Hot Spots

October 26, 2015 Written by

Successful cities can always be sliced into micro-neighborhoods. Downtown Salt Lake is really a collection of these hot spots that together combine to create a dynamic and diverse experience for local and visitors alike.

Temple Square:
Whether it is flowers in the spring time or the holiday light installations, Temple Square is the literal and figurative center of Salt Lake. The iconic Salt Lake Temple, is not only a religious symbol, it has been the iconic image in downtown skylines since it was constructed. Surrounding Temple Square are a host of Temple Square themed restaurants including the Nauvoo Cafe (15 S. Temple) and Lion House Pantry (63 S. Temple) along with attractions like the Beehive House (67 S. Temple), Family History Library (35 W. Temple), Joseph Smith Memorial Building (15 S. Temple) and the Church Office Building’s observation deck (50 N. Temple).

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Pioneer Park:
The western environs of downtown is home to a burgeoning community, anchored by a 10-acre urban park and featuring some of Salt Lake’s hippest dining options. Cutting edge restaurants Tin Angel (400 S. 365 W.) and Pallet (237 S. 400 W.) sit on the south and north borders of the park, respectively, and neighborhood stalwarts Cucina Toscana (282 S. 300 W.), Caputo’s (300 S. 314 W.) and Carlucci’s (300 S. 314 W.) are a continuation of the Italian influence found between 200 and 300 W (see below). Up and coming eateries, Bruges (300 S. 336 W.) and Ekamai (300 S. 336 W.) are joined by Rose Establishment (235 S. 400 W.), Aquarius Fish Market (300 S. 314 W.) and Bingham Cyclery (300 S. 336 W.) providing a variety of options for a surge in housing options. The residents at the successful Broadway Park lofts (300 S. 360 W.) will be joined by several hundred new downtown denizens next summer when Garbett Homes completes the 360 Apartments project on 400 W, continuing a steady rising interest in the Pioneer Park neighborhood.

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Little Italy (300 S, between 200 and 300 W):
There is nothing little about the brick oven Settebello Pizza (260 S. 200 W.) brought to Salt Lake. Climbing hundreds of degrees higher than a typical home (or restaurant) oven, the thin-crust pies are an authentic slice (pun intended) of Italy. If you want to eat like you would if you were “in the boot,” opt for your pizza to be served uncut into slices and eat like you would as if in Rome: tearing the pliable dough into bite size pieces yourself. If you’re craving more than pizza, Valter’s Osteria’s (300 S. 173 W.) menu allows a diner’s eyes to order larger than most stomach’s can handle. House made pastas, salads and entrees finished table side, grilled meats and hand-made desserts are a show in of themselves. But, the real show is the eponymous Valter. A Brooklyn transplant, the tireless impressario dances his way through to restaurant to ensure everyone’s plate is full long after their appetite has been satisfied. Zest, a gluten-free and vegetarian provide seasonal options, many of which are familiar: pizza, manicotti, baked pomodoro. Trust us, you won’t miss the gluten! Those in the mood for more casual fare will find pizza by the slice at Sicilia Pizza (300 S. 35 W.) and family-style meals at Buca di Beppo (300 S. 202 W.). Wash it all down with a nightcap at Squatters (300 S. 147 W.), who offer a range of European influenced brews.

200 S Nightlife Hub:
Who says you can’t bar-hop in Utah? Clearly, they have not been to 200 S lately. Start off by grabbing a bite to eat at Este Pizza (200 S. 156 E.) or Cedars at Lebanon (200 S. 152 E.), both offering great food, with adult beverages. If tacos are more your speed, Todd Gardiner’s Taqueria 27 (200 S. 149 E.) opened up shop across the street, with one of the lengthiest tequila lists in the state. The adjacent three doors open into mixologists plying their craft at Bar X, Beer Bar’s (200 S. 155 E.) lengthy selection of taps or bottles imports and the casual Johnny’s on Second (200 S. 165 E.). So, whether the night calls for classic cocktails, craft beers or a few pitchers and billiards, 200 S is the place to maximize options and minimize steps.

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Main Street:
Neighborhoods are typically built around a center point, but can also be linear, and Main Street anchored on the north by Temple Square and City Creek, is a prime example. While just off Main Street, Martine (100 S. 22 E.) is adjacent to the forthcoming Eccles Theatre (131 S. Main St.) and Regent St. In addition to being a standout lunch spot, the tapas and wine options are a classic date-night go to choice. Recently renovated, Martine will be a standout hotspot with theatre-goers. Moving south, office buildings effortlessly mix with street-level retail, bars and restaurants.

Best experienced by foot, a stroll on Main Street turns up new discoveries along the way. The next block south is home to Eva’s Bakery (155 S. Main St.), who serve meals to order, as well as pastries to go. Thirst can be quenched at Beerhive (128 S. Main St.), where a portion of the bar-top is made of frozen ice to keep brews cold. Michelangelo’s (132 S. Main St.), located next door, serves Italian fare and is also available at Beerhive.

If you’re in the mood for sushi, Yellowtail (321 S. Main St.) has you covered, while Bistro 222 (222 S. Main St.) covers those craving creative new-American fare. Bambara (202 S. Main St.) is consistently rated a top downtown restaurant - don’t miss the bleu cheese chips - and around the corner on 200 S the Red Door (200 S. 57 E.) creates Salt Lake’s most interesting martinis. Keys on Main (242 S. Main St.), is a staple of the downtown scene, featuring talented performers on dueling pianos and an always enthusiastic crowd.

Whiskey Street (323 S. Main St.) is popular with bourbon and rye aficionados, and offer a lunch and dinner menu that is more gourmet restaurant than bar fare, while Cheers to You (315 S. Main St.) is a popular neighborhood bar. Maxwell’s (357 S. Main St.) is a go-to for a slice of pizza with live sports on dozens of TV’s.

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100 South (Salt Palace Convention Center):
The block west of Main is a “trip” for your palate. Caffe Molisse (100 S. 55 W.) transports taste buds to Italy, with an approachable menu including (you guessed it) pastas and grilled meats. The rest of Europe, and the world, really, is covered at neighboring BTG (100 S. 63 W.). An abbreviation for “By The Glass,” BTG brought a revolutionary wine-tapping system to Salt Lake, allowing them to offer high-end wines by the glass, whereas bottle selections are typically the only options for rare vintages. Flights by region or grape are available, and the educated staff is happy to help navigate the plethora of selections. The Far East’s signature dish, sushi, is more than food at Naked Fish (100 S. 67 W.): it’s an experience. Expert chefs slice and filet fresh fish to create imaginative dishes with seafood from around the world. Familiar rolls, salads and appetizers are available, but Naked Fish truly shines when opting for the “omakase”. Literally translating to “I trust you,” the chef creates a custom menu spanning several courses for diners seeking an unforgettable trip through flavors and textures.

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State Street:
In the mood for an indie flick? The Broadway Center Cinemas (300 S. 111 E.), runs sundance films, documentaries and a wide-range of independent work on their six screens. Neighboring Copper Onion (300 S. 111 E.) is consistently ranked as one of downtown’s top restaurants, perfect for a dinner and movie date. Ryan Lowder, the mastermind behind Copper Onion, created Copper Common (300 S. 111 E.) just a few doors down and always abuzz with activity. Inventive cocktails and gourmet takes on comfort and pub fare is a sure bet. From Scratch (62 W. Gallivan Ave.), creates handcrafted pizzas, starting, literally from scratch with an in-house flour mill. They’ve also won awards for the best burger in the state. Alamexo (268 S. State St.) blends traditional Mexican options with a modern cuisine approach and boasts a wide selection of tequilas and margaritas to pair with a meal.