehensive dining guide here. The dining guide includes everything from best dishes, best by neighborhood and best by time of day.
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with multiple local publications from Visit Salt Lake to Salt Lake Magazine, not least helped to consult on national TV shows.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for the better part of fifteen years. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of big words I don’t understand. What they’re saying about me: “Not inaccurate”, “I thought he was older”, “I don’t share his feelings”. Want to know more? This is why I am the way I am.