Best Restaurants Tucked Between Downtown and Sugarhouse

Salt Lake’s 9th & 9th neighborhood is one of the best in the city when it comes to dining. Much lower-key than Downtown or Sugarhouse, this area centered around 900 South and 900 East streets requires vastly fewer parking maneuvers and much less crowd battling than either of those more famous city sectors. Packed with locally owned stores like clothing boutiques and bike shops, and littered with restaurants and yoga studios, this compact commercial area is surrounded by historic brick homes, green lawns and mature deciduous trees, making it a pleasant place to walk, bike and enjoy a meal outdoors.

Those visiting Salt Lake in the summer should enjoy a mist-cooled patio lunch at Café Trio. With arguably the best outdoor dining in town, this modern Italian restaurant offers a liberating a la carte-style menu that gives diners great flexibility in accordance with their appetites. While there, check out Trio’s famously tasty flatbread.

For a more casual patio dining experience in 9th & 9th, head to the 9th South Delicatessen. One of Salt Lake’s most popular delis, 9th South serves mouth-watering sandwiches crafted with gourmet meats, European-style breads, incredibly flavorful sauces and garden-fresh vegetables.

If those two options don’t excite you, consider a stop at Great Harvest Bread Company, Barbacoa Mexican Grill, Mazza Middle Eastern Restaurant, or any of the other fine 9th & 9th establishments on this list.


One of Salt Lake City's favorite Japanese restaurants, Kyoto embraces diners with refined, traditional Japanese cuisine served amongst simple-yet cozy-decor and pleasant atmosphere. Lunchtime business folks flock here in droves to sample the delicious (and reasonably priced) sushi and tempura specials. Quick and efficient service adds to the midday allure. At dinner, the pace slows down a bit as patrons gather in classic tatami rooms to savor shrimp or steak tempura, salmon teriyaki, or sukiyaki. Unlike many of Salt Lake City's modern, flashy, fusion or otherwise "trendy" sushi restaurants, Kyoto focuses on the millennia-tested goodness of traditional sushi.

Recommended for 9th & 9th's Best Restaurants because: Kyoto, a long-standing Salt Lake tradition, has consistently been one of the city's highest rated sushi restaurants for years.

Local Expert tip: Come to Kyoto if you've never had the experience of dining in a tatami room.

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Thai Garden & Noodle House uses fresh, home-grown ingredients whenever possible to craft authentic Thai meals of the highest quality and greatest taste. Enjoy lighter Thai salads and vegetable-rich noodle dishes, or opt for more filling entrees such as red curry. With an emphasis on homemade, high-quality, fresh dishes, Thai Garden & Noodle House brings a healthy and enjoyable eating experience to Salt Lake City. Enjoy a meal in the comfortable and relaxing dining room, or order your food as carry-out. Beer and wine menus are available. Though the plates are somewhat small at Thai Garden, the ingredients are of the highest quality.

Recommended for 9th & 9th's Best Restaurants because: For the best value, visit during lunchtime and order a combination special.

Local Expert tip: One of 9th & 9th's newer restaurants, Thai Garden & Noodle House brings a light and healthy version of Thai cuisine to Salt Lake City.

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Barbacoa Mexican Grill
Photo courtesy of Symic

Located in Salt Lake's fun and hip 9th & 9th neighborhood, Barbacoa serves a fast and nutritious version of Mexican food. Rather than sit-down service and cheese-smothered burritos, this Mexican grill offers fresh wraps, made-to-order at the counter. Customers have their choice among meats like Barbacoa pork, grilled steak, and chicken. They can then select their type of beans, sauces, and vegetables. If you're not in the mood for a wrap, order a salad instead or possibly a burrito bowl, taco, or soup. All meals at Barbacoa are made with fresh, high-quality ingredients � and are of rather large proportions. Come hungry, or plan to save half of your burrito.

Recommended for 9th & 9th's Best Restaurants because: For a quick lunch en route to the mountains, or a filling and affordable recovery dinner, nothing beats a fresh-mex burrito.

Local Expert tip: Excepting the wheat and flour tortillas, all foods (including the cookies) are gluten-free at Barbacoa.

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Tulie Bakery
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Boren

Tulie Bakery enjoys a prime location just north of the 9th and 9th intersection in Sugarhouse, and adjacent to Trio Cafe (one of the city's most popular modern Italian eateries). This tempting little gem offers some of the tastiest and light fare in all of Salt Lake City. With a menu that ranges from hot, pressed sandwiches to pastries and cakes, the Tulie Bakery challenges you to find a reason NOT to visit. For breakfast, try a quiche, bread pudding, pain au jambon or creme fraiche coffee cake. For any other meal of the day, enjoy a turkey, brie and avocado Panini, or perhaps try a sopressata, pesto or mozzarella, tomato and basil one instead.

Recommended for 9th & 9th's Best Restaurants because: If you're just in town for a visit, you're lucky; Tulie Bakery has become the relentless addiction of many a Salt Laker.

Local Expert tip: This American and European bakery has something for every taste.

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This locally owned restaurant has been serving Salt Lake City for over a decade. Utilizing fresh, seasonally appropriate ingredients and authentic Middle Eastern recipes and cooking methods, Mazza is a steadily popular eatery for both lunch and dinner. Feeling like a lighter lunch? Sample their Middle Eastern sandwiches, wraps and salads. Mazza also offers sides and small plates perfect for sharing with friends. In addition to their delicious courses, Mazza offers handmade coffee and cocktails that pair marvelously with desert. Vegetarians, vegans and gluten-intolerant folks will have ample selections on the menu. All Mazza guests enjoy the bright, vibrant dishes of the Middle East.

Recommended for 9th & 9th's Best Restaurants because: Located in the very heart of 9th and 9th, Mazza offers delicious and fresh Middle Eastern cuisine friendly to all dietary preferences.

Local Expert tip: Mazza boasts one of the United States' largest selections of Middle Eastern beers and wines.

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Café Trio
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Boren

Cafe Trio, located on the northern periphery of Salt Lake's 9th & 9th neighborhood, is one of Salt Lake City's most consistently busy restaurants. Serving a contemporary and fresh version of Italian cuisine in a bright and stylish dining room, Trio offers simply elegant foods crafted with wholesome ingredients. All food is offered a la carte, and is categorized as starters, sides, pizzas, pasta, and entrees. During lunch or dinner, guests have the flexibility to order exactly the size of meal they desire. If you're feeling hungry, take a side, pasta, and entree. If not, order a salad, and follow it with a soup or pizza. Not only does Trio's simplistic, item-by-item menu allow you to adjust your meal size to your appetite, but it also allows you to respect your budget.

Recommended for 9th & 9th's Best Restaurants because: Trio Cafe has Salt Lake City's best outdoor dining in summer on a misted, spacious patio.

Local Expert tip: Trio's Sunday brunch is a city-wide legend; try to check it out if at all possible.

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Photo courtesy of Jennifer Boren

If you're looking for farm-fresh, artisan food, Pago is your number-one choice in the Salt Lake City area. Whether you're looking for brunch, lunch or dinner, you can expect a diverse menu filled with tantalizing meat and vegetarian dishes of the New American persuasion. Constantly seeking the finest in locally produced foods, Pago offers an ever-changing menu to match the seasons and their fruits. Located in the heart of the hip 9th and 9th neighborhood, this restaurant occupies a renovated space in an historic building. A highly decorated eatery, Pago has received awards from Best of State, City Weekly Best of Utah, and Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Recommended for 9th & 9th's Best Restaurants because: This 9th & 9th gem is leading the way in Salt Lake City's farm-to-table movement.

Local Expert tip: Offering 20 wines by the glass, Pago received the 100 Best Wine Restaurants distinction from Wine Enthusiast Magazine in 2012.

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Meet Christine Balaz

Christine Balaz began her unexpected writing career in Salt Lake City with her first book on Wasatch Skiing and Travel in 2006. On the subject of Utah, Christine has written numerous...  More About Christine