Only got one night in town, here on business or just traveling through? If so, you might want to get the most bang for your buck. With so many places to eat in the city, here are ten good options for restaurants in downtown Salt Lake City; they cover everything from Italian to Japanese to classic American. We’ve been writing about the Salt Lake restaurant scene for more than a decade and we’d happily spend our own money – any day or night of the week – at all of these downtown SLC restaurants.
1 – White Horse Spirits And Kitchen
Pony up to the bar at White Horse and enjoy one of downtown SLC’s best menus. The modern American Brasserie is open seven days a week and is a solid option for all occasions. The menu spans everything from bar snacks to fresh oysters through sandwiches and steaks.
That’s all backed by an extensively equipped full service bar and perhaps Utah’s best selection of ciders, with more than two dozen from across the globe – with many on draft pours of 22oz!
325 Main St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
2 – Whiskey Street
Just a few steps down from White Horse you’ll find Whiskey Street. The template is the same – great food and great drinks in an ultra hip environment. That should come as no surprise of course as the two businesses are both part of the same Bourbon Group, responsible for some of the best dining destinations in town.
Again, the restaurant is open seven days a week, early to late and of course, brunch is served at the weekend. While Whiskey might be prominent in the name – the bar program here doesn’t miss a beat – particularly of note is their craft cocktail program.
323 Main St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
3 – Bourbon House
We round out the Bourbon Group’s trio of downtown dining options with their first outing, Bourbon House. This more laid back casual pub is a great goto for beers and burgers, or indeed plenty of other elevated bar bites; think pizzas, sandwiches, wings and more, all with a refunded twist.
19 E 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
4 – Takashi
Likewise, you can also obtain spectacular sushi in SLC. With the SLC international airport having daily flights to all corners of the globe – plenty of restaurants take advantage of that. Takashi is an award winning sushi spot that wouldn’t be out of place in any major US city – yes its that good. Its also why its packed every single night. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, so get there early, or be prepared to stand in line for quite some time.
8 W Market St, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
5 – Alamexo
Refined regional Mexican cooking is the order of the day at this downtown eatery. think of chef and owner Matt Lake like SLC’s very own Rick Bayless; his menu crafts a range of classics with extraordinary attention and care, in a chic setting that’ll impress just as much as the food.
268 State St #110, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
6 – Caffe Molise
Just opposite the Salt Palace convention center is this wonderful eatery, one of the best Italian restaurants in downtown Salt Lake City. The menu is stacked with hearty pasta dishes that are executed with a rustic charm. In warmer months the outside patio is one of THE places to be in SLC, a perfectly pretty little spot with lots of shade. The wine list is impeccable, as it should be – the restaurant is attached to BTG Wine Bar next door; a by the glass concept with numerous boutique winery selections and flights.
5 W 100 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
7 – Pretty Bird Chicken
The best fried chicken you’ve ever had? Maybe, just maybe. At least that what regulars at Pretty Bird loudly proclaim. This blink and you miss it chicken shop is fine dining chef Viet Pham’s return to the SLC restaurant scene; following the departure of his much missed and lauded Forage restaurant. Pretty bird serves up Nashville style hot chicken by the plate or sandwich – and it’s worth the inevitable queues rain or shine.
146 Regent St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
8 – Copper Onion
Owner Ryan Lowder brought his wealth of experience cooking in Europe and NYC back to SLC when he opened this perfect New American eatery. Now a stalwart of the downtown dining scene, the restaurant is packed every night. Grab reservations for this one for sure.
The menu is built around steak, fish, chicken but surprises with infusions of Asian and European influence. Wonderful food is matched by great cocktails, a fun patio and ultra cool vibe make this always a destination to hit up. Can get a little loud when busy. Afterwards check out their sister cocktail bar Copper Common next door.
111 East Broadway #170, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
9 – Spitz
Looking for something a little different, something more affordable in SLC? What about this take on European doner kebabs? Spitz is a fun restaurant (you’ll find cards against humanity sets about the place) that’s open later, has a great beer selection (a little wine too) some wonderful food and a neat patio in Summer months. The street cart doner is the stand out item but don’t miss their loaded fries either.
35 Broadway, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
10 – Stanza
This chic restaurant on the East side of downtown is perfect for everything from a romantic dinner to a business lunch. Making their own pasta in house every day, the contemporary take on Italian that Stanza crafts is some of the best food in SLC hands down.
Part of the larger La Salle group (all good by the way: Current, Kyoto, Cafe Niche, Oasis) the restaurant often hosts focused wine dinners; which tells you all you need to know about their wine smarts. The restaurant also sports a fun patio and an upstairs private dining space – with its own private patio too.
454 E 300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Questions about dining in downtown Salt Lake City
If you’re new to SLC, or just coming in for work or leisure, you might have a few questions about our downtown area.
How walkable is SLC downtown?
The downtown Salt Lake City core is relatively small. You can easily walk from one side to the other in 10-15 minutes. SLC also offers the popular bike rental service, green bike, with pickup/drop off spots around town. Things can be challenging in both Winter and Summer though – snow, freezing temperatures or searing sun can put a real crimp in even the most ardent walker’s plans.
In the middle of Winter temperatures can drop to below zero; in Summer, days over 100f are not uncommon. Don’t feel afraid to take a Lyft or Uber a couple blocks away if needs be. You’ll find plenty of ride share availability in downtown SLC all around the clock seven days a week.
How safe is downtown Salt Lake City?
Compared to other cities, SLC is relatively, safe all hours of the day. We’d recommend you use sensible street smarts as you would in any major town or city – stick to well lit streets with other pedestrians.
How busy is it downtown in Salt Lake?
Traditionally the downtown area of Salt Lake has been more commercial than residential, so weekdays are typically more busy than weekends. That’s slowly changing in recent years, with more and more downtown housing coming online. The city is still relatively quiet once the office crowds head back to the suburbs each night. If a major convention is downtown, this can add significantly to the crowds. The same goes for a major concert or NBA game at the Vivint arena.
Do I need reservations to eat in downtown SLC
At the most popular restaurants, definitely. Even on weeknights, some of our more popular restaurants can have extensive waits without a reservation. Typically you should be able to walk into most restaurants with a reservation during weeknights, but hey, why take the risk?
How to get around downtown Salt Lake City?
We have both Lyft and Uber all over the Salt Lake valley, including the downtown area; moreover both services are allowed to pickup and drop-off at the airport too. As well as that you’ll find the popular Bird and Lime scooter services across downtown SLC, not to mention the popular green bike rental service.