Most places locals love to eat in South Lake Tahoe serve all-American classics like burgers and pancake breakfasts. There are also international eateries that create dishes inspired from Mexican to Greek cuisine. And, as a resort city, most diners in South Lake Tahoe offer a diverse selection of beers, wines and cocktails, making it one of the best Stateline dining scenes for foodies who like to kick back and relax.

    If you enjoy homemade barbequed food, gourmet pizzas and oversized burgers paired with local whiskeys, South Lake Tahoe has a diner for you. Eat like a local by visiting these local and top-rated South Lake Tahoe restaurants.


    Heidi's Pancake House

    Homemade pancakes and hearty breakfasts

    • Food
    • Families
    • Budget

    At Heidi’s Pancake House, you can fill up on Californian brunch favourites like classic sandwiches, oversized burgers and bites straight from the grill. Even so, this restaurant’s main draw is its breakfast menu which includes stacked pancakes, freshly baked waffles, crepes and 4-egg omelettes. It’s an ideal place to kick off the day with some all-American comfort food. The locally-made sausages come highly recommended.

    You don’t usually need to reserve a table at Heidi's Pancake House, which is busiest around 10 am. You can expect to pay around $10 for a signature pancake stack. For a healthier treat, try the sliced ham sandwich, which is made from 98% fat-free smoked ham.

    Location: 3485 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 2 pm

    Phone: +1 530-544-8113


    The Loft Theatre-Lounge-Dining

    Bistro-style dining with live performances

    • Food
    • Nightlife
    • Couples
    • Families

    Head to The Loft Theatre-Lounge-Dining to add a touch of mystery to your dining experience in South Lake Tahoe. It hosts a live magic act 7 days a week. On the menu, you’ll see American tapas-style dishes ranging from locally sourced cold cuts to buffalo wings and mini lamb chops. The charbroiled steak is a hit with the locals.

    We highly recommend booking your table in advance as tickets for the nightly live shows can sell out quickly, though walk-ins are welcome depending on availability. If you’re more interested in dining than magic, grab a seat in the Lounge bar, which provides a comfortable and social setting.

    Location: 1001 Heavenly Village Way, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from 5 pm to 10 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 5 pm to 10.30 pm

    Phone: +1 530-523-8024


    Izabella Ristorante Italiano

    Italian favourites in an intimate setting

    • Food
    • Couples

    Izabella Ristorante Italiano is a top-rated Italian restaurant with modern décor, spacious booths for families, and dimmed lighting to create an intimate and inviting setting. You’ll find all the Italian classics on its menu, including pizzas, pasta, and a range of entrees. The portions are generous, but leave enough room for dessert – the homemade cheesecake is a local favourite.

    You’ll find Izabella Ristorante Italiano on Lake Tahoe Boulevard just a few minutes from the border between California and Nevada, close to most of South Lake Tahoe’s casino resorts. If you want to dine on a budget, ask for a half portion or split plate.

    Location: 3967 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Open: Daily from 5 pm to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 530-544-0400


    Artemis Lakefront Café

    Mediterranean delights by the water’s edge

    • Food
    • Couples

    Artemis Lakefront Café is a relaxed Mediterranean eatery and espresso bar offering both indoor and outdoor seating right by Lake Tahoe. This all-day diner serves Greek favourites such as gyros, steak with feta mash potatoes and a range of delicious pita wraps. You can also dine on American classics with a Greek twist, such as the signature Greek Burger and stuffed chicken breasts.

    While you’re here, treat yourself to a speciality cocktail or 2. You’ll also find plenty of fine wines and beers on the menu. Usually, you can walk in without a reservation, but we recommend calling ahead if you plan to eat after 9 pm as the restaurant may close early during low season.

    Location: 900 Ski Run Blvd Ste. 111, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 530-542-3332


    Cold Water Brewery and Grill

    Californian pub fare in a contemporary restaurant

    • Food
    • Nightlife
    • Couples

    At the Cold Water Brewery and Grill, you can enjoy Californian breakfasts, lunches and dinners in the cosy restaurant or pick up a takeaway sandwich to take with you to the beach. You can also wash down dishes like burritos, rib racks, and burgers with an all-grain beer made at the restaurant’s own brewery. Pair a Black Pepper Porter beer with Bavarian pretzels to experience the dining scene like a local.

    The best time to head to the Cold Water Brewery and Grill is just after 1 pm when the crowds subside, though you won’t usually struggle to find a table. The homemade beer is also available for takeaway during peak season.

    Location: 2544 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 530-544-4677


    Base Camp Pizza Co.

    A local-favourite pizza restaurant in South Lake Tahoe

    • Food
    • Families

    The Base Camp Pizza Co. serves locally adored gourmet pizzas, pies, and an extensive selection of appetizers and salads, such as garlic cheese bread and the classic Caesar salad. Every evening, live bands provide entertainment. If you’d prefer to head over for lunch, you can enjoy your meal in the sun on the spacious patio.

    Each day between 2 pm and 6 pm, the Base Camp Pizza Co. runs a happy hour on spirits including Jack Daniels and Sailor Jerry. Even though this restaurant remains open all day, it’s worth ringing ahead if you intend to grab a table after 8 pm.

    Location: 1001 Heavenly Village Way #25a, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 530-544-2273


    Sonney's BBQ Shack Bar & Grill

    Grilled delights in a top-rated barbeque bar

    • Food
    • Nightlife

    At the multi-award-winning Sonney's BBQ Shack Bar & Grill, you can dig into meaty delights slow-barbequed over oak and apple, covered in one of 4 signature sauces. You can also catch up with the latest sports and, mostly on weekends, listen to live bands while sipping a beer. To find out why the locals love this place, try the ribs smothered in Sonney’s Original BBQ Sauce.

    All food is cooked fresh daily as the restaurant operates a strict zero microwave or freezer policy. The busiest time to visit is 6 pm, though long waits are rare. For a kick of spice, order the naked jalapeños wrapped in smoked bacon.

    Location: 787 Emerald Bay Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 530-541-7427


    Sprouts Café

    A health food restaurant offering tasty takeaway bites

    • Food

    Head over to Sprouts Café if you want to avoid American comfort food and instead give your health a boost. The simple but delicious counter-service restaurant in South Lake Tahoe serves homemade soups, burritos, wraps and smoothies. Popular dishes include soups such as the Mexican Volcano and the restaurant’s signature rice bowls, though we recommend trying the Real Tahoe Turkey Sandwich during your visit.

    Where possible, Sprouts Café sources local and organic ingredients to create its speciality dishes, making the restaurant an ideal place to absorb some local culture. Because Sprouts Café is located a stone’s throw from the beach, it’s usually busiest around lunchtime. 

    Location: 3123 Harrison Ave, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 7 pm

    Phone: +1 530-541-6969


    Himmel Haus

    A top local hangout spot with Bavarian-inspired dishes

    • Food
    • Nightlife
    • Couples
    • Families

    The Himmel Haus is locally famous in South Lake Tahoe for serving over 30 imported Belgian and German beers, but its organic food menu makes it a suitable diner for those looking for a guilt-free bite. Pretzels, sausage platters and schnitzels are all menu favourites. For something a little different, try the delicious sauberbraten, which is a beef shoulder marinated in red wine for a minimum of 7 days.

    Most locals head to Himmel Haus in the evening to listen to live music or watch the sports with a refreshing draft beer. If you’d rather avoid loud crowds, visit before 6 pm. There are plenty of delights on the kid’s menu, making it an ideal place to take the family for lunch.

    Location: 3819 Saddle Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 4 pm to 9 pm, Friday from 4 pm to 10 pm, Saturday from noon to 10 pm, Sunday from noon to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 530-314-7665


    California Burger Company

    Gourmet burgers and whiskeys

    • Food

    California Burger Company is a tavern-style restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating in South Lake Tahoe. It's a go-to for a delicious gourmet burger paired with a rare chaser of whiskey. The locals highly recommend The Californian, the restaurant’s signature burger. If you think you can handle something a little bigger and meatier, try The Honorary Texan.

    You’ll find the California Burger Company inside The Shops at Heavenly Village, which is South Lake Tahoe’s largest shopping complex. The restaurant remains open from early until late daily, though you’ll find the best deals during happy hour between 2 pm and 5 pm.

    Location: 1001 Heavenly Village Way #2b, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Open: Friday–Wednesday from 11 am to 10.30 pm, Thursday from 10.30 am to 10.30 pm

    Phone: +1 530-314-8404

    Joshua Saunders | Contributing Writer

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