8 Great Spots for Casual Dining in South Lake Tahoe

By Shanie Matthews | Sunday, April 21, 2024

Lake Tahoe isn't just renowned for its stunning landscapes and outdoor adventures. It's also a haven for food enthusiasts seeking casual dining experiences that capture the essence of the region's vibrant culture. From cozy cafes to lively taverns, South Lake Tahoe offers a diverse array of dining options that cater to every palate. Let's embark on a culinary journey through some fantastic, family-friendly casual dining spots in South Lake Tahoe.

Photo: Yumminess is the name of the game at Getaway Cafe. Source: Getaway Cafe

The Getaway Cafe

Celebrated for its exceptional breakfast and lunch experiences, The Getaway Cafe has earned acclaim as a local favorite in South Lake Tahoe. Serving alpine comfort cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients, this cafe offers dishes ranging from Mexican/American fusion to traditional breakfast fare. With generous portions, attentive service and a dog-friendly outdoor patio, The Getaway Cafe promises an unforgettable culinary journey for patrons. 

Even our four-legged best friends get treats at The Getaway Cafe. Source: Getaway Cafe

Tahoe Tavern & Grill

For those craving a taste of Lake Tahoe's heritage, Tahoe Tavern & Grill is the ideal destination. This restaurant takes pride in serving scrumptious meals and thirst-quenching drinks in a casual atmosphere. From fresh American cuisine to an ample supply of bar gaming, Tahoe Tavern & Grill offers a culinary journey that celebrates the roots of Lake Tahoe.

Keys Cafe

Nestled at the intersection of Tahoe Keys Boulevard and Lake Tahoe Boulevard, Keys Cafe embodies Tahoe charm with its cozy cabin ambiance and delectable offerings. Serving breakfast and lunch, this charming eatery delights patrons with free-range organic eggs, healthy sandwiches, seasonal soups, fruit smoothies and specialty coffee. With a large catering menu and free WiFi, Keys Cafe is a beloved spot for locals and visitors.

The Mollette (Jack cheese, chorizo, hash browns, avocado, two fried eggs, sour cream and pico de gallo top a grilled French roll) at Ernie's will make anyone smile. Source: Ernie's Coffee Shop

Ernie's Coffee Shop

With more than 50 years of operation, Ernie's Coffee Shop has become a beloved institution in South Lake Tahoe. Known for its quality food and friendly service, this American-style diner serves breakfast and lunch dishes that cater to diverse tastes. From traditional favorites like biscuits and gravy to creative tofu scrambles and Mexican-inspired entrees, Ernie's offers a menu that reflects the eclectic culinary landscape of Lake Tahoe.

Mott Canyon Tavern & Grill

Located on lower Kingsbury, Mott Canyon Tavern & Grill exudes the laid-back ambiance of a classic ski bar. Offering a menu of pizza, burgers, fries and comfort food, this cozy tavern is the perfect place to unwind after hitting the slopes. With a full bar, outdoor patio and entertainment options like video poker and games, Mott Canyon Tavern & Grill promises a memorable dining experience steeped in Tahoe's ski culture.

Grand Central Pizza & Pasta

Conveniently located near the South Y, Grand Central Pizza & Pasta offers a menu of Italian favorites, sandwiches, burgers and salads. Whether you're craving a classic pizza or a unique creation like the Clam Bake Pizza, Grand Central promises a satisfying dining experience in a relaxed atmosphere. With daily delivery options and a commitment to using locally sourced ingredients, Grand Central is a go-to spot for delicious comfort food in Lake Tahoe.

Who wants a slice? Source Grand Central Pizza

Emerald Bay Bar & Grill

As a gathering spot for locals, Emerald Bay Bar & Grill embodies the vibrant spirit of South Lake Tahoe. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, this sports bar offers daily specials and a wide selection of drinks. With a large patio featuring a fire pit and horseshoes, Emerald Bay Bar & Grill invites guests to enjoy outdoor dining amidst scenic surroundings. Whether you're indulging in their famous $2 tacos or savoring their Shrimp Bloody Mary, every visit to Emerald Bay Bar & Grill promises a memorable experience.

The Woods Restaurant & Bar

This two-story South Lake Tahoe restaurant is a hub for residents and visitors seeking an unforgettable dining experience. Their menu is packed full of delicious starters such as ahi tuna poke nachos, duck confit chicken wings or tot kegs. Their main dishes include hefty sandwiches, salads and entrees like ribeye asado, crispy skin king salmon or pork belly mac and cheese. Their full-service bar is also the perfect place to watch your favorite sports games with their multiple large-screen TVs.

About the Author Shanie Matthews
A longtime Lake Tahoe local, Shanie is a freelance writer, Vinyasa Flow yoga teacher and positivity warrior. A true lover of the the gorgeous Tahoe region, she connects with the serenity of the mountains via skiing, biking and backpacking. She also believes in the gift of yoga and its way of allowing one to become his or her true best self, a passion she shares with the world with her online yoga studio.
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