Utahns love Mexican food, and we have plenty of Mexican restaurants to choose from across the state. Red Iguana, at 736 W. North Temple in Salt Lake City, is without a doubt the most popular Mexican restaurant in the entire Beehive State – queue up on a Saturday night to wait for a table, and you’ll see what I mean. Have you visited this neighborhood restaurant?
Ramon and Maria Cardenas opened Red Iguana in 1985.
It quickly became THE place for Mexican food in Salt Lake City.
Still family-owned, Red Iguana is managed by Lucy Cardenas (Ramon and Maria’s daughter) and her husband, Bill Coker.
Be prepared to wait awhile.
While the restaurant does accept reservations for parties of six or more, everyone else has to wait in line.
Expect at least a one-hour wait on weekend nights.
If you get bored, you can check out all the stickers adorning the front window.
This humble neighborhood place isn't fancy.
This isn't a stuffy, fancy dining establishment; you're here for the amazing food and service...not linen tablecloths and a snooty maitre d'. The interior is painted with bright, festive colors, giving it a warm, friendly vibe.
Red Iguana is a place for community.
Some patrons have been coming here since the restaurant opened in 1985. People visit Red Iguana for date night, birthday parties, working lunches and family get togethers. It's the kind of place where you can lean over to the people at the table next to you and ask them what that amazing-looking dish they've ordered is, and they'll happily tell you - and then introduce themselves.
Red Iguana is well-known for its moles.
There are several to choose from including mole poblano, amarillo, negro, coloradito and verde.
This is the puntas de filete a la norteña; one of the restaurant’s most popular menu items. It’s top sirloin tips with bacon, jalapeno, onion and tomatoes, topped with almond mole.
If you've never tried mole, ask for a sampler.
Sip a “Killer Margarita” with your meal.
Red Iguana does these better than anyone else. There are nine to choose from (not counting any specials they might have).
Try the Housemade Sopapillas for dessert.
You probably won't have room for these by the time you finish your meal. Maybe get them to go?
Red Iguana consistently receives awards and accolades.
Awards include City Weekly’s Best of Utah, the Utah “Fabby” Award and Salt Lake Magazine Hall of Fame. It has almost 2,000 reviews on Yelp and over 2,500 reviews on Trip Advisor, both with 4.5 star ratings.
Is the wait worth it?
Don't show up hungry...it's going to take some time to get to that mole and those margaritas. Is it worth it? I think so...do you?
Red Iguana’s food and service is amazing, but there are plenty of other delicious Mexican restaurants in Utah. Here’s a list of
16 Mexican Restaurants in Utah.