Whether you live in Salt Lake City or are simply visiting, chances are you’ve been on the hunt for a great dining spot downtown. This guide to the best restaurants in downtown Salt Lake City has you covered with everything from casual to fine dining, Mexican to Italian, and well-known establishments to hidden gems. The term “downtown” can be ambiguous, but for this guide, we’ve included all great restaurants within walking distance from Temple Square, the center of Salt Lake City. Enjoy!
15. Alamexo (PERMANENTLY CLOSED)
Alamexo is a great spot in downtown Salt Lake City for an upscale Mexican dining experience. Two things you must order: the table side guac and the enchiladas suizas. Although we have tried several different menu items including specials, these two seem to remain consistent. The owners of Alamexo are projected to open another Mexican restaurant called Alamexo Cantina in the 9th and 9th area which we look forward to trying!
14. Martine (PERMANENTLY CLOSED)
If you’re a Salt Lake City local you’ve probably heard of Martine Cafe’s sister restaurants, Desert Edge Brewery or Red Butte Garden. Martine offers a similar soup/salad/sandwich concept for lunch and a contemporary tapas style dinner menu, both of which are to die for. Just look at that beautiful bowl of french onion soup (lunch).
13. The Copper Onion
Three words: Wagyu Beef Stroganoff. Picture house made pappardelle, melt in your mouth snake river farms beef, mushrooms, and creamy creme fraiche topped with chives. For this reason alone we recommend a visit to The Copper Onion while dining in downtown Salt Lake City.
If you’re looking for our favorite “small plates” restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City with a hip vibe and late-night hours, Eva is 100% the spot for you. I’ve yet to try something I don’t like here but a few of my favorites include the Brussels sprouts, grilled asparagus, cheese & meat board, and spinach & potato gnocchi.
Nestled in one of Salt Lake’s upscale hotels, Hotel Monaco, Bambara serves an array of high-end American dishes including items from lobster ravioli to filet of beef to roasted Main scallops. A great place for a nice evening out, lunch with your boss, or simply an excuse to eat delicious food in a beautiful setting.
10. Market Street Grill
Ask a long-time SLC local what their favorite restaurants in downtown Salt Lake City are and Market Street Grill is sure to be on the list. Known for flying in fish daily, Market Street boasts a large menu of seafood prepared in every imaginable way. Menu favorites include the seafood cobb salad, shrimp cocktail, Maryland Lump crab cakes, or Alaskan Halibut.
9. From Scratch
Although downtown, From Scratch is one of the best kept secrets in the town! It’s situated on a lesser known street- Gallivan Avenue, just off of State Street and Broadway downtown. This downtown Salt Lake City restaurant takes their name to heart and literally creates everything From Scratch (you heard me- even their ketchup) with their locally sourced menu of bistro fare features pizza, burgers, salads, and house made desserts. Whatever you do order the risotto cake for an appetizer- you can thank me later.
If you’re looking for something fast and unlike anything you’ve had before while dining in downtown Salt Lake City, you can count on Spitz for delicious and flavorful Mediterranean street food that will change your life. There are a lot of popular menu items but the best (IMHO) is their street cart fries with sweet potato fries and “the works”. Be prepared to become addicted.
Chef Buzz Willey and his team at Pallet have created a unique dining experience with food that tastes just as beautiful as it looks. As optimal produce changes seasonally, so does the menu at Pallet. Current favorites on the menu include Sous Vide Elk rubbed in Moroccan oil, served with cured olives, persimmon puree, carrots, grilled sunchokes, and pickled sunchokes.
6. Current Fish & Oyster
Be prepared to be blown away by the ambiance, decor, and quality of food at this gorgeous restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City. Current is one of Salt Lake City’s best newest spots for fresh seafood. Whether it’s from the west coast or back east, their fish is flown in fresh each day. Menu favorites include the calamari, oysters, and pan roasted sea scallops.
5. Red Iguana
If you’re a SLC local you need not hear more about Red Iguana except perhaps maybe my favorite menu items including the puntas de filete a la noretena, the tacos a la iguana, and the chile verde. Unquestionably the best Mexican food you can get in Salt Lake City with a wait out the door always. Be sure to check out Red Iguana 2 for shorter lines.
4. Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana
Another personal favorite (and arguably my favorite restaurant in all of SLC let alone downtown Salt Lake City) is Settebello. It’s the best pizza you can get in the entire city. The combination of light, Napoli style crust, slightly charred, with crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil can’t be beat. If you’re not sure what to order try the Margherita and if you’re good with a little bit of heat try the Diavola.
3. Spencer’s For Steaks and Chops
For one of the best high end dining experiences in Salt Lake City and unquestionable the best place for a steak in downtown Salt Lake City, Spencer’s is without question the best option. This Hilton-owned restaurant feels like the farthest thing from a corporate ran establishment with incredible service, a wonderful ambiance, and quite literally some of the best food you can have in town. We’ve tried several things from the menu and favorites include the lobster mac n cheese, the 14 oz. ribeye, and (my personal favorite), the Chilean Sea Bass.
Within walking distance of most downtown Salt Lake City bulidings is Takashi, home to the best sushi in Utah and a place that I could eat at every week. Favorite menu items include the calamari, gyoza, nigiri sampler, the crunchy ebi roll (tempura shrimp with tobiko), the sunshine roll (salmon and thin lemon slices), and the naked roll. Prepare to wait for a meal well worth it.
1. Valter’s Osteria
For perhaps one of the best Italian dining experiences you will have in your life, visit Valter’s Osteria in downtown Salt Lake City. A definite splurge but worth every penny, Valter’s restaurant serving authentic Tuscan cuisine combining “color, taste, and quality” through family recipes. If you’re overwhelmed by the menu I highly recommend passing the baton to your server for the night and taking chef’s recommendations. You won’t regret it!
Bonus: Best Desserts in Downtown SLC
5. Eva’s Bakery
For a sweet treat in the heart of downtown stop by Eva’s Bakery (same owner as Eva) and feel as if you’ve walked into a French patisserie. They serve artisan breads, pastries, croissants, baker’s pies, and sandwiches. I love choosing a ready-to-go baguette sandwich from their case with a pastry in hand.
4. Bruges Waffles & Frites
Just across the street from Pioneer Park on 300 south lies Bruges Waffles & Frites, unquestionably one of the best spots for a decadently sweet treat in downtown Salt Lake City. Bruges has a variety of menu items but are best known for the liege waffles. You can enjoy your waffle with a variety of toppings but my standby’s are always crème fraîche and seasonal fruit (usually raspberries or peaches in the summer)!
3. Finca (RELOCATED)
To truly experience all of the best offerings in downtown Salt Lake City one must try the homemade churros at Finca, complete with dipping sauces.
Although techhhhhnically not within walking distance of downtown (for most), we figure the deliciousness of RubySnap cookies will drive people to do many things. SLC’s best cookie shop features homemade heavenly cookies named after timeless female names including the Audrey, Ricki, Judy, and Margo. As the tagline says, “You know you want my cookies”. Yes ma’am.
1. Hatch Family Chocolates
Our most frequented dessert spot while in downtown Salt Lake City is without question Hatch Family Chocolates. Located in the Avenues and less than 1 mile from temple square, Hatch Family Chocolates has something for everyone including hand-dipped chocolates, homemade ice cream, and their famous pot de creme custard. And the best part is they’re open late.