Moab has the largest concentration of good restaurants in all of southern Utah; no matter what else the recreational craze has produced, it has certainly improved the food. Several Moab-area restaurants are closed for vacation in February, so call ahead if you're visiting in winter.
Breakfast and Light Meals
Food isn't limited to muffins at Love Muffin (139 N. Main St., 435/259-6833, 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. daily, $2-8), but if you decide to skip the breakfast burritos or insanely tasty red quinoa, the burple nurple muffin may be just what you need. While you're eating breakfast, order a muffaletta or barbecued tofu sandwich to pack along for lunch.
Another good option for a tasty but healthy breakfast or lunch is EklectiCafe (352 N. Main St., 435/259-6896, 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Sun., $6-9), a charming and busy little cafe serving delicious organic and vegetarian dishes.
For a more traditional breakfast, try the Jailhouse Café (101 N. Main St., 435/259-3900, 7 a.m.-noon Wed.-Mon., $7-11), a Moab classic.
Dense, chewy bagels make the Red Rock Bakery (74 S. Main St., 435/259-5941, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. daily) worth a visit.
Two Moab diners have an old-fashioned ambience and really good food. At the Moab Diner & Ice Cream Shoppe (189 S. Main St., 435/259-4006, 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Mon.-Sat., $5-10), the breakfasts are large, with a Southwestern green-chile edge to much of the food, and the ice cream is delicious.
Another spot with great burgers and shakes is Milt's Stop & Eat (356 Millcreek Dr., 435/259-7454, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tues.-Sun., $3.50-6)...just the place to stop after a day of biking or hiking.
Unless otherwise noted, each of the following establishments has a full liquor license. Entrées range $8-15.
Zax (96 S. Main St., 435/259-6555, 6:30 a.m.-close daily, $7-13) is a high-volume all-things-to-all-people restaurant in the heart of downtown. If you're with kids, this might be the ticket for sandwiches, steaks, pasta, pizza, or salad.
Check out Miguel's Baja Grill (51 N. Main St., 435/259-6546, 5-10 p.m. daily, $10-20) for well prepared Baja-style seafood, including good fish tacos. It's a busy place, so make a reservation or be prepared to wait.
For a Western night out, consider Bar M Chuckwagon Supper, located on the banks of Mill Creek just southeast of town (541 S. Mulberry La., 435/259-2276, www.barmchuckwagon.com, show starts at 6:30 p.m. Apr.-Oct., days vary by season; beer only). Tasty cowboy-style cooking is served up from chuck wagons, followed by a variety of live Western entertainment. The meal and entertainment costs are $27 for everyone 13 years and older, $13.50 for children 4-12.
After a hot day out on the trail, who can blame you for thinking about a cold brew and a hearty meal? Luckily, Moab has two excellent pubs to fill the bill. Eddie McStiff's (57 S. Main St., 435/259-2337, 11:30 a.m.-close, $9-19) is an extremely popular place to sip a cool beer or mojito, eat rather standard pub food (the pizza is a good bet), and meet other travelers; in good weather there's seating in a nice courtyard. You'll have to try hard not to have fun here.
There's more good beer and maybe better food at the Moab Brewery (686 S. Main St., 435/259-6333, 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., $5-19), although this newer restaurant has yet to attract the kind of scene you'll find at Eddie McStiff's. The atmosphere is light and airy, and the food is good—steaks, sandwiches, burgers, and a wide selection of salads. A spinach salad with smoked salmon is $10, prime rib $19. There's deck seating when weather permits.
The Desert Bistro (1266 N. U.S. 191, 435/259-0756, dinner nightly from 5:30 p.m. Mar.-Nov., $20-40) has a lovely setting at the historic 1896 Ranch House at Moab Springs Ranch on the north end of Moab, where it serves seasonal, sophisticated Southwest-meets-Continental cuisine featuring local meats and game plus fresh fish and seafood. The patio dining here is the nicest in Moab and the indoor dining rooms are pretty and peaceful.
Buck's Grill House (1393 N. U.S. 191, 435/259-5201, 5:30 p.m.-close nightly, $9-32) is a steak house with a pleasant Western atmosphere and imaginative refinements on standard steak house fare. Dishes like duck tamales, elk stew with root vegetables, and a vegetarian polenta "lasagne" are excellent.
Jeffrey's Steakhouse (218 North 100 West, 435/259-3588, 5 p.m.-close nightly, $22-39), tucked off the main drag in an elegantly renovated small house with an upstairs bar, is about as classy and upscale as you'll find in Moab, with a small menu of steaks, chicken, lamb, and salmon.
The River Grill (at Sorrel River Ranch, 17 miles northeast of Moab on Hwy. 128, 435/259-4642, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. daily, dinner entrées $18-32, dinner reservations strongly recommended) has a lovely dining room that overlooks spires of red rock and the dramatic cliffs of the Colorado River. The scenery is hard to top, and the food is good, with a focus on prime beef and Continental specialties. Winter hours are shorter; please check ahead. The Sunset Grill (900 N. U.S. 191, 435/259-7146, 5 p.m.-close Mon.-Sat., $14-24) is located in uranium king Charlie Steen's mansion, situated high above Moab, with "million-dollar" sweeping views of the valley. Chose from steaks, fresh seafood, and a selection of pasta dishes—what you'll remember is the road up here and the view.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition