Whether you’re headed to Tahoe this winter season to ski, snowboard, sled, or just take in the scenery, you’re likely to work up a mighty appetite. Here are seven North Lake Tahoe restaurants for grabbing a bite.
CAFÉ ZENON: While the kids skate on the new Tahoe City Winter Sports Park ice rink, adults sip classic whiskey drinks at the town’s buzzy new hotspot, Café Zenon. Chef Suzanne Nguyen puts a Vietnamese spin on lunch and dinner items such as a Vietnamese French dip, which artfully combines brisket, a French baguette, and pho broth, or the oven-roasted chicken with kimchi, arugula, and potato. Look for mac ‘n’ cheese for the kids, fun bar bites, and an eclectic breakfast menu, available on weekends.
FIRESIDE PIZZA COMPANY: Squaw Valley skiers warm their toes around fire pits on the patio at Fireside Pizza Company, where the spectrum of pies varies from the Big Mountain—piled with sausage, pepperoni, bacon, and Canadian bacon—to the Pear & Gorgonzola with red onions. Gluten-free eaters in your group? Options are here, along with salads and pasta, with or without gluten.
BRIDGETENDER: Tahoe City’s Bridgetender, the go-to place for mouth-stretching burgers and waffle fries, now serves breakfast on weekends. The menu is no yawn. In addition to traditional ‘cakes and waffles, it boasts the offbeat Shark’s Loco Moco (sticky rice, a burger patty, an egg, and homemade gravy), bacon-wrapped tater tots (served with blueberry maple syrup for dunking), and the Groomer’s Last Pass (a 24-ounce Olympia Tall Boy and two strips of bacon) for “shifters” who groom the slopes all night.
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OLD TOWN TAP: Opened last May, Truckee’s Old Town Tap shimmers with mountain energy. Chef Chris Watkins’ menu reels with quirky twists. Sip a “Yes Whey,” a Ramos gin fizz brightened with rose bitters, prosecco, and whey, a byproduct of the house-made ricotta, and try the herb gnocchi with braised lamb and coffee-roasted carrots, or a pizza emblazoned with pork belly, guanciale, and pickled padrón peppers.
WOLFDALE’S CUISINE UNIQUE: Well before Asian-fusion was a thing, chef Douglas Dale was wizarding up recipes influenced by his young apprenticeship at a hilltop temple in Japan. Serving house-smoked trout, tea-smoked duck, seafood stew, and a haute-cuisine burger with a cone of truffle fries, Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique is still the most exciting fine-dining experience in North Tahoe.
FIRE SIGN CAFE: Since 1978, the Fire Sign Cafe has been the coziest morning place in Tahoe. This quaint spot offers delicious items made from scratch, such as king-size hunks of coffeecake, hot blue-raspberry sauce (on pancakes and waffles), tasty chorizo sausage (huevos rancheros), and hollandaise sauce (four versions of eggs Benedict).
UNCOMMON KITCHEN: If healthy food is your comfort, visit Uncommon Kitchen, an ethnic and fresh-food deli inside New Moon Natural Foods on Tahoe’s West Shore. Chef Douglas Baehr’s menu delivers daily specials such as a coconut curry noodle bowl, pad Thai, falafel, and fish tacos. Eat at the deli’s short bar or order takeout. Hot food is served Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.