The Utah Food Scene

Posted On
Apr 16, 2018

If Utah cuisine makes you think about mayonnaise-based casseroles, Diet Coke, and smorgasbord food buffets, you’re so right–it’s all true. But, and this is a huge but, Utah’s food scene has truly grown up as world-renowned chefs and savvy foodies have discovered Utah’s friendly cost of living and killer access to the outdoors–it’s a lifestyle that the most creative and innovative minds have made home for business and family.



HSL: Handle Salt Lake City

Locally-sourced American Cuisine

HSL serves up seasonal dishes with interesting wines and cocktails–not to mention the elegant design of the restaurant itself. Feel fancy as you order up some of our favorites: Chicories + Broccoli, Duck Liver Mousse, Fruit Wood Roasted Mushroom, Fried Chicken, Honey Cake.


Sweet Lake Biscuits & Limeade

Breakfast & Lunch Comfort Food

This charming restaurant got its start with fresh lime juice, natural sugar, mint, and lots of lovin’ shakes in a mason jar to make a darn refreshing summer drink for hot desert days. A passion for homemade biscuits with interesting flavors, of course, followed shortly. First time at Sweet Lake? Try these: Mint Limeade, Habanero Limeade, Hoss (biscuit, fried chicken, egg, bacon, cheddar, sausage gravy, green onions), Cubano (slow-roasted pulled pork, ham, habanero-marinated chuck, swiss, sweet hot mustard, YeeHaw spicy pickles, Harmon’s bakery sourdough).


La Cai Noodle House

Vietnamese & Chinese Cuisine

Pho. It’s the best thing on the menu, and it’s the real deal. Start with the Rare Beef Pho, and if you want to try something different, ask for the mushroom broth. This place packs up during lunch hours, and you might have to wait up to twenty minutes for a table.



Middle Eastern Cuisine

Choose from two locations: a cozy 15th and 15th neighborhood atmosphere or the 9th and 9th slightly more glamorous location. Either way, you’ll be happy with authentic falafel, kababs, muhammara, labneh, mutabbak, and everything else on the menu. You can’t go wrong–owner, Olli, wouldn’t lead you astray.



Sushi and Japanese Cuisine

Good sushi in Utah? You better believe it. Tona’s sushi rivals that of the best found in various big cities across the country. Located on charming Historic 25th Street in Ogden, Tona has been awarded the prestigious “Best of State” award five years in a row, and has become the standard all other sushi restaurants are judged by. Order anything on the menu…you really can’t go wrong. Owners Tina and Tony are so dedicated to their craft, they work every business day of the year–save one week when they close up shop for a much-deserved vacation.


Salt Lake & Park City Distilleries

No, Utah distillery is not an oxymoron. Utah is reaping the benefits of an underdog complex–there are certainly some tricky local alcohol laws, but that just makes the locals more creative and more determined to bring locals and tourists artisanal and well-crafted spirits. These distilleries are reclaiming the old west with class. Try:

High West Distillery, Park City

Dented Brick, Salt Lake City

Beehive Distillery, Salt Lake City

New World Distillery, Eden

Ogden’s Own Distillery, Ogden


Worth Mentioning Avenues Bistro • Beer Bar • Eva • Pago • Pallet Bistro • East Liberty Tap House • The Garage • Laziz Kitchen • Yoko Ramen • Takashi • La Barba Coffee • Publik Coffee • Blue Copper Coffee



Hell’s Backbone Grill: Boulder, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Farm-to-table Seasonal Cuisine, semifinalist James Beard Award 2017

There’s no question, Hell’s Backbone Grill in Boulder, Utah is the restaurant that feels better than home–they welcome you like one of the family, feed you a meal that’s so good you’ll shed a tear at first bite. We recommend you start with: local lamb meatballs, farm veggie delight, spicy cowgal chipotle meatloaf, the dinner jenchilada, brown butter carrot cake.


9 East: Springdale, Zion National Park

Italian/Mediterranean Cuisine

This new restaurant is next door to one of Springdale’s finest hotels, The Desert Pearl Inn. The whole property sits below the magnificent red rock cliffs of the park, and the food is more than worthy of a long day spent on the trails. Try the pizza first, and then you’ll be hooked all evening so come hungry.


Worth Mentioning • Kiva Koffeehouse, Escalante • Burr Trail Grill, Boulder • Whiptail Grill, Springdale • Eklecticafe, Moab • Desert Bistro, Moab • Taco Truck, Green River • Slacker’s Burgers, Torrey •Stan’s Drive-in, Hanksville


By Ann Whittaker