What makes a good dinner spot? For me, there’s a few non negotiable details that a restaurant needs to meet. First up, the ability to make a reservation is a must; I don’t know about you, but I don’t want get dressed up to the nines, turn up and be told to wait in the rain, or be SOL entirely.
It goes without saying that great food and great service are essentials, and personally speaking a full bar. Another huge plus is a comfortable space with ample room to relax. I’d rather not have to rub elbows and hear every word from nearby tables if possible.
Lastly, I love dinner spots that don’t try to rush you in and out, turning that table faster than light speed. Maybe I’ll linger a little longer over dessert and one more glass of wine.
The following restaurants all meet these criteria and more, making them perfect dinner destinations.
1 – Stanza
There aren’t many better places in Salt Lake City to while away an evening, than at this downtown Italian restaurant. The chic modern space is home to some spectacular cooking, courtesy of chef Jonathan LeBlanc.
LeBlanc’s cuisine harnesses traditional Italian dishes replete with fresh made house pasta and locally sourced ingredients when possible; moreover, flashes of New American cuisine punctuate a menu thats hard to choose just one dish from. Lastly, with pastry chef guru Amber Billingsley also at work here, yes, yes you will be having dessert tonight…
454 E 300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
2 – SLC Eatery
Chef’s Paul Chamberlain and Logen Crew first dreamed up the notion for SLC Eatery more than a decade prior to it’s opening while working together at the much missed Fresco.
Years later, the duo’s dreams came true with this unique restaurant that showcases the chef’s innovative ideas and eclectic tastes. The menu changes almost nightly, and delivers impromptu table side delicacies via cart – think Chinese style dim sum dining – only with a New American twist.
1017 Main St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
3 – Kyoto
The nigh 40 years under their belts tells you all you need to know about this restaurant – it’s as close to an SLC dining institution as you’re likely to find. One of the few restaurants in town that specializes in traditional Japanese fare, you’ll find everything from teriyaki to tempura to tonkatsu here. Kyoto has a full bar and is busy every night of the week – always make reservations.
1080 E 1300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
4 – Avenues Proper
The little nano brewery that could! Some would call this is a gastro-pub, I’d just call it a really great spot for breakfast, lunch and yes – dinner. The Avenues’ based eatery has an on site brewery with an ever changing array of careful crafted brews; which in turn match a menu thats always evolving with the seasons.
376 8th Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84103
5 – HSL
The Downtown SLC outpost of chef Briar Handly’s Park City original, Handle, is one of the best dining destinations in town. The menu checks of all the important line items: local sourcing, seasonal, chef driven and more.
418 E 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
6 – Copper Kitchen
While this group’s downtown Copper Onion location gets most of the buzz, this quieter spot in the Holladay suburbs is equally as good. Indeed, the calmer and quieter vibe can be just what you’re after sometimes. The food is every bit as good as it’s more brash sibling in SLC proper – New American favorites with flashes of International inspiration.
4640 S 2300 E, Holladay, UT 84117
7 – Mazza
Take one hearty dollop of refined Lebanese cooking and mix well with a trendy dining space replete with full bar; and you have my friends, a recipe for a fabulous dinner date with a splash of the exotic.
912 900 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
8 – Campos Coffee
Wait, a coffee shop for dinner? A little known fact about this International import is that they’re open for dinner as well as breakfast and lunch. The Aussie leaning menu cooks up hearty cuisine for dinner diners – pork chops, duck confit, short ribs and more!
228 S Edison St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
9 – Oasis Cafe
Likewise, another lesser known dinner spot, is this tranquil oasis in the heart of SLC. More commonly known for their killer breakfast and brunch, Oasis is open for dinner every night of the week as well. The cooking is every bit as good in the evening, and not being known to the crowds, offers a peaceful and pleasant way to spend a dinner date.
151 500 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84102
10 – Season’s Plant Based Bistro
Lastly, we’d be remiss if we didn’t call out this fine restaurant for our vegan and vegi friends. Season’s Plant Based Bistro is ostensibly THE fine dining vegan destination in SLC. Heck, even meat eaters will forget their enjoying a karma free meal at this elegant hot spot that crafts lusciously rich plant based cuisine.
1370 State St, Salt Lake City, UT 84115