Tahoe’s only for skiing, you say? Pshaw. We personally hate winter sports, and cold weather, so that woodsy playground to our north just became habitable for us this month. And with the opening of Traci Des Jardins’s new restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton Highlands, as well as the conversion of a private supper club back into a public restaurant, there’s actually a few decent places to eat around the lake all of a sudden. Residents and tourists alike have complained for eons about not being able to find much beyond a burger and fries in North Lake in particular, but now you can chow down while on vacation in the style to which you’ve become accustomed, Bay Area food snobs that you are. See our list below.
Evan’s American Gourmet Café - Less of a café than it is a white-tablecloth experience, this established restaurant in a small cabin in South Lake Tahoe boasts a Zagat rating of 28 (out of 30) for food and 27 for service. We like to stick to the north side, lest we get sucked into a casino buffet, but if you’re looking to hit the southern end of the lake this summer this would be the foodiest destination. See the dinner menu here, which is French with some fusion-y twists.
Lone Eagle Grille - The restaurant and lounge in the Hyatt in Incline Village has been around for a while, and boasts some of the best views of the lake. While we’d mostly stick to drinks and starters on the spacious patio here, they offer a full dinner menu that’s heavy on standard meat and potato fare.
Manzanita — The new restaurant in the Ritz (above the North Star village outside Truckee) from Traci Des Jardins and former Jardinière chef Reylon Agustin is a stylish spot with far-better-than-hotel food overlooking a huge outdoor terrace and the woods beyond. The terrace seats over 100, and makes for lovely outdoor dining even on cool nights with the aid of heat lamps. A new cocktail list features a few hits, including a mint, lime, bourbon and ginger beer concoction. Highlights on the summer menu include an Alaskan halibut with asparagus-avocado purée, English pea agnolotti, and squid ink tagliolini with calamari and Meyer lemon. See the full menu here.
Moody’s Bistro - This Truckee mainstay from chef Mark Estee makes for a lively lunch or dinner destination, with homemade pastas and grilled meats being the stars. See the lunch, brunch and dinner menus here.
Wild Goose - This place sits on the western shore of the lake and enjoys some swell sunsets, making it a great place even for a drink and appetizer on the deck in the early evening. Also, it has a little bit of allure surrounding it after being part of a private membership club for several years and only recently allowing in the public. The food from chef Jason DiGuilio covers the bases of California comfort, and highlights include a shaved asparagus salad with pickled pearl onions, an Alaskan halibut with shiitake crust, and a roasted chicken with a warm panzanella salad. Also, they have a great and friendly sommelier on staff: Pat Hedderman. See the full menu here. (Note: Wild Goose is closed in the winter, with the whole staff moving up the mountain to Schaffer’s Camp, a restaurant you need a gondola to get to.)