OPINION | Top 3 local restaurants you need to eat at in St. George

Benja’s Thai Garden Sushi is a local, favorite restaurant in St. George offers various types of Thai food and sushi. Carlie Gillis | Sun News Daily

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There’s nothing like getting good quality food while also supporting a local business.

After living in St. George for almost three years, I have been to an array of incredible, local restaurants in the city, but I definitely have my favorites.

St. George is a hub for local restaurants. All you have to do is look past the fast food joints on every corner, and that’s when you will find the hidden gems of the city. With restaurants throughout the city that provide plant-based options, Mexican cuisine, authentic Italian pizza, classic Thai food and more, you’re sure to find just the perfect meal that tickles your fancy, or rather, your taste buds.

Here are my favorite local restaurants in St. George.

Benja’s Thai & Sushi

If I was in charge of picking somewhere to eat out for the night, Benja’s Thai & Sushi will always be my No. 1 choice. The variety of ethnic, authentic food that is offered is impeccable. If you’re a sushi lover, this place is for you. If you’re a curry lover, this place is also for you. With options from musaman curry to Bangkok Benja specialty roll, you’re sure to find something you love.

Yelp has given Benja’s Thai & Sushi two dollar signs, which means the price is not too shabby for a sit-down restaurant; however, as a college student, you will not be able to afford these prices every night. Benja’s Thai & Sushi is a great place to go for a celebratory dinner, date or fun night with your family. The portions are big enough to split with a group of people, so you can get the full experience and try everything.

These are my favorite menu items you need to try:

  • Curry wontons
  • Thai coconut shrimp
  • Pineapple fried rice
  • Pad Thai
  • Yellow curry
  • Rainbow roll
  • Mr. Fisher roll

If you thought all of that sounded wonderful, it gets better. What’s better than one Benja’s Thai & Sushi restaurants is two Benja’s Thai & Sushi restaurants. That’s right, there are two right here in St. George. My favorite location is in the heart of the city at 2 W. St George Blvd.

Gaia’s Garden Cafe

I am a sucker for anything plant-based, and that means I am a sucker for everything at Gaia’s Garden Cafe. Yes, you read right, everything is vegan at this stunning cafe in St. George. With little vegan options in St. George, Gaia’s Garden Cafe is all you need. There are options from a vegan breakfast burrito to the best vegan nachos in town. You can take your roast beef loving family member, feed them a vegan roast beef sandwich, and they would never guess it was plant-based meat. That’s the beauty of Gaia’s Garden Cafe.

On Yelp, Gaia’s Garden Cafe has a five star rating with 94 reviews. This vegan cafe is open Tuesday-Saturday and resides at 695 100 W. St.

Here are my favorite menu items you need to try:

  • Grilled cheese
  • The Godfather toast
  • Buddha rice bowl
  • Nachos
  • BYO acai bowl

This aesthetic, indoor and outdoor cafe is decorated to the nines featuring items to purchase from local, small businesses, greenery everywhere you look, and, on the occasion, live music for all to enjoy. If you’re a local artist, you can even submit your artwork to be featured at the restaurant. Not to mention, Gaia’s Garden Cafe has the social media game down. The cafe’s Instagram account is up-to-date, hip and informative. Give them a follow to find new menu items, hours and more.

Irmita’s Casita

If you’re looking for authentic, this is it. Irmita’s Casita features the best Mexican cuisine I have had in St. George. I can’t go without mentioning the customer service at Irmita’s Casita; it is welcoming, friendly and helpful. I haven’t tried something I don’t like from this restaurant. You can try their classic chile verde platter or simple tostada and be satisfied with your purchase.

Yelp has given Irmita’s Casita two dollar signs as a fair price point, and it has an average of 4.5/5 star rating. When the weather is nice, which it always is in sunny St. George, you can enjoy your authentic cuisine on the outdoor patio.

Here are my favorite menu items you need to try:

  • Super nachos
  • Veggie burrito
  • Quesadilla platter
  • Chile verde platter
  • Chimichanga
  • Tres leches cake

You can find this restaurant at 95 W. 700 S. The small restaurant originated from an old home in St. George. When you get there, don’t forget to take a picture with your friends or family outside of the multi-colored home.

Next time you’re searching for somewhere to eat but don’t want to hit Taco Bell or In-N-Out, try a local restaurant. Eating local supports those who own small businesses, work hard to train employees, and care about the craft of their food.