before moving to the bay area, i spent a good 5 years living in salt lake city, utah. i originally moved there to attend the university of utah and then stayed an additional year as a newlywed before heading west to northern california.
all of my extended family resides in utah and that was a big reason why i chose to attend the u. i really hated utah growing up because i always longed for the beach and perfect sunny days. but after moving there, i really grew to like and even love utah.
the beehive state will always have a piece of my heart.
it is where i met and fell in love with b.
it is where i would visit my grandma for a couple of weeks every summer growing up.
it is where b and i started our life together.
and for me, as a self proclaimed foodie, part of loving a place is loving the food. i feel as though i have tried almost every restaurant during my 5 year stint and i can honestly say below are the best of the best in salt lake city. this is where you need to eat if you find yourself in slc.
The Park – yes, the park is your only option for breakfast because nothing even compares. the park is located across from liberty park in a cottage style home with limited parking. and if you think the atmosphere sounds adorable i can’t even begin to describe how good their food is. from their french toast to their hash browns to homemade jam, this place is legendary. i used to take all my visitors to the park and no one could believe a) how amazing the food was and b) how affordable it all was (especially since the portions are on the larger side). come early in the morning if you can make yourself wake up because you may be waiting for a hour otherwise.
yes, you may hear that eggs in the city is amazing or blue plate diner or ruths is where it’s at but trust me, the park trumps all these recognized breakfast spots handily.
Franck’s – hands down my favorite place to dine in utah. it is the priciest restaurant on my list but boy is it magical. franck’s entire menu makes me go weak in knees. i love their lamb, duck, escargot, salmon, mousse, the list goes on. i have met franck once and he was just as lovely as his authentic french restaurant. oh and did i mention this is where b proposed? well it is one of the most romantic spots in the valley.
Gourmandise – i probably frequented gourmandise every week for a year and i wish i could keep up the tradition. gourmandise is a wonderfully authentic french bakery and cafe. their pastries are some of the best i have had and their cafe menu is delectable. i have yet to try a better french onion soup.
okay, i know i said that the park is the only breakfast option worth going to and i still stand by it but if i had to pick a second it would be gourmandise. their creme brulee oatmeal and grilled cinnamon bread is parfait.
Tulie Bakery – okay technically tulie may not be considered french but they do serve to die for pastries / baked good so i am gonna sneak it into this list. their plain or ham croissants are their specialty but really i love their scones and beignets. you must be at tulie at 8am if you want to try their beignets because they sell out by 8:30am. and do order a hot chocolate because it accompanies the new orleans treat just perfectly.
Eva – another great bakery / cafe located in the heart of downtown. it is picture perfect from the outside and only gets better once you try all their amazing pastries / bread / small plates inside.
Bombay House – is it weird that although we have 100x more indian people around us in the bay area, i still haven’t found an indian restaurant i love as much as bombay house? their lamb saag, chicken tiki masala, mango lassi and rice pudding are out of this world. the flavors cannot be beat. b and i are determined to find something similar in the bay area because i crave bombay house on the daily. and yes, this is your only option because it is that good.
Cafe Trio – great atmosphere and wonderful food for small parties (tables are narrow). i adore the rosemary flat bread appetizer and all salads. if you come in the summer, there is great outdoor seating under twinkle lights!
The Pie – okay this is the quintessential college hang out but for good reason (not just because it is open till 3am on Friday + Saturday). the pizza is heavy and loaded with toppings. i used to get the cheesy pull apart almost every weekend during my first year at college (talk about freshman 15) and it was amazing. because who isn’t craving carbs and cheese at 2am?
Vinto – this is another great upscale italian restaurant. i would go to cafe trio for flat bread + salads and i would go to vinto for pizza and pasta. oh and vinto also makes homemade gelato! and guess what else? vinto is also located in park city (this location is great place to host large parties).
Kyoto – i don’t think b would ever speak to me again if i didn’t include kyoto on this list. but i am not just adding it for his thumbs up, this restaurant is amazing. their sashimi is fresh and rolls are diverse. but what really stands above the rest is their tempura. i don’t know how they do it but the flavor and crispyness of kyoto’s tempura cannot be matched at all. believe me b has been on the hunt for 2 years now.
Naked Fish – my favorite place for sushi. i love sushi (i could eat it every day for the rest of my life) and will suffer through some of the cheaper places to curve my craving but naked fish is a cut above the rest in the valley. i also love the atmosphere and the service.
Cafe Rio – yes, i realize this is a now chain available throughout the west coast but if you have not lived in utah you may be missing out on this americanized mexican restaurant. everything is good here but cafe rio is best known for their barbacoa salads and creamy tomatillo dressing. i usually get a steak tostada with a large tomatillo dressing (the size it comes with is never enough) and b prefers the barbacoa nachos or salmon tacos. you really can’t go wrong with any item and the service is great!
Lone Star Taqueria - lone star is located in the cottonwood heights area so it may be a bit of a ways from the heart of the city but it is worth it. their tacos (fish or otherwise) are delicious and incredibly fresh. and their guacamole is right on the money. this is another great affordable and quick option when your stomach is craving mexican.
Red Iguana – and for the best sit down mexican in the valley, i would have to give it to red iguana. this place is somewhat of a dive (especially since it is located west of the gateway mall) but it sure is delicious (and many people agree since the wait is usually outrageous). oh my goodness i really recommend every single thing on the menu. and please save room for tres leches cake for dessert!
ps don’t feel like sitting down and waiting in line? red iguana now has a to-go option in the city creek mall which is just as scrumptious (however, entree options are a little more limited).
okay and if you need some american food while in slc do stop by hires not only for their deliciously greasy burgers but for a root beer freeze.
best cupcake? check out mini’s. i have even tried some of their lunch box specials and was thoroughly impressed.
best shake? B & D Burgers. i recommend the oreo peanut butter yummmmm.
best ice cream? Nielsens. technically it is frozen custard but it is the best in the ice cream genre.
anything i am missing?