Unique Cultural Restaurants to Try in Salt Lake City (Part 2)

For those if you who don't know already, Josiah and I love to try new foods, especially ethnic foods. We are on a mission to try foods from as many different countries as possible!

Last year, I compiled a post about some of our favorite ethnic restaurants, and now we have some new favorite foreign eats that we would like to share with you! 

We are excited to discover many more in the future. If you have any suggestions, send them our way! 

I hope that in this post, you will find something new that you would like to try. 

Take a look at Part 1 and Part 3 for more local restaurant recommendations. 

BOMBAY GARDEN - INDIA 

Chicken Makhani is possibly my favorite curry ever

Indian food is a go-to favorite for many and the Salt Lake Valley is not lacking in that area. My favorite spot is Bombay Garden located in Jordan Landing. I always love anything with lamb in it but my favorite is Chicken Makhani (Butter Chicken) curry. It's a rich yet mild dish that is perfect for first timers. Try pineapple shrimp curry if your feeling especially adventurous. The naan (flatbread) here is great too, especially the garlic naan. 

When we feel a need to splurge Josiah and I will order a lassi. It's a thick, yogurt based drink that pairs perfectly with spicy food. He favors a mango lassi while I usually get a rose flavored one. Mmmm! 


Lamb Briyani is Josiah's favorite entree

Entrees here are fairly large so we sometimes get one dish to share and samosas as an appetizer. These fried curry and veggie filled pockets are served with two different kinds of chili sauce. The nuttiness of the curry spices tastes great in contrast to the sweet-spiciness of the red and green chili sauces. 

On my birthday last year, we decided to go all out and get dessert. My favorite is their kulfi (pronounced cool-fee), a traditional Indian ice cream. this particular ice cream is made with cashews, pistachios, and cardamom. It's beautiful and so delicious! One serving is the perfect size to two people to share. If you are not excited by the idea of Indian food, at least try kulfi! 


Kulfi: traditional Indian ice cream


I love Indian food because it has well-balanced flavors and textures. A combination of spice and creaminess, with an occasional crunch of cashews in a curry is wonderful. A lassi is paired well with the chili sauces served with samosas. And, in turn, the crispiness of fried samosas is contrasted beautifully with the smoothness of curry. Bombay Garden is what I crave when I am in the mood for comfort food. 


CAFE ON MAIN - BOSNIA

Balkan Mix Platter with a side of Ajvar

This cute, little restaurant is located near the southern end of Salt Lake City. They serve such unique comfort food! The owner was very friendly and helpful. I had no idea how to pronounce most of the dishes, but he was very patient even though, I am sure he has to teach customers all day, every day. I want to go back, not just because of the food, but because he was so nice. 

After looking through the whole menu several times, we decided to share the Balkan Mix Platter for one, which is way too much food for just one person. 

Josiah and I like to try a variety of dishes when we go to a new restaurant, and the mix platter was loaded with almost every kind of meat on the menu! It was delicious and should be shared with the whole table. The cevapi (skinless sausages) and the veal kebab were my favorites from the platter. 


We ordered ajvar (pronounced aye-var) to go with all our meat. Ajvar is a spicy eggplant relish that tastes good with everything. 


The owner/waiter recommended the Greek salad to go with our platter. The salad was good quality and balanced out the otherwise heavy meal. 

This is one I definitely want to revisit because their menu is loaded with incredible dishes. I'd like to try the Bosnian pita (made with phyllo) and their tufahija, which is a baked apple stuffed with chocolate and walnuts, and topped with whipped cream. 

Unfortunately, we were the last customers of the day and they were all out of these items. If you want to explore all the options, I would recommend you go here for lunch. 


RED IGUANA - MEXICO



It's no secret that Salt Lake City is the home of some fantastic Mexican food, but Red Iguana tops them all. Ask a local where you should eat while visiting SLC and Red Iguana will likely be one of their top recommendations. 

Even on a weekday, you can expect to wait at least 20 minutes for a table. I have never seen an empty table when I have eaten here. 

So what makes Red Iguana's food so amazing? First, the food is high quality. And second, they make so many wonderful moles! (pronounced moh-lay) 


Mole is an Aztec word meaning "sauce," and a truly traditional Mexican specialty. If someone in Mexico were to invite you to dinner at their house, and they serve you mole with your food, that means they really like you. Making moles is time consuming, but apparently they are worth the effort. 

Recipes vary wildly, but a mole is essentially a blended, creamy sauce made from peppers, nuts, seeds, vegetables, spices, and sometimes even chocolate. 




If you go here, you must order a mole sampler. That way, you can taste each kind before deciding which one or ones you would like your food to be smothered in. 


You can order a mole to go with carne asada, enchiladas, basically any entree. It's not mandatory, but why would you not, right? 


My current favorites are the Red Pipian and Mole Negro (savory dark chocolate sauce). And I usually like to order carne asada covered with the Red Pipian mole.

Moles aren't the only thing that makes Red Iguana so good. Their salsa and corn chips are to die for. Plus, their piƱa coladas and fried ice cream are totally worth it.

I seriously love Red Iguana so much, I think I want to go there for my next birthday. 



THAI LAND - THAILAND

Volcano Chicken

Thai Land is one of our favorite restaurants, partly because we ate here together in our early days of dating, and partly because we just love Thai food.

I have already established that I enjoy a good curry, but Thai curry is different. It is composed of more vegetables than Indian curry, such as bamboo shoots and Thai basil. The curry is creamy, but the spiciness is different. 


Papaya Salad

I really like their Panang Curry and Pineapple Curry. The next time we go, I would like to try Pumpkin or Mango Curry. 

A favorite dish at Thai Land is the Volcano Chicken. The crisp chicken is smothered in a spicy-sweet red sauce, and I love it! As with any entree, you can choose the level of spice that you would like. We also like the Papaya Salad. It's mild, fresh, and crisp.

Daily Lunch Special

Thai Land has a daily lunch special ($7.95) which includes curry and rice, soup, and an egg roll, spring roll, or satay chicken depending on the day!

*UPDATE* 

Unfortunately, Thai Land has removed Volcano Chicken from their menu. This was one of main reasons I liked to go here. 

My new favorite Thai restaurant in Salt Lake is Sawadee Thai, and I'll tell you all about it another time. 

GALLEY GRILL - RUSSIA

Cabbage Rolls

*UPDATE* 

Sadly, The Galley Grill is permanently closed, possibly due to the pandemic. 

It's important to our community that we support small business and that's the very reason I write about these beautiful restaurants that bring diversity to Salt Lake City. 

This was a fun, new restaurant for us. This is another place I want to try again, because there are so many interesting things to eat. They have a beet and vegetable soup called Borsch as well as a traditional soup called Russian Schi. The Schi has beef, carrots, cabbage, and onions. It reminded me of a light beef stew, but I like it better than most beef stews I have had. 


We tried the Homemade Pickle Platter, which was very interesting. I liked the pickled mushrooms, cabbage, and cucumbers, but I was not thrilled about the pickled, whole tomatoes. Josiah, liked them, though.  We also got a tasty, fried dumpling filled with meat, with a spicy tomato relish. When we do go back, I want to try the bliny (crepe) with red caviar. I have never had caviar before and Russia is famous for it. 


Josiah got the cabbage rolls. They make a pretty comfort food, perfect for a winter dinner. Russians credit the copious amounts of cabbage in their diets with keeping colds and other illnesses at bay. 



Homemade Pickle Platter

One of the biggest reasons I wanted to dine at the Galley Grill was to try Russian honey cake. I was not disappointed. We shared this tall slice of cake with the whole table. It's rich, yet mild in flavor. 


The dozens of layers give it a delightful texture. The layers of cake reminded us of soft graham crackers, balanced by layers of rich white icing. 


The service here was so great. They forgot our Pickle Platter until later in the meal, and so they gave us a dumpling on the house. 


The two women who served us were so friendly, I want to go back multiple times. They made sure that our meal was nothing but satisfactory in a very comfortable way. 



Layered Honey Cake 

At the Galley Grill, you can buy handcrafted Russian nesting dolls. The woman who served us said they are handmade and then painted by a married couple in Russia. Each set of dolls is unique with bright colors and flowers. I might go back just for a set of my own.  

Which of these restaurants sounds most exciting to you? Share with us in the comment section.  






Hi! My name is Kait. Follow this link to learn more about me and my blog.

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