On the Mountain
You’ll find plenty of places on the mountain for lunch, most are open till 3:00pm. Additionally, the Alta Lodge and Rustler Lodge open their dining rooms to the public for lunch until 1:30pm. Each establishment is independently owned and operated, and their menu options vary – which means that’s something to suit nearly any appetite!
The Albion Grill is where you go for pizza, burgers, chili, soup, and deli sandwiches with local microbrews to wash it down. Even though it’s where the ski school takes the kids, it is still less busy than Watson’s or Alf’s.
Watson’s Cafe is mid-mountain near the Collins lift mid-station, and claims to serve “Utah’s Best 100% grass-fed beef burger.” Collins Grill is in the same building as Watson’s Café, and is a more upscale sit-down style restaurant. It’s even got slippers available, so you can take a break from your ski boots while taking in the view and enjoying the European bistro-grill menu. They have weekly and daily specials, and vegetarian options. There’s a children’s menu, but it’s not a particularly well suited venue for young kids.
Alf's Restaurant is at the base of Sugarloaf and has a grill with several options ranging from chicken and burgers to bratwurst and fajitas with local beer and gourmet coffee. Decorated with antique skis, it has stunning views of Albion Basin and Devil’s Castle. After you eat, check out the Alta History Display’s collection of photos going back over 100 years.
The Slope Side Café at the Goldminer’s Daughter offers soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers, and has a great outside seating area for bluebird days. If you’re not staying in a lodge that serves breakfast, it’s also open in the mornings.
The Alta Lodge offers a quiet, sit-down lunch with a simple but good menu and daily specials. Though the beer selection and kid’s menu are both limited, it can be a less expensive option than many of the on-mountain grills but every bit as convenient. It’s one of our favorites even when we’re not staying there!
Lunch at the Rustler is also in a quiet, sit-down dining room (no slippers, though). It has a good menu and good beer selection to recharge you for the afternoon while you take in the view of Eagle’s Nest as it drops to the base area from the High Traverse.
It’s customary to tip 20%, though some of the lodges include gratuities. If you’re at one that does, then the tip is already taken care of!
Off the mountain
Aside from the lodges, the only other dining in Alta is the Shallow Shaft Restaurant, which many folks say has the best food in Alta and Snowbird. It has a warm and rustic ambience, an award winning menu, and one of the state’s best wine lists (according to Salt Lake Magazine). The bison steak is particularly popular!
Of course, if you’re staying in or around Salt Lake City, you won’t have a hard time finding a place to eat! In Midvale, check out the Bohemian Brewery and Grill. It has good food, good beer, and is family friendly. In Salt Lake City itself, the Red Iguana is a very popular Mexican restaurant – so popular that you may want to get there early, but bring a jacket just in case you wind up waiting outside! If you’re looking for Chinese, Mom’s Kitchen makes up for its simple décor with excellent authentic food at good prices.
There’s not much in the way of nightlife of Alta, but judging by the amount of folks who come back year after year, most Alta visitors don’t seem to mind. They’re that serious about their skiing!
That doesn’t mean there’s not any après scene, though. The saloon at Goldminer’s Daughter, open till 11pm, is a popular place after getting off the slopes, and has bar food such as nachos, wings, and pizza. The Peruvian’s bar (also called the “P-Dog”) open until 10pm, has free appetizers and live music along with great views and eccentric décor (think bison head hanging next to a polar bear pelt). Most of the drinks – and musicians – are local. The Rustler’s Eagle’s Nest Lounge is a quieter and more upscale option with a circular wood-burning fireplace in the center of the room and panoramic views through the giant floor-to-ceiling windows. Then, of course, there’s the Sitzmark – an Alta fixture almost as old as the ski area itself. It’s been called “classic” and “intimate,” and it’s a hit with locals and lodge guests alike. It’s definitely worth a visit even if you’re not staying at the Alta Lodge!