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Lake County may not yet have the Michelin Star restaurants that our neighbors to the south have in the Napa wine country, but we do have some gems in the rough that will satisfy your taste buds. The list of my five favorite restaurants in Lake County California is based on some of my own personal dining experiences in the listed establishments and a couple that I have yet been able to sample.
I simply wanted to provide information so individuals can have an insight into some of the available options for dining in Lake County. Possibly you live in the area and you have not visited these restaurants yet or maybe you are coming from out of the area and want to know what dining options may be available.
Hopefully, I can answer some of the unknowns in this article and possibly help you decide based on what cuisine and what dining experience you are looking for. This list of my five favorite restaurants in Lake County California does not list the restaurants in any ranking order and is simply based on my experiences and opinions.
1. Saw Shop Galley Bistro
The Saw Shop Gallery Bistro is not the new kid on the block, having been open since 2001. Their menu consists of Bistro, American, French and Modern European Cuisine.
One of the best features of their menu is that is utilizes many local produce items and local Lake County wines. Fresh is best, right?
The menu is not large, but it does not have to be. There are more than enough choices that will allow you to enjoy the taste of the various, delicious dishes.
From appetizers, to salads, burgers, sandwiches, pasta, and seafood; your options are very open. The prices are mid-range with appetizers starting at $8 and up to $20 for main entrees.
Being a big fan of burgers and Asian food, I was curious to try the Korean Burger and I was not disappointed. How does this sound? Six Sigma pasture-raised beef, gochujang marinated cucumbers and carrots, kimchi, fried egg, and spicy mayo on a toasted bun served with a side of hot, crispy fries. If you are wondering if it tastes as good as it sounds, it does!
The country theme and ambiance of the restaurant is very comfortable and relaxing and makes for a wonderful dining experience. And that is topped only by the wonderful staff.
I hope you get a chance to give the Saw Shop a try and make sure you save room for dessert!
2. Angel’s Rock House
When looking for Angel’s Rock House do not be confused by the listed address as being in Lakeport, CA; because you will find Angel’s nestled in Finley, CA which is 3.5 miles southeast of Lakeport. Angel’s is family run and their specialty is delicious homemade Mexican cuisine.
The Angel’s menu is filled with mouther-watering items that include appetizers, burritos, egg platters, shrimp plates, and special meat plates. The prices are very reasonable, and the portions will surprise you.
Try not to make the mistake that I often make when dining at Angel’s, I tend to almost make a meal out of the fresh tortilla chips and savory homemade salsa. You may not be able to stop at one basket of chips and one bowl of salsa.
In my early years when first dining at Angel’s I would go to dish was their chicken enchilada platter or the meat burrito ordered enchilada style with the burrito smothered with enchilada sauce and cheese. Didn’t I say mouth-watering earlier?
My current go-to item is the Milenesa under special meat plates. It is a thin filet of breaded steak topped with green tomatillo sauce and served with rice, beans, your choice of fresh tortillas (corn or flour) with a garnish of lettuce, tomato, sour cream, and guacamole.
The restaurant is small and cozy and tends to get noisy when it is filled up. But you will be oblivious to that though once you are seated by the very friendly, hustling staff and have a freshly made on the rocks or blended margarita as you make your menu decision.
3. Jimmy’s Deli & Taqueria
I will be upfront and honest; Jimmy’s is one of my favorite restaurants in Lake County! Continue reading and you will see why this is one of my top lunch spots.
Their menu offers Mexican, Mediterranean, American cuisine and vegetarian/vegan options. A good portion of that menu consists of items that contain the fresh daily BBQ from Jimmy’s BBQ grill outside. Need I say more? They had me at BBQ!
When I first started going to Jimmy’s years ago, my go was item #41 on the menu, the Big T. The Big T is a large portioned sandwich comprised of fresh, marinated BBQed chicken, bacon, swiss cheese, and avocado. A real tummy filler.
A couple of years ago I decided to switch it up and try something different. I gave item #60 on the menu a try, the Greek Salad. I could not have been happier with my choice.
The Greek Salad includes romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, onions, feta cheese, and house dressing. I always go with two sides of pesto dressing.
Jimmy’s menu has over 60 plus items that includes sandwiches, burritos, tacos, quesadillas, pita, gyro, falafel, and salads. BBQ chicken and tri-tip are also sold by the pound. Prices are mid-range and the portions are generous.
More than likely when you go to Jimmy’s you will be greeted personally by Jimmy himself. He is very personable in greeting his customers with a smile and the entire staff follows suite.
You can choose to sit inside or enjoy the seating located in front of the restaurant outside under a shaded patio. This will offer you a front-row seat to the BBQ grill and the tons of foot traffic of customers coming and going during the lunch hour.
4. Blue Wing Saloon
The historic Blue Wing Saloon is located at the Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake Old Town. Their website states that they are a full-service restaurant serving California comfort food and the menu is American cuisine.
The Blue Wing Saloon is another restaurant that supports local businesses by using fresh ingredients from local farmers when they can. They also support the local vintners’ scene by serving Lake County wines.
The current posted menu is small but filled with tasty choices ranging from appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, salmon, rib eye, and desserts. There may be additional menu items not listed that are available on the dinner menu and the menu does change. Prices range from $5 up to $26.
The Blue Wing offers your choice of indoor seating, outdoor seating in their comfortable heated veranda during colder months, or in the shade of their covered open-air patio. The overall atmosphere in the large saloon area is fun, and the staff is very accommodating. An added nice free compliment to your dining, is the seasonal live music performances in the saloon.
See the Blue Wing Saloon Daily Schedule below.
Monday to Saturday
Lunch: 11:30AM to 3PM
Limited Menu: 3PM to 4PM
Dinner:4PM to 9PM
Brunch/Lunch: 10:30AM to 3PM
Limited Menu: 3PM to 4PM
Dinner: 4PM to 9PM
5. Red’s at the Skyroom
Red’s at the Skyroom is the newest among the restaurants in Lake County that’s on my list, having opened in February 2020. It is located at Lampson Field Airport in Lakeport.
Red’s is open seven days a week serving what they call California comfort food, which as you can tell is popular fare in this area. They also pride themselves in using fresh, locally grown ingredients from in and around Lake County.
Red’s is launching a re-opening on June 10th now that indoor dining is permitted since the pandemic was declared. Their posted menu is extensive with some delectable delights and can be viewed on their website.
They offer small plate appetizers, soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, big plate meals and sides. Prices range from $4 up to $28.
Though only open for a short time before the pandemic hit, there was a lot of positive talk regarding the caliber of cuisine being prepared and served at Red’s. Two items that I heard a lot of talk about were the Zombie Fries and The End of the World Burger. With names like that, it makes me already want to try them.
Red’s will offer indoor dining seating and outdoor patio seating when they re-open. They will also be offering what they call “Weeknight Fun!” Monday – Friday 5pm to close.
Each night will offer a different featured food item and alcoholic beverage of that night. It looks like I may be to check out Friday night’s, Mr. Hart’s Prime Rib is featured. Yum!
Check hours of operation of restaurants in Lake County
At the time this article was written, many local restaurants were non-operational or operating under limited hours and days due to the pandemic. Now that restrictions are lifted for indoor dining in Lake County, I strongly recommend you verify establishments hours and days of operation before going.
Where to stay in Lake County
If planning on staying in Lake County for a couple of days and want to stay in or around the area near most of the restaurants in this article, see the below locations.
Skylark Shores Resort located at 1120 N. Main St, Lakeport. The resort has a pool, BBQ facilities, private beach with boat dock and guest access to the sun terrace.
Super 8 by Wyndham located at 450 E. State Highway 20, Upper Lake. The hotel features suites with in-room whirlpool tubs, picnic area with BBQ facilities, outdoor pool, and whirlpool.
Tallman Hotel located at 9550 Main St, Upper Lake. The historic hotel was built in the 1890’s and went through a restoration and expansion in 2006. It features free parking, pool, evening entertainment, free breakfast.
Click below to book the hotel that you like at the best price.
The choice of restaurant is yours
Chances are wherever you go in Lake County you will find what you are looking for to satisfy your palate.
Your drive may take you longer than normal, but you will see some beautiful countryside and lake views during your travel. The entire shoreline of Clearlake is 100 miles, so that makes for lots of restaurants to be discovered. I hope you find what you are looking for and that you leave satisfied.
Want to stay active for less guilt? Click to read about the 5 enjoyable things to do in Lake County California.