Top restaurants and bars in Pac-12: Utah

Utah fans agree on two things: The Pie is a university institution for pizza and a good burger is important.

But they don't agree on where to get the best burger in Salt Lake City.

It's also clear that new regular visitors to Salt Lake might need to check their cholesterol count when the airplane lands. New to the Pac-12 lexicon: "Fry sauce."

When I was in Salt Lake last week, I had a steak sandwich at Moochies, per a recommendation from football staffers -- in particularly director of football operations Jeff Rudy -- and ate dinner at Red Iguana (mole negro!). Two thumbs up.

A few incisive notes:

Pete from Missoula, Mont., writes: I am a long time Ute Fan and recent graduate. I consider myself the ultimate Utah Man! Anyway, I was raised in Salt Lake City and only recently moved to Missoula, Montana. I still have season tickets and was one of the original members of the Muss. The best places are as listed: Best Mexican: Red Iguana (best I have ever had)Best Brewery: Bohemian (in Midvale but worth the drive).Best Before and After the Game Bar: Lumpy's (the original Ute bar)Best Pizza: The Pie (right on campus)Other Great Bars: Gracies, The Beerhive, The Tavernacle, Keys on Main, Squatters (Brewery), Piper Down, The Bayou, The Bar (Sugarhouse)Hope this helps and see you this season.Go Utes!

Tyrell from Salt Lake City writes: Let's start with food: Seafood: The Oyster Bar at Market Street Grill. Fresh Oysters flown in daily, and a good ambiance (not to mention their eggs Benedict are killer). Bambara is also a good, high end restaurant located on the main floor of the Hotel Monacco. Bars - believe it or not, you CAN get a drink in SLC. Gracies' is a great gastro pub, and a very popular spot (especially in the summer). There a quite a few great microbreweries in SLC, you have to try Squatters (either the "Chasing Tail," "Full-Suspension" or "Polygamy Porter"). Go check out The Beerhive, you can get the local microbrews on tap, hundreds of beers from around the world, plus there is a strip of ice across the bar to keep your beer cold - great pub on Main Street. "Keys on Main" - fun dueling piano bar that is popular with people of all ages (The Tavernacle is another good dueling piano bar). If you are looking for a Martini - Kristauf's is good, and so is the Red Door (small martini bar that was a favorite spot of Kyle Korvers when he was in town). There is a lot more, hope some of the recommendations help, and enjoy your trip to the Wasatch Front.

Jeff from Salt Lake City writes: Salt Lake is known for "fry sauce," an artery clogging mixture of ketchup and mayo. If your cardiologist is okay with it, you can swing by any number of franchises that are names ______ Burger (i.e. Apollo Burger, Astro Burger, Crown Burger, etc) that all has a signature burger, named after the franchise. The burger is a traditional 1/3 lbs burger loaded with lettuce, onion, pickle, tomato, piled high with pastrami and slathered in fry sauce. Order an extra fry sauce to dip the burger in. If you don't experience heaven by eating the burger, you will after the resulting heart attack. Enjoy.

By the way, if you want to get a look at each of the 12 surveys of restaurants in the Pac-12 you can do one of two things. You can search for "restaurants" in the blog search engine on the right-hand side of the page OR you can click the tag "top restaurants pac-10" at the bottom of this entry and then save the link.



The Pie

Trevor from Draper, Utah, writes: Right next to campus, hot spot for students. Most cheese you'll ever see on pizza.

Todd from Salt Lake City writes: It has been around since 1980 in a below level spot right on the edge of Campus. The pizzas are big and wonderful. The Zappis (the Pie's version of the Calzone) are perfect for one person. Not only is this place good for before and after games (if you can find a spot) but is open until 3 AM on weekends for that late night pizza craving. Oh, and don't forget to write your name on the brick walls.

Ryan from Salt Lake City writes: Arguably the best Pizza joint in the state, great atmosphere, and good beer!

Red Iguana

Jonathan from Salt Lake City writes: Gotta hit up the Red Iguana. It seems like it's always popping up on the food network as some of the best Mexican food in the west. They are famous for their Mole and they have won a bunch of awards for it. Ask anyone around here. They'll tell you the same thing.

Ben from Wood Cross, Utah writes: Even if you don't like Mole get it and you will.

Tracy from Salt Lake City: Best food in SLC is also the best Mexican food I have ever had. Eat at The Red Iguana on North Temple. Featured on the Food Network several times. Amazing food. Go Utes!


Crown Burger

Brett from Eugene, Ore., writes: This burger joint is worth the trip alone.

Pat's BBQ

Robert from Salt Lake City writes: Ribs, Pulled Pork, Baked Beans, Fried Chicken...it's all there. The only things missing are Pig's Feet and Chitlins. They have live music most evenings featuring some local favorites. They're BBQ sauce has 3 varieties; 1) I don't know if I like spicy stuff or not 2) Spice up my meat or get it out of my face, and 3) This isn't so hot....wait a minute, the hair is melting off my face. Don't waste your time eating anywhere else.

Dennis from Pinedale, Wyo., writes: Pat's has great personality and atmosphere. Its located in an a very BBQ-esque part of SLC fairly near campus, and best of all, the food rocks. You can't go wrong. Check it out once and you'll find yourself checking it out again.Enjoy!


Dan from Salt Lake City writes: Forage on 370 E and 900 S. is AMAZING! I have a friend that lives in New York and teaches at NYU say that it rivals the best New York has to offer.

Greg from Denver writes: Haven't eaten at every restaurant in Salt Lake but I'm not uncomfortable saying this is the best one.

The Paris Bistro

Trio Cafe

Andrew from Salt Lake City writes: Trio is great for contemporary Italian food, and they also serve an awesome Sunday brunch (they are one of the only restaurants that is open on Sunday morning in Salt Lake).

Midvale Mining Cafe (breakfast)

Blue Plate Diner (breakfast)

Ruth's Diner (breakfast)

Big Ed's (breakfast)


Ryan from Salt Lake City writes: Moochie's was made famous on the "Diners, Drive-in's and Dives" show on food netwoork. They serve up a mean Philly Cheesesteak.I would definitely suggest looking into either one of those eateries while you are in town.


Training Table (burgers)

Rodizio Grill

Justin from Salt Lake City writes: First and one of the best Brazilian steakhouse in the country.

The Braza Grill

Mary Ann from Afghanistan/Florida writes: A more affordable than the "we-spent-all-our-money-on-ambiance-and-unique-meat-feature-gimmick" Rodizio Grill... and features actual Brazilian wait *and* kitchen staff which equals far better cuisine)

Himalayan Kitchen

Cotton Bottom InnStu from Salt Lake City writes: A garlic burger from the cotton bottom bar and grill in holiday/cottonwood heights is always tasty.


Kevin from Sandy, Utah writes: Hands down, best burger in the state of Utah is the Wayne Burger at Scaddy's. You will hear all about the garlic burger at cotton bottom, don't buy into it. Scaddy's address is 1846 South 300 West - SLC. You'll be a changed man. Get the fries, and a side of scaddy sauce. Also, their breakfast is incredible...but why would I pass up a burger for breakfast.

Mandarin Restaurant (in Bountiful)

Justin from Salt Lake City writes: Best Chinese food on the planet!! I have lived many places and tried hundreds of Chinese places and this one is the best!

Maddox Ranch House (Brigham City)

Citris Grill

Christopher's Prime Steak House and Grill

Brent from Salt Lake City writes: This is more your fancy restaurant. Voted best steak house and best seafood. Also offer an extensive wine list and full liquor bar.


Cucina Toscana

B & D Burger

Hires Big H

Joshua from Salt Lake City writes: "Hires Big H" on 4th south just below the University campus is the best place for burgers in Salt Lake. The most famous menu item is the "Hires Big H combo". It comes with fries, and the accompanying fry sauce(a Utah staple) and a frosty mug of homemade root beer. My family has been going to games at the U for as long as I can remember and Hires has always been either a pre or post-game ritual.


Jason from Salt Lake City writes: Small, chef-owned, Italian restaurant about ten minutes from campus. Nice neighborhood restaurant

Settebello Pizzeria

The Dodo

Taggert from Sandy, Utah writes: I could eat a smoked turkey sandwich at the Dodo for every meal.

The Olympian

Happy Sumo

Cafe Rio

Nathan from Washington, D.C., writes: This is a can't miss. It's quick-serve tex-mex style food. Local chain that is expanding nationwide. There's one just down the hill from the stadium. Just won some kind of "National Restaurant of the Year" award. Salads or burritos enchilada style. It's a can't miss.

Blake from Albany, Ore., writes: Ever since I relocated from Ute Country to Duck Country, (Duck fan here) I have always wished there were a Cafe Rio in Oregon. Actually, there are a number of restaurants based out of Utah that provide the same type of mexi-grill food (Costa Vida, Bajio), but Cafe Rio is the original. Don't mess around with all the other stuff on the menu, the reason to go is for the pork salad with tomatillo dressing. It is a big mess of food that really hits the spot. You can find them anywhere in SLC.

Lonestar Taqueria

Taggert from Sandy Utah writes: Their fish tacos are legendary


Trevor from Draper, Utah, writes: incredible sushi downtown on Market Street (where all the high end food is). Make sure to order the "Go Utes" roll - not on the menu. My boss is from SoCal and says it's as good or better than anything he had in L.A.

New Yorker

Atlantic Cafe

Market Street Grill

Steve from Salt Lake City writes: As good as you can do fish and be 800 miles away from the ocean. (also Market Street Oyster Bar)

Bambara (Hotel Monacco)


Darin from Queen Creek, Ariz., writes: Tucano's is a Brazilian bbq place that is a bargain for lunch. Be prepared for the meat sweats.


The Beerhive

The Tavernacle

Kristauf's Martini Bar

Red Door

Tyrell from Salt Lake City writes: A small martini bar that was a favorite spot of Kyle Korvers when he was in town.

Desert Edge

Keys on Main


Phillip from Salt Lake City writes: Best local beer selection.

JM from Salt Lake City writes: Squatter's in my opinion is an absolute must, their beer (microbrew) is fantastic and so is the food. Their seasonals and nitro beer is usually awesome on top of all their staples!Best beer AND food: Squatter's (good sunday brunch too!)(Red Rock is pretty good as well, but Squatter's beer is better).

Piper Down

The Bayou

Steve from Draper, Utah writes: Best beer selection is The Bayou (also awesome food - recommend the Cajun burrito, and for dessert their alligator cheesecake).

The Bar in Sugarhouse

Fiddler's Elbow


Brent from Salt Lake City writes: A favorite spot of mine. You will find many Utah fans on game day before and after games. Each booth has it's own television. Plus the big screens showing the games. Nightlife, it has a dance floor upstairs. Given that I'm under 30 your more likely to see that type of crowd for the nightlife. Great food and bar. I have spent many game days during football season at Lumpy's.


Kurt from Salt Lake City writes: Squatter's,Lumpy's and Gracie's are all good watering hole's with good food and are all close together downtown.

Comment: For one, Pac-12 fans who enjoy a beer or cocktail (or two) need to know that Salt Lake City is much more friendly to them than it was just a few years ago. I also got a kick out of all the LDS writers who often humorously apologized for not being able to help with the bar selections (a couple included a parenthetical "sigh"). The Squatters, Lumpy's and Gracie's troika got plenty of praise. It's likely the Pac-12 blog will one day appear at Kristauf's or the Red Door. As for the restaurants, it's clear that there's a wide range of choices, from high-end cuisine to burgers & pizza. It seems to me we need to find some clarity on which places truly offer the "best" burgers, though obviously there's some subjectivity there. Red Iguana was a clear top vote-getter along with the Pie. Takashi got a lot of support, so you can get good sushi in Salt Lake. Settebello Pizzeria also received plenty of support. Lots of good places for steaks, and there seems to be a bit of a squabble over the best Brazilian steakhouse.