The Best Restaurants In Salt Lake City

A foodie’s paradise, Salt Lake offers cuisine beyond the traditional and incorporates creative dishes in pleasing settings.

Written By Matcha

Mr. Shabu

Dining in Salt Lake City has a well-earned reputation for excellence, thanks to its blend of international fare and local specialties. Many restaurants go beyond traditional cuisine, adding distinct twists that have become a Salt Lake trademark. Funeral potatoes, fry sauce and pastrami burgers are just a few of Utah's contributions to the culinary world. 

American fare is well-represented in the city, but that's not all. Add to the mix creative foreign dishes served in atmospherically pleasing settings and Salt Lake becomes a foodie's paradise. Here is just a sample  — an appetizer, if you will — of the best restaurants in Salt Lake City across several different neighborhoods. Looking to experience a range of cuisines while you explore the city? Consider a Salt Lake City Food Walking Tour.

1. Mr. Shabu | The Gateway

159 S. Rio Grande St.

Mr. Shabu's website notes that "shabu-shabu" is Japanese for "swish-swish," referring to the variety of hotpot broths that set that stage for a delicious meal. Customers can select from popular hotpot broths or create their own distinct flavors. Thinly sliced meats, seafood and vegetables are then dipped into the hotpots, making for a meal that is both yummy and fun. There is also a buffet-style bar for noodles, veggies, seafood and other goodies. The atmosphere is inviting and family-friendly (so is the entire Gateway area). The service is notoriously attentive and polite. And yes, the bathrooms are stocked with toothbrushes, toothpaste and mouthwash so patrons can leave Mr. Shabu with sparkling clean breath!

Other stand-out options for Asian-inspired eats include: Takashi, Chopfuku, Chanon Tai

2. Red Iguana | The West Side

736 W. North Temple and 866 W. South Temple
(Just blocks away from each other!)

Red Iguana regularly tops "best of" lists for its self-proclaimed killer Mexican food. It's hard to argue with that assessment once you've had their enchiladas smothered in one of their unique mole sauces. Small touches like adding a pinch of cinnamon to their red sauce make for extra-flavorful burritos and chimichangas. The peach margaritas are a special treat for adults, while kids of all ages should conclude their meal with fried-ice cream. Red Iguana is a bustling place on weekends but the staff is always unfailingly friendly and attentive. Even diehard Mexican food fans are won over by the combination of incredible meals and fun atmosphere — all at an affordable price. (Read: Salt Lake Latino’s Perfected Flavors)

Other can’t-miss Latin spots include: Lone Star Taqueria, Chile-Tepin, Sabor Latino 

3. Oasis | Downtown

151 S. 500 E.

By now, we’ve all admitted that breakfast any time of day is awesome. Nestled in the heart of downtown Salt Lake, Oasis Cafe's goal is to “help people every day to have a bit better life and simply be happier.” offers breakfast cuisine that is a notch above the rest. Enjoy a classic breakfast or brunch of French toast, eggs and bacon, breakfast burrito and more on the flower-filled outdoor patio. There are also plenty of vegan/vegetarian options. You can also enjoy Oasis’ dinner menu!

Other spots for breakfasts past noon include: Hub and Spoke Diner, Pig & A Jelly Jar, Eggs in the City

Three hard-shell corn tortillas served with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, sauce and refried beans from The Red Iguana.

Photo: Nicole Morgenthau

An outside view of Red Iguana.

Photo: Mark Weinberg


Lamb Riblets with pistachio tahini, apricot couscous, fava bean gremolata, and rapini from The Copper Onion.

4. The Copper Onion | Downtown

111 E. Broadway St. #170

The Copper Onion is an upscale-but-affordable American style restaurant. Familiar favorites like burgers and steak are fantastic, but it's worth exploring other meal options that satisfy the adage "try to order food you can't make at home.” Ricotta dumplings, miso polenta and pork chops & farroto are just some of the rotating specialty dishes prepared by the skilled chefs. Exotic options such as braised octopus and native Utah trout circulate into the menu, as do many farm-fresh veggies. Simply put, the meals are creative and the setting is elegant but not intimidating. 

Other fine-dining downtown stand-outs include: Cafe Molise, Valter’s Osteria, Pallet, Bambara 

5. Lucky 13 Bar and Grill | South Salt Lake

135 W. 1300 S.

Lucky 13 is known for its delicious burgers — meat and vegetarian — that have won over locals and food critics alike. It even won Purewow's "Best Burger in Utah" accolades in 2018. Paired with their trademark rosemary fries, any burger you get can be customized to match your tastes. The smoky bacon burger is one of the most popular, complemented by a pre-meal Bloody Mary. Lucky 13 is a popular destination in its own right and is also often the first stop on a night out to catch a Jazz game or a show at one of SLC's theaters. If you're not in the mood for a burger, a chicken wrap or a simple side of onion rings will do the trick. One word of warning: Lucky 13 doesn't hold back on their garlic, so bring along an ample supply of breath mints after indulging. 

Other great places to grab a burger include: HSL, Crown Burger, Proper Burger

Blackened Ahi-Tuna from Oasis Cafe.

Sautéed mushrooms with a fried egg from The Copper Onion.

Basecamp Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City makes a great gateway for travelers making a trip to Utah's ski resorts or southward to Utah’s renowned red rock country. Frequently referred to as the "Crossroads of the West," its location is also ideal for longer roadtrips northward to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Though as those who attempt to pass through often find, you'll frequently talk yourself into staying longer than you expected. 

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