The 15 Best Nevada Restaurants Outside Las Vegas
Take a mini road trip to Lake Las Vegas, Pahrump, or Tecopa, for some worthwhile eats on the outskirts of Sin City.
There are pros and cons to living in the middle of the desert. Las Vegas doesn't really have suburbs the same way bigger cities like Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia do. Most of the activity is compartmentalized within a central valley while the Strip generates the most attention. But Southern Nevada is a big place—and there are cool towns and neighborhoods to explore on the outskirts of Sin City (even if it occasionally takes a short road trip to reach them). Some have desert charm. Others have waterside scenery. A few are just plain weird. Yet no matter where you go, you gotta eat. So check out the best Nevada restaurants to visit when off the beaten path outside Las Vegas.
If you're in Mesquite to check out the casinos, golf, or spa deals, your best bet for dinner is Katherine's, a steakhouse at the CasaBlanca resort with an old-school vibe. Tableside presentations are the restaurant's claim to fame, from Caesar Salad to start the meal to a choice of Bananas Foster or Cherries Jubilee to end it. The prime steaks are hard to resist, but don't overlook the dover sole, cooked whole and deboned at the table. Katherine's also makes a point to get the largest stone crabs possible when in season. The restaurant has seen its share of upgrades over the years, but not much of the decor had changed—and people like it that way. Familiarity is part of the charm. Katherine's opens early for dinner at 4 pm to accommodate the one-hour time difference for those across the state line in St. George and other parts of Southwest Utah.
How to book: Make a reservation online.
Cablp is pronounced "ka-blip," which stands for Criss Angel's Breakfast, Lunch & Pizza. The Vegas Strip performer (who now has two magic shows at Planet Hollywood) took over Sugar's Home Plate in Overton last year, turning the old sports bar into a fast-casual restaurant with a share of the profits redirected into local charity initiatives. The pizzas, inspired by Angel's New York roots, are the biggest sellers, but the menu has a variety of diner-style comfort food, ranging from burgers, dogs, and shakes to Fish n' Chips, Chicken Parm, and a Chicken Fried Steak that should be familiar to Sugar's regulars. An espresso bar serves Angel's own Illusia brand of Central American coffee beans. Cablp also serves its own gourmet Italian Ice desserts with more than 100 flavors in production. A walk-up window handles most of the to-go orders and is especially convenient if you're just passing through town after a visit to the Lost City Museum, dedicated to prehistoric archaeological sites in the area.
How to book: Orders are usually made in person, but online ordering for pickup is available.
Cottonwood Station is the first and only restaurant in Blue Diamond, a historic but quiet mining community near Red Rock Canyon. It fits in seamlessly with the residential nature of the neighborhood, which does its best to not attract too many tourists. However, Blue Diamond's high elevation is a nice change of pace from Las Vegas, especially when enjoying the weather on Cottonwood Station's patio. Come by for coffee, pastries, and frittatas in the morning, or paninis, pizzas, and a choice of wine or beer on tap in the afternoons and evening. Happy hour runs Monday-Thursday 4-7 pm with discounts on appetizers and select drinks, including prosecco cocktails.
How to book: Play it safe and call 702-875-4332 to book a reservation.
Happy Burro Chili & Beer
Hanging out at the Happy Burro is like taking a trip back in time to an Old West cowboy saloon. The rickety wood structure is comfortably worn-in and is a great pit stop before exploring nearby attractions like the Death Valley National Park and Rhyolite Ghost Town. Practically ever inch of wall space is covered by some kind of decoration, whether it's vintage beer ads, wanted posters, or photos that celebrate Beatty's legacy as a mining hub more than a century ago. You're really here for two things: ice cold beer (no fancy craft brew please) and hearty award-winning chili that's based on a family recipe. Both are best enjoyed on an outdoor patio with a boardwalk that almost feels like a side street between two buildings.
How to book: Stop on by or take an order to go from a walk-up window.
O Happy Bread
O Happy Bread is an authentic French bakery that just happens to be in Pahrump—a town better known for things like brothels and fireworks sales. French bread is the specialty, served in loaves and baguettes, but croissants, cakes, fruit tarts, and other pastries are also popular. Even a few Americanized items like cinnamon rolls, lemon squares, and cheesecake are thrown into the mix (and much better than most versions you've previously had). If you prefer something savory, go with a Brie Sandwich or the Soup of the Day. The team's French baking techniques come to life with imported ingredients, including flour and butter from France and chocolate from Belgium or Switzerland. If you just want to try a few items without traveling too far, check out the Downtown Summerlin farmers market, where O Happy Bread makes regular Saturday appearances.
How to book: Call 775-455-0478 to ask about the current selection or get a quote on custom orders.
The Gourmet Room
There are a lot of fun things to do in Laughlin, even if the dining scene is a little on the unremarkable side. Fortunately, the Gourmet Room at Don Laughlin's Riverside Resort offers a welcome splash of sizzle and style in this casual casino town. The deep red decor, vintage chandeliers, and views of the Colorado River make an impression even before you open the menu. However, you'll be more than happy with the eclectic mix of seafood, often with French and Italian touches. When in doubt, go with Coquilles Saint-Jacques, a combination of scallops, shrimp, and lobster in a flavorful Newburg sauce. If you just want a quick taste of what the Gourmet Room is all about, the bar is one of the best places to enjoy a cocktail at dusk.
How to book: Make a reservation by calling 702-298-2535 (extension 5739).
Built in 1913, the Pioneer Saloon is the oldest bar left in Southern Nevada. The original structure—tin walls, wooden doors, and all—was originally ordered from a Sears catalog and has dramatically expanded over the years with a patio, courtyard, and steakhouse to handle the crowds that trickle in on weekends. Settle down for a cowboy-style meal, like a thick ribeye steak or the spicy Ghost Burger with jalapeno bacon on a half-pound of beef. Either way, wash it all down with a shot of whiskey. Memorabilia pays tribute to actress Carole Lombard, who perished in a nearby plane crash back in 1942. Husband Clark Gable famously hung out at the saloon while awaiting news of her fate, extinguishing cigarettes in the same bar top that's been there from the beginning.
How to book: Come on in. If the restaurant's full, there's usually a seat at the bar or on the patio.
You've got a few good restaurants to choose from in Lake Las Vegas, but none fit the energy and atmosphere of the environment quite as comfortably as Sonrisa Grill. Located in the heart of the Village outdoor promenade, the joint has shown incredible resilience over the years, staying busy while other businesses come and go. The menu of Mexican cuisine skews heavily toward seafood, reflecting the owners' San Diego roots. You can't go wrong with the steak and shrimp fajitas, but feel free to upgrade your tacos with shrimp, salmon, or swordfish. There are plenty of tables in the colorful dining room or outside on the patio. An upstairs terrace for private events has been mostly inactive during the pandemic. The spirits list is loaded with more than 50 tequilas and as always, you're welcome to bring your margarita to the lawn and stretch out while enjoying the lakeside views and live musicians on weekends.
How to book: Seating is first come, first served.
Fox Smokehouse BBQ
Fox Smokehouse encourages guests to try its meats without sauce, believing if you have to cover up the natural flavor, something's wrong. That mentality has helped the family-owned business earn a loyal following for brisket, burnt ends, and pulled pork—smoked over hickory with little more than a tasty dry rub. The Smokehouse Burger is a local legend: a heaping nine-ounce beef and brisket blend, topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, and BBQ mayo. The same patty is used in a modified chicken fried steak on the restaurant's newly introduced Sunday breakfast menu. The tri-tip eggs benedict isn't too shabby either. Fox Smokehouse is easy to spot on the main drag of Boulder City, just outside the historic district and a short drive from the Hoover Dam.
How to book: Save time by ordering online.
While the mysteries of AREA 51 are tied heavily into Nevada's identity, there really isn't as much tourism around the secretive government test site as you might think. However, a few have tried—most notably the Little A'Le'Inn: a small bar, restaurant, and motel with a UFO theme that's the largest business in the tiny town of Rachel. It's also the midpoint in a stretch of State Route 375 officially designated the Extraterrestrial Highway. Stop by for an Alien Burger, hot cakes, or a slice of pie before venturing out to "see them aliens" at AREA 51. Actually, you won't get far. Armed security guards make their presence felt long before you reach the gate. Don't test them. You're better off browsing the Little A'Le'Inn gift shop for shot glasses, t-shirts, and other kitschy merchandise. Book a room and spend the night. If you hang around these parts long enough, you might see something strange in the sky.
How to book: Just walk in.
Longstreet Inn is one of those hotels that seems to pop up out of nowhere—an oasis on the doorstep of Death Valley with a large backyard lagoon, waterfalls, outdoor wedding chapel, and a hodgepodge of quirky Old West decor. There's even a petting zoo. The tranquility is only interrupted by the sounds of slot machines in the lobby and of course, you'll want to spend some of those winnings on dinner. Right now, the Nebraska Steakhouse is temporarily closed on the resort's second level (with a large window overlooking that beautiful backyard), but Jack's Cafe remains open on the ground floor, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner—including meatloaf, pasta, and chicken wings in a variety of sauces. Regulars love the $19.99 ribeye special, which includes a potato, vegetables, and soft drink. The Mexican platter is another popular deal with a burrito, taco, and enchilada for $13.99.
How to book: Call 775-372-1777 to check on availability.
Steaks & Beer
Dinner at Steaks & Beer may be the best thing about visiting Tecopa, a quirky and quiet town between Pahrump and Death Valley (officially in California, but close enough that we're claiming it as a Vegas suburb). Chef Eric Scott left Las Vegas behind to operate his own tiny ultra-casual steakhouse, serving large cuts of ribeyes and filets cast-iron seared, flame-grilled, and finished with a balsamic reduction. A hearty serving of mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables come on the side. It's a perfect way to wrap up a daytrip after visiting the town's date farm, exploring the walking trails, and taking a soak in the hot springs. As the name suggests, Steaks & Beer has a few brews on standy, but make a point to pregame with a glass or two a few doors down at Death Valley Brewing, where the house recipes feature eclectic ingredients.
How to book: With just a few tables in the dining room, reservations are highly encouraged. Call 702-334-3431 to inquire about availability.
This small-town pizzeria is named in honor of the Moapa Valley High School Pirates, yet it's just a six-mile detour for those traveling between Vegas and Mesquite on Interstate 15. It's also perfect for those craving calories after hiking the Valley of Fire or off-roading on the Logandale Trails. The restaurant is covered in pirate-themed decor, starting with a large anchor outside and has a small arcade with an old-school air hockey table and original Ms. Pac Man game. But people really come here for the hand-tossed pizzas, generously slathered in fresh ingredients. The Works (with a little bit of everything) and Garlic Chicken are top sellers. Rip off a piece of crust and dip it in the house-made ranch dressing. There's also a buffet-style salad bar stocked with local produce, burgers, mozzarella sticks, and of course, fish n' chips. The parking lot has plenty of room for RV, boat, and ATV parking.
How to book: Walk in or call 702-398-7511 for carryout orders.
Side Track Restaurant
Caliente is the largest town in Lincoln County—and even by those standards, it's still pretty small. The community's timeless neighborhood feel is complemented by the wide-open natural surroundings (including Kershaw-Ryan State Park) and its role in America's growth as a railway stop between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. Just check out the old depot; still standing after close to a century. Make sure to grab lunch at Side Track Restaurant, which honors that heritage with a few nuggets of history, including an imported Italian bar counter that dates back to when the space was known as the Branding Iron saloon. The kitchen makes a point to have some healthier options on the menu, but you can't go wrong with the burgers, hand-rolled pizzas, and scratch-made soups. The Side Car is a sister supper club for overflow seating and a speakeasy (well, a speakeasy hiding in plain sight) that serves cocktails on weekends. Order the Artoria (a refreshing combination of vodka, raspberry, and mint) and grab a seat next to the hand-painted Prohibition-themed mural.
How to book: Call 775-726-3164 to inquire about reservations.
Le Café Du Lac
If you need a good option for breakfast and lunch at Lake Las Vegas, Le Café du Lac serves casual bites with a welcome dose of French authenticity. Pastries are the specialty, ranging from almond croissants and strudel to fruit tarts and apple turnovers. The cafe also serves specialty coffee drinks, a variety of crepes, salads, and panini sandwiches with meats and cheeses imported from Europe. Even the Avocado Toast is exceptional. The dining room is clean and cozy, but fills up quickly, so customers often take food to go and sit by the lake. The outdoor patio is popular for morning dog walkers. Since opening in 2017, the owners have expanded the concept with Le Café du Val in Green Valley and the recently opened Le Café du Sud in Southern Highlands.
How to book: Orders are taken on a first-come, first-served basis.