King’s Beach is a funky, small beach town on the northern shores of Lake Tahoe, California, with a laid-back alpine twist. No casinos here, just amazing views of this crystal blue body of water, ringed by the Sierra Nevada mountains, with its own hip scene of fantastic places to see and activities to enjoy, summer and winter alike. And the King’s Beach restaurants keep this stunning trend alive, offering many different foods for many different palates.
Refreshingly, this is a mostly locally-owned and operated district. It’s leisurely, non-monied, and family-friendly. Main Street (CA State Route 28) winds through a town lined with restaurants, beach shops, art galleries, and several quaint, quirky family-run hotels and cabins that have an air of 1950s and 1960s Americana.
There’s a terrific local foodie scene. It’s “Tahoe casual”—expect locals to be dressed down. There is something for everyone, from fluffy French toast to Mexican, burgers and ribs, creative pizzas, dive bars, and fine-dining to please the most discerning palate.
A quick bit about the area’s history: For thousands of years, the Washoe people were the inhabitants of the Lake Tahoe Basin. During the gold and silver rushes of the mid-1800s, which brought flocks of immigrants from Europe and around the world to mine and log, they lost all of their lands and were pushed out. Today, members of the Washoe Tribe of California and Nevada live on small colonies and other lands and press for a land base in the Tahoe Basin.
It’s one of the most beautiful alpine lake regions in the world, and Lake Tahoe hosted the 1960 Olympics. Thanks to the efforts of numerous non-profit, government, and private actors, significant areas have been preserved, forests have grown back after being clear-cut, and much of the clarity of this lake’s deep waters has been reclaimed.
In King’s Beach, you’ll dine and play among towering Jeffrey and Sierra lodgepole pines and shimmering aspens. You’ll dip your toes into crystalline waters on rocky beaches, and marvel at the surrounding mountains, or take a trek through a winter wonderland. In any season, this unique environment makes for a stunning destination.
Now, here are seven of our must-try King’s Beach restaurants.
Visiting other cities in California? Check out our other foodie guides:
- The Best Restaurants in Tustin, California
- Where to Eat in Ft. Bragg
- The Best Oceanside, CA Restaurants
- Top Restaurants in Costa Mesa
- Top Places to Eat in Cambria, CA
Seven Must-Try King’s Beach Restaurants
8421 North Lake Boulevard // +1-530-546-3663
King’s Café is a most delicious casual eatery. Open for breakfast and lunch, it’s located right on the corner of one of the town’s several roundabouts. With Lake Tahoe as your backdrop, you’ll be glad you stopped. Manager and cook Alfredo Perez prepares each dish to order, and the ingredients are incredibly fresh. They’re one of the few places in town that open at 7:00 am.
The French toast was as pretty as it was delicious, laced with strawberries and whipped cream. A crispy piece of bacon provided a kick of salt, and the bread was especially thick, fluffy, and light.
The savory breakfast tacos came filled with eggs, sausage, onions, peppers, and guacamole—the soft tortillas were warm and toasty.
We tried the Veggie King sandwich too. Super flavorful, the wheat bread held up, and it was filled with crunchy mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, roasted red peppers, onions, and avocados, with a slice of pepper jack and pesto aioli.
Their menu also includes yummy burgers, generous salads, and tasty tacos and wraps. Be sure to check the daily specials board!
For your King’s Beach breakfast, King’s is king.
8515 Brook Avenue // +1-530-546-0310
If you’re looking for a take-out restaurant, this little dive serves up authentic border town-style Mexican food and has a full Mexican carniceria and bakery. A local favorite, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it’s on a side street that you reach via a round-about.
Taqueria La Mexicana’s menu serves up all kinds of traditional breakfast goodness, including Chilaquiles con Huevos, Machaca and Eggs, and Huevos Rancheros.
Cooking from family recipes, the Tacos and Tortas, Burritos and Quesadillas come with delicious meat choices: Carne Asada, Chicken, Carnitas, Al Pastor, Buche (pork stomach), and more. Veggie options are also available.
I had two tacos that came stuffed with cubes of pork marinated in a rich, aromatic al pastor sauce—a bit greasy, yes, but that’s border town. The chopped onions and cilantro on top added the perfect note of freshness. Mexican rice and a dollop of refried beans with shredded queso fresco topped off the plate.
For your sweet tooth, the bakery specializes in Mexican bread and makes Pasteles Tres Leches, Choco Flan, Vanilla Cake, and other treats onsite daily. For a south of the border flair in a north of the border state, you’ll love this King’s Beach Mexican classic.
8338 North Lake Boulevard // +1-530-546-3315
Jason’s Beachside Grille has occupied its awesome lakeside spot for the past 36 years, on a lot with big trees interspersed throughout. Housed in the original building and restaurant built in the 1940s, it’s a prime location, right at the beach with beachside access, and during non-pandemic summers they have live music outside at night.
They are known for their baby back ribs, steaks, burgers, and homemade French onion soup.
Jason’s is a perfect place to grab a spot for lunch in the sun or to chill after a day on the lake. It’s got a classic beach vibe, with rock music playing, a full bar, and a Polynesian-influenced stand-up paddle and kayak shop next door, Adrift Tahoe. The service is great, and everyone we spoke to expressed their love of owner Monte Webb.
The baby back ribs were tender and well-cooked, slow-roasted for six-to-seven hours each day.
My burger was delicious—juicy and cooked to medium-rare on the nose, topped with melted Swiss cheese and mushrooms. The French fries came small cut, crispy on the outside and soft inside. You will need those nice thick brown-and-beige-square checkered napkins.
I tried the French onion soup and it was what I hoped for—rich, oniony, peppery broth with lots of soft onions encased in a topping of melted Gruyere cheese and scallions. The accompanying French bread comes from the Truckee Sourdough Bread Company—it’s surprisingly light, but with that crispy, crunchy outside.
The fare at Jason’s is straight-up old-fashioned goodness. Not overly-seasoned, just fresh and well-cooked. There’s a wide variety of appetizers and a slew of terrific sandwich offerings. Entrees include filet of Pacific Salmon, Prime Rib, and Chicken roasted with herbs and spices. It’s one of the best spots to eat in King’s Beach for American-style in a great beach ambiance.
8290 North Lake Boulevard // +1-530-546-2200
Set in a cute old wooden house that backs up onto the shore of the lake, Whitecaps Pizza has spectacular vistas of Lake Tahoe. Grab a seat on the sand bar, or get there early and grab a table on their lower or upper deck, both with super views and ideal for sunsets. All of this before you’ve even laid eyes on your food.
Whitecaps has a lovely appetizer menu. One of their specialties is large, green Castelvetrana olives warmed in the oven with oil, garlic, and spices. They have a wonderful flavor and hold their warmth for a surprisingly long time because of their pits. Perfect with a cold brew in hand.
The kale salad has a deceptive depth of flavors. Curly kale shredded so thin that it’s delicate, pine nuts, and Brussels sprouts in a light lemon vinaigrette. There’s a nice balance of flavors, with dried cranberries contrasting the acid of the lemon.
Pizza aficionados will delight in this hand-crafted restaurant’s offerings, made with premium meats, local produce, and house-made tomato sauce. They serve a nice variety of classic and craft pizzas, from a Margarita to a Pepperoni Pineapple Jalapeño to a classic Vegetarian.
We tried two of their pies, Craft Mushroom and Soppressata Honey Drizzle. Our mouths started watering the moment they arrived. At first bite, the meaty soppressata flavor hits your nose and your taste buds, immediately followed by the gentle sweetness of the honey drizzle. It’s a winning combo. Add to this jalapeño, goat cheese, and their house-made sauce—really tasty, complex flavors that linger on your palate. It’s something that any gourmand will love.
The wild mushroom pizza was delightful umami, topped with a white sauce that didn’t compete but complemented the earthy, meaty flavors. Carmelized onions, fresh basil, and garlic rounded out the flavor profile, while the combination of gruyere, goat, and whole mozzarella cheeses made this a rich, truly foodgasmic experience. The crust was neither overly thin nor overly thick, and perfectly crispy on the bottom.
Whitecaps is a superb King’s Beach pizza restaurant with a great vibe, top-notch food, and efficient, knowledgeable wait staff. They offer a creative list of small craft beers and wine on draft, and beers in the can or bottle. For those seeking alternative alcoholic beverages they also have spritzers and a rotating selection of hard kombucha!
8345 North Lake Boulevard // +1-530-546-4539
On a lark, we stumbled upon Las Panchitas, the only full Mexican Restaurant in town, after a brisk hour-and-a-half hike on the Lake Tahoe Rim Trail. We were hungry and this place sure hit the spot. Like so many other King’s Beach restaurants, it’s family-owned and has been open since 1982. Our waitress, Maria, has been there for 32 years!
The tortilla chips were an immediate good sign—warm, thick, and crunchy—accompanied by freshly-made salsa with a light kick. The menu is authentic Northern Mexican style, nice and hearty, with dishes like Fajitas, Machaca, Chiles Verde and Colorado, and, of course, Burritos.
In a snacking mood, I had a Tostada of Refried Beans and a Cadillac Margarita. The tostada was nice and crisp (and stayed that way), the chopped lettuce crunchy, and the beans rich and creamy. The Chile Colorado had a nice depth of flavor, tender chunks of beef in a smoky, savory sauce with that beautiful deep red color. With rice, beans, and corn tortillas, it was ideal.
Open for lunch and dinner, you’ll also love their happy hour—sit on their patio so you can take in the views. For a casual, authentic Mexican meal, Las Panchitas is a must-try in King’s Beach. You’ll definitely need your siesta after filling up on this King’s Beach Mexican restaurant.
400 Brassie Avenue, Suite B // +1-530-546-2191
Spindleshanks Tahoe is a local gem. Set on the historic Old Brockway Golf Course, it’s one of the classiest restaurants to eat and drink at in King’s Beach. Old Brockway, a sea of greens amongst towering Jeffrey pines and Tahoe views, is the site of Bing Crosby’s first “Crosby” tournament in 1935. It’s also an Audubon cooperative sanctuary.
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a daily Happy Hour, at Spindleshanks, you can get comfortable and settle in for hours. During good weather, they have three big wooden decks open for outdoor service. It’s a relaxing atmosphere, with expert and attentive service.
Owner and Chef Steve Marks calls it “user-friendly upscale.” If it’s a burger if you want, they’re delicious; or go for a classic Rack of Australian Lamb with Brandy Green Peppercorn Sauce. Each dish comes carefully plated in beautiful ceramic bowls, with exquisite attention to detail.
Every Tuesday night brings an all-night Happy Hour, with $9 small plates and creative cocktails—this is a terrific way to get an introduction to their full menu. The offerings change throughout the evening as dishes run out, and the portions are generous. Live music starts at about 6 pm, and the crowd swells, spilling out onto the golf course as the evening gets rocking.
Spindleshanks Tahoe presents a fantastic menu with influences from around the globe. Try the Ginger Lemongrass Brick Chicken, the Loin of Pork Schnitzel, or the Griddled Rainbow Trout.
The wonderfully curated wine and after-dinner drink list are truly extensive. Each bottle has its purpose, pairing beautifully with the food.
We began with a small plate of Softshell Crab on top of tender Hoisin Pork Belly. The flavors and textures were superb. The softshell crab was lightly battered, both crisp and meaty, and the pork belly was tender and flavorful. It came on a bed of Chipotle Slaw and was topped with Curry Aioli.
Next came a bowl of PEI Mussels—in a White Wine Sauce with Garlic, Shallots, and Tomato. The dish is finished with a dash of Pernod, giving it an element of savory that was beyond incredible.
Rounding off the meal were Braised Short Ribs in a Red Wine Reduction Sauce with smooth, creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes. The deep, full beef flavor hits your taste buds as the tender meat falls apart on your fork. Everything here is made and served with the utmost care.
Dessert brought a yummy scoop of Coconut Macadamia Nut Gelato, made in house, along with a scrumptious Apple Tart. We left Spindleshanks already plotting our next visit. This is an ideal “something for everybody” restaurant in King’s Beach.
9983 Cove Street // +1-530-546-7529
For fine dining since 1985, The Soule Domaine is a magical place, set in a charming log cabin among the trees, just around the corner from the famed Tahoe Biltmore Lodge and Casino and Cal-Neva Resort (which is under renovation). It’s the best restaurant in King’s Beach to linger over a five-course meal, as you let yourself be spoiled while engaging in great conversation.
Mingling with guests throughout the evening, Owner and Chef Charlie Soule welcomes you with a smile. The service is excellent: attentive and knowledgeable.
The Thai Curry Scallops appetizer was an instant hit with complex flavors of lemongrass, coconut milk, peanut butter, and cilantro melding with shiitake mushrooms, jalapeños, and chopped almonds. The Lobster Wontons were nice, soft wraps snuggling chunks of lobster in a delightful shiitake broth. A side of Chinese mustard-red chile sauce provided a spicy kick.
They have lovely salads. I kept it simple with the Organic Mixed Greens with Green Goddess Dressing, but the plating was anything but simple. Sliced apples lined the bowl, delicate mixed greens in the middle, pretty strawberry radishes, smoked almonds, and croutons. A neighboring table raved about the Grilled Lamb and Goat Cheese Salad.
The main course began with a thick cup of Zucchini ginger soup, a hearty fall concoction. Entrées include a Vegan Udon Noodle Bowl with Miso Shoyu Ponzu, Fresh Fish of the Day, or an inventive Sea Scallops poached in Champagne with Kiwi and Mango Cream Sauce.
My Filet Mignon—medium rare and beautifully cut—was also pan-roasted with irresistible Shaft’s Bleu Cheese and Shiitake Mushrooms, in a classic French Brandy & Burgundy Butter that was rich but didn’t overshadow the deep, meat flavor. The potatoes were thick cut and nicely seasoned, the carrots added just that little bit of sweetness. The dish paired perfectly with a lusty Aerena Red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon from Lake County, California.
The Hawai’ian Swordfish special was excellent. It was grilled with a Miso-Ponzu Sauce that was sweet/spicy/tangy and topped with an interesting mix of peaches, jalapeño, and ginger, accompanied by Seasonal Vegetables and Rice Pilaf.
The wine list features a lovely range from the Pacific Coast states of California, Oregon, and Washington, along with a selection of choices from France, Italy, and Argentina. There’s a wonderful, relaxing ambiance, punctuated by upbeat Ska and American soft rock classics.
For the value-minded, the menu offers a Nightly Homestyle Classic; a four-course meal that includes a scoop of ice cream and a cookie for $29.
Dessert-lovers, take note. The Queen of Sheba was gorgeous. This flourless chocolate double torte cake came topped with a chocolate and amaretto ganache dusted with crushed almonds and had a layer of whipped cream in the middle. Divine. The Bread Pudding was made with pineapple, raisins, walnuts, drizzled with warm brandy. Accompanying both was house-made Ice Cream, a sublime Vanilla, Cinnamon, and Almond blend.
The Soule Domain is one of those fabulous restaurants that you instantly fall in love with. A favorite with locals, “Tahoe casual” means that it’s not just for special occasions. Reservations are highly recommended at this fine dining King’s Beach restaurant.
Know Before You Go
We were quite taken with King’s Beach and its incredible foodie scene, set among the trees on the shores of beautiful North Lake Tahoe. It’s on my list of new favorite places.
When you visit, keep in mind that both the Tahoe North Tourism Board and local residents place a premium on protecting the area’s natural resources, and ask that you do too. The region has a “Leave No Trace” code that they ask you to follow. You can find a wealth of information by clicking here.
Tonya Hennessey is a freelance writer and non-profit professional who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. She was raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she took off for a year of travel throughout Europe, Asia, and South America, a trip that awakened her awe of the world’s varied cultures, landscapes, and, of course, foods! Since then, she has traveled extensively in Europe, East and Southeast Asia, and the United States. Along with travel, she loves to cook, garden, and get that exercise.
Select Photos by Bruce Williams.