15 Best Restaurants in Downtown Salt Lake City

Contributors:
Brooke Eliason

Alright people. We have done a lot of posts on the best restaurants in the great city of Salt Lake City. Some of my favs?

Those are just some of my *favorites* (and don’t forget my most recent list of 101 things to do in SLC). But a list that we haven’t compiled yet, is an official list of the best restaurants in downtown Salt Lake City. Most of these you’ve heard of- some of them you haven’t. But regardless of the occasion everyone needs a list of the best bites in the heart of Utah’s capitol. The term “downtown” can be ambiguous so we decided to define “downtown” as restaurants within walking distance from Temple Square, the center of Salt Lake City. Enjoy!

15. Alamexo

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! Alamexo Mexican Kitchen (268 South State Street, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.779.4747)

14. Martine

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). Martine Cafe (22 E 100 S #200, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.363.9328)

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.  The Copper Onion (111 Broadway #170, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.355.3282)

12. Eva

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. Eva (317 South Main Street, SLC, UT // 801.801.359.8447)

11. Bambara

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. Bambara  ( 202 Main St, Salt Lake City, UT  //  801.363.5454 )

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. Market Street Grill (48 West Market Street, SLC, UT // 801.322.4668)

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. From Scratch (62 East Gallivan Ave. Salt Lake City, UT // 801.961.9000)

8. Spitz

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. Spitz (35 Broadway, Salt Lake City // 801.364.0286)

7. Pallet 

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. Pallet (237 400 W, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.935.4431)

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. Current Fish & Oyster  (279 300 S, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.326.3474)

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.  Red Iguana (original location- 736 West North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.322.1489)

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. Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana (260 South 200 West, Salt Lake City // 801.322.3556)

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. Spencer’s For Steaks & Chops (255 West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.238.4748)

2. Takashi

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. Takashi (18 West Market Street, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.519.9595)

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! Valter’s Osteria (173 West Broadway, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.521.4563)

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. Eva’s Bakery (155 Main St, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.355.3942)

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)! Bruges Waffles & Frites (336 W 300 S, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.363.4444)

3. Finca

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. Finca (327 W 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.487.0699)

2. RubySnap

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. RubySnap Fresh Cookies (770 300 W, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.834.6111)

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. Hatch Family Chocolates (376 8th Ave, Salt Lake City, UT // 801.532.4912)

Did you like this post?? Make sure to check out our FREE bucket list of 100 restaurants to try in Salt Lake City!

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  1. I opened this thinking if Spitz and From Scratch are not on this list… It’s not a good list. I was pleasantly surprised. Though I think Taqueria 27 and Caffe Molise belong. Also Les Madeleines for dessert.

    1. Haha I’m glad to hear that your two favs are on the list! I feel like Taqueria 27 has gone downhill and I’m not a huge fan of Caffe Molise but maybe they both deserve another try. LOVE les madeleines but wanted to include a spot that was open past 4:00. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  2. We were in SLC visiting from Chicago this week and used many of the suggestions from your lists. Our favorites were From Scratch as well as Tulie Bakery from your best breakfast lists. They were amazing! The risotto cake at From Scratch was fabulous (as you stated) as were the homemade breads and the pizzas. At Tulie Bakery, the four of us (my husband and kids) got many things to share and each thing was fabulous! Pumpkin bread, chocolate bread, granola, raspberry ricotta toast, grilled cheese….we wished we could take everything home with us! Several days later and we are still talking about these meals. Thanks for the great recommendations!

    1. Hi Jessica! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment- I’m so happy to hear that you’ve been able to enjoy SO many of my favorites in Salt Lake City! And especially glad that you were able to try soooo many things at Tulie. I have tried everything in the case and it’s always an amazing experience. I hope that you come back soon! Thanks and happy summer. 🙂

  3. Great Article i feel like you’re comparing Apples to Oranges though… And, how is Sptiz comparable to Copper Onion?

    My vote isn’t even on here though.. You forgot Padeli’s Street Greek.

    1. Hi Nick- thanks so much for reading! The post definitely has a lot of variety since we’re picking the best of downtown, and in my book that definitely includes restaurants that are really different, including Spitz and Copper Onion. I really like Padeli’s but they are not on my list of the “best” in downtown. I did, however, include them in my list of favorite fast casual restaurants in SLC. Thanks again for stopping by! 🙂

  4. Hi Brooke, if my husband will only allow me to eat in a restaurant every day, I am going to do it for 15 consecutive days! And I will surely be visiting all these 15 restaurants daily. But in reality, dating me to any of those just for once will do! Cheers!