While there are countless Mexican restaurants up and down the Wasatch front, only a select few make the grade, but which are worth your dining dollars? The following is our pick of the very best Mexican restaurants in Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas.
Hungry yet? Alamexo in downtown Salt Lake City is our pick for the best Mexican restaurant in Salt Lake City; we’re also as proud as can be to count them as one of our Local Partners, businesses we love, trust and respect.
Alamexo is chef and owner Matt Lake’s ode to the cuisine he loves and breathes. Open for dinner seven days a week, regulars love to start with guacamole – made fresh tableside in a lava rock molcajete. While you’re watching your server create your guac to spec, you might also want to sip on one of Alamexo’s great craft cocktails too.
From there maybe move onto Carne Asada Tacos ( adobo marinated flat iron steak, melted queso Oaxaca, pico de gallo & salsa de arbol) or Salmon Manchamanteles (slow cooked salmon filet with crispy bananas, pineapple pico de gallo & mole manchamanteles). This is cuisine everyone knows and loves, but crafted with refined precision and care.
Whatever you select, we guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Lake and his crew make as much as they can in house, from daily salsas through complex moles and adobos – all sourced from top quality providers such as Niman Ranch.
268 S State St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
While many of the restaurants on this list focus on more modern approaches to Mexican dining, there’s still plenty of room for good, old-school tex-mex style cooking. Cantina Southwestern Grill offers a menu that most folks will find instantly recognizable and accessible. Its just icing on the tres leches cake that the service is stellar and surroundings plush.
That’s not to say the food is pedestrian by any means, among the combo plates, enchiladas, burritos and chimichangas, Cantina has a few culinary tricks up its sleeves too. While you chow down on chips and salsa (5 choices) from the help yourself bar, study the menu and you will discover dishes such as Steak Al Cognac ($15.95), Poblano Mole ($13.85) and Pan Seared Tilapia with Jalapeno-Cream Sauce ($12.95).
75 E 9400 S, Sandy, UT
Frida Bistro was the first restaurant to deliver fine dining Mexican cuisine to Utah. Don’t look for smothered burritos here, because what you will find is something entirely more rarefied and polished.
Indeed as soon as you walk through the door at Frida Bistro, you will realize this is not your typical Mexican restaurant. The eatery is is housed in a artfully rendered space, paying homage to their namesake – Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. First time visitors may find themselves looking at the stunning dining space as much as the equally eye popping food.
While dishes such as Chile en Nogada ($22, shredded beef, sundried fruit and nuts stuffed in a poblano pepper with walnut cream sauce, pomegranate seeds and asparagus) and Fideo de Mar ($26, shell fish and fin fish, fideo pasta, seafood broth and house made Mexican bread), might seem intimidating – every single one packs a punch of bold flavor.
The restaurant opens for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday and also offers a special Saturday brunch menu, that promises to kick your weekend off in style.
545 W 700 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Easily the most famous Mexican restaurant in town, if not Utah itself – is the Red Iguana. Featured on TV, and just about every single foodie publication worthy of merit, the Red Iguana, owned by the local Cardenas family, has served hungry Salt Lakers with award wining Mexican food for over two decades.
What brings regulars back time and again, causing queues lining up around the building? For one, a range of seven moles, each unique and spectacular in its own right. If you’re the indecisive type you can even get a free Red Iguana mole sampler plate before choosing. And that’s just the start – Chile Colorado ($11.49), Puntas De Filete A La Nortena ($15.99), Cochinita Pibil ($13.99) – the list goes on and on, just like the queues outside the front doors.
736 W North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84116
Taqueria 27 is the work of Todd Gardiner, former head chef of downtown SLC’s Z’Tejas restaurant. After years running the kitchen for the chain eatery, Gardiner struck out on his own terms. The 27 in the name derives from a Gardiner family lucky number, but luck is far from needed when you put out cuisine like Taqueria 27 does: elevated, refined and darned delicious.
While the menu covers many bases, the focus is on gourmet street style tacos. Choose from selections like
Citrus Pork Carnitas ($6 for two, slow roasted and shredded, charred tomatillo salsa, pickled red onion, cilantro and chicharones) or Duck Confit ($6.50 for two, succulent duck with fire roasted veggies, chipotle crema and crispy leeks) while musing over T27’s extensive tequila options.
1615 S Foothill Dr, Salt Lake City, UT 84108
Part of the fun in visiting Tarahumara, is the scenic drive into the mountains, leaving hazy, bustling SLC behind. Located in quiet Midway, Utah, the restaurant offers both family friendly dining, al fresco patio dining in the summer and a separate cantina area for the grown ups.
Star of the show at this Mexican restaurant is their exquisite salsa bar, replete with 20 selections – all made fresh, each and every day. Perhaps you will load up your carnitas with mouth watering condiments such as tomatillo-arbol or zanahoria habanero salsa – or instead – explore the unique salsa bar with gratis chips while sipping on an ice cold margarita. It’s all good.
380 E Main St, Midway, UT 84049