Laser surface texturing of Inconel 718 alloy is carried out under the high pressure nitrogen assisting gas. The combination of evaporation and melting at the irradiated surface is achieved by controlling the laser scanning speed and the laser output power. Morphological and metallurgical changes in the treated surface are analyzed using the analytical tools including optical, electron scanning, and atomic force microscopes, energy dispersive spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction. Microhardnes and friction coefficient of the laser treated surface are measured. Residual stress formed in the surface region is determined from the X-ray diffraction data. Surface hydrophobicity of the laser treated layer is assessed incorporating the sessile drop method. It is found that laser treated surface is free from large size asperities including cracks and the voids. Surface microhardness increases significantly after the laser treatment process, which is attributed to the dense layer formation at the surface under the high cooling rates, dissolution of Laves phase in the surface region, and formation of nitride species at the surface. Residual stress formed is compressive in the laser treated surface and friction coefficient reduces at the surface after the laser treatment process. The combination of evaporation and melting at the irradiated surface results in surface texture composes of micro/nano-poles and pillars, which enhance the surface hydrophobicity. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.