When it comes to bars & restaurants, Lake Tahoe has a few all-time classics. They’re the ones that call you back time and time again. The ones where you barely even need a menu. And while we’ll always appreciate our legendary local restaurants, we don’t mind making space for some new kids on the blocks.
New, or better put—new-ish. Not all of the Lake Tahoe restaurants on this list are fresh-out-of-the-box new. But they’re recent additions, and definitely worth trying if you haven’t yet. So let’s see what we got!
South Lake Tahoe’s Best New Restaurants
This one hits all the right notes for us. An elevated sports bar, with an exciting menu to prove it, The Woods is easily one of our favorite, new South Lake Tahoe restaurants. Just a few blocks down from El Dorado beach in the center of town, The Woods is spacious and lively with lots of indoor and outdoor seating.
You can find most of our favorite words on the menu—pork belly, banh mi, burrata, ribeye—and they come together in the most beautiful ways. We’re talking Pork Belly Mac & Cheese, Ahi Tuna Poke Nachos and a Wagyu Beef Burger. There’s also a full bar, a fun drink menu and $5 whisky cokes during happy hour (Monday-Friday; 3-5pm). But still, you can’t visit The Woods without an order of beignets for dessert. Just trust us.
We’ve all long loved South Lake Brewing Company, and now, they’re giving us something extra to dote over in the form of The Libation Lodge. Leading with everyone’s favorite tap list of all their locally brewed beers, The Libation Lodge brings something extra to the table—elevated pub food. Juicy, smash burgers, snackable hummus plates and soft pretzels with beer cheese all play nice with their acclaimed craft beer and welcoming vibe.
Located just across the intersection from the ever popular restaurants in Heavenly Village—like Base Camp Pizza, Latin Azul Kitchen and California Burger Company—it’s ideal for people watching, catching a bit of live music or taking a post lunch cruise through the shops.
Maggie’s, Maggie’s, Maggie’s. Everyone is excited about Maggie’s. Chicly decorated, smartly curated, with a refined yet exciting menu, we understand the hype. Tucked into the newly opened and equally well-loved Desolation Hotel, it’s no surprise Maggie’s is one of the most coveted new locales on the restaurant scene. Come for dinner, with popular dishes ranging from Filet Mignon and Rack of Venison to Miso Ginger Glazed Salmon—or, pop in for brunch where everything from Osso Bucco Chilaquiles to Pumpkin Pancakes are on the menu.
It’s in the tangle of Stateline restaurants and hotels, but somehow feels world’s away.
For the epicurean, new kid on the block—Shed Cat—is a must-visit. There’s really just nothing like it in South Lake Tahoe. Casual yet sophisticated, both bold and familiar, it has a fun menu full of flavors you don’t see elsewhere. We’re talking local rainbow trout, coconut dhal paneer and bone marrow. (And that’s just the dinner menu.) They’re hyper focused on handmade, from scratch, quality everything. From small batch, Shedcat distilled liquors to the food they pair it with, everything has that personal touch.
From breakfast, (whoa there, Korean BBQ short ribs and eggs) to late night (hi, pizza hoagies) they’ve got great food at literally all hours of the day. Plus… if you needed a plus… the cocktails are just as fun as the food. There is a cute space for outdoor seating, exceptional service and an off-the-beaten path feel that we love.
One thing to note—there’s an auto-gratuity of 20%. Not a bad thing on its own, but something you might like to know beforehand.
North Lake Tahoe’s Best Restaurants
We admit, “new” wouldn’t exactly be the word to describe Bowl Incline at this point, but it’s such a gem that we couldn’t let it go unmentioned. Just in case. As the name suggests, it’s a bowling alley with the welcome surprise of a top-tier restaurant tucked away inside. We mean it. A bowling alley restaurant that stands on its own two feet.
Yes, Sam Choy’s Ohana Diner is worth the visit alone. (Although, if you’re like us, you’d never turn down the chance to roll a few.) The vibe is chill, but the cuisine is upscale aloha. Elevated Hawaiian fare fills the long, well-curated menu, with Spam Musubi and Poke Nachos as starters, Kalua Pork French Fries and Mahi Mahi Tacos as mains, and burgers, gourmet pizzas and bowls for good measure.
As an added bonus, Bowl Incline has an epic outdoor seating setup, with a full bar, fire pits, bocce ball court and lawn games.
Contemporary with a touch of old school European—it’s really no wonder that Rosewood Tahoe has already landed on North Lake Tahoe’s Best of list. The feel is elevated, the prices are reasonable and the food is phenomenal.
The menu features simple classics, perfectly prepared. Guests rave about mainstays like the roasted chicken and braised short ribs, with sides like grilled broccoli, wilted spinach and the widely loved parmesan polenta cakes rounding out the meal. Fun cocktails, a thoughtful wine list and even a casual brunch menu move Rosewood from date night favorite to anytime occasion. There’s really nothing not to love.
Did we save the best for last? Not only is Smoke Door one of the best restaurants in Lake Tahoe, it may just be one of the best in the state. In a class of its own, Smoke Door specializes in elevated, wood-fired, Japanese inspired cuisine, expertly crafted by Chef Tyler Burges.
Known more for great views than great food, Lake Tahoe wouldn’t be the first place you’d expect to find a restaurant like Smoke Door. Yet, this fine dining wonder, with its curated tasting menu featuring , has somehow landed on the humble shores of King Beach. Sophisticated, unique and masterfully designed down to every last detail, it offers an exceptional dining experience from top to bottom.
Run don’t walk to make your reservation—there’s no telling how long Smoke Door will keep flying under the radar, but we’re guessing not long!