Best Waterfront Dining in Tahoe

10Best Waterfront Dining Restaurants in Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe's views are unprecedented and being able to enjoy a gourmet meal (or just breakfast and coffee) right on the water is a special way to celebrate a trip to Tahoe. These 10Best restaurants, cafe's and bars will give you the view you're seeking.

For a special night out, head to Tahoe City where you can get an excellent lunch or dinner at Christy Hill. Their dishes change with the season and range from fresh ravioli to fish dishes. In South Lake Tahoe are the waterfront jewels of The Beacon and Riva Grill. Both have great views of not only the lake but some fun boating action. The newest addition to the list is The Boathouse on the Pier at the Tahoe Beach Resort with its over-the-water summer dining.

One of the best restaurants with a view of the lake (and its own beach) is the Edgewood Restaurant near South Lake Tahoe. Also near South Lake is the Fresh Ketch at the Tahoe Keys marina. Try their fish dishes while sitting out on their wonderful deck. If you want a friendly staff along with the amazing water views, head to the Sunnyside Lodge and Restaurant where you can dock your boat and enjoy a meal right on their dock–along with a few cocktails.


Fresh Ketch Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann

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 and the seared ahi tuna with garlic, soy, wasabi, and sesame seaweed salad. Then it's on to the fresh catch of the day such as big Alaskan king crab, steamed in the shell and served with drawn butter. The menu also includes a modest selection of meat and poultry dishes, such as the great surf and turf of petite mignon and lobster. Prices are a bit steep, but you can also belly up with the locals and order from the extensive bar menu, with everything from blackened mahimahi to fresh-fish tacos and fish and chips for under $13. They've recently added a sushi bar as well. Live music acts perform Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: The Fresh Ketch serves some of the best seafood on the lake.

Christina's expert tip: If you have your own boat, you can dock at the Fresh Ketch to enjoy lunch.

Read more about Fresh Ketch Restaurant →

South Lake Tahoe
Riva Grill
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann

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 accommodates larger groups for special occasions such as weddings. The chef has created a menu highlighting California cuisine that includes items like Filet and Scampi, Pistachio Halibut and pizza from a wood-fired brick oven. The wine list is a collection of California's best and best-known vintners featuring more than one dozen wines by the glass.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: The Riva Grill's Wet Woody cocktail has become a Tahoe legend.

Christina's expert tip: The Riva Grill is a great location for a special event. The Riva Grill allows weddings to be performed on their beach.

Read more about Riva Grill →

Moe's Original BBQ, originating in Alabama, has come to Tahoe City and you can't beat the location. This BBQ joint, known for its daily smoked meats and multitude of sides, is located right on the Grove Street Pier in Tahoe City and offers great views of the lake along with its Southern-style BBQ. Various dishes including pulled pork and ribs, seafood, chicken and children's plates are available as an ala carte or platter option. Daily sides include lima beans, collard greens, coleslaw and sweet potato casserole. The restaurant offers outdoor seating, a bar and several to-go options including a cooler meal for boat owners who use the pier.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: Moe's Deck has some great views of both the lake and Tahoe City.

Christina's expert tip: Moe's platters come with cornbread and two sides. Try the tangy marinated coleslaw!

Read more about Moe's Original BBQ →

South Lake Tahoe

The Boathouse is located at the Beach Retreat & Lodge 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 walls to separate you from the blue water of Lake Tahoe. The Boathouse offers casual dining and cocktails and has become a local favorite. The menu includes seasonal and fresh creations that won't break your wallet. Lunch items include Baked Brie ($13) with grapes and apples, New England Clam Chowder ($7/$10), the Boathouse Burger ($13) served on a brioche bun and the Fish Tacos ($13) with Mahi-Mahi. For dinner enjoy cocktails or California wines with Pan Seared Scallops ($18) or the fresh fish of the day.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: The Boathouse has some of the best summer waterfront dining in the area, and the menu is not overpriced.

Christina's expert tip: The Boathouse has live music on Wednesday and Thursday nights and feature local and regional bands and singers.

Read more about The Boathouse →

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. Specialties include chimichurri swordfish, scallops, trout and organic Kobe Burger with applewood bacon, tomato jam, sautéed onions and gorgonzola. The lodge's dock staff can assist you if you arrive by water, but show up on the early side if you want to secure a seat on the deck. The wood-paneled, rustic dining room provides atmosphere to spare if it's chilly outside. Dinner sees an emphasis on well-prepared American favorites, including seafood and steaks.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: Sunnyside has special food and music events throughout the year.

Christina's expert tip: The lake view from the Sunnyside deck is perfect for summer days. Order their fried zucchini!

Read more about Sunnyside Restaurant →

Jake's On The Lake is a mainstay on the West Shore. Serving both locals and visitors since 1978, Jake's features a casual yet delicious menu that reflects its waterfront atmosphere. The menu features seafood appetizers such as Dungeness Crab Cakes ($18) and entrees such as Seared Diver Scallops ($32). Turf-inspired dishes are also available such as short ribs and filet mignon tacos. Salads, soups (such as their decadent clam chowder), and several desserts are on hand to round out your meal. A kids' menu ensures that families leave happy. If you're making an afternoon of it, the full bar has its own menu, along with specialty cocktails, wines, and draft and bottled beers.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: Jake's is one of the oldest and most popular restaurants and bars in this area of the lake.

Christina's expert tip: Jake's has one of the best views on the lake and you can also go out on their pier for even better views. Try the Dungeness Crab Cakes with jicama apple slaw.

Read more about Jake's On The Lake →

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. They serve up a nice selection of wines by the glass and the bottle and the menu is small but it revolves around the changing seasons and the availability of fresh ingredients. The entrees include pork, lamb, seafood and pasta using fresh, local ingredients. For a starter, the Caesar Salad is huge and very delicious and the various Ravioli dishes are a great entree. For dessert, try the Affogato with cranberry biscotti.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: On summer nights, you can sit on the deck of Christy Hill and get some of the best West Shore views.

Christina's expert tip: Christy Hill has earned rave reviews by the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and Bon Appetit. Try the popular Juniper Brined Pork Chop with local juniper berries.

Read more about Christy Hill Lakeside Bistro →

Located at the Hyatt Lake Tahoe in Incline Village, this impressive alpine lodge restaurant has a large stone fireplace, incredible views of the North Shore and is located on its own private beach with access to a pier. Enjoy High Sierra cuisine, an impressive wine list and breathtaking views of the lake. The seasonal menus use only the finest in fresh local ingredients prepared in the open show kitchen. Lunch and dinner entrees include items such as Furikake Crusted Ahi with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes and Radish Salad, Veal Osso Buco with Root Vegetable Pur�e, Spaghetti Squash Gremolata Style, "Apple Hill" Cider Cream Sauce and Sauteed Chicken, Mascarpone Polenta, Asparagus, Morel Cream Sauce. The Lone Eagle has vegetarian options and desserts like Warm Mascarpone Strudel and Tahitian Vanilla Cr�me Br�l�e. They also serve after-dinner cognacs and ports.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: The view from the Lone Eagle can also be enjoyed in the winter by the outdoor fire pits.

Christina's expert tip: Happy Hour at the Lone Eagle is Sunday through Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. with half-price wine by the glass.

Read more about Lone Eagle Grille & Bar →

South Lake Tahoe

Located at Camp Richardson on the South Shore, this restaurant and bar is a summer party heaven. You can boat or kayak right up to the restaurant and enjoy a meal or drink with views of the water and Mount Tallac. The menu offers items like Deep Fried Calamari, Clam Chowder, Seared Ahi, Crab and Shrimp Enchiladas, Burgers and a very tasty Creamy Pumpkin Pasta, bow tie pasta topped with a pumpkin cream sauce served with a garlic cheese bread. You can also get smaller, lunch-priced items for dinner. Drinks include wine, beer and cocktails including the popular and potent Rum Runner. Check out the weekly happy hour.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: The Beacon has a fun atmosphere right on the beach and away from city crowds.

Christina's expert tip: Check out the Rum Runner, a potent drink served only at The Beacon.

Read more about The Beacon Bar & Grill →

This marvelous restaurant is located in the clubhouse of the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. The views of the lake and golf course are outstanding from any table. First-class food and service make for an enjoyable dining experience. As with most restaurants at the lake, seafood is always a specialty. However, this eatery also serves exotic dishes such as Roast Loin of Elk and an excellent Ostrich Medallion appetizer. The wine list has a bountiful assortment with prices in the moderate range. Desserts include nightly featured creme brulee, seasonal cheesecakes and an elegant cheese plate artisanal cheeses, fig compote rose petal jelly honeycomb and crackers.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: Edgewood Restaurant's alpine chateau decor and menu make it a stand-out hit at the lake.

Christina's expert tip: Edgewood also has its own beach where you can get into the water for some summer swimming.

Read more about Edgewood Restaurant →


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