I had the great fortune to spend eight weeks in South Lake Tahoe, California, a little town nestled on the shores of – you guessed it – Lake Tahoe. I got the chance to sample quite a few of the best South Lake Tahoe restaurants and took the chance to indulge whenever possible. Many of these restaurants are located within walking distance of the Heavenly ski area, so visitors hitting the slopes will definitely be interested in trying some of them. Here are my 10 favorite restaurants in South Lake Tahoe (plus one brewery that doesn’t serve food but has lots of good dogs to pet!).
- 1 Best Restaurant on the Water: The Beacon
- 2 Best pizza in South Lake Tahoe: Blue Dog Pizza
- 3 Best BBQ in South Lake Tahoe: Ten Crows BBQ
- 4 Best Happy Hour in South Lake Tahoe: Riva Grill
- 5 Best burgers in South Lake Tahoe: California Burger Co.
- 6 Best breakfast in South Lake Tahoe: Heidi’s Pancake House
- 7 Best noodles in South Lake Tahoe: Lotus Pho Asian Cuisines
- 8 Best sandwiches in South Lake Tahoe: Artemis Mediterranean Grill
- 9 Best Heavenly Village restaurant: Basecamp Pizza
- 10 Best Thai food in South Lake Tahoe: Orchid’s Authentic Thai Cuisine
- 11 Best brewery in South Lake Tahoe: South Lake Brewing Company
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Best Restaurant on the Water: The Beacon
This mid-range restaurant and bar is beloved by both locals and tourists. It was the top recommendation from several of the people I worked with there and they raved about the Beacon’s Rum Runner cocktails. If you’re looking for somewhere to dine with a view, this is one of the best South Lake Tahoe restaurants on the water. Don’t believe me? Look up! That’s the view of sunset from the beach here. There aren’t many restaurants with a view of the water here, but this one is right on the beach. In the summer there is even live music and a party atmosphere out on the sand. I ate there a few times, and everything I had was quite good, including some surprisingly delicious chicken fajitas. I’d also recommend the caesar salad. Check out their official site here.
Best pizza in South Lake Tahoe: Blue Dog Pizza
This quickly became my favorite pizza in South Lake Tahoe, and it offers dine-in and carry-out service. I’m somewhat of a pizza purist – I like crust, red sauce, cheese, and regular old toppings – so I was surprised when the Walk the Dog, a very untraditional pizza, caught my fancy. With white sauce, cheese, chicken, spinach, and garlic, it’s a far cry from what I usually order, and yet everything was perfect. Their regular old meat lover’s pizza was really good too. Blue Dog has two locations in South Lake Tahoe, with one located just across from the Heavenly base area, and the other further down US-50. Check out their website and/or place an online order here.
Best BBQ in South Lake Tahoe: Ten Crows BBQ
I love trying local BBQ places in all of the towns I visit, and this one was especially good, earning it a ranking near the top of my lit of best places to eat in South Lake Tahoe. The pulled pork was some of the tastiest BBQ I’ve ever had, and it almost didn’t even need sauce. I used it anyway though because the bold flavor was also excellent. I picked their macaroni and cheese as a side, and it was pure perfection. They’re located right across the street from Heavenly Village, so it’s an easy walk if you’re staying there. If their BBQ has caught your fancy, check out their site here.
Best Happy Hour in South Lake Tahoe: Riva Grill
Riva Grill is another one of the few South Lake Tahoe restaurants with a view. It’s located at the Ski Run Marina, and has a dock overlooking a small beach and the water. In warmer months, you can sit out on the deck and really take advantage of the view. The bar has great happy hour specials on drinks and appetizers, including their frozen wet woody drinks. The menu is a little more expensive than some of the other places on this list, but spending time eating along the water is worth the mini splurge, and you can save a few bucks by coming for lunch. It’s definitely one of the best South Lake Tahoe restaurants for special occasions. Check out their official site here.
Best burgers in South Lake Tahoe: California Burger Co.
This small burger place had a very hipster-y vibe and lots of outdoor seating with live music most nights. It was within walking distance of my hotel, so I paid it multiple visits during trips to the area. As their name would indicate, they have a range of burgers on their menu. I loved the fact that you can swap chicken and veggie patties for any of their burgers. My favorite was the caprese burger with its huge hunk of mozzarella cheese. They also offer some good salads and a solid happy hour lineup. California Burger Co. is located right at Heavenly Village, so it’s easy to get to if you’re staying there. Check out their website here.
Best breakfast in South Lake Tahoe: Heidi’s Pancake House
This little spot has an adorable exterior that looks like a Bavarian chalet. It closes in the early afternoon, so it’s a perfect spot for breakfast in South Lake Tahoe. As their name would indicate, they have delicious pancakes, and they make great skillets and omelets, which you can order for lunch too. I recommend their skillets. The potatoes at the bottom are worth digging for. Check out their menu and website here.
Best noodles in South Lake Tahoe: Lotus Pho Asian Cuisines
Pho is the perfect food to warm you up in the winter (I usually leave feeling like it’s impossible to ever feel cold again), and Lotus Pho’s bowls don’t disappoint. Their location in the Super 8 motel had me a little skeptical, but the food was delicious and there were tons of locals around. I prefer chicken broth, so I got chicken-based bowls on all of my visits. I particularly like the wonton varieties. Come prepared to take leftovers home as even the smaller bowls were way more food than I could possibly eat in one sitting. This is definitely one of the best places to eat in South Lake Tahoe if you’re visiting during ski season – pho is the perfect way to warm up after a day out on the slopes. Check out their Facebook page here.
Best sandwiches in South Lake Tahoe: Artemis Mediterranean Grill
This is another place that the locals pointed me to. I’m glad they did because it’s not the kind of place I would’ve found on my own. They have a couple of phenomenal salads on the menu, and when I turned to warm food during my cold weather trips, the BBQ pork sandwich with onion rings and cheesesteak pictured here did not disappoint. Pro tip: get the fries because whatever seasoning they use on them is magical. They also make a solid caesar salad. Check out their official website here.
Best Heavenly Village restaurant: Basecamp Pizza
This is another one of my favorite pizza places in South Lake Tahoe, and it’s located right in the heart of Heavenly Village. Its low-key atmosphere pairs well with its huge menu of specialty pizzas, though I chose to order a custom one. It was good. I’d planned on saving half of it to eat the next night, but ended up eating all but one slice right then and there. My only complaint is that they don’t have black olives as a pizza topping, though I suspect that I’m in the minority on that one. It’s not exactly cheap, but the pizza is delicious. Basecamp Pizza gets crowded during ski season, so plan ahead or you might find yourself waiting for a while. The good news is that there is often live music and at the very least, you can try to play some cornhole outside while you wait. They also take online orders, so you can skip the wait entirely. Check out their official site here.
If you want to stay close to the Heavenly Village restaurants, check out the Marriott properties like this one right on site! I spent all but one of my many Tahoe nights at this Holiday Inn Express, and I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a close, but affordable option.
Best Thai food in South Lake Tahoe: Orchid’s Authentic Thai Cuisine
The locals I was working with swear by this place as the best Thai food in town and I can’t argue with that sentiment. If you’re on a budget, check out their affordable lunch menu. They have expanded offerings for dinner, so check out both menus if you’re looking for a particular dish. I loved the spicy basil noodles with chicken. Check out their gorgeous website here.
Best brewery in South Lake Tahoe: South Lake Brewing Company
Ok, this one isn’t technically a restaurant as they don’t serve food – but you can bring your own in! – but this brewery is owned and run by locals and was hopping even on week nights. Plus, it’s dog-friendly, so there were adorable dogs everywhere. There was even a chocolate lab puppy one night and I made it my mission in life to pet it. I tend not to be a big beer drinker, and I managed to find three beers that I liked on their menu. It was a monumental enough development that I had to send a text back home about it. I particularly liked the Marlette Sunrise with its citrus-y flavor and the Helles Dee was very good too. Check out their website and beer list here.
Did I miss any great South Lake Tahoe restaurants? Let me know your favorites in the comments.
If you’re looking for some activities to burn off all of this delicious food, check out these other fun Lake Tahoe spots:
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Here’\s what I like the most…
Ten Crows BBQ and Blue Dog Pizza — their photos show amazing food! 🙂
Okay… and now I have to go make breakfast because this post has made me so hungry, haha! 🙂 Loved seeing that your best happy hour option uses paper rather than plastic straws!
As soon as I saw the pizza in your first photo I was hungry! Great post!
Nice reviews and I agree after eating these meals, exercise would be on the agenda.
OMG, the breakfast at Heidi’s Pancake House looks insane. I can’t believe the mountain of egg! Mmmm.
Wish I had this post when I was in South Lake Tahoe last fall, I had a craving for Chinese food and ended up at a horrible buffet! Next time, I will defer to your recommendations 🙂