Salt Lake Magazine’s 2023 Dining Awards

Salt Lake magazine established its Dining Awards in 1998. That year, the awards ceremony was held en plien air in Memory Grove with an accompanying picnic. The winners’ list included restaurants longtime Utahs will remember but are long gone (Capitol Cafe, Chez Betty and Metropolitan) but also many others that have survived and thrived in the ensuing 25 years (Log Haven, Cucina and Glitretind). For more than two decades, we’ve handed out hundreds of our plates to a worthy and growing selection of ambitious restaurateurs, chefs and culinary wizards to support and legitimize the Utah Food landscape. But then came the “lost years,” a term our editors and panelists coined during our discussion for this year’s awards. The pandemic was especially hard on this part of our community, as we all know, and for these past two years, the magazine focused its accolades on restaurateurs who found creative ways to keep their doors open (“The 2021 Blue Plate Awards or How to Survive in the Restaurant Industry During a Pandemic”) and asking chefs to support other chefs (“The 2022 Chef’s Choice Awards”). It is difficult, after all, to evaluate the food on the table when just keeping the lights on took an effort worthy of applause.

We have, however, finally emerged (knock on wood). Restaurants are back in the swing of things and there is excitement in the air as we’ve all rediscovered the pleasures of a great meal served by a superlative restaurant. In some ways, the 2023 Dining Awards feel like a fresh start unburdened by the past and blessed by optimism for the future of dining in Utah. Here’s our guide to 12 of the best dining experiences we’ve had over the past year and 4 more restaurants to watch and classics to revisit.   

The 12 Best Restaurants in Utah (Right Now)

We considered consistency, overall experience (“is this something you can’t get at home?”), hospitality, service and innovation for each. But most of all we made it personal—would we send our friends and family to a place? The answer, for these 12 is “absolutely.” The term “Best” is subjective, after all, but we know it when we see it. Click on the images below to learn more about our 2023 winners.

Photography by Adam Finkle

2023 Dining Awards
2023 Dining Awards
2023 Dining Awards
2023 Dining Awards
2023 Dining Awards
2023 Dining Awards
2023 Dining Awards

Meet the Salt Lake Magazine 2023 Dining Awards Panel

Stuart Melling

Stuart is the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC; he’s also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for The Salt Lake Tribune. He has worked extensively with multiple local publications and helped consult for national TV shows. Stuart is an award-winning journalist who has covered the Utah dining scene for 15 years. He’s largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of big words he doesn’t understand.

Darby Doyle

Darby Doyle is a food, beverage, and outdoor writer who covers the culinary and natural wonders of the American West. She’s freelanced for a passel of print and digital publications, and her stories featuring Utah’s bar and restaurant scene have won multiple journalism awards. When not reminiscing about great meals shared with friends, you’ll find Darby camping, fly fishing or hunting with her family, or lounging in her overgrown garden with a good book and a Boulevardier.   

Jennifer Burns

Jennifer has always had a love of cooking and appreciating craftsmanship in culinary arts. She has hosted over 3,000 TV cooking segments featuring her recipes, as well as guest chefs. Jennifer has a published cookbook called Cooking Delight, which combines food, music and art. She has been a contributing food writer for The Salt Lake Tribune and other publications. Besides cooking and frequenting restaurants, she takes full advantage of the outdoor wonders that Utah offers.

Lydia Martinez

Lydia is a freelance food, travel and culture writer. She has written for Salt Lake magazine, Suitcase Foodist and Utah Stories. She is a reluctantly stationary nomad who mostly travels to eat great food. She is a sucker for anything made with lots of butter and has been known to stay in bed until someone brings her coffee.


Six Utah Classics

Utah Food is a conundrum, what even is it? Fry sauce, funeral potatoes. Naww. Food evolves and tastes evolve and within that evolution, a consensus begins to form and standards emerge. None of these restaurants are standing still or living in the past (well maybe, Maddox, but the past is what that place is about) but all have proven their excellence for so long that they have become institutions that are the backbone of dining in Utah. Our six Utah classics are:

  • Maddox Ranch House
  • Feldman’s Deli
  • Mazza Cafe
  • VENETO Ristorante Italiano
  • Red Iguana
  • Takashi

Read on for more on these six classic Utah Restaurants.

Best New Restaurants to Watch

Very often a new restaurant comes on the scene with a splash and catches our attention but, hey, it’s a hard biz at any time, much less at this time. But these four newcomers raised our eyebrows and we’re excited to see what happens next.

  • Ivy + Varly
  • Urban Hill
  • Wood Ash Rye
  • Franklin Ave. Cocktails & Kitchen

Meet the four new hot spots on our radar.

Congratulations to all our 2023 Dining Awards winners! Hungry for more? Discover winners from previous Dining Awards:

2022 Salt Lake Magazine Dining Awards: Chef’s Choice

2021 Blue Plate Awards

Blue Plate Awards Winners 2020

Salt Lake Magazine’s 2019 Dining Awards

2018 Dining Awards: Salt Lake Magazine Names Best Restaurants in Utah

Salt Lake Magazine
Salt Lake Magazine
Salt Lake is your best guide to the Utah lifestyle. From food to fashion, travel and the arts, Salt Lake magazine has something for everyone. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @SLmag.

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