UTAH (ABC4) – Whether you’re in the mood to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a Mexican food dish, or just looking for a great bite to eat any of the other 364 days in a year, there are some terrific places to do so locally.
The following is a list of local Mexican restaurants/eateries in the Salt Lake Valley that have gained a big reputation with a small following. Some places, while delicious and very popular, have been omitted for the sake of highlighting non-chain or franchised restaurants (sorry, Café Rio fans).
Here are a few of the best Mexican food spots in the Salt Lake Valley:
A Salt Lake City favorite since 1985, Red Iguana has long been considered one of the best restaurants in the area, regardless of genre, for a while. In non-pandemic times, the line to enter the iconic location on North Temple usually wraps all the way around the building. It got to be so popular that the owners opened a second location, simply named Red Iguana 2, just a couple of blocks away on South Temple in 2010. Whether you can make it into the original, or the other place a short walk away, you’ll still see and taste why the food has been some of the best in Utah for almost 50 years.
Taqueria27 hasn’t been around nearly as long as the above Mexican spot, but it has quickly become a hot spot for creative food offerings and refreshing margaritas. What sets this chic taco spot apart is the originality brought to the menu each day. Every day at each of Taqueria27’s five locations, the special board presents a unique taco, guac, margarita, fish and dessert of the day. The menu’s mainstays are also quite eye-catching with items such as Grilled Pears and Roasted Beets Tacos and Duck Confit Tacos. Fans of Mexican food who are looking for a little twist will love this place.
The age-old argument on social media and by people who don’t have anything better to talk about is the debate on whether pineapple belongs on pizza. At Chunga’s, pineapple definitely belongs on the tacos al pastor. The combination of the savory pork prepared on a vertical spit with juicy pineapple and a bit of greenery has put Chunga’s on the map. Fans of the restaurant also clamor for the place’s papaya milkshakes as the perfect chaser to a great meal.
Named after the chile-tepin pepper, which is the only wild chile native to the United States, this restaurant located on 300 West in downtown SLC, is known for its smoky, spicy favorites. If you’ve never tried chicken mole, which is chicken covered in a sauce that includes melted chocolate (yes, really), Chile-Tepin is a great place to take the plunge. If you’re not so inclined for chicken mole, the menu also carries many other mouth-watering options such as a parrillada, loaded with meat, camarones, which are shrimp, and other tasty Mexican food classics. Don’t forget the flan or churro cheesecake for dessert.
Julia’s Mexican Food
It might be easy to miss Julia’s, which is located on the west side of town, on 1000 W and 51 S, but you’ll be glad you found it when you try the food. Julia’s serves some of the most authentic Mexican food in town. All the traditional favorites, such as enchiladas, tacos, and burritos are there, but so are some other foods that are staples of Mexican cuisine. Ever tried menudo, a soup made with a cow’s stomach? How about pazole, another soup made from coarsely ground corn and chicken with a variety of peppers and spices? Both are very good and very popular with fans of Mexican recipes taken straight from below the border.
Again, if getting out and enjoying a great Mexican food plate is a priority for you on Cinco de Mayo, you can’t go wrong with the above restaurants. Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list of the best places for Mexican in Salt Lake City. With a ton of great offerings all over the valley and beyond, there are enough places to keep you trying something new all year round, not just on May 5.