Lake Tahoe isn’t exactly known as a cheap place to live or visit, but thankfully there are a number of places to eat without breaking the bank. And we’re not talking about national fast food joints. These are our favorite local mom & pop businesses serving outstanding food at affordable prices.
Jaliscos is not only one of the best cheap Mexican restaurants in South Lake Tahoe, but probably also the most popular cheap food joint amongst locals. The authentic street food is fresh and delicious, with generous servings and an ample menu, at prices that would rival those of any national fast food chain. This must-visit hole-in-the-wall is located near Lakeview Commons, across from Campground By The Lake.
Maya's Mexican Grill
Maya’s is a cozy, cheap Mexican restaurant across from Heavenly Village. The service is fast & friendly and the menu features authentic Mexican flavors, including homemade tortillas and flavorful salsas. The dining room is rather small, but with the quick service it’s worth the wait.
The Burger Lounge in Meyers is a popular lunch spot for folks heading out to or back from Sierra-at-Tahoe. Their menu features well over a dozen different kinds of handcrafted burgers, and nearly as many options for chicken sandwiches, veggie burgers, and hot dogs. Some would argue that the fries are an even bigger reason to go. The Burger Lounge is open from Thursday through Monday.
Meyers Downtown Café
This cozy little café also makes a great stop before or after shredding at Sierra-at-Tahoe or Kirkwood. They serve breakfast and lunch until closing at 2pm. On the menu you’ll find items like the Redneck Benedict, Godfather Huevos, Ultimate Hash Browns, your standard sweets like waffles and French toast, and many different burgers and sandwiches. The owners are always there and will make you feel right at home. Meyers Downtown Café is cash-only and closed on Mondays.
The Keys Café is usually where the locals go when they’re craving a flavorful fruit smoothie or espresso. They have a limited but yummy breakfast menu, and also some great soups, sandwiches, and salads for lunch. The charming little building is the perfect place to warm up on a cold morning. Have a seat in their comfy dining room and enjoy their complimentary newspapers or Wi-Fi. They’re located near the corner of Keys Blvd and Highway 50.
Pretty Odd Wieners
Pretty Odd Wieners is a pretty odd food truck in a pretty odd location. You’ll miss it if you’re not looking for it; they’re located in the parking lot of the Roadrunner gas station in Meyers. They’re typically open from Thursday through Monday during the winter. They serve the classics like Chicago dogs and Seattle dogs, and their own unique creations like a bacon-wrapped deep-fried dog and a dog loaded with fries and cheese whiz. Exotic sausages made of elk, boar, venison, and bison are also available.
Still have plenty of energy after a full day on the slopes? Head over to the Classic Cue where you’ll find plenty of games including darts & pool and karaoke a few days a week. Mondays are $1.50 fish & chicken tacos (the fish tacos are bomb), and happy hour specials run from 3pm-6pm. Their burgers are huge and made with fresh beef, at great prices. They also serve sandwiches and your standard pub fare like wings and fish & chips. Classic Cue is located near the intersection of Highway 50 & Emerald Bay Road.
You may pull up to Sidellis – located behind the Bank of America – and have second thoughts. But don’t let the plain exterior fool you! The inside features warm wood accents and family-style heavy wooden benches. They have a number of brews made on-site and also feature taps from other local breweries. You’ll have to try the French Onion Soup and Bavarian pretzels with beer cheese. Their sandwiches are outstanding too!
There aren’t a lot of options for Chinese food in South Lake Tahoe, but you’re in luck with Hunan Garden. They offer a cozy dining room as well as takeout. There’s nothing new on the menu – your standard Chinese American food – but the prices will offset that expensive burger you ate on the ski hill earlier in the day. A sizeable buffet is also available if the menu is too intimidating. They’re located on Emerald Bay Road near the TJ Maxx.
My Thai Cuisine
The Thai foodies will have to hit up My Thai Cuisine before leaving South Lake Tahoe. This small restaurant is a local favorite, featuring a wonderful ambience and awesome staff. They have an amazing lunch special that will leave you with a nice food hangover, and at prices cheaper than what you’d find at the golden arches. Dinner is slightly more expensive, but don’t fret, the plates are huge and sharing is a must.