Outstanding Outdoor Dining Experiences in Tahoe

No matter which one of these restaurants you choose, you will be able to have a great view if you sit outside. Whether it's in front of a mountain, right by a creek or river, overlooking a town or even right on the lake's shore these places will have something to gaze at while you dine al fresco.

If you want to be right on the water's edge, you have to visit Christy Hill in Tahoe City for lunch or dinner. They serve fresh, local and organic dishes that you can enjoy on their outdoor deck as the water laps beneath your feet. Other restaurants with decks right on the lake is Jake's on the Lake in Tahoe City and the Riva Grill in South Lake Tahoe.

If a babbling brook or roaring river is more your style, head to the Dam Café in Tahoe City where you can get some great breakfast burritos and coffee on their deck overlooking the Truckee River. Right nearby is the Bridgetender which is a popular locals spot on the weekends. For a great view of town, head to the Cottonwood in Truckee where the view from their deck is of the entire town, the mountains and the train as it chugs along its track.

For a great view of the mountains, visit the Plumpjack at Squaw Valley. Here you can enjoy their wine and appetizers outside on their deck right next to a firepit, which will make dining outside in the winter a bit more bearable.



Located in Historic Kings Beach and just minutes from the waterfront, Caliente takes its name from its diverse family neighborhood surroundings. Caliente specializes in the flavor of the American Southwest and beyond. Think Santa Fe, or as we...  Read More

Olympic Valley


Understated elegance enlivened with touches of whimsy characterizes this revered restaurant's dining room. Often, patrons are focused on the snowy landscape, visible through many windows, or on toothsome dishes before them. Dinner is divided...  Read More

Backyard Bar & BBQ
Photo courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Highlands


The Backyard Bar & BBQ is located mid-mountain at the Ritz-Carlton Highlands at the Northstar ski resort near Truckee. This casual, but beautiful outdoor dining area offers diners year-round back patio BBQ, beer and specialty drinks. The...  Read More



Jake's on the Lake serves lunch only on weekends, but the seafood-focused and California Cuisine menu is worth an entire week's wait. Enjoy spectacular views of the marina on Lake Tahoe as you dig into grilled prawns with basil and prosciutto, a...  Read More



The Fresh Ketch is located in a small marina at the foot of Tahoe Keys Boulevard and has long been regarded as South Lake's premier seafood restaurant. Try for a window table so you can watch the marina activities. Try the half a dozen oysters...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Cottonwood


Eat indoors or on the restuarant's beautiful patio. They have all kinds of dishes to seduce your taste buds. Choose between crispy Baby Back Ribs grilled with jerk spice, and served with house made barbecue sauce or Jerk-spiced Fried Rock Prawns...  Read More

South Lake Tahoe


The Riva Grill has one of the lake's best waterfront decks in which to enjoy the view on a warm summer day. Make the day even better by ordering one of their famous Wet Woody cocktails. The Riva Grill is an upscale casual restaurant that...  Read More



Located in the center of Tahoe City, this restaurant offers excellent food and one of the best views on the lake. It's a small restaurant and reservations may be required during the high seasons, but the staff is friendly and very accommodating....  Read More

South Lake Tahoe


The Boathouse is located at the Tahoe Beach Retreat hotel in South Lake Tahoe and offers a unique dining experience over the waters of Lake Tahoe. The restaurant is only open during the summer, but you can enjoy lunch or dinner on a pier with no...  Read More



Part of charming Sunnyside Lodge, this lakeside restaurant delivers wonderful views and straightforward, filling lunchtime eats. You'll find burgers, fish, and chicken sandwiches, as well as pasta dishes, salads, and soups. The lodge's dock...  Read More


Meet Christina Nellemann

Christina has lived in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area since she was a baby. A first-generation Nevadan, her Danish parents instilled in her an intense love of travel and the wild, rugged outdoors...  More About Christina