Settled by Mormon pioneers in 1847, the Salt Lake City of today is a diverse area home to people from around the world. With a plethora of cultures represented, the city’s dining options are vast and full of exotic flavours. From Indian to Mexican to Japanese cuisines, foodies will find many satisfying options in this updated article about the culinary scene in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Signature waffles at Bruges Waffles & Frites | Courtesy of Bruges Waffles & Frites
Opened in 1993, Bombay House is a multi-award winning restaurant that seeks to stimulate all of the senses of its guests. Featuring exquisite Indian cuisine, diners can also be inspired by the scent of exotic spices, the sound of music, the visual pleasure provided by subtle lighting and colourful murals, and the taste of warm bread. Within a cosy atmosphere, guests can savour a flavourful array of dishes from appetisers and side dishes to entrées highlighting chicken, lamb, and seafood to desserts, plus a host of vegetarian and gluten-free options. Highlights sure to tantalise gastronomes’ taste buds include lamb marinated in yogurt, garlic, ginger and spices barbecued over tandoor and mushroom jalfrazi — fresh mushrooms and bell peppers cooked with tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger and zesty spices. Numerous beverages are also available, including yogurt-based lassis and wine.
Starting out as a summertime food cart in 2004, Bruges Waffles and Frites has become a well-known eatery with two locations in Salt Lake City. Owned by Pierre Vandamme, a native of Belgium, this delightful fast-casual restaurant specialises in delicious waffles, which come in sweet and savoury varieties, frites or Belgian-style fries with a host of homemade dipping sauces, plus other tasty items, including omelettes and Flemish stew. Made-from-scratch dishes that guests will love include the Liège waffle topped with strawberries and crème fraîche; a waffle sandwich with a variety of roasted and fresh veggies with goat cheese and balsamic vinegar; and of course, frites with a choice of sauce, including aioli and lemon pepper dill.
Opened in 2010 by Chef Ryan Lowder and his wife Colleen in the heart of downtown, The Copper Onion became an instant foodie’s haven with its New American cuisine, which is served for brunch, lunch, and dinner. With an emphasis on locally and regionally sourced seasonal ingredients, the culinary team creates delectable dishes imbued with international flavours that will appeal to many tastes. From starters to house-made pastas to succulent entrées, guests have a host of options, including tagliatelle pasta with almond sauce, basil and parmesan and the house meatloaf, which is a mixture of beef, pork and lamb served with mashed potatoes and seasonal veggies. Tantalising desserts, such as olive oil cake with Marcona almonds and honey-orange marmalade, and an impressive wine list round out the offerings at this lively eatery.
A charming bakery with the feel of a French boulangerie, Eva’s Bakery is also a café that provides delicious meals in addition to the mouth-watering baked goods. Named after Chef Charlie Perry’s great-grandmother who had a passion for baking, Eva’s offers everything from artisan breads to pastries to buttery croissants and so much more, all made with quality ingredients, including organic local flour. Open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday plus dinner certain nights of the week, guests can savour dishes such as French toast stuffed with lemon cream cheese and topped with blueberry compote; a savoury bread pudding made with seasonal ingredients; and the classic French onion soup. With vegetarian and vegan options, it’s a café anyone can enjoy.
Opened in 2009 by chefs Viet Pham and Bowman Brown, Forage is a fine dining establishment that features contemporary American cuisine. Seeking to give discerning diners a memorable experience they won’t soon forget, the culinary team uses the finest quality ingredients available obtained in the wild or from small local purveyors. Located in a converted house, the eatery provides a cosy ambience where guests can sample the delectable tasting menu, which changes frequently. Past highlights included blackcurrant leaf and tomato; wild crayfish and new potatoes; duck with beets, plums and fermented honey; and wild berries from the Rocky Mountains. Diners also have the choice of adding wine pairings or juice pairings to the menu, creating a full Forage experience. Reservations are recommended.
An iconic staple on Salt Lake City’s culinary scene since 1984, Kyoto serves authentic Japanese cuisine for lunch and dinner. Opened by Sam and Yoshiko Tada, who still have a hand in the day-to-day operations of the restaurant, this cosy eatery has fulfilled its goal of giving guests a feeling of Japan not only with its cuisine but also with its sleek modern interior. Diners can feast upon a host of Japanese entrées and sushi, which includes nigiri and sashimi, plus a variety of rolls. Notable highlights include seafood tempura; nabeyaki udon, which is udon noodles with chicken, ebi tempura, seafood, vegetables and egg; and the succulent steak teriyaki.
Nestled in the mouth of the Little Cottonwood Canyon in the Salt Lake City suburb of Sandy, La Caille specialises in exquisite French cuisine and is a recipient of the AAA Four Diamond award. Open since 1975, this romantic 18th century Gallic-inspired establishment with beautifully manicured gardens offers guests a fine dining experience not to be missed, with dinner Tuesday through Sunday plus weekend brunch. One delectable dinner option is the potato-crusted halibut with braised leeks, green lentils and tarragon Pernod cream, while those visiting for brunch may enjoy the spinach and wild mushroom omelette with cheddar, hollandaise sauce and crispy potatoes with a side of fresh berries. A culinary event like no other, this restaurant also features luscious desserts and an award-winning wine list.
A delicious home-style eatery, Penny Ann’s Cafe opened in 2011, delighting locals with delicious American breakfast and lunch items plus mouth-watering pies. Winning multiple awards for both its breakfast and pies, this family-owned and operated café offers guests a warm and inviting ambience in which to sample its acclaimed sweet and savoury dishes. The breakfast menu includes highlights such as the famous heavenly hot cakes, which are sour cream pancakes served with butter and syrup and biscuits and gravy with sour cream biscuits and sausage gravy, while the lunch menu offers a host of items, including house-made pasta with tomato-basil cream. As for pies, there is an array of tasty flavours, including banana cream, chocolate peanut butter, and old-fashioned buttermilk.
Founded by the Cardenas family in 1985, Red Iguana is still a family-owned and operated eatery with daughter Lucy Cardenas and her husband, Bill Coker, now at the helm. With two restaurants and a fast-casual eatery in Salt Lake City, this multi-award winning establishment is known for its Mexican cuisine packed full of flavour and lively atmosphere. The menu is impressive with an array of items — many of which are family recipes — from soups and salads to enchiladas to egg dishes and everything in between. One enticing option that will delight many diners is the chile rellenos, which is two Anaheim peppers stuffed with jack cheese dipped in egg batter then fried and topped with salsa espanola and accompanied by rice, refried beans and tortillas.
Established in 2012 by restaurateur Valter Nassi, a native of Italy, the eponymous Valter’s Osteria is a modern and elegant venue featuring authentic Italian cuisine. Open for dinner Monday through Saturday, guests can feast upon an array of delectable options all within a warm and inviting environment. While the menu changes frequently, diners can always expect soup, salad, pasta — both house-made and dried varieties — and entrée options that will appeal to meat lovers and vegetarians alike. Succulent dishes to note include gnocchi boscaiola, which are potato dumplings in a mixed mushroom cream sauce; risotto, which changes daily; and boneless short ribs braised for four hours with mixed mushrooms, porcini, tomatoes and red wine. They also have gluten-free options making this a restaurant that will attract a wide range of tastes.