Best Places to Eat in Salt Lake City

Monday, January 13, 2014

When we moved to Salt Lake City in September 2012 we decided to try some fun local restaurants rather than playing it safe at large chains. Below are a few of our favorite places we have discovered since living here. These are mostly inexpensive places since that is our budget right now as newlyweds. I hope you find a new favorite place to eat in the Salt Lake Valley!

Salt Lake City
If you are craving authentic amazing Mexican food this is the place to go. My favorite is the El Pastor tacos or quesadillas. The combination of spice and pineapple and pork is incredible. They bring you out fresh homemade chips with a few different dipping sauces. Make sure you get the whitish green one (if you like cilantro - it's like a creamy, cilantro based sauce). It is incredible. I could practically drink it!

Salt Lake City
My husband is a big fan of dude food (is this a genre of food already? Cause if not, it should be). So he convinced me we had to try out this little sub place for manly sandwiches, that is - Philly Cheesesteak and Meatball Sandwiches. He highly recommends the atomic meatball sub with the house made jalapeño sauce. I'm not one for burn-your-mouth-off spicy and their jalapeño sauce is a perfect mix of spicy and flavorful. They also have great Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, home cooked fries, and birch beer - like root beer but with birch...I think? They have a pretty big selection for a sandwich shop which is always a plus.

Salt Lake City
This is one of my favorite "lunch with the girls" kind of places. They have a variety of yummy sandwiches and salads and a huge bakery of delicious treats. I could spend an hour just gazing through their pastry shelves. Their menu changes seasonally so go in a few times a year to try out something new!

Lone Star Taqueria
Cottonwood Heights
I would definitely recommend this place in the summertime as they have a great outdoor patio and it gets pretty crowded inside in the winter. They have a catch-of-the-day fish taco/burrito which is surprisingly delicious, especially since it's a Utah restaurant. If you like sour cream - and who doesn't? - I recommend asking for the pink sour cream they serve with their quesadillas. It's a seasoned sour cream that has some spices to flavor it. It's great on quesadillas and anything else you want to stuff your face with. Great price and great food! Their fresh salsa is also delicious!

Bombay House
Salt Lake City (various locations)
If you want the best Indian food around you have to go to Bombay House. It is definitely more on the pricey side but it is totally worth it if you are in the mood for a little splurge. We have taken our friends from India here and they say it is about as authentic as it gets. I highly recommend the garlic naan and the chicken coconut korma. If you have room for dessert try out the pistachio kulfi.

Downtown Salt Lake City
I highly recommend going for lunch. You get a ton of food and it is incredibly inexpensive. You get a yummy peanut sauce salad, jasmine rice, a spring roll, and two dishes for $8.75. I am a big fan of the yellow curry.

Yanni's Greek Express
This cute little place is absolutely delicious. Their gyros and souvlaki are my favorite. I also love the small feel of this place and the dated Greek decor. We have even spotted Yanni himself in the restaurant a few times!

Pop on Over Cafe
South Jordan
We had heard some great things about this fun cafe so we got a bunch of friends together and gave it a try. Most of us got the calzones and they were incredible not to mention ginormous! The owners were so fun and very interested in our opinion of the food. We loved chatting with them about the restaurant.

Cafe Rio
Various Locations
I know I said we don't eat at chains much but since this is a Utah based chain I will let it slide since I am just a little obsessed. No matter what type of day it is this place is always crowded. It is that good. The portions are huge so my husband and I always split a salad or a burrito. We usually split a steak salad and then I get one pork taco on the side since I love it but my husband isn't a huge fan of shredded meat.

Ruth's Diner
Emigration Canyon
I love taking friends to Ruth's. This is a fun trolley car turned restaurant up in Emigration Canyon. I love it because it only takes about 10 minutes to get up the canyon but you feel like you are deep in the mountains. I love going in the warmer months and sitting outside and listening to the live music. Another fun thing to do is to go before 9am and get the early bird special. SO much amazing food for just $4.99!

Multiple Locations
This place is famous for their cupcakes. They were even featured on cupcake wars but their best kept secret is their cookies! The cookies are about half the price of their cupcakes and are absolutely incredible. My favorite is the samoa cookie and the chocolate dipped toffee cookie. 

Downtown & Sugarhouse
If you want an incredible waffle you need to try Bruges! They have so many incredible different waffles to try. One of my favorites is the waffle monster. They also have savory waffle sandwiches and my husband's favorite the machine gun sandwich. 

I know there are a million more fabulous places so this is just a start. Please let me know what you would add to the list! I know there are a lot more places that I am dying to try once I get back to SLC for a visit.

Reader's Suggestions
The Dodo
Valter's Osteria 
The Mandarin 


  1. Ah! I was gonna do a post like this for Provo! So don't think I'm a copy catty! lol

  2. I love this! We always try to find somewhere that's not a chain when we go on road trips, but I am too impatient to wait for one post of all of them :)

  3. I just sent this to my best friend Kortney who lives in Orem, I hope she likes it!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  4. Lol!! I totally was writing up a post like this for Provo too {cause I eat out wayyyy too much}, I'm just gonna link up your & Rachel's posts to mine so people can hit up every bomb dot com place from SLC down to Provo!! :)

  5. OK, this is definitely something I need to pin. I always feel like Trev and I go downtown and want to eat somewhere really really good, but almost hole in the wall-ish. So thanks, girly girl!

  6. I feel like I've been to Chungas before... but maybe not. The name just sound familiar, but I'm not up in SLC too often. Cafe Rio FTW!

  7. Ruth's Diner looks adorable! I wish we had something like that here!

  8. I think I need to take Joe to Chungas. He craves El Pastor.... thanks for the list friend!! :)

  9. love these! great picks + a few new ones!
    now i miss SLC..xo

    the well-traveled wife ♥

  10. It's hard to find good Indian food in the U.S., but that looks so tasty!! I'm not sure I'll ever make it to your part of the country...but hey, ya never know!

  11. I love this!! I'll have to try some new places. I love Ruth's in the summer. I've actually never been inside! It's just the perfect place for summer because just that 10 minute drive is enough to cool the air just a little.

  12. This is so helpful. Tanner and I are always looking for new places. ThAnks baby!

  13. I'm such a sucker for fantastic Mexican food :) I need to try out a couple of these before we move!

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  15. After eating these delicious foods I think I will gain 100 lbs. lol.

    I love the venue and especially the foods!! Thanks for sharing this one.

    Conference Venue Finder

  16. Love the list! I was hoping you would've inlcude the restaurant, "The Dodo" in the sugarhouse area. If you haven't tried their turkey & swiss sandwhich with dipping sauce YOU ARE MISSING OUT!!!!!!! nom nom! Its a must! You'll thank me later ;)

  17. You forgot Bruges! It's across from Pioneer park and has the best Guaffre (waffels) and Frites!

  18. The Dodo for sure! That place is fantastic no matter what you order. I also love Porcupine (owned by the same people as Dodo) and The Rusted Sun down on State Street if you are looking for some fantastic pizza options. :) Also, if you're hitting up the downtown farmers market in the Summer, you have GOT to get a heaping order of Bruges' fries! Their waffles are definitely to die for, but their fries are beyond, especially in the sweltering sun. :)

  19. My friend and I went to SLC for a girls weekend and ate at a wonderful Italian restaurant called Valter's Osteria. It was absolutely amazing! The owner wound through the tables and chatted with the guests during the night and everything was made from scratch and absolutely amazing. It is definitely on the pricier side and you will need to make reservations, but it is absolutely worth it.

  20. You should also try Aristo's (best greek food) its up the the UofU also the Pie which is by the UofU also. Oh Mai in Holliday and the Mandarin in Bountiful. Those are my absolute favorite places

  21. You should try The Philadelphia, little dive in Sandy. Seriously the best philly sandwiches! But it is a dive, my favorite place to eat!

  22. Settebello is a favorite for me and my hubby. Their pizza is to die for and while I've never been to Italy, my husband has and he says their pizza is the most authentic. And their caprese salad is amazing. Then there are all of those gelato flavors for dessert!!!

  23. I love this list! My folks have been going to a different restaraunt for 5 years down there and when we visit they take us to one or two of their favorites. So far my favorite has been cafe rio. They have a crazy delicious lavender panna cotta and their filet medallions were worthy of heaven. They also have a fun and unique book store attached. I'd go during the summer and eat under the pergola:).

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  25. Amici's in Cottonwood Heights is Amazing! Just up the street a little from Lone Star, if your looking for authentic Italian this is the place!

  26. David's Kitchen! It's on 33rd south pretty close to the freeway. His scratch potstickers are amazing! We always order the honey walnut shrimp, pepper beef, and sweet and sour pork (which is unlike any I've had at any other chinese resturaunt.) We've been going there for 3 generations.

  27. Settebello Pizza Napoletana is out of this world! Located downtown SLC, it is a must-visit for us whenever we come into town. The house pizza, The Settebello, is my absolute favorite pizza of all time.

  28. I can't believe cinegrill isn't on there! Their corn beef sandwich will knock your socks off and the house salad is out of this world!

  29. Oooh, you are making me miss SLC so much!! So many good restaurants, so little time :)

  30. El Habanero in Magna, just west of Salt Lake City, has some of the best authentic Mexican food in town. Delish! Thanks for this list.

  31. El Habanero in Magna, just west of Salt Lake City, has some of the best authentic Mexican food in town. Delish! Thanks for this list.

  32. Settebello's should be added to this. Some of the best pizza I have EVER had! It is located in Downtown and all of their ingredients are imported here.


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