A few people have hit me up for restaurant suggestions during the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show. I call Salt Lake home, and I grew up in the “foodie” capital of Portland, Oregon. I also love to eat. Here is a quick list to reference for a meal near the Salt Palace.
- Nordstrom’s Cafe – If you’ve never eaten at the restaurant located inside Nordstrom’s, you’re kind of blowing it. They offer consistently good lunch options with excellent customer service. Be prepared for lines during peak lunch hours. They take reservations and are open until 8pm. Don’t expect booze at lunch. City Creek is owned by the LDS church and drinking at any hour is frowned upon, but I think they might have wine and beer at dinner. Call and ask. If you’re in a rush, check out Ebar, their coffee shop on the main floor just outside past the women’s shoes section. They have sandwiches, snacks and salads in convenient “to go” containers. I always go for the chicken couscous salad with arugula and mandarin oranges. It comes in a plastic cup with a fork so you can eat it while you walk back to the show (and then bashfully recycle the container or reuse it as your water glass for several days to assuage your guilt.)
- Blue Iguana – I’ve never actually been here, but their sister restaurant, Red Iguana, is probably my favorite Mexican restaurant in town, and I’ve heard that this place is good too. Think cheesy, large portions. Not sure how the beans will treat you on the trade show floor though. One little known secret is that there is a Red Iguana in the food court at City Creek shopping center. It’s basically a two block walk to get there and you can stay warm and dry if you stay inside the mall.
- Finca – This place is run by Salt Lake restaurant royalty, Scott Evans. He owns and operates several of my favorite restaurants in town. Expect Spanish style Tapas and a good wine selection. I’d suggest Finca for dinner, it’s the kind of place where you’ll want to enjoy the food and a glass of wine, without feeling rushed.
- Eva’s Bakery – This is about as close as you will get to authentic French cuisine in Salt Lake. The portions are American style, you won’t walk away hungry. The ambiance is classic French Cafe with wood tables, good-looking servers, white subway tile and the smell of baked bread. The bread here is legit though. It’s a great spot for a delicious sandwich to take away, a quick breakfast treat, or a sit down lunch that’s a bit away from the trade show crowds.
- Copper Onion – The food here is excellent. This place is easily one of the better spots in Salt Lake, it’s modern American cuisine with a European flair. You can’t go wrong with the burger, but I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed fresh fish, chicken and pasta dishes at this classic Salt Lake spot. One disclaimer: It’s easily the loudest restaurant I’ve been to in years. If you worry about losing your voice during the trade show, look elsewhere.
- Copper Commons – Owned by the same people as the Copper Onion next door, this little corner bar offers small plates and a bar menu with plenty of food for a quick dinner. The low light and small tables make this a great spot to steal away for a private meal with a few close friends or colleagues. The last time I was there our server explained a whiskey cocktail on the menu to be like “Christmas in my mouth.” I was sold.
I’m sure I missed tons of good options… Naked Fish, Squatters Pub etc. but I feel like I can stand behind the places that I mentioned here. If I missed your favorite spot or another good option, please feel free to share it in the comments!