Salt Lake at dusk

We Ate at the Best Restaurants in Salt Lake City

Julie and I are still floating on a cloud of bliss from our recent Salt Lake City trip. The picturesque mountains and outdoor recreation delivered as expected. However, the heavenly food scene completely rocked our world.

We will cover our favorite restaurants in Salt Lake City, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Get ready for your taste buds to dance!

Due to my affinity for coffee, we will start with breakfast and brunch options and then provide suggestions for lunch and dinner.


Disclosure: Visit Salt Lake hosted us for this trip. All opinions are our own.


Loki Coffee

restaurants in Salt Lake City - Loki Coffee
Julie is excited to try her ube banana bread. Photo credit: Miles with McConkey

Location: 325 E 900 S, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111

Hours: Open daily from 7 am to 5 pm

The moment we entered Loki Coffee, I felt at peace. It is well-lit, the workers are helpful, and a friendly vibe hangs in the air paired with an intoxicating coffee aroma. Plus, a well-mannered dog with a fellow patron greeted us warmly. 

It is one of those places where people hang out to work quietly or relax with a friend. I instantly wanted to savor a warm cup of java and stay a while.

Despite wanting a hot espresso drink, something on the menu struck my attention. I could not resist trying a seasonal iced black sesame peak matcha latte. Loki Coffee also carries a seasonal lavender latte, making my decision even more challenging. 

I settled on the iced matcha latte and a ham and cheese empanada. Our host, Ryan Mack, Director of Media and Communications at Visit Salt Lake, selected a cortado while Julie ordered the ube banana bread. 

We had never heard of such a thing. Ube is a sweet-tasting purple yam used in Filipino cuisine.

The savory empanada hit the spot, nicely paired with the tasty and refreshing matcha latte. Ryan’s contented look suggested that the cortado was just what the doctor ordered. 

How was the banana bread with a purple center? Julie and I both enjoyed it. The taste is very similar to standard banana bread, but you can’t deny this version offers a more striking presentation.

Loki serves locally roasted coffee from Idle Hands. Their menu includes pastries, bagels, avocado toast, breakfast sliders, smoked salmon lox toast, and brioche toast. You will feel at home with a friendly setting, tasty fare, and excellent coffee.

Eva’s Bakery

restaurants in Salt Lake City - Eva's Bakery
Pastries from Eva’s Bakery. Photo credit: Miles with McConkey

Location: 155 S Main Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

Hours: Open daily from 8 am to 3 pm

When we walked into Eva’s Bakery, the delicious pastries immediately caught our eyes. We knew we were in for a treat. As wonderful as everything looked, it tasted even better. If you love coffee and pastries, Eva’s Bakery will make you feel like you have gone to heaven.

I am embarrassed to admit that we tried six things from the shop. Everything had a tender, flaky crust and burst with flavor. It was baking perfection!

We have a family tradition of making monkey bread on Christmas morning, so we were delighted to see that Eva’s serves it. The cinnamony goodness warmed our hearts. 

Eva’s coconut macaroon combines sweet, flaked coconut and rich chocolate. It melted in my mouth, drawing a contented smile.

We then tried the mouth-watering blueberry Danish and the lovely fruit tart. Julie immediately proclaimed the fruit tart her favorite.

I did not plan to try the Kouign Amann. Honestly, I was not sure what it was. The kind lady at the counter told us it was like a butter cake, so naturally, I had to try it. With delightful butter and sugar notes, it is no wonder it is Eva’s most popular item.

To balance out the sweet items, I tried the savory ham and Swiss croissant last. It easily held its own in our strong lineup.

My only regret is not trying a lemon meringue tart. A fellow traveler raved about it, and I returned to the shop in the early afternoon to discover they had sold out.

Eva’s Bakery also serves breakfast and lunch, where you can order items like croissant sandwiches, stuffed French toast, roasted chicken salad, a grilled cheese panini with tomato bisque, roasted beet salad, and a vegan plate.

Do yourself a favor and enjoy breakfast or brunch at Eva’s Bakery!

Publik Coffee Roasters

restaurants in Salt Lake City - Publik Coffee
Breakfast at Publik Coffee. Photo credit: Miles with McConkey

Flagship location: 975 S West Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

Hours: Open 7 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday and 8 am to 6 pm Saturday and Sunday

After Loki Coffee and Eva’s Bakery, I did not expect Salt Lake City to have another bakery or coffee shop to knock my socks off. Yet, the city delivered again!

First, I love Publik Coffee’s motto: “Solid coffee. No big business attitude.” The shop follows this decree by roasting small batches, focusing on taste, and minimizing waste.

I was immediately struck by the fun, laid-back atmosphere, and spacious seating area when we entered the shop. Then I realized they also have an upstairs section.

Publik Coffee serves drip coffee, cold brew, and nitro cold brew. You can order almost any espresso drink, including some unique latte flavors. They also offer a nice assortment of teas. The menu features pastries, paninis, and toast loaded with unique toppings.

If you want to kickstart your morning, I suggest the “Honestly, John Latte,” which comprises coffee, cherry bitters, smoky brown sugar, and almond syrup. They even give you a bottle of cherry bitters so you can add more drops for a bigger jolt. 

I paired the delicious latte with whipped ricotta, honey, and berries on toast. Perhaps it was the cherry bitters, but my taste buds sang, hitting all the high notes.

For a little more sugar, I tried the lavender and pear pop-tart. The two flavors blended perfectly for a surprisingly pleasant taste. Meanwhile, Julie savored a delicious house-made granola with Greek yogurt and an equally tasty lemon and raspberry scone.

Publik Coffee scores high marks with both their food and coffee drinks. I will return to sample the other attractive toast options and latte flavors.

Three Pines Coffee

Three Pines Coffee in Salt Lake
Three Pines Coffee. Photo credit: Miles with McConkey

Location: 165 S Main Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111

Hours: Open 7 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday and 8 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday

Some mornings, you want a great, no-frills cup of coffee and some quiet time to start the day. Three Pines Coffee shines in this regard. 

The quaint shop draws fewer crowds, and its menu has a limited selection of small bites and fresh pastries. I recommend the tasty Bedlam breakfast oat bars.

Three Pines Coffee regularly pours two single-origin options daily. You can also order espresso drinks, but their latte flavors are limited to vanilla and mocha. 

The shop operates on the theory that less is more. What it lacks in quantity, it more than makes up for with quality. For excellent coffee to ease into the day, check out Three Pines.

Red Iguana

restaurants in Salt Lake City - Red Iguana
Julie prepares to sample mole sauces at Red Iguana. Photo credit: Miles with McConkey

Location 1: 736 W North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84116

Location 2: 866 W South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84116

Hours: 11 am to 9 pm Sunday through Thursday and 11 am to 10 pm Friday and Saturday

Who’s ready for a delicious lunch or dinner? Let’s head to Red Iguana, one of Utah’s most decorated restaurants. 

In addition to being featured on the show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, the eatery has a distinguished list of awards and recognitions. Julie and I were excited to try their food based on its reputation alone.

On the surface, the fun atmosphere feels like that of a standard Mexican restaurant. However, when your dining experience begins, you quickly realize Red Iguana is unique. 

The waitress presented us with tortilla chips and a plate painted with a wheel of colorful mole sauces, their specialty. Julie and I excitedly began sampling each mole with the chips to determine which we enjoyed the most.

The sauces comprise unique ingredients, each having a distinctive flavor profile. One mole included chocolate, walnuts, and banana, while another featured pumpkin notes. The menu consists of several exciting combinations.

Julie and I enjoyed the tasting experience, slowly sampling each mole. Then, we made our sauce selections and ordered lunch. I ordered chicken enchiladas with two different sauces, and Julie did the same, but with pork enchiladas. We were confident we would enjoy the meal because we picked our favorite sauces from the wheel.

Restaurants in Salt Lake City - Red Iguana
Julie is ready to eat her enchiladas. Photo credit: Miles with McConkey

Red Iguana serves various cocktails and margaritas. Julie ordered a pina colada, and I chose a cucumber margarita. The well-mixed drinks paired nicely with our mildly spicy, flavorful meals.

Red Iguana serves standard Mexican fare, but nothing about the place is ordinary. The tasting experience is fun, and the unique moles shine like stars. Regarding the dining experience and taste, Red Iguana is a cut above all else. The eatery is worthy of its accolades.

Manoli’s

restaurants in Salt Lake City - Manoli's
Saganaki. Photo credit: Miles with McConkey

Location: 402 Harvey Milk Boulevard #2, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111

Hours: Open 5 pm to 10 pm Tuesday through Sunday for dinner and 10 am to 2:30 pm Saturday and Sunday for brunch 

I’m ashamed that Julie and I have never eaten at a Greek restaurant. We were both nervous about going.

Immediately, I could tell Manoli’s was a fun, friendly place popular with locals. We were honest with the waiter, admitting our rookie status. He suggested we order some of their mezes or small dishes to share. It aligns perfectly with the Greek philosophy that meals should be fun and shared with family and friends.

Julie and I chose four different dishes to share. Saganaki is a vegetarian meze with seared kefalograviera cheese, dried figs, orange, honey, and thyme. It is served with a grilled lemon to squeeze over the delightful concoction. We divided the dish into four pieces and savored each bite with pinsa bread—the combination of cheese, citrus, and sweetness from the honey and figs dances across the tongue.

We then sampled their keftedes, a plate of pork and beef meatballs smothered in a cinnamon tomato sauce and sprinkled with shredded kefalograviera. For our final two selections, we chose pilafi and pastitsio.

The pilafi is long-grain rice blended with chicken stock, lemon, and Greek yogurt. Although simple, it is delicious, and the flavors are perfect together. 

While Julie least liked the pastitsio, it was my favorite. The baked dish comprises orecchiette pasta, spiced beef, cinnamon, and a creamy bechamel sauce. I love how the spiced meat and cinnamon carry a basic pasta dish into an elevated flavor profile.

We thoroughly enjoyed each dish. The service was excellent, and the food was hot and flavorful. 

Those familiar with Greek cuisine will appreciate the authentic and delicious fare. If you are new to Greek food, please do not let it intimidate you. Do yourself a favor and eat at Manoli’s. I am so glad we did.

VENETO

Beef tartar from VENETO
Beef tartar. Photo credit: Miles with McConkey

Location: 370 E 900 S, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111

Hours: Open 5:30 pm to 10 pm from Tuesday through Sunday for dinner

If you want a fine dining experience with Italian cuisine, Salt Lake City has the best we have encountered in the United States. I suspected VENETO was a family moniker, but its name honors the northern Italy region extending from the stunning Dolomites to the legendary Adriatic Sea.

While southern Italy is known for pasta, olive oil, seafood, and tangy tomato sauce, northern Italy is renowned for risotto, savory polenta, rich cream sauces, and meats. Admittedly, I picture pizza and pasta when I think about Italian cuisine. VENETO opened our eyes to the wonders of northern Italian fare, and we are richer for the experience.

Everything about our time at VENETO was extraordinary. Julie and I felt like royalty when we entered the quaint, intimate restaurant. 

Some staff warmly greeted us at the door, and we had the opportunity to meet co-owner Amy Stevanoni and head chef Renato Giusti. Mario, our head server, expertly guided us through our culinary journey.

While I would classify VENETO as fine dining, there is no formal dress code. Smart casual attire is suggested.

The VENETO experience regularly lasts two hours or more. Trust me, it is a relaxing and delightful experience; you do not want to rush.

VENETO offers a seven-course tasting menu. While this sounded wonderful, we thought our bellies could only absorb so many courses. Ironically, we ended up consuming nearly as much.

We sampled two appetizers, the beef tartar and burrata with prosciutto di parma. The beef tartar awakened our senses, and the soft, creamy burrata and prosciutto melted in our mouths, setting the tone for a euphoric evening.

Appetizer at VENETO in Salt Lake City
Burrata with prosciutto di parma. Photo credit: Miles with McConkey

For the first course, we had ravioli with pecorino and pears and mountain gnocchi with butter, sage, Monte Veronese, and smoked ricotta. I was excited to try the pecorino and pear combination but had no idea what to expect. The two fillings complement each other perfectly, yet the pasta feels light.  

restaurants in Salt Lake City - VENETO
Ravioli with pecorino and pears. Photo credit: Miles with McConkey

I had never been a fan of gnocchi until now. Accordingly, I did not plan to order the dish. Mario suggested it, and I am glad he did. Of course, I may never find another gnocchi quite like this.

We selected filet mignon and a pork filet with potato puree, mushrooms, and red wine reduction for the main course. The tender, juicy filet mignon was one of the best steaks we have ever had. Similarly, the pork filet melted in our mouths in a symphony of heavenly flavors.

I did not think my belly could hold anymore, but we sampled two divine desserts. Julie has always disliked tiramisu, which has always been to my benefit. Unfortunately, VENETO’s version was so good that Julie ate all of her half and some of mine. The crepe cannelloni filled with dark chocolate and surrounded by an orange sauce was also a celestial experience.

VENETO dessert
Crepe cannelloni with dark chocolate and orange cream. Photo credit: Miles with McConkey

By the way, VENETO takes as much pride in its wine as in its food. It offers an excellent selection of Italian wines, which Wine Spectator regularly recognizes. 

From the warm, friendly staff to the delicious food and wine, VENETO served one of the best meals of our lives. You may be in Salt Lake City, but everything about the experience feels like northern Italy.

Dining in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City has many things to do, picturesque mountain scenery, and delicious cuisine. From breakfast to dinner, the city offers top-notch culinary options. We hope you enjoy Salt Lake City as much as we did. Take time to savor the food as well as the mountain views.

Featured image credit: sepavone via Deposit Photos

Scott and Julie at Miles with McConkey

Scott And Julie McConkey

After 30 years, Scott and Julie McConkey left the corporate world for a life of travel and adventure. What started as a gap year became a second act, and they are now full-time travel bloggers!
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