Eating on a budget in Salt Lake City doesn’t need to entail steering through a fast food drive-through or visiting a dingy buffet. In fact, many of Salt Lake’s best and most loved restaurants come with a price tag of roughly $10 per plate.
Red Iguana (736 West North Temple; 801-322-1489) lies a few miles northwest of downtown, and is one of Salt Lake’s best examples of affordable and popular dining. In business since 1985, this Mexican restaurant specializes in Oxacan moles and draws huge crowds. Taking no reservations, would-be customers sometimes line up for half a city block to enjoy this delicious, richly flavored, homemade cuisine.
Thai Siam (1435 South State Street; 801-474-3322) also sits outside of Salt Lake’s center. Serving large portions of classic Thai dishes, this restaurant draws loyal customers with quick service, a spacious and relatively simple dining room, and generous amounts of vegetables, meats, and sauces. If you’re interested in takeaway, Thai Siam generously stuffs its to-go boxes.
Ruth’s Diner (2100 Emigration Canyon; 801-582-5807) stands even farther afield, and has a location in the beautiful, tree-lined bottom of Emigration Canyon. In business since the 1930s, Ruth’s is most famous for its hearty, southwestern-influenced breakfasts and “mile-high” biscuits. However, this restaurant serves three meals a day and even has occasional live music during its afternoon and even hours.