In fact, the question of “Where to eat at Smith Mountain Lake?” comes up so often with friends and clients that I felt compelled to put together this roundup of my favorite Smith Mountain Lake restaurants!
Keep reading because I’ll be sharing an awesome resource that provides a comprehensive list of restaurants at Smith Mountain Lake with address, phone and hours of operation.
Of course, deciding where to eat at SML depends on a variety of factors, most notably price, proximity, type of cuisine and atmosphere. Another consideration when you live at or visit Smith Mountain Lake is whether you plan to go by car or by boat.
Smith Mountain Lake restaurants on the water
Boating to breakfast, lunch or dinner at SML makes any dining experience more fun. My top Smith Mountain Lake restaurants by boat include:
One of my absolute favorite Smith Mountain Lake waterfront restaurants is The Landing Restaurant. Owners Bruno and Tiffany Silva recently relocated the establishment to Mariners Landing Resort, which is on Craddock Creek near marker C6. Whether you choose indoor or outdoor dining, you’ll enjoy a delicious, upscale meal and outstanding lake and mountain views. Though not directly on the water, the Silvas also operate Bruno’s GastroTruck and Bottles & Bites, also at Mariners.
Opening in the space at Bernard’s Landing is the new Napoli by the Lake, owned and operated by the same family that operates Napoli Cowboy, one of our favorite off-water restaurants. The menu differs a bit but includes steaks, seafood, pasta and homemade desserts. Limited docks are available if you’re coming by boat (marker R11).
Portside Bar and Grill at Virginia Dare Marina (channel marker R21) is commonly referred to as “the tiki bar” for its Key West vibe. Only open in season, Portside is an over-the-water, outdoor (but covered) spot with a limited menu. Try the grilled burger, Chili Lime Wings or peel-and-eat shrimp with a bucket of beer.
Overlooking the marina you’ll find the new Beacon Pub, which has indoor dining as well as garage doors that open to a deck with outdoor firepit. The menu includes casual fare such as wings, nachos, pizzas, sandwiches and peel-and-eat shrimp.
Also only open in-season is Drifter’s (formerly known as Wallers). Smith Mountain Lake locals love this spot for its family-friendly atmosphere, live weekend entertainment and tasty food. You can dine inside or out. I love the steamed peel-and-eat shrimp, grilled chicken wings and the cheeseburger. Drifter’s is located at Crystal Shores Marina, near Halesford Bridge at channel marker R27.
Also north of the bridge near Halesford Harbour Inn (R28) is Jake’s Place. SML locals and visitors enjoy the stylish indoor atmosphere and over-the-water outdoor patio. The menu includes hearty appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers and awesome brick oven pizza. Jake’s also frequently offers live music and other special events.
Magnum Point Marina. Recently remodeled, this little spot on the Blackwater (B37) has a great reputation for lunch and breakfast (plus yummy mimosas). Enjoy friendly service and a view of the lake in a relaxed atmosphere.
Mitchell’s Restaurant & Pizzeria (C3) offers a little of everything – salads, pizza, subs and dinner plates – in a casual, laid-back atmosphere. The outdoor patio and tiki bar is where you can enjoy live music on Friday and Saturday nights. In season, boat on over to Mitchell’s on Saturday and/or Sunday for a hearty breakfast buffet.
Known for a fabulous breakfast with outstanding pancakes, you’ll find Lumpkins Marina and Snack Bar on the far south side of the lake (near The Water’s Edge Country Club and the boat church Smith Mountain Lake) at marker B1. Note, Lumpkins is only open in-season.
It doesn’t get more “on the water” than the Ice Cream Boat, a Smith Mountain Lake tradition since 2000. Open Memorial Day weekend through September, the boat can be found on the water by listening for the music of a vintage ice-cream truck or track them via the FollowMee app.
Restaurants at Bridgewater Plaza
If you’ve got the kiddos along or want to combine your dining trip with some shopping and entertainment, head to Bridgewater Plaza at Smith Mountain Lake (R28), which has plenty of parking for cars and day docks for boats.
Here’s where you’ll find:
- Moosie’s – Smith Mountain Lake favorite that serves great sandwiches, nachos and more. All indoors but with a water view and separate bar area. There’s no website, but you may call them at 540-721-5255.
- Mango’s Bar & Grill – Huge outdoor patio with large umbrellas for shade. Recently remodeled interior with indoor/outdoor bar. Diverse menu includes delicious specialty burgers.
- Pizza Pub – Appetizers, pizza, sandwiches and salads. Inside dining and a large, covered outdoor patio overlooking the lake.
- Mexico Viejo Tequila Bar –All your Mexican favorites along with fresh margaritas served at the indoor/outdoor bar.
- Ice Cream Cottage – A variety of frozen treats that can be enjoyed inside or out on the small patio. Only open in season, the eatery has no website but can be reached at 540-721-1305.
- Smith Mountain Lake Coffee House – A stylish atmosphere that offers your favorite coffees and teas, as well as breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, desserts and pastries. (Try a lemon-filled glazed croissant – yummo!)
Best restaurants near Smith Mountain Lake (not on the water – Franklin County)
There are several Smith Mountain Lake restaurants off water we enjoy frequenting, too. Because we live on the Franklin County side of the lake, most of them are in the Westlake area and along Scruggs Road.
- Napoli Cowboy – The tastes of Italy and Texas collide in some delicious fare here. Great atmosphere, generous portions and a large bar area with TVs tuned to top sporting events. Oh, and craft beer!
- The Copper Kettle – A local favorite for lunch and dinner that has a comfortable atmosphere and an eclectic menu. Huge specialty salads, sandwiches, burgers, hot grain bowls and a variety of entrée meals. The Voo Doo Pasta is amazing! Copper Kettle is a good choice if you’re looking for a Smith Mountain Lake family restaurant. Outdoor patio seating is available.
- Pier 122 Seafood – This restaurant opened in the spring of 2021 at LakeWatch Plantation and features an extensive array of menu choices, including appetizers, salads and seafood that’s offered grilled or fried. Check out their daily specials for lunch and dinner, as well as family feasts offered for take-out. Perfect for an easy dinner for your whole crew!
- Old Oak Café – Locals love this spot where you can enjoy breakfast daily until 2 p.m. and lunch Monday-Saturday. It’s hard to choose a favorite at the Old Oak but, if pressed, I’d say the pancakes. Or maybe the Blue Ridge Eggs Benedict. Delicious!
- Hot Shots – Not just a fun spot for miniature golf and live music in-season, Hot Shots is a cool, no-frills place for breakfast made to order, as well as lunch standards. The fried fish is my favorite, followed closely by the turkey bacon pesto panini.
- The Kettle Grill – The restaurant at Copper Cove Golf Club (formerly The Westlake) offers sandwiches, hot dogs and a variety of appetizers in a quiet atmosphere (great for talking Smith Mountain Lake real estate).
- CJ’s Coffee and Sandwich Shop – A convenient spot to grab a specialty coffee drink and a pastry in the morning or a made-to-order sandwich (using Boar’s Head meats and cheeses) for lunch.
- Homestead Creamery – At the farm market in the heart of Burnt Chimney you’ll find not only the amazing ice cream and other dairy products, but also delicious made-to-order sandwiches and paninis using fresh ingredients.
- The Blackwater Café – A quiet spot with lodge-like atmosphere that serves salads and sandwiches, as well as upscale entree items such as pan-seared salmon, filet mignon, crab cakes and pasta Bolognese. Certified angus beef makes their burgers among the best at the lake.
- Farmhouse Catering & Meals to Go – Owner Nora creates fresh, healthy meals that can be grabbed to-go or ordered in advance for pickup. She offers daily specials that are reasonably priced and delicious. The crab cakes are particularly amazzzzzing!
- My Way Bakery – A newcomer to the SML scene, this cozy shop at the corner of 122 and 616 offers a wide variety of fresh baked goods, coffee and custom-made cakes. An affordable lunch special is also offered Monday through Saturday.
On the south side of the lake (still Franklin County), it’s hard to beat family-owned Carl’s Place, which has been serving the area since 1947 (before the lake was formed). Made-to-order breakfast items hot off the grill, delicious cheeseburgers and amazing pork tenderloin, which is dipped in buttermilk and flour then fried to perfection. Definitely a cheat meal!
Another popular south side fast-food option is Cattleman’s To Go, which specializes in burgers made from local, farm-raised beef.
Best off-water restaurants at SML – Bedford County
When I’m showing Smith Mountain Lake homes Bedford County side of the lake, my favorite spots to pop in for a bite include:
- Casa D’Amici – A family-owned and operated restaurant that has been an SML landmark for more than 10 years, Casa D’Amici offers a wide range of Italian favorites in a beautiful, upscale atmosphere. I love the Chicken Florentine and Seafood Milano.
- Edo Grill and Sushi – Here you’ll find fabulous fresh sushi, an inviting atmosphere and owners who are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. The menu includes a wide range of sushi selections, plus soups, salads, appetizers and some traditional Chinese favorites such as General Tso’s Chicken.
- Hawk’s Country Store & Deli – Another great Smith Mountain Lake breakfast spot, Hawk’s is a small eatery that offers made-to-order biscuits and other morning favorites. The lunch menu includes such staples as sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs. They frequently offer lunch specials, too, including fried chicken with macaroni and cheese.
- The Dam Grill – Burgers, sandwiches, BBQ, salads, pizza and a wide variety of entrees are on the menu at The Dam Grill, which is located at White House Corner. Give the steak salad a try.
- Nauti MO’s Grill – A food truck you’ll find parked just across Hales Ford Bridge on the Bedford side, Nauti Mo’s is a convenient spot to grab a quick bite. They offer some outdoor, covered seating and specialize in barbeque (Kansas City and Carolina), hamburgers and hot dogs. For $1, grab a deep fried oreo!
- Diamond Hill General Store – Enjoy a delicious deli sandwich made with Boar’s Head cold cuts, soups, salads, pizza and baked goods. Diamond Hill also sells coffee, specialty sodas, bottled beer and wine.
Craving pizza? Smith Mountain Lake has you covered
There is certainly no shortage of Smith Mountain Lake pizza restaurants! In fact, you’ll find nearly a dozen around the lake. Here are my thoughts on where to get the best pizza at Smith Mountain Lake.
Near Halesford Bridge are two great options: Vinny’s Pizza and Tuscan Tavern. Vinny’s Smith Mountain Lake (there are several franchises in Virginia) has delicious wood-fired pizzas, including specialty options. They also offer a range of other traditional Italian favorites, and I love, love, love the antipasto salad!
The pizza at Tuscan Tavern* is traditional hand-tossed crust with a sauce made by owner Maria, a native of Italy. The Tuscan Tavern menu also features lasagna, Stromboli, calzone, sandwiches, salads and more. The steamed mussels are delicious! There’s a separate bar area where the beer is always cold and the TVs are tuned to a variety of sports. *NOTE: Tuscan Tavern was closed most of 2020 and early 2021 so be sure to check to see if they have reopened.
At Westlake, near Kroger, we enjoy pizza from Benny Adelina’s. Grab a slice or a whole pizza – they are HUGE!
Also at Westlake is New York Pizza, a no-frills spot with good prices and delicious pizza (try the margherita!), stromboli and other Italian favorites. Nearby is Joe’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant. In addition to Italian specialties, Joe’s pizza buffet is popular, as is their Sunday breakfast buffet. (I know it sounds odd, but many consider it the best breakfast on Smith Mountain Lake.)
On the east side of the lake at Downtown Moneta is Downtown Pizzeria, a fun spot that’s great for kids but also has a full bar. Hand-tossed pizza, sandwiches, calzones, strombolis and wings are all on the menu. Nearby Lago Pizza is also an inexpensive spot to grab a slice.
Across from Homestead Creamery in Burnt Chimney you’ll find Villa Nova Curbside Cucina, a bright red food truck serving Italian favorites to-go. Pizza is available by the slice or try one of the hearty subs. If you’re looking for a gluten-free pizza, they offer a cauliflower crust option!
Mexican restaurants at Smith Mountain Lake are also plentiful
If you’re looking for a Mexican restaurant, Smith Mountain Lake offers a variety to choose from. Seriously, for a rural area like ours, it’s crazy how many options we have for Latin American food!
The menus, prices and quality are comparable at all, but we tend to frequent Cancun (tasty margaritas and friendly service) and El Toreno (make-your-own salsa bar) the most. El Rio, Los Amigo‘s at Crazy Horse Marina, Mexico Viejo Mezcal bar on the south side, and the aforementioned Mexico Viejo Tequila Bar at Bridgewater Plaza are other choices.
Asian restaurants at Smith Mountain Lake
In addition to the aforementioned Edo Grill on the Bedford side of SML, you can also get your Asian food fix at Teriyaki House at Westlake Towne Center (love the spring rolls) and Peking Chinese near Food Lion on Virginia 122. Both offer traditional meals with a variety of protein options.
Where is the best place to eat at Smith Mountain Lake?
As you can see, when it comes to restaurants, Smith Mountain Lake has no shortage of options to please any taste and budget. Bon appetite!
BONUS: Here’s the awesome SML restaurant resource I mentioned
Join the SML Local Restaurants Facebook Group for access to an updated list of SML restaurants with address, phone and hours of operation. Restaurant owners also post specials and events throughout the year!