North Tahoe Cuisine Worth Every Bite

July 29, 2011

Visitors to Lake Tahoe may be away from their humble abodes, but it doesn’t mean they have to stray from delicious home-style cooking. While some vacation spots may provide very little when it comes to restaurants in terms of quality and variety, the north shore definitely bucks that trend. This may be the Sierra Nevada, but don’t expect any mountain oysters on these fine menus:

Formal Dining*

Lone Eagle – Soar to new food and libation heights at this waterfront gem. If the pine aroma doesn’t make you smile when you walk through the doors, the view of the lake as you eat and sip a cocktail certainly will. Owned by the Hyatt Resort & Casino, the quiet, romantic atmosphere could be the best on the lake.   (Dinner & Buffet – Incline Village)

Jack Rabbit Moon – The unique and contemporary menu will make anybody speed faster than a hare right on down to sample the savoring entrees. From steak and seafood to duck breast, this upscale dining experience will make all friends and family hopping mad that they didn’t join in. (Dinner – Incline Village)

La Fondue – Since technically this is the only fondue restaurant in all of Lake Tahoe, anyone fond of this cuisine and wanting to break bread should take a dip into this place. Be forewarned – it’s very cheesy! In a good way. (Dinner – Incline Village)

Azzara’s Italian Cuisine – Italians may be wrongly stereotyped as being a bit talkative as this place could quite possibly be the best kept secret on the north shore. The quiet, elegant atmosphere and scrumptious pasta and antipasti are “molto delizioso.” It’s no wonder this place has been around for more than 33 years. (Dinner – Incline Village)

Bite – Don’t let the name fool anybody – there will be multiple bites eaten at this popular location. The American Bistro menu includes a great selection of meat, fish, tapas, and wine that won’t take too much of a bite out of the wallet. (Dinner – Incline Village)

Big Water Grille – With quite possibly the best views of the lake, Big Water is a very apropos name. A romantic, elegant atmosphere with an upscale, eclectic American, French menu and a huge selection of fine wines means diners should bring a big appetite and will most likely leave with bigger smiles. (Dinner – Incline Village)

The Soule Domain – Considering this place has been voted the most romantic place to take a date for 15 years running, it may be the perfect place to take one’s soul mate. The eclectic menu of assorted organic meats and seasoned vegetables set in an intimate log cabin may be the ideal dining domain. (Dinner – Crystal Bay)

Casual Dining

Hacienda De la Sierra – To steal from the Corona beer tagline – La restaurante mas fina! Voted best Mexican food on the north shore for pretty much too many years to count, this is the ideal family place for almuerzo y comida. (Lunch & Dinner – Incline Village)

Tomaato’s – Tomatoes, Tomaato’s? What’s the difference? Actually, one’s a fruit and the other’s an extremely popular pizza, pasta, and salad restaurant. Very well-known for its tasty take-out. (Dinner – Incline Village)

Lanzas – After enjoying the pasta and salad selections at this popular Italian restaurant, diners will be saying “Grazie!” over and over again. Voted one of the best Italian restaurants on the north shore for 12 consecutive years, it might be time to say “Arrivederci!” to eating in. (Dinner – Kings Beach)

Mofo’s Pizza & Pasta – It may be a great pizza pie, but one bite will make everyone think of the Big Apple. This New York style pizzeria is known for its great thin-crust pizza and full salad bar. Perfect for a family night out or just take-out. (Lunch & Dinner – Incline Village)

Jason’s Beachside Grille – If no family member has a friend named Jason, everyone will after a trip to this casual eatery. Considered one of the most family friendly places to dine, it offers a great menu of hamburgers, prime rib, baby-back ribs, and a top-notch salad bar. The nice pine-wood inside and quaint outside patio is the ideal Tahoe setting – the perfect “Landing.” (Lunch & Dinner – Kings Beach)

Austin’s – It may be a town known for its Tex-Mex and great music scene, but this place offers an unbeatable country American cuisine. Hankering for a hunk of meat like a chicken-fried or Salisbury steak? Or mashed potatoes, salad, baked macaroni & cheese? Then best to strum on over to this local favorite. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner – Incline Village)

Gar Wood’s Grill & Pier – While named after a power boat and pleasure craft  inventor, this waterfront restaurant is mostly known for having its own pier and for the tasty rum-based drink it serves called the Wet Woody. A great family menu and spectacular views of the lake make this a well-known, yet fantastic place to wet one’s whistle. (Lunch & Dinner – Carnelian Bay)

Steamer’s Beachside Bar & Oven – Despite the name, the only seafood this place serves may be anchovies – for those that actually like those on their pizza. Quite possibly the best pizza and calzones served on the north shore, maybe in the entire Tahoe Basin. The nice outside patio and upstairs bar make this the ideal place to let off a little steam. (Lunch & Dinner – Kings Beach)

Crosby’s Grill – Not quite the posh place that Bing and his Rat Pack would hang out at, but the rest of the locals do. A nice menu for hamburgers, wings, chicken, and hot or cold sandwiches. TVs abound for the latest sporting event and there are video poker machines at the bar. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner – Incline Village)

Rookies Sports Bar & Grill – This could be the number one sports bar in the area – possibly the entire Tahoe Basin. If the goal is to kick it in front of a TV watching a sporting event, play a little video poker at the bar, or chow down a hotdog or hamburger (not quite Joey Chestnut style), then this venue scores a touchdown. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner – Incline Village)

Of Special Note

Wildflower Cafe – The generous helpings here will make everyone want to go for a nice wildflower hike afterward to walk off the fabulous breakfast. A local favorite for breakfast after a wild or mellow time the night before. (Breakfast – Incline Village)

T’s Rotisserie – One of the best places anywhere to quickly pick up a burrito, tostada, or taco. The salsa may just be the best you’ve tasted this side of the Mexican border. And possibly beyond. Grab the meal to go or stay and have your mouth water as you watch the savory meat roast right there on the spit. (Lunch & Dinner – Incline Village)

*Formal dining is Tahoe Style meaning children and a happy, laid-back attitude are most welcomed. Mountain-style oysters not so.