7 hidden gem restaurants across Nevada you have to try

Photo via Unsplash

By Aleza Freeman

August 15, 2023

Whether you eat to live or you live to eat, finding a good restaurant in Nevada isn’t a challenge.

Along with great restaurants in the Silver State’s bigger cities, there are also several standouts in smaller cities around NV. Check out these 7 hidden gem restaurants in Nevada the next time you visit or plan a staycation.

Las Vegas, NV

Spaghetty Western

Don’t let the name fool you. There’s nothing rough or low-budget about the food and atmosphere at Spaghetty Western. The family-owned Italian eatery is classy yet casual with a modern, relaxed atmosphere. Chef Linda Cicoria, a native of Avellino, Italy, creates a diverse mix of traditional picatas, masalas, and parmigianas, plus a plethora of other Italian favorites—including appetizers, pastas, soups, salads, sandwiches, and 12-inch woodfired pizzas. 

Spaghetty Western is tucked into a retail plaza at the heart of Southern Highlands, about two miles from I-15. It opened as a hole in the wall 10 years ago and soon wrangled more space—expanding next door—where it enlarged its dining room and added a full bar. Prices for entrees range from $15.95 to $34.95, but the kids’ spaghetti with two meatballs is a steal for less than $10.

Henderson, NV

Aroma Latin American Cocina

The Aroma menu is small but mighty, and the food is prepared with care. Dishes like chicken tinga chilaquiles, vegan ceviche, and a gaucho sandwich fuse Guatemalan, Cuban, and Peruvian flavors; they’re creative in both execution and presentation. The pastel de queso dessert is a veritable work of art.

Aroma comes to Henderson from Guatemala-born Chef Steve Kesler, by way of iconic Las Vegas Strip restaurants like Bazaar Meat by José Andrés and Chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro on the Las Vegas Strip. This cozy cocina is tucked into a shopping center, flanked by a La Bonita Supermarket, at the northwest edge of old-school Green Valley. Prices range from $6 for a pork belly or fried avocado taco to $23 for the mole beef short ribs. The atmosphere is intimate and the meals are a masterpiece.

Overton, NV

Cablp: Criss Angel’s Breakfast, Lunch & Pizza

He once levitated in the light of the Luxor Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, but the star of “Criss Angel: Mindfreak” at Planet Hollywood also has a lesser known trick: The time he made a restaurant appear in the Moapa Valley. 

Technically, Cablp (pronounced cuh-blip) replaced an existing restaurant, but the magician’s twist is entirely new. It’s also a family affair. Angel fell in love with the area while dirt biking in the desert with his son. His father was a restaurateur, and he opened Cablp with his brother, making it a family-centric enterprise for the entertainer.

The colorful eatery, less than a mile from the Lost City Museum, features clever quotes on the walls and Angel mementos (like a signed straightjacket) on display. The food, including breakfast, lunch, and pizza (hence the “blp”) is budget friendly and based on his dad’s recipes, recreated by executive chefs. The chip fries, served with a signature dipping sauce, are a truly magical experience. Tommy Boy’s Xtreme Grilled Cheese, blending Monterrey Jack, Cheddar, and American Cheese, topped with bacon, puts all other grilled cheeses to shame. Make it a combo with a drink for only $5.49.

Pahrump, NV

Mom’s Diner

Sometimes you just want a meal like your mother used to make. That’s what you’ll get at Mom’s Diner, a perfect pit stop on the way to Death Valley National Park and a destination in its own right. 

Located in an unassuming strip mall, Mom’s Diner is owned by a Pahrump couple, Larry and Diane Chumley. The former has more than 30 years in the restaurant business. From biscuits smothered in sausage gravy to a half-pound moms-strosity burger, portions are huge, prices are low, and the atmosphere is welcoming with lots of regular customers. It’s no frills comfort food in a cozy setting, offset by quirky decorations (even in the bathroom). 

Many of the breakfast and lunch entrees are less than $12. The diner also offers various daily specials and lots of desserts.

Baker, NV

Sugar, Salt and Malt

Located in the tiny, remote town of Baker just five  miles from Great Basin National Park, Sugar, Salt, and Malt is a quaint cafe run by two longtime chefs, Tabitha and Cheri Phillips. The chefs have worked at some of the country’s highest end restaurants—they even worked with Wolfgang Puck in Las Vegas. Tabitha is a savory chef and Cheri is a pastry chef.

Whether you grab a cold brew and scone before scaling Wheeler Peak or you want to sit down for a satisfying meal—like a white sauce pizza, lamb burger, or New York strip steak—you’re sure to find something to tempt your taste buds. The menu is moderately priced (dinner entrees range from $13 to $28) and it rotates weekly, so you may find different cuisine day to day, or seasonal choices like hot apple cider and pumpkin muffins in the fall. And there’s always plenty of dessert. House made ice cream sandwich, anyone?

Reno, NV

Two Chicks

Opened by Nevada natives and best friends Haley Moseley and Jessie Henderson, who met while working in the restaurant industry, Two Chicks serves farm fresh breakfast and lunch or brunch, made from locally-sourced ingredients. The restaurant has two locations less than 4 miles away from the other on Virginia Street, both of which accommodate enthusiastic crowds. It’s “elevated comfort food” that’s “made with love,” according to the two owners, a.k.a chicks.

On the extensive menu, classic breakfast and lunch items like bacon and eggs and a chef salad are joined by creative concoctions like butternut squash hot cereal, a marinara-smothered Sicilian omelet, and a Seinfeld-inspired big salad. Some of the recipes are gluten free, and many can be customized to accommodate vegans and other dietary restrictions. Entrees range from $12 to $18. Pair your meal with a fresh-squeezed mimosa, bloody mary, or a mocktail, and bring the kids—they’ll have plenty of choices too.

Carson City

Sassafras

Things are eclectic at Sassafras in Nevada’s capital city. The owners, Jayme Watts and Tony Fish, call the restaurant progressive, probably because it’s influenced by so many global cuisines and cultures. There aren’t many restaurants where a smoked bologna sandwich is haute cuisine!

Sassafras is nestled between Shoe Tree Brewing Co. and the Carson Hot Springs in Carson City, having moved to this historic neighborhood from its original location downtown. Described as hip and stylish, everything here is acquired from local vendors, farms, breweries, wineries, bakeries, and coffee roasters. The art on the walls comes from local artists and the restaurant hosts local bands, too. 

The Sassafras menu ranges in price from appetizers in the $14 range to specialty entrees around $25 apiece. There’s appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, burgers, and desserts with a funky twist–like a BBQ potato chip burger, the black and blue shrimp fondue, and the Okonomiyaki pancake. Plus, there’s a full menu of craft beer and cocktails, a variety of daily specials, and a kid’s menu.

  • Aleza Freeman

    Aleza Freeman is a Las Vegas native and award-winning journalist with two decades of experience writing and editing lifestyle, travel, entertainment, and human interest stories in Nevada. Her work has appeared in AARP magazine, Haute Living and Nevada Magazine.

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