A Weekend Foodie’s Guide to Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City skyline

Spending a weekend in Salt Lake City and looking for some local food recommendations? You’re in the right place! 

Salt Lake City is the capital of Utah and is known as a hub for nature enthusiasts. Located in the Salt Lake Valley surrounded by the rocky mountains, it’s a wonderful city to explore for a weekend before heading down south to go hiking in the desert or to hit the slopes at a world class ski resort.

Utah itself is home to an incredibly diverse landscape. From tall mountains to the amazing red rock desert, there is something for everyone here. For people that aren’t into extreme sports, there are plenty of other activities like taking a dip in a natural hot spring, or even better, eating their way through the state’s capital.

While Salt Lake City may not be the first place people think of when it comes to great food, there are some fantastic restaurants and unique foods to try. 

Here is a weekend foodie’s guide to Salt Lake City. 

Check out a local cafe

Urban Sailor Salt Lake City
Urban Sailor Coffee

The cafe scene in Salt Lake City is hoppin’! While there are plenty of local cafes to choose from, there are a few in particular that stand out.

For a fantastic cup of locally roasted coffee, start the day off at Blue Copper Coffee. This small shop is located in the up-and-coming Granary District and has one of the best coffees in the city.

Alternatively, Urban Sailor Coffee, is a hip spot located in the lively Sugar House neighborhood. They offer small-batch, roasted coffee drinks and they also serve a killer chai latte!

The People’s Coffee is another nice spot that’s located in the heart of downtown. They serve delicious drinks and have an array of food offerings like local bagels.

Grab a sandwich for lunch

Oh Mai
Oh Mai

When it comes to lunch for a foodie weekend in Salt Lake City, look no further than a local sandwich shop.

For the best meatball sandwich in the city, stop by Moochie’s Meatballs. This award-winning restaurant is known for its delicious meatball sub and hearty Philly cheesesteak sandwich.

On the lighter end, check out Buds for one of the best vegan sandwiches in the state. All of their veggie meats and sauces are fresh and made in-house. A couple of menu favorites are the Pesto Sub and the Pizzasteak.

Oh Mai is a local Vietnamese restaurant that was featured on Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives. Their banh mi sandwiches are phenomenal and Guy Fieri’s favorite is the garlic-ribeye banh mi.

Eat Mexican Food

Chungas Tacos
Chungas

Salt Lake City boasts a wide variety of Mexican restaurants, ranging from casual spots to upscale dining experiences. Red Iguana is a local favorite and has been featured on several food shows for their outstanding mole dishes. Make sure to ask for a tasting of their 6+ different types of mole sauces.

For more traditional street tacos, check out Chungas for their tacos al pastor, or try some $2 tacos from the Toro Tacos stand on 900 West.

La Casa del Tamal is a newer restaurant but has quickly become one of the most popular Mexican restaurants in the city. They are known for their flavorful birria tacos, which are beef tacos with melted cheese dipped in a delicious broth. It’s located a little outside of the city center, but it’s definitely worth the trek.

Get brunch at a local favorite

brunch

For an iconic brunch experience in Salt Lake City, head to Ruth’s Diner. This historic spot has been a staple in the community since 1930 and is located in Emigration Canyon, just a short drive from downtown. Their famous Mile High Biscuits and Gravy are a must-try, and the patio seating offers stunning views of the surrounding nature.

Penny Ann’s Cafe is another popular brunch spot. This charming cafe has been serving up some of the best pancakes in town since it opened its doors over 20 years ago. The portions are generous and each plate comes with a short stack of fluffy, golden brown pancakes that will leave people wanting more!

Check out a local bakery

Tulie Bakery
Tulie Bakery

When it comes to bakeries in Salt Lake City, Tulie Bakery is a standout gem. This artisanal bakery is revered for its mouth-watering croissants, which are made fresh every morning using the finest ingredients. The frangipane croissant is a local favorite. They also offer a range of other pastries, bread, quiches, and cakes that are equally as delicious.

Salt Lake City is also home to a plethora of cookie shops. Not any type of cookies, but giant, gourmet cookies. Chip is the place that started the cookie craze in the city and their classic chocolate chip cookie is a must-try.

For a variety of cookie flavors, make sure to stop by RubySnap located downtown. They make some of the most unique cookies in the city, such as a chocolate cookie with chile ganache that’s topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Try out some of Salt Lake City’s fine dining restaurants

Salt Lake City has some wonderful fine dining options and Valter’s Osteria always comes out on top. Located in downtown SLC, Valter’s offers a unique Italian dining experience. Their menu features an array of delicious homemade pasta dishes from mushroom gnocchi and stuffed ravioli to the classic spaghetti carbonara. With its award-winning wine list and attentive service, it’s no wonder why Valter’s has become one of the city’s most popular restaurants. Make sure to reserve in advance, as spots fill up fast!

For the sushi-lover, Takashi is a must-visit spot in the city. This award-winning restaurant has been named the best sushi spot in Utah for many years. From their unique specialty rolls to their expertly crafted small plates, each dish is a true work of art. Just make sure to arrive early, as the small space fills up quickly!

HSL is another firm favorite known for their modern take on classic dishes. The general tso’s style cauliflower is possibly the best dish on the menu. 

Get a sweet treat

Hatchs Chocolate
Hatch Family Chocolates. Images courtesy of Jenoa Mattthes

To try the most authentic gelato in the city, go to Sweetaly in the 15th and 15th neighborhood. This small gelato shop serves up freshly made flavors daily and has a nice outdoor sitting area to enjoy in the summer.

For chocolate lovers, Hatch Family Chocolates is a must-visit spot in Salt Lake City. Located in the historic Avenues neighborhood, Hatch’s has been serving up homemade chocolates since 2003. They specialize in their famous handmade truffles, which come in a variety of flavors like dark chocolate raspberry and hazelnut praline. They also offer a range of other chocolate treats from their signature hot chocolate to chocolate-dipped strawberries.

Taste some fry sauce

Fry sauce is a unique sauce that originated in Utah. The condiment, which has been around since the 1940s, is made with equal parts mayonnaise and ketchup mixed together. It’s tangy, sweet and creamy all at once – making it the perfect accompaniment to fries or any fried food.

To try fry sauce, you can find it at any hamburger joint in the city. Tony’s Burgers and Lucky 13 are both great options to get a good burger and to try some local fry sauce.

Final Thoughts: A Weekend Foodie’s Guide to Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a wonderful city to spend a weekend enjoying nature and eating some fantastic food. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the proximity to the mountains and those looking for a more relaxed weekend will love exploring the local restaurants and shops downtown. There truly is something for everyone in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Jenoa is a travel writer based in the United States. She has traveled extensively throughout Europe and shares all of her insider tips on the best destinations, eats, and hotels in Europe on her blog, The Travel Folk.