Although the Carlsbad Caverns NP visitor's center has a restaurant (as well as a lunch room in the depths of the cave beside the elevators) I did not make use of either during my morning excursion through the caverns. There are a few restaurants located in the small nearby Whites City as well as a large selection of places to eat in the city of Carlsbad.
During my 3+ weeks in Carlsbad, the local version of the large Chilis chain of restaurants was the eating establishment that the guys with me most frequented. It seemed very popular with the locals too and its parking lot was almost always nearly full. Even so, it was never a problem to find a seat in short order - especially if you are willing to sit in the separate glass-walled bar area. In addition to the normal table/chairs arrangement, that partof the restaurant has an L-shaped bar with stools where you can eat and drink while you watch the bartenders show off a bit as they prepare various concoctions!
Favorite Dish: A couple of the dishes I tried were Boneless Buffalo wings (breaded chicken breast tossed in spicy wing sauce and served with cool bleu cheese dressing and celery sticks $7.60) and Margarita Grilled Chicken (tender, juicy grilled chicken breast, marinated with Chilis classic Margarita flavoring and served with rice, black beans, tortilla strips & pico de gallo $10).
They also served Budweiser, Coors and Fat Tire (brown) beers on-tap as well as the usual American brands of bottled beer plus Heineken and Corona. Wines and hard liquours of all types were also in abundant supply.
Horrible HORRIBLE food-- 8 dollars for a salad, no 8 dollar for Lettuce and some tomatoes and cheese. 8 dollar for a hamburger. Salt shaker was covered with someone meal from long ago-- cookies to sample in the seat. How do you ruin iced tes? Talk to the people at White's city. What a sad thing to see a one time beautiful place become a hell hole. We were forced to stay one nite. The check in place wouldnt let us pay for more than one nite up front. We know why now.
Go into town and eat ANYWHERE else.. or just bring your own food.
As for Camping.. go where the staff recommend that we go--CARLSBAD RV and CAMPGROUND. Great breakfast at a cheap price. You WILL feel and be treated like family.. family that they LIKE TOO! We will return to that place.. but never to white city..
Favorite Dish: YOur kidding right.. I guess the water. It seemed to be clean!
I really hate to be negative... But we thought that we would get some great Mexican food in nearby Carlsbad, NM. Nothing could have been farther from the truth! I will list all the resturants we went to so VTers will know better than we did.
All the restrants were really grungy.. Food was not fresh(from cans) and most of the time the chips and tortillas were stale. Many of the dishes were super oily as well.
I strongly suggest that you do not eat at this underground diner. Not only were the prices riduculous but the bagged proportions of all the food item were incredibly small. We were still starving after eating. The serving staff was not very friendly or helpful. I understand the complexity of transporting food to the underground, but why bother if the experience will not be enjoyable.
Unfortunately, this took some essence away from the park for us. Touring the enormous caves take alot of energy and you will get hungery so plan ahead!
My greatest tip is to bring along a sandwich and eat at the tables.
Favorite Dish: Nothing!
There are 2 restaurants at the White's City Resort & Water Park.
Velvet Garter Restaurant & Saloon - they serve steaks, seafood, fajitas & cocktails
Fast Jacks - Breakfast was included in the price of our room. We were served generous portions of dry scrambled eggs & hash browns. In general food was not very good.
There is an underground lunchroom 750 feet below ground. We did not consume anything here so I can't leave an opinion.
Restrooms and a dining area may be found 755 feet below the surface off of the Natural Entrance and Big Room tours. This is a small cafeteria-style restaurant in the Underground Rest Area, which sells box lunches and snack items. I had some really delicious tacos here. There is also a small selection of souvenir items in the Underground Rest Area.
Don' t be late, or you'll have no choice on what to put on your sandwich ...
This restaurant is set 750 below the surface and of course most of the food is prepared and wrapped in cellophane. They offer a selection of sandwiches and salads, pizza and some drinks. There is a whole carousel of every candy (bar) imaginable, so you are set for your sugar fix ... only problem is you have to get to the bottom first!
Favorite Dish: Nothing to rave about, but if you're hungry by the time you reach the bottom, you'll appreciate the sub sandwich or fresh salad.
Our last night in Carlsbad, we finally had a decent meal.
I ate: Pasta Pomodoro with wine
Hubby ate: seared scallops
Don't even try it...!
Bad fish odor in back of resturant. Waiter had holes in their grease stained shirts. It got to be comical.. all our bad dining luck.
There is a little diner type eatery in the Visitor Center which looks a little bit better than the underground resturant.....but I wouldn't expect too much.