By Megan & Matt
With all the adventures Moab has to offer, you need great food to fuel your fun. If you’ve visited other large parks like Yellowstone or Yosemite, you might be wondering where in Arches National Park or Canyonlands National Park you can find guest services like restaurants and general stores as you’ve seen in other parks.
Despite their large size, Arches and Canyonlands do not have any restaurants or general stores within their boundaries. When visiting, you’ll need to plan ahead and bring food to eat inside the park or plan to return to Moab for your meals.
We are Megan and Matt with We’re in the Rockies, and we’ve both visited Moab many times and eaten at many different places.
Keep reading because in this article we’ve compiled our best recommendations for eating in and around Moab.
Where to Eat in Arches National Park
There are NO restaurants in Arches National Park. You will need to pack a lunch into the park. Moab is close enough that you can leave the park to eat at a restaurant in Moab, but we don’t recommend it because it takes too much time and the timed-entry reservation system may prevent you from re-entering the park.
Where to Eat in Canyonlands National Park
There are also NO restaurants in Canyonlands National Park. Canyonlands is too far away from Moab to return for lunch, so you should definitely plan to pack a lunch in order to get the most out of your visit.
Where to Eat in Moab
Between the two of us, we’ve eaten at many places in Moab. Here are some of our favorites. As an added bonus, all of them are less than a 10-minute drive from the Arches entrance station!
|Desert Bistro||Fine Dining – adventurous cuisine with a south-western flare||$$$||Yes|
|Zax Restaurant||Casual – steaks, burgers, and all you can eat salad, soup, & pizza||$$||No|
|Moab Brewery||Casual – pub food/American & craft beers||$$||No|
|98 Center||Casual – Asian Fusion||$$||Yes|
|Fiesta Mexicana||Casual – Mexican||$$||No|
|Pasta Jay’s||Casual – Italian||$$||No|
|Cowboy Grill||Casual – steak, chicken, seafood||$$||No-but limited hours|
|Moab Diner||Casual – burgers, sandwiches, entrees, breakfast||$$||No|
|The Blu Pig||Casual – BBQ ribs, burgers, sandwiches & other smoked meats||$$||No|
For a fine dining experience that can’t be topped anywhere in Grand County, my absolute favorite restaurant in Moab is Desert Bistro. Normally when dining out in Moab I show up in whatever hiking outfit I’ve worn for the day, or other similar attire, but if you show up at Desert Bistro with a layer of red rock dust you will certainly feel out of place. This is a dining experience that deserves at least dressy-casual or nicer attire.
The restaurant is tastefully decorated, and dining in the back on the covered patio is divine after sunset, even on warmer days. The only way to summarize the menu is “fresh.” Freshly-baked bread is still warm when it reaches your table and it is served with several delicious toppings. (The olive tapenade was my favorite!) We tried several drinks from the menu, and all agreed that their Cosmopolitan was the best we’d ever had. I still have not found another as good.
Each appetizer and entrée served to our group was stunning, and their fresh dessert menu was just as impressive!
The only item we didn’t finish was a delicious raspberry sorbet dessert that was almost too sweet to eat more than a bite or two of. Our server had given us a warning before we ordered and it was exactly as described. Delicious but a bit too much for our group.
Desert Bistro closes for a few months each winter, generally December-March, so make sure to check Desert Bistro’s webpage for closing and opening dates. – Megan
A much more casual dining experience can be found at Zax, just off Main Street in Moab. Zax is best known for its “all-you-can-eat” pizza, soup, and salad. A full soup and salad bar is provided, along with a variety of fresh pizzas being brought out from the oven throughout your meal. Our group found something for everyone at Zax, and we’d be happy to eat there again.
The atmosphere at Zax is generally lively and loud, with everyone having a great time. For a bit quieter mood and views of Main Street, ask to sit upstairs on the covered patio. Clear plastic window coverings are lowered during poor weather, or left open to enjoy the fresh air when temperatures are mild. Zax offers a full bar for guests over 21. It even has a few TV’s in the bar seating area for sports fans who need to catch a game. – Megan
The Moab Brewery is the very first restaurant I ever visited in Moab and it holds a special place in my heart! That trip was special and the food added a bonus on top. The atmosphere and décor at the Brewery are just the embodiment of Moab to me.
With a mood that feels fun and upbeat without being too rowdy, it’s the perfect place to have a meal. It appeals to those who enjoy the brewery’s products and to those that don’t. We had three non-drinkers and one drinker in our party, and we all enjoyed our food and time at the Brewery.
The menu at the brewery has a great range of appetizers, burgers, and entrees. It’s a large menu, one of those big menus that gives you plenty of choices, but isn’t so big that you wonder how fresh the ingredients are.
If you ask me, only Cheesecake Factory can get away with a huge menu and you won’t be finding a Cheesecake Factory in Moab. That being said, The Moab Brewery gives you some great choices without going overboard! – Megan
I second this suggestion! My buddy and I ate here upon the recommendation of others and it did not disappoint. It is popular for a reason. – Matt
If aesthetic and delicious Asian fusion food is what you’re looking for, 98 Center is a perfect choice! Unfortunately, they are one of the restaurants that limit their hours during the winter season, so make sure to check 98 Center’s website before you get your heart set on this restaurant.
If you’re lucky enough to visit while 98 Center is open, you can look forward to fresh, organic, and locally-sourced ingredients combined into delicious Asian-inspired dishes. It’s exactly the fresh and warm meal that gets you excited about your meal but doesn’t make you feel like you ate too much. You will still be able to go enjoy all the adventures of Moab and Arches National Park, including all the wonderful hikes. – Megan
- Hiking in the desert can be challenging. Learn 11 things you to know before you go.
Don’t let Fiesta Mexicana’s position on this list make you think it’s less worthy of a visit than my other recommendations! They are definitely not in order of importance. Mexican food is absolutely my core comfort food, and I am VERY picky about my Mexican food.
Fiesta Mexicana is another favorite from my first (adult) visit to Moab. We go back to Fiesta Mexicana often when we visit. You don’t just have to take my word for it, with over 3000 Google reviews they are holding strong at a 4.3 rating. Fiesta Mexicana is a rock-solid hometown Mexican restaurant, with great chips and salsa and margaritas (staples for any Mexican restaurant!). Here you’ll also find all the other common Mexican dishes, they are delicious as well. I love that I felt like I knew exactly what I would get before I ever walked in the door. They have never left me disappointed. – Megan
Pasta Jay’s is the best Italian place in town, and in my opinion is the best restaurant I’ve tried in Moab. Located right on Main Street, you really can’t go wrong. I’ve now eaten here twice, and it might be my favorite Italian place (not in Italy) of all time.
The Homemade Manicotti was to die for, as was everything else I’ve tried — and I shared with others in my group so I’ve tried quite a few dishes.
I just stick with whatever their “Pasta of the Day” is. They also have seasonal dishes, you can’t go wrong with those, either.
The atmosphere isn’t overly formal, but the place is smallish and cozy. Highly recommend! – Matt
This is located in the fancy Red Cliffs Lodge just a few minutes out of town. Red Cliffs Lodge is a beautiful resort, but you don’t have to stay at the resort to eat at the Cowboy Grill and enjoy the gorgeous views of the Upper Colorado River valley.
The Cowboy Grill is slightly upper-end. You’ll pay slightly higher prices for slightly less food. But the food is top-notch and the views are worth it. – Matt
- Looking for lodging while visiting Moab? Check out 9 Great Places to Stay When Visiting Arches, Canyonlands, and Moab.
This is a simple restaurant that hearkens back to the diner-days of the 1960s. It’s been around since 1993 and is a favorite of locals.
Moab Diner isn’t just a greasy spoon. It offers great-tasting American and Mexican dishes at a good value. It has excellent ratings on Google. – Matt
The Blu Pig
The Blu Pig bills itself as a BBQ and Blues Joint and Moab’s only restaurant with live music 7 days a week.
I’ve eaten here multiple times over the years, and it’s fantastic. The lighting inside is even blue, giving it a unique ambiance.
With fall-off-the-bone ribs, tri-tip, and homemade sauces, you can’t go wrong with what they’re smoking! – Matt
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Quick Eats in Moab: Grab-and-go
If you just need something to grab for a quick breakfast or picnic lunch, consider two gas stations in town.
This is an extremely popular gas station in Utah. To call it a gas station is like calling Marilyn Monroe cute. Most of the Maverick stations are huge and include a grill and all the snack options you could imagine.
The funny thing about Maverick is they serve a breakfast burrito called the M.O.A.B., which stands for the Mother of All Burritos. LOL. – Matt
On the south end of town is a Chevron station that also has a grill and sandwich stuff. It’s probably the cheapest food in town and might be just perfect for that sandwich you need to pack for your trip into Arches or Canyonlands. – Matt
- Planning to hike in Arches? Learn all you need to know about hiking to Delicate Arch.
Where Can I Buy Groceries and Snacks Near Arches or Canyonlands?
Walker Drug and General Store
This is my favorite store to visit in Moab! I don’t think I’ve ever failed to find what I’m looking for in this store. The first time I visited I was looking for Moleskin or other similar products to protect a blister developing in my new hiking boots.
My friends and I were impressed with the variety of products inside Walker’s. We found everything from first aid supplies and hiking gear to greeting cards and toys. They also have a moderately sized grocery section including a large selection of organic, natural, and alternative food and health products. This is a great one-stop shop to stock up on any supplies you need for your adventures.
The other grocer in Moab is City Market, a Kroger-owned chain of stores in the Rockies. This store is a very traditional Kroger store, smaller than the stores in larger cities, but with a good selection nonetheless.
We almost always make a stop at City Market on our first night in town to stock up on breakfast and lunch supplies for the rest of our stay. In addition to shelf products, they also have a variety of bakery and deli items available for purchase.
Last but not least, the only Starbucks in town is inside this City Market. It seems small compared to larger stores but has the same menu. Twice when I have visited they have been out of an ingredient (or two) for my favorite drinks and I’ve had to change plans, but that happens to me at other Starbucks locations as well, so no surprise here!
One last note about shopping in Grocery Stores in Moab: Utah has strict liquor laws that allows grocers to only sell drinks with 5% or less ABV. If you’re planning on grabbing a bottle of wine while you shop you’ll be very disappointed with what you find. All alcoholic beverages over 5% ABV must be purchased at a Utah State Liquor store. All state Liquor stores are closed on Sundays and holidays, so make sure to plan ahead.
Don’t feel like cooking? No Problem! Hopefully the recommendations listed above will help you know which restaurants to try and which to skip.
My number one recommendation in order for you to fully enjoy your time in Moab is to stock up on snacks for the day’s adventures. Enjoy the amazing variety of restaurants available once you’re done adventuring for the day.
If you don’t have mid-day plans or you didn’t get a permit to enter Arches during the busy part of the day, consider a fresh lunch in town and then enter Arches after the reservation windows close or go and do these 9 things that are located near Arches. – Megan
- Our Moab, Arches, and Canyonlands Itinerary
- Our Arches Trip Planner Page
- Our Moab Trip Planner Page
- Our Canyonlands Trip Planner Page
- The Ultimate Guide to visiting Delicate Arch
- 9 alternate Activities to do in Moab
- When is Arches Open & When is the Best Time to Visit?
- 9 Great Places to Stay When Visiting Arches, Canyonlands, and Moab
- An Easy Guide to Visiting Canyonlands National Park
- Hiking in the desert: 11 things to know before you go
- Arches Official Webpage