SLC Eats

Cheat Sheet to Salt Lake City's Lively & Delicious Food Scene

Salt Lake City's food scene uses many excellent ingredients from the "100 mile" radius.  Dreamstime

Salt Lake City's food scene uses many excellent ingredients from the "100 mile" radius. Dreamstime

Not too long ago, Utah menus were all about meat and potatoes. Variety maybe meant chicken-fried steak. Today that era is like ancient history. Salt Lake City's current food scene is diverse, inventive, sophisticated and dynamic, fed by a pipeline of talented chefs, regional artisanal ingredient producers and a city that loves to eat out. Sure, steak lovers still get their fill (at Ruth's Chris, Spencer's and the New Yorker), but so do eaters of New American cuisine, Middle Eastern fusion, Mexican, Asian, contemporary French, and more. And casual fare—whether pizza and burgers or made-to-order noodle bowls and cold-pressed juice—is just as good. The booming regional economy brings frequent new and noteworthy entrants to the food scene. One Salt Lake City foodie we know says she actually can't keep up. Where to start? Here's Ski Travel Guru's shortlist:

Don’t miss Chef Brian Handly’s “New American” fine dining at HSL (be sure to try the parsnip bacon). Also superb: Manoli’s for modern Greek, Mazza for Lebanese and Martine for French-influenced Mediterranean-fusion.

Frida Bistro’s Mexican cuisine is high-end gourmet; Alamexo's is contemporary; the Red Iguana’s is classic. Current serves Salt Lake City's best seafood, in a buzzing, vaulted space that once was the first Ford dealership west of the Mississippi.  Finca dishes Spanish-inspired pinchos and tapas crafted from sustainable, regional and seasonal ingredients. For pub grub (with beer, of course) go to Squatters or Beer Bar. And if you're gluten-free and/or vegan, don't miss a trip to City Cakes Bakery & Cafe.  

But our cheat sheet merely grazes the surface. We recommend working up an appetite playing in the mountains, then exploring SLC's dining scene yourself. Salt Lake Magazine's annual dining awards and ongoing restaurant guide offer the region's most informed, consistent and up to date reviews and rankings. Ask locals on the lifts for their opinions, too.

Meat and potatoes are far from the only game in town, but steak continues to have its place in SLC's diverse food scene.  Dreamstime

Meat and potatoes are far from the only game in town, but steak continues to have its place in SLC's diverse food scene. Dreamstime

Finca's innovative Spanish food and drink are standing favorites on SLC's dining scene. Book ahead!  Austen Diamond Photography | courtesy Visit Salt Lake

Finca's innovative Spanish food and drink are standing favorites on SLC's dining scene. Book ahead! Austen Diamond Photography | courtesy Visit Salt Lake

Salt Lake City's Mexican fare spans the full spectrum from taco trucks to Mexico City-style high-end.  Dreamstime

Salt Lake City's Mexican fare spans the full spectrum from taco trucks to Mexico City-style high-end. Dreamstime

From the delicious maple scone to the peanut butter fudge bar, all bakes at City Cakes are both vegan and gluten-free.  © Ski Travel Guru

From the delicious maple scone to the peanut butter fudge bar, all bakes at City Cakes are both vegan and gluten-free. © Ski Travel Guru