10Best Lunch Spots in Reno: Downtown, Midtown and Beyond
By Christina Nellemann
Reno and Tahoe Local Expert
Reno has a surprisingly varied selection of lunch spots that offer great menus and specials. The best thing? Lunch in the Biggest Little City is very affordable. For less than $10 you can fill up on everything from Indian and Thai food to vegetarian and East Coast wood fired pizza. Some of the best specials in town include the lunch buffet at India Kabab in Midtown or the lunch menu at Bangkok Cuisine just down the street. Other specials in the area can be had at the Stone House Cafe (with their beautiful garden) or at Great Full Gardens next to Downtown.
If you want to keep it meatless, try Laughing Planet Cafe in Midtown Reno. Their Paleo and Thai Bowls include tofu and brown rice with flavorful sauces. For business lunches Midtown Eats offers elegant little lunch plates and Dish Cafe & Catering just outside of Downtown also has some great desserts.
If you are just south of Reno in the Washoe Valley area, stop by the Postal Cafe (built from a former post office) and pick up either a late breakfast or lunch. This area is popular with bicyclists that bike around the lake and lunch at the Postal is usually on their route.
Dish Cafe & Catering
This colorful little cafe near Downtown Reno not only serves a dynamo breakfast, but their lunch options are huge. Along with homemade soups and salads like the Fabuloso ($9) with warm brie cheese on Ciabatta toast, apples, pecans and white balsamic vinaigrette dressing the cafe (and their award winning catering) has some great sandwiches. Try the Eat at Joe's Sandwich ($8.95) with turkey and bacon from local farms, Dijon mustard and Swiss. The Humdinger ($8.95) for vegetarians has hummus, cucumber, roasted peppers, carrots and Dijon mustard. Dish also serves warm Panini's like the Cowgirl which was featured on the Food Network. ((775) 348-8264)
The Stone House Cafe
What really makes Reno's The Stone House stand out is their beautiful outdoor dining space and historical stone building, but this place is still for casual dining. The family run restaurant features fresh ingredients and every soup and sauce is made from scratch. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served every day as well as a fun happy hour with $5.50 small plates and cocktails. Menu items include the Stone House Crab Cakes with saffron lemon sauce ($14.99), the Spinach and Apple Salad ($10.25) or the odd, but delicious PB&J Bacon Burger ($13.75) with peanut butter, ligonberry jelly, smoked apple wood bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and red onions. ((775) 284-3895)
This local favorite is one of several small restaurants in Washoe Valley, between Reno and Carson City. Run by a pastry chef the restaurant features country style breakfasts and lunches, smoothies, coffee and daily baked goods. Menu items for lunch include daily sandwich specials, burgers, soup, salad and special items like the Harvest grilled cheese with brie, apples, coconut flakes and walnuts or the Ham Reuben with sauerkraut, swiss cheese, house dressing on marble rye. The Postal Cafe is located in a beautiful valley with views of the Sierra Nevada, during nice weather the front deck has outdoor, pet-friendly seating. ((775) 849-2722)
An elegant and classic Thai decor will welcome you to this local favorite. This family run restaurant in Midtown serves authentic and delicious Thai food. They have the classics like Pad Thai and some excellent red, yell and green curry dishes. Their appetizers ilke Coconut Prawns, Shrimp Rangoons and Spring Rolls are excellent. Their Thai Salad with the peanut dressing is delicious with a hint of honey and spice. Their popular entrees include their soups like Mixed Vegetable Coconut Soup and Tom Kha soup. Their noodles include Spicy Basil and Wide Noodles with Chili Sauce. You can also get a variety of stir fry veggies and meat with your choice of sauce. The Bangkok Seafood Pot is also good with Fresh Crab, Cod fillets, Large Shrimp, Scallops, Calamari, pineapples and mushrooms, cooked with a chili sauce, coconut milk, lemon grass and kefir leaves. Save some room for dessert and get the Sticky Rice and Mango or Green Tea Ice Cream. ((775) 322-0299)
Noble Pie Parlor
The Noble Pie Parlor in Downtown Reno is a great late night stop, but this funky pizza parlor located in a vintage hotel also has some nice lunch options that won't break the bank. Noble Pie uses only non GMO produce and meats for their handmade sausage and meatballs. They make their Sicilian dough and Brooklyn style sauce in-house. Starting off, try the Garlic Knots ($3.99) or the homemade Meatballs ($6.49). A medium pie goes for about $15-$19 and includes specialties like the Ain't No Thing with proscuitto, pineapple, red onion, toasted almonds and cinnamon or the Wrangler with rippin ranch and backyard BBQ sauce, pepperoni, sausage, jalapeno, pineapple, green onion, creamy horseradish cheese. Their Stromboli is excellent and only about $9 with a side salad or chips and a pickle. Try the Fig me, Fig You with peppered turkey, brie cheese, pecorino, golden raisin-fig mostarda, granny smith apple, red onion, infused olive oil and balsamic vinegar, mayonnaise. (775 - 622 - 9222)
Laughing Planet Cafe
Laughing Planet Cafe is a small regional chain that brings healthful, organic and sustainable food to the Midtown Reno area. Laughing Planet's menu is chock full of fresh vegetables in global dishes like their spicy Thai Bowl ($8), Cuban Bowl ($.7.50) and Southwestern Green Chile Burrito ($5.95). The restaurant also serves items like the Amaizin' Grace Quesadilla ($5.95) with Food Alliance certified corn, Tillamook jack cheese, mild green chiles, pico de gallo, and cilantro-pesto sauce or chimichurri sauce or the Highway to Kale KALE ($6.95) with fresh Lacinato kale tossed with Cotija cheese and organic carrots with a lemon-parsley vinaigrette and topped with dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Laughing Planet has a great outdoor space for people watching and their indoor space features bicycle posters and toy dinosaurs you can play with while waiting for your food. ((775) 360-2592)
Reef Sushi & Sake
Another one of Reno's all-you-can-eat sushi ($25 for dinner) spots stands out for both its location and Hawaii themed menu. This fun and lively sushi bar and restaurant is located right on the Truckee River downtown and features fresh nigiri and rolls like the delectable Surf & Turf with tri-tip and lobster or the Mount Fuji with real snow crab and fresh salmon. Other rolls include the Reef Roll with dill cream cheese, the Lanai with red snapper and vodka sauce and the Duke Roll with goat cheese and real snow crab. Their appetizers are just as interesting. Try the Coconut Butter Salmon Salad, Crab Cakes or Stuffed Mushrooms. ((775) 800-1388)
This little place in Midtown, just south of downtown, serves up salads, soups, sandwiches, burgers and tacos during lunch and items such as Steak and Frite, Berkshire Pork Belly and Duck Confit during dinner. Their Sunday Brunch has Brioche French Toast, Huevos Rancheros, a Classic BLT, Fresh Squeezed Juice or Mimosa and Coffee from the Hub Coffee Roasters just down the street. The Atomic Burger is making a name for itself with its Habanero, Avocado and Charred Tomato Salsa and people are raving about the Tri-Tip or Snapper Tacos with Tomatillo Avocado Spread for $2 each. Most lunch items run about $10 each and dinner items run about $15-$24. Midtown Eats also serves up housemaid drinks such as the Chupacabra with Tequila Blanco, Chili Infused Ginger Liqueur and Watermelon. (89501)
Great Full Gardens
Great Full Gardens Cafe & Eatery in MidTown Reno offers a casual and healthful menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner and a full coffee, beer and wine menu. The restaurant features items from local farms, vendors and their own greenhouse. The menu also caters to vegan, gluten-free and Paleo diets. For breakfast, try one of the Liege Belgian style waffles with fruit or eggs. The Elvis Liege waffle has bacon, sliced bananas and peanut butter drizzled with honey. For lunch or dinner Chef/Owner Gino's Totally Tomato soup goes well with the Paleo Lunch Bowl ($12.99-$14.99) with grilled chicken or wild salmon on a bed of kale, onions, broccoli, mushrooms and cabbage, sauteed in organic coconut oil. Other dishes include Wild Cod Tacos or Pizza ala Bismark. ((775) 324-2013)
India Kabab & Curry Restaurant
India Kabab and Curry has become one of the most popular places for lunch in Reno. It's located just a few miles from downtown in the Midown area on Virginia Street. Their lunch buffet special is priced at $7.95 and their dinner menu items cost between $3.50 for appetizers and $10.95 for main dishes. The lunch buffet serves up salad, fresh fruit, rice, various meats in sauce and vegetables. There are some vegetarian options as well as a soup of the day. Some of the most popular items are the Chicken Tandoori, the Chicken Tikka Marsala, and the Murg Vindaloo. Some of the best items include the anise spiced carrots at the salad bar as well as the spicy mint sauce. There is usually a Pakora or a Samosa item as well. The interior is clean and colorful and the bar is beautifully decorated with warm colors and chic lanterns. The bathroom is one of the nicest of the smaller restaurants in town. ((775) 348-6222)
About Christina Nellemann
Christina has lived in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area since she was a baby. A first-generation Nevadan, her Danish parents instilled in her an intense love of travel and the wild, rugged outdoors of the Western U.S. She spends her time hiking, camping, biking and kayaking in the mountains around her home, and snorkeling and boating in Lake Tahoe. Christina loves to visit the neighboring states of California, Oregon, Utah and Arizona but has traveled around the world including to Japan, Fiji, Turkey and Ecuador. When she's not traveling or living outdoors, Christina is a graphic and web designer, writer and blogger.
Read more about Christina Nellemann here.