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.
Spencer’s For Steak And Chops
Located on the ground floor of the downtown SLC Hilton hotel is this classic American steak house. Wood paneled walls, crisp white lines, drilled wrapper service and a wine list that threatens to collapse the table. Oh – and fabulous steaks – every one hand cut USDA prime beef. There’s seafood and rich sides aplenty and a fun bar area up front if you just want to grab a snack and a Manhattan or three.
1910, 255 S W Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
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
Red Rock Brewing
If you’re in the mood for a great brewpub experience, make Red Rock’s downtown SLC restaurant your destination. This is our pick for the best brewpub in Salt Lake City. Why? First up it doesn’t hurt that the brewery has been making award winning beers for the better part of three decades; routinely hauling awards from brewing festivals across the US. Equally important though is the extensive menu thats both affordable and well executed. There’s quite literally something for everyone here and there are always daily specials. Parking can be tight, but valet service is offered at weekends. Also worthy of note, the modest covered patio out front for warmer months.
254 S 200 W, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
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
Another stand out New American restaurant and one where the menu can change hyper-seasonally. That means items can wax and wane based on what local farmers and producers might stop by with on any given day. Always topping best of lists, the menu is also powered by the wood fired oven, a remnant of the former pizza restaurant in this space. There’s a small patio out front and a great bar area to relax at – with an equally great bar program too it should be noted.
418 E 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
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
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
Current Fish And Oyster
You might not think land locked Utah is a good place to satiate your oyster craving, but you’d be wrong. This seafood-centric restaurant flies in the freshest of seafood from both East and West coasts. That means lots of ultra fresh seafood: shrimp, oysters, clams, mussels, lobster and more. If a more composed entree is your thing, the menu has you covered too. After dinner, check out their sister cocktail lounge, Under Current, a few steps South of the space and one of SLC’s finest with some of the best mixologists in town.
279 E 300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
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
This chic Mexican restaurant offers a refined and elevated take on regional Mexican cuisine. The restaurant sources only the very best ingredients and crafts each dish with precision, care and deference to traditional techniques. To start your meal, make sure to order their special guacamole, made to your preference in a molcajete right at your table. After that dive into a menu that showcases Mexican dishes you might not otherwise have experienced.
268 State St #110, 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?
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