Our Foodie Family’s Favorite Salt Lake City Restaurants
When our family travels, we find that one of the best ways to get acquainted with a new city is by trying out their local cuisine. San Diego has fish tacos, Kansas City has barbecue and New York has pizza, but what does Salt Lake City have? I’ll tell you. Salt Lake City has a thriving ethnic restaurant scene; who would have guessed?
Here are some of our family’s favorite Salt Lake City restaurants that span the spectrum of cuisine types but are all very delicious and unique to Salt Lake City. As a bonus, each of these tasty places has a kid’s menu or regular meals that kids can enjoy.
The Best Salt Lake City Restaurants for Families
One of the most unique restaurants in Salt Lake City is Mahider Ethiopian Restaurant & Market. While we thought our favorite Ethiopian food (outside of Ethiopia) was in Vancouver, British Columbia, we took the recommendations of our friends and gave Mahider a shot. And we were so glad we did.
From the first time we ever ate at Mahider, we absolutely loved our dinner there, and as I fast forward to today, I can still only say glowing things about the phenomenal food and experience we have each time we visit. The menu hosts a diverse selection of beef, chicken and vegetarian dishes that highlight many of the African spices from Ethiopia like berbere and mitmita.
Mahida even has a kid’s menu with less spicy options but that still highlight the uniqueness of African cuisine. Every entrée is served with the soft Ethiopian bread injera, or you can also choose rice as a side. The highlight for all kids is eating with their hands since Ethiopians typically eat without utensils.
This next restaurant is so popular as a Mexican food hot spot, they had to open two locations. The family owned Mexican cafés, Red Iguana and Red Iguana 2 are less than a mile apart, which is great because they are both popular and often have long wait lines. With Red Iguana and Red Iguana 2 being so close and having the same exact menus, you can pick the one with the shortest line or no wait at all.
Our favorite part of their menu is that it stretches well beyond the typical Tex-Mex and dives into flavorful moles and other traditional Mexican specialties like papadzules. They also have a children’s menu with Mexican classics like quesadillas, tacos and burritos all for under $5 an entrée. If you like authentic Mexican food, this is a great choice and it is located on the way to and from the Salt Lake City airport.
Vosen’s Bread Paradise
Time for a snack? Time for a dose of European specialties? Vosen’s Bread Paradise and Bruges Waffles & Frites are both located downtown only one block apart, and I highly recommend giving both a try.
Vosen’s Bread Paradise is a traditional German bakery that offers standards like brötchen, pretzels and even unique desserts like Zwetschgenkuchen (Plum Pie). While adults may like the bakery classics, our kids love the sweeter offerings like cronuts and awesome ginger bread cookies.
Bruges Waffles & Frites
Bruges Waffles & Frites offers snacks for both sweet and savory lovers. Their frites (“French” fries) are cooked in the traditional Belgian manner making them extra crispy through twice-frying and rival our favorite Vlamsse frites found at the green frituur stands at the foot of the Belfry in Bruges.
While the frites at Bruges Waffles & Frites’ are fantastic, our favorite snack here has to be the Liege waffle. Absolutely no maple syrup, whipped cream, or powdered sugar is required because special Belgian pearl sugar is baked right into these incredible sweets. To act like a Liege local, ask for your waffle in wax paper to walk around with and inhale, I mean eat.
On the lighter spectrum, Tosh’s Ramen offers traditional Japanese Ramen that is filling without being heavy. For adults, I highly recommend their spicy karai ramen. Our kids love their shoyu ramen, gyoza (pot stickers) and edamame. This Ramen house is very popular, so I highly recommend getting there at the end of their lunch hour window or early for their dinner hours.
Spitz is a friendly, downtown restaurant that specializes in Mediterranean street food like döner kabobs. They get their name from the “spits” of rotating meat that gets sliced onto their signature wraps, salads and French fries piled high with other goodies like feta and tzatziki.
They have a kids’ meal that comes with your choice of meat in a lavash wrap, plus a side and a drink that fills our kids up nicely. While everything on the menu is delicious, my favorite things are their Döner Salad and Spicy Döner. The setting is fairly hip and contemporary but kids are certainly welcome.
And as a side note, they also have killer sangrias and many craft beers on tap. Spitz is also a great choice for a later meal since they are open until 10 pm, and you can easily carry their street-style food back to your hotel.
Proper Burger Co.
If some of these ethnic and international cuisines are a stretch for your family’s palettes, you can always go with the American standby: the hamburger. While Proper Burger Co. does have a kid’s menu with just a plain Jane burger, I recommend that adults try the more adventurous side of their menu.
One of my favorites is the Korean-styled Rising Sun burger topped with kimchi and Sriracha. Or check out the Flyin’ Hawaiian made with house cured ham, pineapple and pickled jalapenos. Also for adults, Proper Brewing Co. is located right next door, and you can get a variety of their phenomenal, house-brewed craft beers on tap and enjoy them with your burger meal.
Please check each restaurant’s detailed information online before visiting because some of them have very specific hours and many are closed on Sundays. Some of the restaurants listed above have multiple locations around Salt Lake City but each has at least one location in the downtown area. All of these are within walking distance or a short drive of Hilton Salt Lake City Center.
We love staying at the Hilton downtown, and an added bonus is they have six Salt Lake City GreenBike locations located a block or less from the hotel. GreenBike SLC is a healthy, environmentally friendly way to move around the bike-friendly, downtown center of Salt Lake City.
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