With more than fifteen years worth of experience covering the Utah food and drink scene – I like to think I know a thing or two about restaurants in Utah. Mom and pops through to the ritziest resorts nestled 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 prime. The businesses below are a list of my favorite places to grab a great meal.
I update this collection several times throughout the year. It reflects my ongoing work to showcase the very best chefs, restaurants, brewers, bakers, bars and more – a talented cast that makes up the richly rewarding food and drink scene here. If you’re looking for a more organized list of suggestions, head on over to our in depth dining guide. You might also find my favorite dishes of 2023 an interesting read too.
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.
These are the creme de la creme of higher end restaurants. They’re all great places to celebrate a special occasion or check out creative cooking. These restaurants are also typically exemplified by chef-driven menus that often source seasonally and locally. High quality service and serious bar programs are also par for the course at these high end spots. Expect to pay more than $50 per person before tax and tip to completely enjoy the menus at these restaurants.
Bar Nohm – In 2023 the talents of the adjoining Water Witch team collided with the undeniable skills of chef David Chon. The result was this izakaya styled restaurant and bar (21+ only folks). Creative small plates, top class cocktails and a vibrant fun vibe. Check out this preview of the restaurant I wrote for all the cool details.
Carson Kitchen – The chef-driven CK comes to SLC via glitzy Vegas, originally opened by award-winning Kerry Simon. The chef-driven menu reimagines comfort food with several unexpectedly fun twists. The restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, and is perfect for all occasions; a quick business lunch through late-night celebrations with large groups. Here’s a look at a previous meal I enjoyed.
Copper Common – This is one of my favorite downtown bars (another 21+ only spot), powered by an endlessly changing collection of small plates. Common is the offshoot of the neighboring Copper Onion, but it’s my favorite by some margin due to the creativity of the cuisine. Also notable is the wine list, comprising 100% natural wines. I wrote about the Copper Common in more depth in this article.
Log Haven – Got one night in town and want to have the full Utah experience? Log Haven is located just a few minutes up scenic Millcreek canyon, easily reached within 20-30 minutes from the city. The rustic New American cuisine by chef Dave Jones merges Mountain West flavor and International inspiration. Housed in a historic log cabin, surrounded by soaring trees, you won’t forget a meal at Log Haven.
Oquirrh – Nestled away on the Eastern edges of downtown SLC, Oquirrh is the type of restaurant everyone wants in their neighborhood. Owned and operated by husband and wife Angie and Drew Fuller, who take care of the front and back of house respectively. The New American menu follows the rhythm of the seasons is always impeccable. Cosy, creative and clever.
RIME – Take a trip up to ritzy Deer Valley and you’ll be rewarded with this stunning steakhouse. Commanding views, precise cooking, and a nightly champagne sabering experience are just some of the notable highlights. RIME handily provided me with one of the best steaks I’ve ever enjoyed, I wrote about that here.
Stoneground Italian Kitchen – This downtown Italian sports a menu of house made pasta, eclectic pasta and hearty meat and fish dishes. Slightly hidden unless you have the information (you have now, so what are you waiting for) the outdoor patio makes for amazing al fresco eats. One of the best Italian restaurants in town.
Urban Hill – Vegas’ SW steakhouse was just one big name on chef Nick Zocco’s resume before landing here. I’m tremendously thankful that he did. New American cuisine is liberally informed by Zocco’s Southwestern upbringing, and it’s all served up inside one of the most stunning restaurant spaces in the state. I first stopped by the restaurant in their opening week in 2022, see my first look here for all the details.
SLC Eatery – The work of chef’s Paul Cha and Logan Crew (both storied talents in town down through the years) is this SLC, well, eatery. The menu changes with furious pace, driven by seasonality and imagination. Don’t miss the night cart service as it winds through the room, offering fun small bites to diners, ala dim sum style.
A mix of mid-range restaurants that span the spectrum. Expect to pay around $20-$40 per person before tax and tip to enjoy these.
Caffe Molise – One of the biggest names in downtown SLC, with multiple decades and awards under their belts. The Italian restaurant now lives life in the grand and historic Eagle building, worth a trip alone just to bask in the lavish digs. Start or bookend your meal with a trip to BTG Wine Bar that lives on the lower floor; the grown up bar offers more than 70 options by the glass and is staffed by ship smart wine experts.
Feldman’s Deli – A New York-style delicatessen offering a variety of traditional Jewish deli sandwiches and European/old world specialties. The half pound mammoth sandwiches always win the plaudits but the dinner specials shouldn’t be overlooked either. If you want to snare a bagel, be sure to get in early, they sell out daily.
Flanker Kitchen + Sporting Club – Located in The Gateway is this multi-purpose 17,500 square foot space. Home to a bar (Flanker is 21+ only), a secret cocktail parlor, full service restaurant, karaoke rooms, multiple large screens (for sports) and sports simulators – it’s easy to get lost at Flanker for the whole night long.
Garage On Beck – The casual sister to downtown’s Stoneground is this eclectic bar in the equally unique Marmalade neighborhood. Their patio draws crowds early in the warmer months as does the fun bar menu that pairs perfectly over drinks. Deep fried Mormon funeral potatoes anyone?
Katrina’s Mexican Restaurant – Looking for a sit-down Mexican meal that will knock your socks off? Skip some of the bigger and better known names and head to this better kept Millcreek secret. Their moles alone are worth at least four different trips. Here’s a few other dishes for your inspiration in a story I previously wrote about Katrina’s.
Kin Sen Asian Noodle Bar – Love noodles? You’ll love Kin Sen, the sister restaurant to Kao Thai, and one filled with a range of South East Asian noodle dishes. Their boat noodles in particular are unmissable sublime. I wrote a detailed story about the Millcreek restaurant in the following article.
Kyoto – One of the most celebrated restaurants in the state , serving classic Japanese staples for more than three decades. Wonderfully rewarding tempura, big hearty noodle soups and creative appetizers – not least a full sushi bar of maki, nigiri, and sashimi.
The Pearl – Chef Tommy Nguyen’s Vietnamese cooking supports a small lineup of craft cocktails at this Central 9th spot. While the Pearl is licensed as a bar – I guarantee you’ve never tasted pub grub like this before; Nguyen stealing recipes right out of the secret family cookbook. Check out this larger story I wrote about the culinary excellence.
Salt Lake Brewing Co – One of the biggest names on the food and drink scene. Now back in local hands after a storied change of ownership, the business is getting back to their very best relying on what they excel at – fabulous house brewed beers and a classic brewpub menu that’s loaded with something for everyone. Great for all occasions, ages and large groups.
Star Of India – For more than two decades, this has been my favorite Indian restaurant in Salt Lake City. I’ve flirted with so many others but I always come back to the Star. Now in their third home over in North Salt Lake, the dishes here leap from the plate with fresh home cooked flavor.
Whiskey Street – Home to the largest collection of whiskey in Utah, is this fun 21+ only bar on downtown’s buzy Main Street. The menu is one of bar favorites elevated up a notch. Whiskey Street is one of the most popular weekend hangouts in the city – get there early.
White Horse – The follow on restaurant from White Horse, and one taking a chic’er more grown up path. The menu is more brsserie than bold bar. Enjoy seafood and shellfish, salads, and thoughtfully plated proteins. Do note White Horse is also a 21+ bar.
Zeitoon Cafe – Located in Midvale is this authentic Iranian restaurant and small market. The ground beef koobideh kebob is magical stuff, without question the best in Utah, maybe even further afield? Order it with a side of their fab rice or blanket sized lavash bread.
This final section comprises those restaurant’s most gentle on the wallet. Typically smaller family or mom and pop restaurants, but all loaded with flavor. Expect to pay $10-$20 per person before tax and tip at these.
Beirut Cafe – The best Lebanese cuisine in Salt Lake City for my money. And I’ve spent a lot of money here. The kibbeh are unmatched, as is the hummus and fresh pita I wrote in more detail about Beirut Cafe here.
Best Chicken And Ribs – A humble mom and pop shop in South Salt Lake who have been going about their business for decades, always under the relative radar. Smoke and lemon kissed chicken skewers over simply seasoned rice – my kind of heaven.
Caputo’s – Part market, part deli and part restaurant – and handily, with multiple locations around town. The downtown location is the jewel in the operational crown but every Caputo’s offer a similarly strong sandwich offerings. Their signature Caputo loaded with deli cuts is award winning, while their muffuletta is exceptional.
Curry Fried Chicken – Fried chicken meets Indian spice, and gets an invigorating new lease of life at this State Street casual restaurant. Alongside the fried stuff a range of wraps and heartier plates piled high.
The Dough Miner – English pasties are the star of the show for me here – but hey – I grew up on the things and these are as legit as they come. The Granary District baker has so much more up their sleeves though – bagels, donuts and more. Learn more in this story I wrote about the business.
Emiliano’s Taco Shop – A modest taco in South Salt Lake that is worth every ounce of your taco time and dollars. Not that you’ll spend much here, the prices are incredibly fair.
Guisado’s Homestyle Cooking – In a similar vein but on the other side of town in Taylorsville – this equally fantastic Mexican spot.
LemonShark Poke – Looking for light and healthy eats in the heart of downtown SLC, head to this Hawaiian informed restaurant. Choose from prebuilt bowls or custom DIY your own. Fun bento boxes are great for a grab and go meal in the downtown area – featuring everything you need, including utensils, right there in the convenient box.
New Golden Dragon – Over the last ten years State Street’s NGD has been the singular Chinese restaurant I’ve returned to over and over again. Cantonese dominates the menu, as does a traditional weekend dim sum service that many rave about.
Noemi’s Cafe – A mom and pop Chilean cafe in Midvale that might just offer the best empanada you’ve ever tried. While the menu’s core is Chilean, plenty of other South American dishes make a strong appearance here. Don’t leave without stopping by their dessert case, loaded with house made treats. Hint: their alfajores are a knockout choice.
Pho 777 – Easily one of Utah’s best Vietnamese restaurants and inarguably home to the best pho in the state. Don’t believe me? Check out our exhausting break down of the Utah pho scene – a multi month effort sampling every single pho bowl in SLC, before a judge off which included superstar chef Viet Pham.
Spitz – I love the bright Mediterranean flavors at Spitz. The star of the show is the doner, which in truth isn’t really a traditional doner at all. It is however a fabulously layered lavish wrap that hits the spot, rain or shine. Fun restaurant vibes, local beer, wine and three locations.
Tacos Garay – One more taco tip off for you – this one located in the nascent Granary District.
Yanni’s Greek Express – There are few things I love as much as a solid gyro, and Yanni’s crafts a wrap better than most in the state. Yanni’s secret is the crisped pita, generous layers of gyro meat and always, always, the red sauce; there’s literally no other restaurant in Salt Lake City that has a deeply flavored meaty red sauce like Yanni’s.
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, Kao Thai, Garage On Beck, Flanker, Stoneground Italian Kitchen, White Horse, LemonShark Poke, Whiskey Street, Feldman’s Deli, Caffe Molise, SLC Eatery, 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 a multiple-award winning journalist and have written in myopic detail about the Salt Lake City dining scene for the better part of seventeen years.
I’ve worked extensively with multiple local publications from Visit Salt Lake to Salt Lake Magazine, not least helped to consult on national TV. Pause those credits, yep, that’s me! I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. 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.