Long before I lived in Arizona, there was something magical about Lake Havasu. Along the west border of Arizona, it creates an oasis with water sports and lush golf courses unlike most of the rest of the moon-like landscape of so much of this desert state. And the Lake Havasau City restaurants– those alone are enough to warrant a visit!
I hadn’t realized until a few years ago that the original London Bridge, built in the 1830s that spanned the River Thames in London, England, had been purchased and moved here. Lake Havasu City, a planned community founded in 1964 and promoted by developer Robert P. McCulloch, has drawn visitors ever since.
For an extended day road trip, we decided to include a visit to Lake Havasu in our journey from Flagstaff to Tucson. If you check the map, you’ll see we created a horseshoe across the Arizona map, driving west on I-40 and then south on 95 and back east on I-10.
That’s a horseshoe. In Arizona. Outside Page. Okay, we did do Horseshoe Bend in June, and that was great, but Page is not known for their restaurants outside the luxury hotel and Antelope Point Marina. So it was nice to find another town with many tasty restaurants.
Lake Havasu City provides easily accessible casual lakeside and riverside dining with views of the London Bridge, purchased for $2.46M by Robert P. McCulloch from the City of London in 1968 and numbered, moved, and reassembled (for another $4.5M) with reinforced concrete.
The welcome ceremony and rededication occurred on October 10, 1971, with the Honorable The Lord Mayor of London Sir Gilbert Inglefield and Arizona Governor Jack Williams in attendance.
If you cross the bridge, turn left into the London Bridge Beach, and stop at the playground or tennis court or enjoy your time at the beach. On this side, you’ll find Javelina Cantina, Shugrue’s and the Barley Brothers. Park here and walk across the bridge and go down the stairs for the English Village for even more. Or off the river for some of the best Italian or pizza in town.
Visiting other destinations in Arizona? Check out our other guides:
- 15 Best Restaurants in Prescott, Arizona
- 7 Sedona Restaurants With a View
- 10 Fun Things To Do In Goodyear Arizona
- 6 Must-Try Glendale Restaurants
- 8 Best Cave Creek Restaurants
- 12 Exciting Things To Do In Cave Creek AZ
- 10 Best Restaurants In Salt Lake City
- 20 Best Restaurants In Tucson
- 10 Fun Things To Do In Flagstaff, Arizona
- 5 Best Scottsdale AZ Restaurants
The 7 Must-Try Lake Havasau City Restaurants
1420 N. McCulloch Blvd. // 928-855-TACO
The most unusual animal I’ve come across since moving to Arizona is the javelina. Much angrier than Pumba, we avoid getting too close, especially when in the backyard. It will charge you.
But the cute javelina figure on the door of this wonderful Mexican cantina makes you forget all that.
The menu confirms they believe ‘Javelina Cantina is Lake Havasu’s number one destination for authentic Sonoran style Mexican food.
Start with their Sopas Y Botanas. Chips and salsa and water were delivered to our table shortly after we arrived. The waiter was there just moments later to ask what additional beverages were desired. They have a specialty tequila connection and advertise their world-class tequila bar. But I was ready to focus on the starters.
I haven’t seen bacon poppers before, and anyone who likes jalapeno peppers stuffed with cream cheese is bound to enjoy these.
Or stick with the more familiar tortilla soup, grilled chicken & onion quesadilla, chicken strips, chili con queso, 7-layer bean dip, nachos grande, Baja shrimp cocktail, or Ceviche del Patron. We couldn’t pass up the chance to try the cheese crisp, a toasted flour tortilla, melted jack & cheddar cheese, garnished with pico de gallo, reminding me of how we used to have nachos at Tortilla Flats in Danbury, CT, when I was a little girl.
They have seven different salads available, from side salads to blackened sea scallops to Seafood Fiesta Salad. Check out their avocado vinaigrette salad dressing. I haven’t found it anywhere else.
Their specialty sandwiches cover the basic proteins: chicken, steak, salmon and a burger.
And they have almost everything a la carte you could imagine at a Mexican restaurant: tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, rellenos, tamales, flautas (my usual choice), taquitos and burritos.
When you’re hungry, though, you’ll probably want to try their Surf & Turf Molcajete Bowl.
I learned that molcajete is the Spanish word for mortar and pestle that derives from an Aztec word meaning seasoning bowl. Their bowls are hand-carved from a single piece of basalt rock and are independent works of art.
You can have the pomp of the sizzling fajitas – the family near us had the kids laughing with the fun of the service. They’re so helpful here, if you want to try three different types of fajitas, they can accommodate. Their Three Amigos include shrimp, steak and chicken fajitas. Too many places we’ve been only allow three of the same type of protein.
The Chef Specials are where we landed. Favorite daughter especially likes that you can add 10 grilled shrimp to any of these plates for only $6. That’s a great price for what you receive.
They offer street tacos, shrimp tacos, a super burrito, flautas or taquitos, enchiladas, chimichanga, two potato spinach & cheese enchiladas, carnitas, salmon tostada, carne asada, lobster tail tacos (a local favorite), or my choice of the day: fish tacos.
Whenever I’m near the water, I feel obligated to consider the choice. Their mahi mahi choice made it easy. Given the option of fried or grilled, I chose grilled. I didn’t have the rice and beans since I’d already had so many of the warm, delicious chips and medium spice salsa.
I barely had time to settle in to answer a couple of emails and enjoy the view of the south side of the London Bridge, when the service returned with my meal.
Two tortilla wrapped white fish tacos were over-filled with shredded cabbage, mango salsa, corn, scattered black beans, and a southwest tartar sauce with a very pleasant kick.
It is well advised to save room for dessert or eat it first.
They have my all-time favorite Mexican restaurant dessert: fried ice cream. They take the packed ball of vanilla ice cream, roll it in corn flakes, deep fry it and add just the right amount of caramel drizzle. It just never gets old.
The other desserts include the traditional sopapilla, churros (plain or strawberry filled), and a raspberry white chocolate cheesecake.
They also had two I haven’t heard of before.
Chocolate Totopo is a devil’s food cake filled with hot fudge and garnished with chocolate syrup, topped with whipped cream and a cherry, and served with vanilla bean ice cream. Sounds delicious.
Xango is a cheesecake filled tortilla, fried, and covered with a cinnamon sugar topping. If you like cheesecake, I think you’d really like this.
This was my favorite meal in Lake Havasu City with great, fast service, wonderful food, and a great view of the London Bridge.
They serve Coca-Cola beverages, milk (to counteract the spicy food), juices, tea, coffee and hot chocolate.
1425 McCulloch Blvd N // (928) 453-1400
Recipient of Wine Spectator’s 2020 Award of Excellence, this restaurant and bar, established in 1988, offers lakeside dining and happy hour 3–6 pm. If you’re visiting on Sunday, call for reservations for their Sunday Brunch, served from 10:30 am–3 pm.
The starters include soups that can be ordered by the cup or bowl. Ask the service about the soup of the day. Their French Onion Soup is a staple on the menu, served with baguette, provolone and Swiss cheese and can be served in a sourdough bread bowl.
You’ll find wings and kettle chips and dip, flatbread, chicken fingers, and southwest skins which is the first time I’ve seen avocado on potato skins, but the combination with corn, jack and cheddar cheese, and their Tajin seasoning was a delicious combination.
My daughter liked their shrimp options: Cajun cream shrimp, shrimp saganaki (Kasseri cheese with Sambuca sauce), tempura shrimp, or shrimp cocktail. She’s also a fan of their fried pickles. They’re hand-breaded pickle spears fried and served with a Cajun aioli that has quite the kick.
They offer eight salad options. Their BLTA chopped salad was a popular choice with the diners around us. I liked the idea of their Summer Breeze salad with apple, strawberries, craisins, golden raisins, walnuts, cucumber and red onion, but would prefer a substitution of another lettuce for their kale.
The waiter makes a valid point that it may not be quite so healthy then.
If you like heirloom tomatoes, you’d enjoy their Tomato Mozzarella with fresh heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella with pine nuts and fresh basil. Its aroma wafted over as the waiter passed our table. The classic Caesar or Greek Salad were easy choices, but my favorite daughter went with the pineapple shrimp salad which includes spring greens, cantaloupe, arugula, avocado, with an orange mint fennel dressing.
I’ve not seen a dish with both cantaloupe and avocado before. Lesson learned. The close second choice was the chicken and shrimp salad. The combination of blackened shrimp and chicken served over romaine, spring greens, grilled, asparagus, red onion and avocado is topped with a lemon pepper yogurt dressing.
I chose the Watermelon Crispy Chicken Salad. Their microgreens and spring mix create a good texture with a tangy taste from the citrus watermelon cubes, toasted almonds, red onion, orange segments and white balsamic; crispy chicken needed no substitutions for a great taste profile.
The watermelon adds an extra freshness with the greens that helps on a warm afternoon in Lake Havasu City. Even in November, it was in the high 70sF. And if you go up and down the stairs and cross the London Bridge, you’re likely to be dehydrated.
The next time we visit, I plan to order from the ‘Butchers & Anglers Choice’ portion of the menu. Served with a warm sourdough round and Shugrue’s homemade garlic butter, the entrees include a choice of two sides from jasmine rice, mashed potatoes, stuffed potato, baked potato (after 4pm), grilled asparagus or house vegetables.
I’ll have the 8-ounce filet mignon. They serve Harris Ranch Aged Prime beef.
Other options include lobster, pork chops, lamb, king crab legs, scallops, and shrimp scampi. My daughter says she’ll probably choose the lobster and shrimp dishes.
For sandwich lovers, they serve everything with warm sourdough rounds and their homemade garlic butter. Sandwiches and burgers include your choice of house fries, onion rings, house salad or the soup of the day.
Choose between pork belly sliders, portobello stacker (beef patties with portobello mushrooms), chicken portobello, house burger, The Hillside (grilled pastrami on rye), French Dip (another future option for me – ‘Philly style’ adds white American Cheese), Spicy Californian (peppered turkey), fish sandwich (grouper), blackened tuna, or a Mediterranean wrap.
Best of all, you can choose indoor or outdoor seating and watch the activity on the Bridge.
1425 McCulloch Blvd // (928) 505-7837
In the same area as Shugrue’s, your choice could be as easy as what you prefer to drink that day: wine or beer. While Barley Brothers has more typical pub fare, there are several items with their special flare.
For example, in addition to fan favorites like southern fried chicken strips, garlic cheese bread, a sampler platter, bighorn onion rings (yum!) and rib teasers, they serve shrimp cocktail, lobster mac ‘n cheese, tomato & basil bruschetta, Jake’s cheese fondue (a blend of European cheeses with broccoli florets and apple slices), fondue fries, gorgonzola mushrooms, or Art’s German sausage.
Many of these are offered at Happy Hour prices, the jumbo bacon wrapped scallops are not.
They offer eight salads with Caesar, wedge, seafood salad, sesame spinach salad, or a salmon or lobster cobb. Their triple berry vinaigrette dressing is the local favorite.
And seven types of burgers. The most surprising, I think, is the PB&J burger. This chuck burger is topped with a cabbage slaw, cilantro, jalapeno jelly and Thai peanut sauce. The server says it’s surprisingly refreshing.
Sandwiches are served with your choices of seasoned fries, cottage cheese, sliced tomatoes, or apple sauce. You can choose homemade onion rings or sweet potato fries for an additional charge.
New York steak sliders are one of the most ordered items. My daughter’s choice of the wood-fired veggie without the provolone cheese fit right into her dietary needs. They offer a chicken club, steak sandwich, meatball sub, pastrami layered with apple coleslaw, chuckwagon, turkey rustic, blackened salmon and Sicilian sub.
I highly recommend the house specials. Choose from NY Strip Steak, peppercorn top sirloin, baby back ribs, chicken parmesan, rotisserie chicken, chicken piccata, oak roasted vegetables, wood-fired halibut served scampi style, with shrimp, wood-fired rainbow trout, seafood Michelangelo (salmon, cod, scallops, shrimp, clams, oh my!) and – my personal choice – the Jamaican BBQ salmon.
It’s an Atlantic salmon basted in a Jamaican jerk spiced barbeque sauce, herb red potatoes and freshly sauteed vegetables. Delicious.
They also have nine menu pizzas and the ability to choose your own. The scent of freshly baking pizza in the wood oven wafting throughout the restaurant increases your appetite. So whether it leads you to a pizza for the table, calzones or one of their pasta dishes, or perhaps one of their house beers on tap, you’re bound to be pleasingly full by the time you walk back out to explore Lake Havasu.
All within steps from the west side of the London Bridge with outdoor seating that allows you to watch all the activity in the English Village, at the lower level on the opposite side of the Bridge.
410 English Village // (928) 302-6780
Want to keep things perfectly simple? Ready for a burger? Have I found the place for you. Just at the base of the stairs on the Northeast side of the bridge, you can choose a fresh, homemade hamburger or cheeseburger, served in a basket with pickles, tomato, onion, and lettuce or have the fish and chips you may expect to have across the Pond.
If you love wings, especially super-hot and spicy ones, you’ll love these.
Better still, for the littles with you, keep them entertained with ice cream or a smoothie. Or a hotdog. Just saying.
422 English Village // (928) 855-2583
The Chair, formerly known as The Blue Chair, towers over the activities of the English Market beneath the London Bridge. It’s also at a great angle for photos of the bridge from a slightly higher elevation. You can see people strolling or waiting for the ferry. You can dine inside or out or take away.
They have traditional burgers and chef specialties. When I visited, they served a blackened salmon hoagie with mixed spring greens, avocado, tomato and topped with a roasted lemon pepper aioli. For $20, it was one of the best deals of the trip.
The most common thing I saw flying past with the waiters in full court press were the island nachos. Lots of nachos, plenty of beer and lots of conversation made for a bustling place.
When I’m there with a larger group, I want to see how they like the ‘Hang Ten Bacon Board’. There are so many stand up paddle boards (SUP) in the area, it’s not too surprising to see surfboards and SUPs used as tables and wall hangings. And, therefore, use the surf lingo.
My daughter was all in with the triple fin hummus board. I’d asked about the ‘Toes on the Nose’, but they weren’t able to substitute chicken for pork, so I guess I’ll have to wait for fried plantains for another night.
For a lighter but ultimately fun choice, try the BC burger slider skewers. I’d never thought I’d be eating a burger on a stick (sounds like a State Farm delicacy), yet they manage to serve three sliders with house bacon jam, charred pineapple with a hoisin sauce, leaving it perfectly spiced.
When we go back, my daughter is considering the Caribbean or Hawaiian Poke Bowl. I’m looking at the So Cal Fit Wrap or the Chicky Chicky Sand Sand. It seems like a good idea to reward clever names.
1641 McCulloch Blvd // (928) 733-6315
Recommended by a waiter from another restaurant, saying it’s ‘more than a meal, it’s an experience’, I went to see if it really is that much fun to have my pizza made right in front of me.
I counted eight pizzas or build your own for a very reasonable $9 per pizza ($2 more for a gluten-free crust) and the clear glass food shields make it easy to watch them craft your pizza while you wait.
Kids and adults alike enjoy that show. Any day. Repeatedly.
The four salad options may help you feel like you’re making good choices.
But even the ones with the best intentions could be challenged by the four dessert pizzas. The strawberry banana Nutella pizza was no problem – I’m not a big fan of hazelnut, so resistance was easy.
Likewise with the strawberry ricotta. This cheese combination isn’t for me.
But I was in real trouble choosing between The Elvis – a peanut butter and banana pizza equally bizarre to the PB&J Burger (see above) and really quite intriguing – and the caramel apple pizza.
You can’t go wrong between the two. It’s even better if you each order one, try both, and take home the leftovers. If you’re not staying in town for another night, it makes for a good treat, even cold.
I’m still not certain how they’re able to create a small brick oven pizza in 90 seconds, but they do. Over and over again.
91 London Bridge Road // (928) 855-8665
From wings (boneless or not) to mozzarella sticks, cheesy garlic bread, French fries, cheesy breadsticks, breaded mushrooms or the delicious Rosati’s Dough Nuggets (like garlic knots) or breaded zucchini, you could easily fill up on these appetizers but do yourself a favor and save the room for one of the best Italian dishes you’ll have.
There are seven salads to choose from, but you may agree that this is the best time to eat European style, with the salad after the main meal.
They have all the sandwiches you’d expect from a great Italian restaurant, and a calorie count to help keep you in line. These include Italian Beef, Italian Sausage, Meatball Parmigiana, Chicken Pita, Grinder, Philly Cheesesteak and Gyro are all available.
You could choose their 4-piece chicken or 3-piece cod and they’re great, but don’t miss the pasta.
Three cheese baked penne, spaghetti & meatballs, penne & grilled chicken a la vodka, fettuccine alfredo with chicken (my choice – it tastes so good, just a hint of garlic with this creamy sauce and perfect addition of fresh parsley), lasagna, chicken parmigiana or four-cheese blend ravioli.
For even more fun you can create your own pasta dish. All the fun of a homemade meal without having to clean up the dishes.
They also offer pizza, regular, Chicago deep dish, and gluten-free. Their specialty is the Fabulous Four, containing Italian sausage, mushroom, onion, and green pepper. The sky’s the limit.
They serve Pepsi products.
For dessert, you can choose between cannoli, tiramisu, a deep-dish chocolate cookie, chocolate cannoli, or zeppole, bite sized pieces of crispy dough tossed in powdered sugar & paired with rich Nutella hazelnut spread.
Lucky for me, with someone to share, as this is meant to serve 3 o4 4 people. The crispy dough tossed in powdered sugar was a little like a beignet. I passed on the Nutella hazelnut spread but my daughter enjoys it.
With cocktails, beer and wine, you can go any time of day and be sure to enjoy it.
Which of these Lake Havasau City restaurants do you most want to try? Let us know in the comments section below!
Gail Clifford, MD, a physician for more than 25 years, has traveled to five continents and all 50 United States. An avid traveler, she happily goes on new adventures, especially on birthdays. Multi-generational travel remains a treasured pastime. She divides her time between Ireland and the U.S. You can find her on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook.