We all know what the most hyped Salt Lake City restaurants are. Red Iguana, Takashi, The Copper Onion, and Oh Mai (just to name a few) are frequented, Instagrammed, and discussed by the ever rapidly growing foodie scene here in Salt Lake City- all deservedly so and several of which are on my list of Top 10 Places to Eat in Salt Lake City.
But what about the lesser known gems? Maybe a handful of Salt Lake City restaurants that are worth the same hype, but for one reason or another aren’t as hyped? Don’t get me wrong- the popular spots are popular 90% of the time for a reason but I’m here to tell you that EVERY city has a list of lesser known gems that are worth your time and hard earned money. I hope you enjoy my list of the top 10 most underrated Salt Lake City restaurants. Let me know if there are others you believe are underrated in SLC or your city that deserve more of the spotlight!
I have a deep and undying love for Chunga’s over other Salt Lake City restaurants because it’s one of the best spots for delicious, authentic Mexican food in town! Chunga’s serves the best homemade guacamole, killer quesadillas, and a bomb burrito, but the absolute shining star IMHO are the tacos el pastor. And if you aren’t familiar with el pastor, picture slow cooked rotisserie pork infused with chile and pineapple flavor. Absolutely incredible. You can get the el pastor with any of their menu items but the most popular way to enjoy it is on tacos with cilantro, onion, and pineapple for garnishing. Chunga’s (180 S 900 W, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.953.1840)
Bocata Artisan Sandwiches
Every time I mention Bocata Artisan Sandwiches online (including my list of top 10 sandwiches in Salt Lake City) there are always a handful of people intrigued and mystified because they have never seemed to have heard of or seen this place! Well friends, the secret is out. Bocata is one of my favorite places to go for a homemade, freshly prepared sandwich with incredible signature menu creations including the Turkey Havarti, Meatball, and Roasted Tomato Bocatas. My go to Bocata, however, is the Cuban Pork. Sandwiched between freshly baked bread is citrus braised pork shoulder, pickled red onion, cilantro, jalapeno, and aioli. Devine. Bocata Artisan Sandwiches (City Creek Center, 28 State St, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.355.3538)
Lazy Day Cafe
Lazy Day Cafe deserves to be on this list more than any other breakfast or brunch spot in Salt Lake City because unless you live on the 3300 south area, it’s doubtful you’ve even heard of this hidden gem! Lazy Day is a family-owned business situated in an easy-to-miss strip mall just off of 3300 south and 2000 east in the Millcreek area. Although they typically have a long wait of loyal neighborhood goers (especially on the weekends), the food is work the extra time. We absolutely love the pork chile verde burrito and the classic eggs benedict, but the best thing on the entire menu are the lemon pancakes. They have the perfect amount of lemony-ness (made up word) and are served with a homemade buttermilk syrup that is truly supernal. Lazy Day Cafe (2020 E 3300 S #23, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.953.0311)
SOMI Vietnamese Bistro
If you’re like us and frequent Wilmington Avenue in Sugarhouse because you love Spitz, you’ve likely seen SOMI Vietnamese Bistro across the way and wondered if the food is good. I’m a firsthand witness to tell you that the food is GREAT and once you’ll eat there it will forever be on your radar for good Asian cuisine in Salt Lake City. I’m a big fan of their crispy spring rolls and shaking beef, but the BEST menu item is an appetizer- the SOMI sliders! Served on a bao bun with crispy house BBQ pork belly, cilantro, scallions, and hoisin sauce. You will never be the same. SOMI Vietnamese Bistro (1215 E. Wilmington Ave, Suite 100, Salt Lake City, UT // 385.322.1158)
Mrs. Backers Pastry Shop
If there’s one bakery in Salt Lake City that deserves more of the spotlight, it’s ironically one of the oldest and best in the game. Mrs. Backers Pastry Shop is situated on South Temple just a few blocks away from downtown Salt Lake City. Chances are you’ve driven past at least a dozen times and wondered what’s inside? At Mrs. Backers Pastry Shop you can count on an old school approach to the art of baking with simple and delicious homemade donuts, cookies, and pastries. But the real highlight to this 1941 original is the flowered cakes and cupcakes. The cake is light and fluffy, always decorated with the most beautiful and elaborate buttercream frosting flowers you have yet to find. Aside from their delicious cake, I love the raspberry cream cheese tarts, their “cookie dough” cookies, and their iced pumpkin cookies. Mrs. Backers Pastry Shop (434 E S Temple, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.532.2022)
Most of the true Thai food lovers in Salt Lake City have sniffed this spot out, but Chanon Thai Cafe is one of the best Salt Lake City restaurants that a lot of SLC foodies are unaware of! There’s something I love about this inconspicuous family-owned Thai establishment that you can’t find anywhere else. Maybe it’s the open view of the kitchen at first sight. Maybe it’s the wafting scent of fresh cooked curry concoctions. Maybe it’s the mismatched decorations and the oriental aesthetic. Regardless it’s one of the best spots for authentic Thai food in the SLC valley. Try the combo appetizer (a little bit of everything: satay, por pia tod, crispy wontons, and tempura shrimp) and ANY of their curries- we especially love the yellow curry. The pad thai and the pad seiw are some of my top recommendations aside from appetizers and curry. Delicious! Chanon Thai Cafe (278 East 900 South // 801.532.1177)
It amazes me how many people miss From Scratch among other Salt Lake City restaurants even though it’s in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City! Maybe we can attribute that to its somewhat hidden location on Gallivan Avenue- a street situated behind the corner of Broadway and State Street. But regardless the food here is nothing short of amazing and quite frankly, I could eat here a few times a week without a problem. You can read our full post here for a comprehensive overview of our menu favorites (including this delicious mushroom pizza) but my absolute top recommendations here are the risotto cake, the egg burger, and the salami pizza. Go today, thank me later! From Scratch (62 East Gallivan Ave. Salt Lake City, UT // 801.961.9000)
Kyoto Japanese Restaurant
We’re all familiar with some of the hottest sushi spots in Salt Lake City (I’m a big fan of Takashi, too), but often overlooked is Kyoto on 1300 south. I love this spot because it’s one of the few Japanese-owned sushi restaurants in Salt Lake City and the quality can’t be beat! They have the best bento box I’ve yet to find in Salt Lake City and delicious, high-grade sushi rolls that will make your sushi-loving heart sing including the Geisha, the Pink Power roll, and the baked lobster roll. A great spot for a business lunch, date night, or an evening out with the family. Kyoto Japanese Restaurant (1080 East 1300 South, Salt Lake City, UT //801.487.3525)
New Yorker Restaurant
You’ve heard of Salt Lake City restaurants Market Street Broiler, Market Street Oyster Bar, and you’ve definitely heard of Market Street Grill. But have you heard of their sister restaurant, also owned and operated by Gastronomy Inc, New Yorker Restaurant? Easy to miss and situated in the basement just beneath Market Street Grill and Market Street Oyster Bar is one of the best premier dining options in Salt Lake City. This isn’t your every weekend type of spot, but when selecting a Salt Lake City restaurant for a special occasion or celebration, the New Yorker should be on your radar. They serve lunch and dinner daily with a menu that changes seasonally. We recommend the prosciutto and burrata for an appetizer, and the peppered seared elk chop or the Alaskan salmon for your entree. New Yorker Restaurant (60 W Market St, Salt Lake City, UT //801.363.0166)
Desert Edge Brewery
Last but not least on my list of Salt Lake City restaurants that are underrated is Desert Edge Brewery, known to many as “The Pub”. When you grab lunch or dinner at this microbrewery you’ll find a slew of locals sitting about enjoying one of their staple Salt Lake City meals. But among my friends and acquaintances (mostly millennials), hardly any of them have heard of this classic SLC spot. The Pub is located in Trolley Square just off of 500 south and 700 east. They have a moderately sized menu with, quite honestly, a random assortment of menu items, but the best thing you can order here is a deli sandwich with one of their homemade pasta salads or their incredible homemade French onion soup. It’s the best French onion soup in town and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Desert Edge Brewery (273 Trolley Square, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.521.8917)
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