Salt Lake City: Foodie-Approved Bars + Restaurants

Pallet | Salt Lake City foodie guide | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Pallet

If you’re hitting the slopes in Utah this Spring, we won’t let you go hungry!  We compiled a list of our favorite bars and restaurants in Salt Lake City that will add dimension to your trip.  Foodie-approved!  The city is slowly gaining a reputation for top local eats and tasty craft cocktails.  Rather than trying the old hit-and-miss approach, give these hot spots a try and go home happy.

Finca | Salt Lake City foodie guide | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Finca

Finca, Because Sharing is Caring

For amazing coffee and pastries, stop into Finca.   Finca is one of our favorite tapas digs in Salt Lake City and is most active around brunch or early dinner times.  For brunch, treat yourself to a savory Paella Catalana served with lemon and seasonal vegetables.  Finca also houses a nice cocktail hour, with lounge-y areas all around.  The food and atmosphere are amazing, with emphasis on social gatherings.

Salt Lake City foodie guide | Finca | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Finca | Photo: Heather Nan Photography

Spanish Tapas Perfect for Sampling

Did you fall in love with sharing Spring Hygge this year?  Finca specializes in Spanish tapas (small plates) which is perfect for sampling and sharing.  Their menu is made entirely from scratch daily.  Finca is a Salt Lake City gem because the restaurant uses local and naturally-produced ingredients.   Share the Datil (blue cheese stuffed date, wrapped in-house smoked bacon) and the Albondigas (lamb & pork meatballs, with tomato sauce and manchego cheese).  You can also try the Dine-o-Round menu, which allows you to choose 3 courses for only $35.  Do it!

Finca | Salt Lake City foodie guide | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Finca

Warning: Homemade Churros

Be sure to check out the dessert menu and try the Mel I Mato | Ricotta & Honey with toasted almonds and seasonal fruit. Warning!  The Salt Lake City restaurant also offers homemade Churros, so good luck with the self-control!  Served with a chocolate dipping sauce, it is definitely a high note to end on.  This restaurant will quickly be a notch on your foodie belt.

Finca | Salt Lake City foodie guide | Homemade churros | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Finca

Whiskey Street History

If you have to forge your way through gales of snow for dinner at Whiskey Street, rest assured it will be worth the sacrifice. Designed for downtown executives and “hip urban locals”, Whiskey Street takes its name from a piece of Salt Lake City history.  Main Street had first been designated “Whiskey Street”, until its name change in 1906.  The establishment initially opened in 1915 as The Rotisserie Inn, which served French and Italian food.  40 years later, The Rotisserie Inn closed and was succeeded under the expertise of chef Matt Crandall.

Whiskey Street | Salt Lake City foodie guide | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Random Acts of Likeness
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Whiskey Street for People-Watching

Whiskey Street has a very open atmosphere and is a terrific hangout for college kids and young professionals. Restaurants and bars in Salt Lake City ten to prefer lots of open seating.  If this is your thing, you’ll love the rustic high-top tables and horseshoe booths along the wall. Sit in a booth and people watch while you feast on Bourbon Bacon Popcorn or Parmesan Truffle Fries. Both are excellent!  You can waste a lot of time happily in this condition.

Whiskey Street | Salt Lake City foodie guide | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Random Acts of Likeness

Family-Style Dining and Brunch

Portions at Whiskey Street are hearty and they offer family-style dining.  This means anything you order will be more than enough to share!  Bring your taste buds to Salt Lake City because Whiskey Street uses only the freshest produce and finest cuts of meat. They provide a beverage pairing menu which is a great idea for recommendations at a glance.  If you’re in town on a Saturday or Sunday, consider Whiskey Street also for brunch.  The Irish Car Bomb Pancakes are to die for!

Whiskey Street | Salt Lake City foodie guide | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: City Home Collective

Hearty Food and Large Portions

Additionally, you will thoroughly enjoy the Braised Pork Belly Corn Dogs from the appetizer menu. If you find yourself in Salt Lake City with a hearty appetite, Whisky Street should be part of your game plan. The Elaine-approved Big Spinach Salad boasts hearty ingredients like red onion, smoked bacon, and Portobello mushroom. For meat-lovers, try the New York Steak Au Poivre. It’s beyond delicious and will fill you up quick!

Whiskey Street | Salt Lake City foodie guide | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Onthegrid.city

Bar-X and Beer Bar for Night Life

After dinner, we suggest heading over to Bar-X / Beer Bar for drinks and live music. Interested in the history?  Bar-X opened in Salt Lake City the year Prohibition was repealed in 1933.  It is a cozy, hipster joint that reminds us a little of San Diego.  They serve craft cocktails with names like Corpse Reviver, Blood and Sand, and Dark and Stormy.  It’s quiet during the day, and loud and busy at night when you can enjoy a local band like we did.

Bar-X and Beer Bar | Salt Lake City foodie guide | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Bar-X and Beer Bar

Locally Made Provisions

If you get hungry from all that mixing and mingling, meander through the open doorway to Beer Bar.  Beer Bar serves Salt Lake City locally made provisions and the most intensely loaded Belgian fries we have ever seen.  They’ve got sausages, strudels, and sauces to go along with the local brew of your choice.  Viet Pham and Frody Volgger created the simple beer garden menu which features Salt & Smoke Meats, Eva’s Bakery, La Barbara Coffee, and Vosen’s Bakery.

Bar-X and Beer Bar | Salt Lake City foodie guide | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Bar-X and Beer Bar

What’s Your Poison?

One of the best things about Bar-X and Beer Bar?  Having both places next to each other makes it a something-for-everyone kind of deal, which we really enjoy.  Nights are way more packed than days and you’ll find a pretty decent crowd for Salt Lake City. We love the free-flow of traffic, from one place to another, inside and out.  This is one of the best places to be on a Spring night; clear skies or not.

Bar-X and Beer Bar | Salt Lake City foodie guide | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Bar-X and Beer Bar

Locals Know

Both places have very different atmospheres which makes the combo location one you could hang out at for hours.  If you get bored of one, you can get a completely different experience in the other.  Stop by any time of day this Salt Lake City spot is a favorite of the locals for good reason. Bar-X (sans local band) is more quiet and subdued, unlike Beer Bar, which has communal tables and sports on.

Bar-X and Beer Bar | Salt Lake City foodie guide | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Bar-X and Beer Bar

Pallet for Terrific Atmosphere

Finally, Pallet rounds out our foodie-approved hit list.  It’s located near the ever-expansive City Creek Center (if you need a mall in your life).  Pallet is a New American Bistro in Salt Lake City that rewards your good taste in both atmosphere and food.  The building was originally the first creamery in the city and has a terrific atmosphere. They have done a fine job of preserving the historic quality of the place.  You will love it the minute you walk inside, from the brick walls all the way down to the quaint bathroom.  (And if we’re promoting the bathroom, you know that says something for the place!)

Pallet | Salt Lake City foodie guide | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Pallet

Tasty + Inventive

In addition, the room is filled with 100-year-old reclaimed wood and artwork commissioned specifically to speak to the era.  Behind the bar is the pièce de résistance – a gigantic wood-framed mirror with gorgeous patina.  You will love the people, the place, and the food.  They are doing a bang-up job at Pallet for the Salt Lake City cuisine scene.  Everyone who works there is very courteous and friendly, with refined attention to detail.  Their menu offers Charcuterie & Cheese pairings and craft cocktails as well.  I was literally mesmerized by the crafting of a Mezcal cocktail that was served inside a huge Poblano chile.  I have no idea who was drinking that, but it was a sight to behold.

Pallet | Salt Lake City foodie guide | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Pallet

Our Favorite Restaurant in Salt Lake City

Like any great establishment in Salt Lake City, Pallet fills up quick.  We highly recommend planning ahead of time and getting a reservation.  If you’re in a pinch, you can still sit at the bar and dine on appetizers. (We recommend the scallops, with a mouth-watering concoction of tomato, lentils, shallots, bacon, and artichoke.)    Pallet is the perfect place in Salt Lake City for a business lunch or an early dinner with family or close friends.  Everything on the menu is amazing.  Try the Risotto with wild boar, oyster mushrooms, and Parmesan if you dare.  Or, stick to a Farmer’s salad; with local greens & vegetables, basil buttermilk dressing, bacon, and egg yolk if you want something lighter.

Pallet | Salt Lake City foodie guide | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Pallet

Add Your Suggestions!

We love cities with lots of character and Utah is continuing to develop great spots to visit and hang out. If you’ve never been to Salt Lake City, we highly recommend it any time of the year. Take a look at our Snowbird Oktoberfest travel guide if you’re there in the Fall, too! Utah knows how to take care of their outdoorsy folks and you will enjoy finding new spots to check out every time you go.

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