Food In Nevada

A Foodie’s Travel Guide to Nevada

Get ready for a tantalizing journey through the culinary landscape of Nevada, where we’ll find more than just the lights of the Las Vegas strip. Nevada, famous for its rich history and cultural diversity, offers a gastronomic paradise as varied and vibrant as the state itself. So, let’s dig in and let your taste buds do the traveling.

Introduction to Nevada’s Culinary Scene

Nevada’s food culture is a delectable blend of traditional and modern, with influences from Native American, Mexican, Basque, and the Old West cowboy traditions. From upscale restaurants in Las Vegas to hole-in-the-wall eateries in smaller towns, Nevada’s culinary scene is dynamic, delicious, and truly one-of-a-kind. Let’s journey through the varied landscapes of this vibrant state, tasting as we go.

Iconic Foods of Nevada

Basque Cuisine

In Nevada, you’ll find an incredibly strong Basque heritage, particularly in the Northern regions around Reno and Elko. Basque-style dining usually involves hearty, family-style meals. For the uninitiated, consider starting with a Picon Punch, a traditional Basque cocktail. Follow it up with Chateaubriand steak, lamb stew or a classic Basque dish like bacalao a la vizcaína (salted cod with peppers and tomatoes).

Shrimp Cocktail

When in Vegas, do as the Vegas dwellers do, and that includes indulging in the iconic Shrimp Cocktail. The Golden Gate Casino started this tradition in 1959, and it’s now a staple appetizer across the state. Simple yet delicious, this dish consists of a chilled glass filled with shrimp, lettuce, and cocktail sauce. It’s a refreshing start to a meal or a light snack in the heat of the day.

Prime Rib

A symbol of Nevada’s cowboy roots, prime rib is a staple dish that’s hearty, flavorful, and satisfying. You’ll find this tender, slow-roasted beef cut in steakhouses all over the state. The peppercorn crust and pink, juicy meat, served alongside creamy horseradish sauce and au jus, is a carnivore’s delight.

Dining in Las Vegas: A World of Options

Las Vegas Buffets

A trip to Nevada would be incomplete without experiencing a Las Vegas buffet, an epitome of extravagance. The buffets here cater to all tastes, with a smorgasbord of dishes from all over the world. You can’t go wrong with the famous buffets at the Bellagio or The Wynn, but also consider trying newer spots that are gaining popularity.

Gourmet Dining

Las Vegas also boasts a vast array of gourmet restaurants run by world-renowned chefs. From the French delights of Restaurant Guy Savoy, the modern Japanese cuisine at Nobu, to the stunning seafood creations at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, there’s something for everyone. These high-end establishments are more than just food; they offer a complete sensory experience.

Eating Local: Reno and Beyond

Local Eateries in Reno

While Las Vegas gets a lot of attention, Reno has been quietly upping its culinary game. Local favorites include the creative pies at Southcreek Pizza Co, the down-to-earth charm and comfort food of Peg’s Glorified Ham n Eggs, and the inventive farm-to-table dishes at The Shore Room. These are just a taste of Reno’s culinary offerings, which blend traditional and contemporary cooking.

Nevada’s Rural Culinary Gems

If you venture beyond the bustling cities, you’ll find charming eateries serving mouthwatering meals in rural Nevada. From historic saloons serving up classic burgers and brews in towns like Eureka and Genoa to Basque dining in Elko, rural Nevada offers a delicious slice of Americana.

Food Festivals in Nevada

No culinary tour would be complete without mentioning Nevada’s food festivals. The Reno River Festival, held in May, combines outdoor adventure with food truck fare, while the Greek Food Festival in September serves up authentic Mediterranean dishes. Las Vegas holds the Uncork’d food and wine festival each May, which attracts renowned chefs from around the globe.

Unique Dining Experiences in Nevada

Dining in the Sky

If you’re seeking a meal with a view, look no further than the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas. Top of the World restaurant, situated more than 800 feet above the Las Vegas Strip, offers panoramic views of the city along with a menu of steaks, seafood, and craft cocktails. The dining room rotates 360 degrees every 80 minutes, making your dining experience truly unforgettable.

Eating on Lake Tahoe

Another unique dining experience can be had on the crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe. There are several dinner cruises available that offer not only stunning views but also exquisite food. Enjoy fresh, locally-sourced cuisine while taking in a glorious sunset on the lake.

Street Food and Food Trucks

Las Vegas Street Food

Street food in Las Vegas offers an exciting culinary experience for those who love trying different foods on the go. The city is famous for its food trucks serving up everything from gourmet sliders and tacos to unique dessert offerings. The Strip’s late-night food stalls are perfect for a delicious post-show snack.

Reno Food Trucks

In Reno, food truck culture is booming, providing an affordable and diverse eating scene. Here, you’ll find food trucks offering everything from Korean-Mexican fusion to artisan sandwiches and wood-fired pizzas. For a fun, casual night out, visit the local food truck events such as “Feed the Camel” or “Reno Street Food – Food Truck Friday.”

Nevada’s Unique Beverages

Picon Punch

As mentioned earlier, Picon Punch is a classic Basque drink and a favorite in Northern Nevada. It’s a potent concoction of Amer Picon (a bitter orange-flavored liqueur), grenadine, club soda, and a splash of brandy. Served over ice with a lemon twist, it’s a refreshing choice, especially in the heat of the summer.

Locally Brewed Beers and Craft Cocktails

Nevada has a flourishing scene for craft beer lovers, with breweries like the Great Basin in Reno and Tenaya Creek Brewery in Las Vegas creating award-winning brews. If you’re more into cocktails, establishments like the Velveteen Rabbit in Las Vegas and Death & Taxes in Reno offer innovative, hand-crafted drinks that push the boundaries of mixology.

Nevada’s Coffee Culture

Lastly, let’s not forget about coffee. Nevada’s coffee scene is dynamic, with numerous locally-owned cafes roasting their own beans and serving up specialty drinks. Try Hub Coffee Roasters in Reno or Mothership Coffee Roasters in Las Vegas for a caffeine fix with a side of local atmosphere.


From world-class fine dining and bustling food festivals to unique dining experiences and dynamic street food, Nevada’s food scene is as diverse and exciting as its landscape. The next time you visit, make sure to bring your adventurous palate and an open mind. You won’t be disappointed by the culinary surprises that await you in the Silver State.