We all know what the most hyped Salt Lake City restaurants are. Red Iguana, Takashi, The Copper Onion, and Pretty Bird Chicken (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 the 15 Best Restaurants 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 talked about? Don’t get me wrong- the popular spots are often popular for good 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. We hope you enjoy our list of the top 10 most underrated Salt Lake City restaurants. Let us know if there are others you believe are underrated in SLC or your city that deserves more of the spotlight!
10. 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. 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. We love 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.
9. 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 worth 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.
8. Desert Edge Brewery
Known to many as “The Pub”, Desert Edge Brewery is one of our favorite underrated spots for a bite to eat in SLC. 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. 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.
7. Kyoto Japanese Restaurant
We’re all familiar with some of the hottest sushi spots in Salt Lake City (we are big fans of Takashi, too), but often overlooked is Kyoto on 1300 south. They serve one of the best bento boxes 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.
If you’re looking for fantastic comfort food in Salt Lake City, make sure your first stop is Tradition. Located just across the street from Liberty Park, Tradition serves incredible home cooked food featuring dishes reminiscent of the south including collard greens, cauliflower korma (must try!), braised short rib, and chicken and dumplings. And whatever you do make sure you save room for dessert- homemade by the chef himself every single day.
5. Chanon Thai Cafe
Most 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 we 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.
4. From Scratch
So many people miss From Scratch among other downtown Salt Lake City restaurants even though it’s in the heart of 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 delicious and totally worth a lunch or dinner date. Our absolute top recommendations here are the risotto cake, the egg burger, and the salami pizza.
3. Bocata Artisan Sandwiches
Every time we mention Bocata Artisan Sandwiches (including our list of top 10 sandwiches in Salt Lake City) there are always a handful of people that have never seemed to have heard of them! Well friends, the secret is out. Bocata is one of our favorite places to go for a homemade, freshly prepared sandwich with incredible signature menu creations including the Turkey Havarti, Meatball, and Roasted Tomato Bocatas. Our number one recommendation here, however, is the Cuban Pork. Sandwiched between freshly baked bread is citrus braised pork shoulder, pickled red onion, cilantro, jalapeno, and aioli. You’re seriously going to love these sandwiches.
2. Yoko Ramen
While ramen certainly isn’t Salt Lake City’s biggest stronghold, we are thrilled to have Yoko Ramen in the food scene and it definitely deserves more attention. Situated on 4th east and 3rd south, this cozy restaurant is a fantastic fast-casual option near downtown with reasonable price points and absolutely delicious ramen. We recommend the pork or fried chicken (totally surprised me) ramen if you want to try the best menu offerings.
We 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 al pastor. And if you aren’t familiar with al pastor, picture slow cooked rotisserie pork infused with chile and pineapple flavor. Absolutely incredible. You can get the al 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.