Unique Restaurants in Salt Lake City: 12 Extraordinarily Creative Dining Spots in SLC

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Salt Lake City
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Explore a world where dining is an adventure with our guide to unique restaurants in Salt Lake City. From cozy mountain yurts offering intimate culinary experiences to vibrant downtown spots where food and music create an unforgettable atmosphere, this guide covers it all. Prepare to be delighted by the diverse and extraordinary dining options that Salt Lake City has to offer.

Salt Lake City, a gem nestled in the mountainous terrain of Utah, is not just a haven for the outdoorsy but also a burgeoning hotspot for culinary adventurers. This guide is your ticket to exploring some of the most unique and captivating dining experiences that Salt Lake City has to offer.

From historic log cabins offering gourmet meals in the heart of the forest, to magical dining rooms where mystery and fine dining intertwine, each restaurant in this guide is a world of its own. Picture yourself savoring dishes in settings that range from the rustic and intimate to the theatrical and extravagant.

As you embark on this culinary journey, expect to be transported to places where the ambiance is as carefully crafted as the menus, exuding Southwest charm. Prepare to indulge in a gastronomic adventure that will tantalize your taste buds and ignite your wanderlust. Welcome to the unique dining experiences of Salt Lake City, where every meal is an exploration and every bite a discovery!

The top restaurants to visit in Salt Lake City right now

Unique Restaurants in Salt Lake City: 12 Incredible SLC Eateries

From hidden gems tucked away in the city’s heart to scenic spots with breathtaking views, these dining destinations are sure to amaze. Join us as we explore the vibrant and diverse culinary landscape of Salt Lake City.

1. Log Haven

Nestled in Millcreek Canyon, Log Haven stands as a testament to love and culinary excellence, marking its 100th anniversary. This unique restaurant in Salt Lake City was originally built as a romantic gift in 1920. It has evolved into a celebrated dining destination. Margo Provost, who rescued the property from demolition in 1994, transformed it into a romantic haven. Today, it comes complete with sparkling garlands and wood-burning fireplaces. It sits in the Wasatch National Forest, offering a serene escape just 4 miles from the city hustle.

At Log Haven, the menu is a tribute to rustic Rocky Mountain cuisine. Chef David Jones, a pioneer in Utah’s farm-to-table movement, sources fresh ingredients from a garden on-site and local vendors. The menu features delicacies like wood ear mushrooms with sake-marinated halibut and grilled bison steak, each dish a celebration of local flavors. The dining experience is complemented by a curated selection of over 180 wines and specialty drinks.

This unique place to eat in SLC is an immersive experience where nature, history, and culinary artistry intertwine. Log Haven’s legacy is its commitment to creating memorable moments, whether it’s a romantic dinner or a grand wedding in its amphitheater surrounded by pine trees.

Log Haven is one of the unique restaurants in Salt Lake City.
Log Haven is a century-old romantic dining gem nestled in Millcreek Canyon’s serene forest setting.

2. Mystique Dining in Gardner Village

Mystique Dining in Gardner Village offers a unique blend of magic and dining, making it one of the fun places to eat in Salt Lake City. This enchanting venue combines a five-course gourmet meal with a captivating 45-minute magic show, providing an experience unlike any other in the area. The Grand Dining Chamber, where guests dine, is opulently decorated, setting the stage for an evening of elegance and wonder.

The magic at Mystique Dining is intimate and interactive, featuring world-renowned magicians. With a seating capacity of just 30 guests, the performances are personal, allowing every attendee to feel part of the magic. The shows specialize in close-up magic, ensuring that each guest experiences the artistry and skill of the performers up close.

As one of the unique restaurants in Salt Lake City for dinner, Mystique Dining is an immersive experience that combines fine dining with world-class entertainment. Recommended for guests aged 13 and above, it’s an ideal destination for those seeking a sophisticated yet magical evening.

Dine at Mystique Dining in Gardner Village, where magic meets dining.
Dine at Mystique Dining in Gardner Village, where magic meets dining. | Source: https://www.gardnervillage.com/

3. Purgatory

One of the coolest restaurants in Salt Lake City is a popular downtown hipster bar with some of the most creative bar grub. Purgatory is known for its unique Asian-influenced menu, featuring items like fried rice with Spam and chicken katsu wraps. This place is a paradise for those who love a twist on traditional bar food. It offers an impressive lineup of french fries topped with everything from curry puree to enchilada sauce.

The ambiance of Purgatory is a blend of indoor and outdoor settings, with an overhead door that opens up in mild weather. It offers a variety of seating options, including bar stools, counter-height tables, and a game room in the back. The bar boasts a serious beer menu with 20 selections on tap and a range of craft cocktails. The Smokey Lama, blending reposado tequila, mescal, and grapefruit juice, stands out deliciously.

As one of the unique restaurants in SLC, Purgatory is a culinary destination. The brunch menu includes toasts, eggs, meats, and the intriguing ‘baby arm burrito’. The dinner menu, available after 4 p.m., surprises with items like cheesed corn with optional shredded short rib and spicy chicken ssåm.

Purgatory is a hip bar offering creative Asian-inspired bar grub.
Purgatory is a hip bar offering creative Asian-inspired bar grub.

4. Table X

Known for its modern American cuisine and farm-to-table ethos, Table X is a standout in Salt Lake City’s best restaurants. Located in the quiet Millcreek neighborhood, this restaurant is a hub of culinary innovation. Chefs and co-owners Mike Blocher and Nick Fahs have created a space where food is not just nourishment but an art form. Their dishes, described as intricate and edible artwork, are a testament to their commitment to quality and creativity.

The restaurant’s unique approach is evident in its use of ingredients from its onsite garden. During peak growing seasons, about 70% of the produce used at Table X comes from this garden, amounting to 1,000 pounds of vegetables annually. This commitment to fresh, home-grown ingredients ensures that each dish served is a celebration of flavor and freshness. This approach has earned them recognition as James Beard Award Semifinalists for Best Chef in the Mountain region in 2020.

For those seeking the best food in SLC, Table X offers a unique experience. Its combination of world-influenced, hyper-seasonal dishes and a commitment to local produce makes it a must-visit for food enthusiasts.

Table X is a hub of culinary innovation that offers modern American cuisine with a farm-to-table approach.
Table X is a hub of culinary innovation that offers modern American cuisine with a farm-to-table approach.

5. The Rest

A hidden gem restaurant in Salt Lake City, The Rest is a speakeasy-style restaurant tucked away beneath Bodega on Main Street. This unique spot is accessed through a ‘secret’ door, leading to a cellar with a distinct hipster ambiance. The interior, featuring brick walls, vintage light bulbs, a record player, and even taxidermy, creates an atmosphere that’s both eclectic and cozy.

The menu at The Rest is a delightful mix of tapas-inspired starters and standard entrees, including BBQ Plate, Paella, and Beer Can Chicken. The tapas, though listed as individual servings, are perfect for sharing. Standout dishes like Sardines and Toast, Garden Toast, and the Scotch Egg showcase the kitchen’s flair for combining traditional and innovative flavors.

For those seeking the best food in SLC, The Rest offers more than just great eats. Its cocktail menu is a highlight, featuring choices like the Palma Fizz that promise to elevate any evening. The wine selection, categorized as cheap, decent, or good, adds an element of surprise, with ‘secret’ wines revealed upon inquiry.

The Rest is a hidden speakeasy-style gem beneath Bodega, boasting eclectic, cozy decor.
The Rest is a hidden speakeasy-style gem beneath Bodega, boasting eclectic, cozy decor.

6. The Dinner Detective

At The Dinner Detective, guests enjoy one of the best places to eat in Salt Lake City with a twist. This interactive murder mystery dinner show, held at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center, offers a unique blend of suspense and dining. The experience starts with an interrogation reception, followed by a multi-course dinner. The twist? The actors are hidden among the guests, and anyone, including you, could become part of the show.

In this fun restaurant in SLC, the action unfolds throughout the room. A crime occurs, clues are revealed, and detectives guide guests to solve the mystery. The evening culminates with a prize package for the top sleuth who comes closest to cracking the case. The show’s interactive nature ensures a dynamic and engaging experience for all.

The Dinner Detective stands out for its unique format. Unlike traditional murder mystery dinners, there’s no set theme or time period, and performers are dressed just like the guests. This approach adds to the mystery and excitement, as you never know who might be part of the story. With a fully-stocked bar and a tantalizing menu, The Dinner Detective offers a thrilling evening of entertainment and fine dining.

The Dinner Detective is one of the unique restaurants in Salt Lake City.
The Dinner Detective offers a unique dining experience merging suspenseful entertainment with interactive murder mystery.

7. Prohibition

Prohibition, a 1920s-themed bar and restaurant in Murray, is a themed restaurant in SLC that takes you back in time. Its speakeasy vibe is complemented by Marie’s Antiques and Oddities antique shop and a variety of ageless entertainment. Guests can enjoy live jazz music, burlesque shows, drag queens, belly dancing, pole dancing, and aerial performances. The ambiance is enhanced by a ‘behind the bookshelf’ setting, creating an enchanting experience.

The menu at Prohibition has evolved from tapas to a more chef-driven selection, offering dishes like Venison Tenderloin and Artichoke Chicken Pasta. Vegan options and sweet treats like Bourbon Caramel Bread Pudding are also available. This transformation from a bar to a full-fledged restaurant was a response to the challenges of COVID-19, showcasing the establishment’s adaptability and commitment to providing quality dining experiences.

Prohibition is among the coolest restaurants in SLC, offering a unique blend of historical ambiance, diverse entertainment, and culinary delights. It’s a place where the past and present merge, offering a dining experience that’s both nostalgic and contemporary.

Prohibition is a 1920s-themed restaurant with a speakeasy vibe.
Prohibition is a 1920s-themed restaurant with a speakeasy vibe.

8. Salty Dinner Theater

In the heart of Salt Lake City, the Salty Dinner Theater offers a dining experience that’s as much about performance as it is about food. This interactive comedy dinner theater blends classic stories with humor and audience participation. The evening begins with guests mingling with characters, setting the stage for a night of laughter and engagement.

As one of the unique restaurants in Salt Lake City, Salty Dinner Theater takes a special and hilarious take on classic stories, performed all around the guests. The show is interactive, but it’s also comfortable for those who prefer to watch rather than participate. The performance includes songs, contests, and even dancing during the dinner break, making it a lively and entertaining experience.

Salty Dinner Theater is one of the fun places to eat in SLC, where the plot unfolds around your dinner table. The show continues after dinner, leading to an exciting, hilarious, or even romantic conclusion.

Dine at Salty Dinner Theater, where classic stories meet comedy in an interactive dining experience.
Dine at Salty Dinner Theater, where classic stories meet comedy in an interactive dining experience. | Source: https://saltydinnertheater.com/

9. Carson Kitchen

Imagine stepping into a place where every bite is a melody and the ambiance hums with classic rock. Welcome to Carson Kitchen in downtown Salt Lake City. This unique eatery, born amidst the challenges of a pandemic, is a bold statement in the culinary world. Chef Cory Harwell’s vision was not just about creating a restaurant but crafting an experience where every visit feels like a celebration, even if it’s just a Tuesday.

Carson Kitchen stands out as one of the best restaurants in SLC, not only for its innovative menu but also for its vibrant atmosphere. The restaurant resonates with a rock and roll vibe, where classic tunes from The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, and others set the rhythm. Servers donning t-shirts with iconic music logos add to the lively spirit, making dining here an immersive experience.

In this hub for the best food in Salt Lake City, Carson Kitchen transforms comfort food into culinary masterpieces. The menu is a creative blend of familiar favorites and chef-driven innovations. From deviled eggs with a unique twist to fried chicken in Alabama white sauce, each dish is a testament to the restaurant’s commitment to culinary excellence.

Carson Kitchen is a culinary celebration with a classic rock vibe.
Carson Kitchen is a culinary celebration with a classic rock vibe.

10. Why Kiki

In a city known for its serene landscapes, Why Kiki vibrantly bursts into the scene. This funky beach bar, which opened its baby pink doors in spring 2021, quickly became a beloved space for those seeking a good time with a side of the unconventional. Its unapologetic attitude and racy menu items, including phallically shaped food, have made it a viral sensation.

Why Kiki stands out as one of the fun places to eat in SLC, offering more than just food and drinks. The bar hosts a variety of events, including Taco Techno Tuesday, Bitch Bingo Wednesday, and a silent disco with Latin music and hip hop. Every second Friday, an all-drag-king show takes the stage, featuring regular guest appearances from local performers. The Saturday Night Vibes event changes themes weekly. This encourages guests to dress up and enjoy high-energy drag performances and lip sync karaoke.

Among the unique restaurants in Salt Lake City, Why Kiki offers a sense of belonging and community. Its location near the Salt Palace Convention Center makes it a central spot for LGBTQ+ gatherings and international visitors. The bar’s commitment to inclusivity is evident in its support for drag kings and queer artists, providing them a dedicated platform and spacious dressing rooms.

Why Kiki is a vibrant beach bar in a serene city landscape.
Why Kiki is a vibrant beach bar in a serene city landscape. | Source: https://www.yelp.com/

11. The Yurt at Solitude Mountain Resort

Have you ever dined in a Mongolian yurt under the starlit sky of a mountain? The Yurt at Solitude Mountain Resort offers a unique dining adventure that begins with a snowshoe hike to a cozy, lantern-lit yurt. This journey, half a mile up the mountain, is an experience in itself. It sets the stage for an evening of exceptional dining.

As one of the scenic places in Salt Lake City to eat, The Yurt provides an intimate setting for up to 26 guests. The absence of electricity adds to the charm, with propane lamps and a wood-fired stove creating a warm, inviting atmosphere. Chef Craig Gerome, known for his exquisite seafood dishes, prepares a four-course meal that’s both a visual and gastronomic delight.

The Yurt is a pinnacle of fine dining in Salt Lake City, offering a menu that includes chicory salad with whipped Bellwether Farms ricotta, Pacific Bay chowder with diver scallops, smoked beef short rib, and milk and honey panna cotta. This dining experience is perfect for those seeking adventure, romance, or a memorable evening.

The Yurt is an exceptional mountain dining in a Mongolian yurt, accessed by a snowshoe hike under starlit skies.
The Yurt is an exceptional mountain dining in a Mongolian yurt, accessed by a snowshoe hike under starlit skies.

12. High West Distillery

Imagine sipping a world-class whiskey while surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of Utah’s mountains. High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah’s first distillery since Prohibition, offers this unique experience. Known for its exceptional rye whiskeys, High West has garnered numerous awards, with its Campfire blend being a standout, featuring a mix of bourbon, rye, and scotch.

As one of the best places to eat in SLC, High West Distillery isn’t just about the whiskey. The distillery is located on Blue Sky Ranch, a luxury dude ranch, providing a stunning backdrop for your dining experience. The restaurant and tasting room boast a modern yet rustic ambiance, with large windows framing the spectacular views.

The menu is a delightful surprise, offering a range of dishes that perfectly complement their spirits. The distillery’s commitment to quality is evident in every aspect, from the carefully crafted whiskey blends to the exquisite food offerings.

High West Distillery is one of the unique restaurants in Salt Lake City.
High West Distillery is a scenic mountain spot offering world-class whiskeys.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Unique Places to Eat in Salt Lake City

Got questions about eating out in Salt Lake City? Our SLC restaurant guide’s FAQ section has all the answers to help you find the perfect dining spot.

What is Salt Lake City known for in food?

Salt Lake City is a melting pot of culinary delights, known for its diverse range of flavors. From traditional American fare to international cuisine, the city offers something for every palate. Particularly, it’s celebrated for its unique restaurants in Salt Lake City, where innovative chefs blend local ingredients with global influences to create unforgettable dishes. Whether you’re craving artisan pizzas, gourmet burgers, or exotic Asian fusion, Salt Lake City’s food scene will not disappoint.

What famous food is Utah known for?

Utah is famous for several unique foods that reflect its cultural heritage. One of the most notable is the Utah scone, a deep-fried dough treat often served with honey butter. Another local favorite is the green Jell-O, particularly popular among the state’s large Mormon population. Utah is also known for its funeral potatoes, a comforting casserole dish made with potatoes, cheese, sour cream, and a crunchy topping, often served at gatherings.

How much does it cost to eat at The Roof in Salt Lake City?

The Roof Restaurant in Salt Lake City offers a fine dining experience with a price that reflects its quality and ambiance. Typically, a meal at The Roof can range from moderate to high in cost, depending on the menu choices and the time of visit. It’s known for its gourmet buffet, which includes a variety of dishes, and the prices can vary. For the most current pricing, it’s best to check their official website or contact them directly.

Is Salt Lake City good for foodies?

Absolutely! Salt Lake City is a haven for foodies, offering a wide array of dining options that cater to all tastes and preferences. From high-end restaurants to cheap eats in Salt Lake City, the city’s food scene is vibrant and diverse. Food enthusiasts can explore everything from street food markets to elegant dining establishments. They can also enjoy everything from classic American dishes to innovative, globally-inspired cuisine.

Tuscany offers authentic Italian dining with a cozy, rustic ambiance.
Tuscany offers authentic Italian dining with a cozy, rustic ambiance.

Where can I find the best cheap eats in Salt Lake City?

Salt Lake City offers a variety of options for those looking for delicious yet affordable meals. You’ll find numerous food trucks, small eateries, and local cafes that serve up tasty dishes at reasonable prices. Areas like Downtown and Sugar House are great for exploring a range of budget-friendly dining options. Don’t miss out on the city’s famous food trucks, which often serve up gourmet-style dishes at a fraction of the cost of a restaurant meal.

Are there vegetarian options in Salt Lake City’s restaurants?

Yes, Salt Lake City is accommodating to vegetarians, with many restaurants offering a range of vegetarian and even vegan options. From specialized vegetarian restaurants to mainstream eateries with dedicated vegetarian menus, the city caters to plant-based diets. You’ll find everything from vegetarian burgers and pizzas to creative salads and international vegetarian dishes.

What should I try for a unique dining experience in Salt Lake City?

For a truly unique dining experience in Salt Lake City, explore the city’s themed restaurants and hidden gems. These establishments offer not just great food but also an immersive atmosphere. From dining in a yurt under the stars to enjoying a meal in a historic building, Salt Lake City’s unique restaurants provide memorable experiences along with delicious cuisine.

Can I find international cuisine in Salt Lake City?

Yes, Salt Lake City is home to a diverse range of international cuisines. The city’s culinary landscape includes restaurants serving authentic dishes from around the world, including Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and more. Whether you’re in the mood for sushi, tacos, pasta, or curry, Salt Lake City’s international dining scene has you covered.

Final Thoughts On Unique Salt Lake City Restaurants

It’s clear that Salt Lake City is a treasure trove of culinary delights. Each restaurant we’ve explored provides experiences that linger in memory long after the last bite. From the cozy yurts nestled in the mountains to the vibrant, music-filled halls of downtown eateries, Salt Lake City’s dining scene is as diverse as it is delicious.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, the city’s array of dining options invites you to explore and indulge, just one facet of the many things to do in Salt Lake City. The unique restaurants in SLC are destinations in their own right, each with a story to tell. They embody the spirit of innovation and the joy of gastronomy, making Salt Lake City a must-visit for anyone who loves good food and great adventures.

The top restaurants in Salt Lake City for all types of travelers
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