Welcome to Salt Lake City: A Newcomer's Eating Tour

Planning a trip to Salt Lake City? Don't miss these celebrated spots for food and drink.
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Photo By: Douglas Pulsipher ©2011, Douglas Pulsipher / Utah Images

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Welcome to Salt Lake City

If you're thinking that Salt Lake City is just a pit stop en route to a ski vacation, you may need to work up an appetite. This city, where the median age is 30.5, is home to thriving restaurants, bars and coffeehouses, all full of Utahan flavor. You could restrict yourself to downtown Salt Lake or head just 35 minutes east to the Wasatch Mountain Range, where restaurants cook fresh food at 11,000 feet above sea level. (Photo by Doug Pulsipher)

Quick Breakfast: Publik Kitchen

Publik Coffee has three locations, but Publik Kitchen serves their Central Ninth Espresso (juicy dark plum bleeds into rich caramel, giving way to tangy, bright tangerine notes) with breakfast options like banana toast with peanut butter or avocado toast with sea salt and pepper.

Publik Kitchen

Burger: Squatters Pub Brewery

The Black & Blue Burger at Squatters Brew Pub is a Cajun-spiced patty made from 100 percent Niman Ranch beef, and topped with melted blue cheese and local bacon. Pair it with the house Double IPA or a seasonal brew like a smoky Rauchbier. If you miss this spot while in town, plan to grab a burger at its airport location before you board the flight home.

Squatters Pub Brewery

Rock-Star Chef: Ryan Lowder

At The Copper Onion (downtown Salt Lake) and Copper Kitchen (Holladay), Chef Ryan Lowder showcases seasonal ingredients from the best local farmers and purveyors. Lowder trained at the Culinary Institute of America and spent time cooking in New York for Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mario Batali. Here, he uses his considerable skills to serve rustic, hearty dishes, including housemade pastas and mains like brick chicken or vegetarian cassoulet. His menus change seasonally, so they’re filled with surprises even for regulars, who pop into Copper Onion after a visit to the adjacent Broadway Centre Cinemas. 

Date Spot: Current Fish & Oyster

Housed in what used to be a Ford dealership, this hip restaurant is a bastion of regional seafood specials. Preserving the building's original touches, the space balances its industrial heritage with comfortable booths and great lighting. The menu is even better, with dishes that include Oysters Casino, Grilled Hawaiian Opah, a shellfish-studded coconut-lemongrass stew, and cobb salad with prawns, crab and scallops. After dinner, stop next door for an extensive cocktail menu at Undercurrent.

Current Fish and Oyster

Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience: The Yurt at Solutide

Want to dine in the elements? Head 30 miles east of town to Solitude Mountain, where the Yurt Experience features a trek through the woods to a freestanding, Mongolian-inspired, tentlike structure. There, a chef prepares a four-course meal that'll make you forget that a trip to the bathroom requires a headlamp and a jacket.

The Yurt at Solitude

Vegetarian: Sage's Cafe

Sage's Cafe offers a wide range of vegetarian options and seasonal plates, and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Try the Guac-N-Roll, a grilled burger made with cashews, almonds and garbanzo beans. They also serve a delicious brunch, with items like apple dream pancakes and vanilla bean "creme," tempeh bacon and asparagus hash.

Sage's Cafe

Worth a Drive: Snowbird

Head 35 minutes out of town and take the nine-minute tram ride to the top of Snowbird Mountain Resort, where traditional ski-lodge food is a thing of the past. Local and free-range meats plus top-notch ingredients arrive on the tram each morning and everything is baked in-house — yes, at 11,000 feet. Vegans and gluten-free fans will find a gourmet salad bar, gluten-free cookies and vegan pizza.

Snowbird Mountain Resort

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