Best Places to Eat Lunch in Lake Tahoe
By Christina Nellemann
Tahoe Local Expert
There are numerous places around Lake Tahoe to grab either a quick lunch or a leisure two-hour long lunch. First, on the North Shore and Truckee visit Dragonfly for their great lunch specials and their delicious Thai Soups. For another quick bite, check out T's Mesquite Rotisserie for some slow-roasted meats and Tex-Mex inspired dishes. Moody's Bistro is a more upscale diner with seriously the best onion soup en croute outside of Paris. The Squeeze In breakfast and lunch spot in Truckee has a loyal following and some very large dishes. Burger Me! has been featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" and still serves some of the best burgers on the lake.
In Tahoe City on the West Shore, get a great view of the lake while eating a late lunch at the Sunnyside Resort (and stay for Happy Hour) or at Jake's on the Lake. Even if the weather is cold and snowy, you can still get a great view of the lake from both of these restaurants.
On the South Shore, head to the Blue Angel Café for organic, locally made food as well as a cozy atmosphere with a fireplace and comfy chairs. If you prefer local, vegetarian and vegan food, try the Keys Café near the Tahoe Keys.
10 Squeeze In
The spot for breakfast and lunch in Truckee, Squeeze In is renowned for its huge omelets � all 62 varieties. Featuring almost every ingredient conceivable (including shrimp, avocado, and pesto), as well as standbys like bacon, onions, and cheese, many of the omelets are named after local regulars who invented them. Toast and potatoes are served with each eggy behemoth as well as the restaurants homemade salsa and sauces. Lunchtime sees soups, salads, and sandwiches, and dinner is available too, but folks agree that morning is the time to go. This restaurant has also been featured on the Food Network's show, "Throwdown with Bobby Flay." (530-587-9814)
9 Sunnyside Restaurant
Part of charming Sunnyside Lodge, this lakeside restaurant delivers wonderful views and straightforward, filling lunchtime eats. You'll find burgers, fish, and chicken sandwiches, as well as pasta dishes, salads, and soups. The lodge's dock staff can assist you if you arrive by water, but show up on the early side if you want to secure a seat on the deck. The wood-paneled, rustic dining room provides atmosphere to spare if it's chilly outside. Dinner sees an emphasis on well-prepared American favorites, including seafood and steaks. Sunnyside also offers Lakeside Libations like specialty cocktails, local and draft beers and a large wine selection. (530-583-7200, 800-822-2754)
8 Jake's on the Lake
Jake's on the Lake serves lunch only on the weekends, but the seafood-focused menu is worth an entire week's wait. Enjoy spectacular views of the marina on Lake Tahoe as you dig into grilled prawns with basil and prosciutto, a shrimp and crab melt with provolone over English muffins, or a buttermilk and panko chicken sandwich. Salads, soups, and several desserts are on hand to round out your meal. A kids' menu ensures that families leave happy. If you're making an afternoon of it, the full bar has its own menu, along with specialty cocktails, wines, and draft and bottled beers. (530-583-0188)
7 Front Street Station Pizza Company
Run by a couple from New Jersey, this small place next to the river serves 100 percent natural, hand-tossed New York style thin crust pizza as take-n'-bake, by the slice or by the pie. The Californian with artichokes and garlic and the Carnivore with a load of pepperoni, sausage, Canadian bacon and salami are some local favorites. The sauce is nice and spicy and everything can be washed down with a draft beer or soda. Front Street is located close to the Truckee River and you can eat your pie overlooking the river or walk it down to Commons Beach and eat overlooking the lake. ((530) 583-3770)
6 T's Mesquite Rotisserie
This simple, family-run restaurant has been in the area for over 20 years and is the go-to place for quick, but healthy and tasty rotisserie meats with a Latin flair. T's serves chicken, pork and beef tri-tip rotisserie plates served with various salsas, sauces and tortillas. They also have the classic tacos and burritos as well as pulled pork with a mess of sauces to add to your sandwich. To wash it all down, the ice tea and lemonade is perfect. Be prepared to stand in line to order and eat either in the basic seating area or take your food outside or even on the road. ((775) 831-2832)
5 Burger Me
Rated one of the best burger places in Lake Tahoe Area and featured on the Food Networks "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives", Burger Me is located in the old town section of Truckee. Their burgers are made with all natural ingredients. No growth hormones or chemicals in these beauties! The burgers and drinks are served in corn-based packaging and everything is recyclable. The refurbished building with retro styling is great to hang out in, but you can also get your burger to go and eat outside in the fresh mountain air. Burger Me offers natural burgers like lamb, bison, bacon and grass fed beef. ((530) 587-8852)
Modern and bright, comfortable and relaxed, Dragonfly offers a dining experience unique in Tahoe. Flavors, ingredients, and recipes from Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, and India are blended in interesting combinations. If you can't commit to an appetizer, try one of the "teasers" � tastes of sweet and sour eggplant with won ton chips, and curried flat bread with yogurt dip can be had for a pittance. Entrees show an amazing range, from grilled New Zealand venison with tempura shiitakes to Thai Penang curry fisherman's stew. The most coveted seat in the house is on the pleasant balcony � call ahead to reserve a spot. (530-587-0557)
3 Moody's Bistro & Bar
Moody's has become one of the best places for lunch, dinner and drinks in downtown Truckee. Their menu has been Zagat rated and they also offer a great selection of live music in their classic lounge. They are known for their season, organic and regional dishes and wines. They offer comfort dishes like Crab Toast with Dungeness Crab on sliced Ciabatta, their famous Tomato Soup en Croute (delicious!) and thin crust Neopolitan pizza. Moody's also offers sandwiches, salads and burgers. Their main dishes from the grill and rotisserie include Pan Roasted, Free Range, All Natural Chicken Breast with Purple Potatoes, Wild Arugula and Fava Beans. Moody's also has a great wine list that includes wines from around the world like Caposaldo from Italy, Elyse from Napa Valley, Paul Jaboulet from the Cote du Rhone and Pierre Spar from Alsace. You can also get wines on tap like Caldera from the California Central Coast. Their beer list is just as extensive with selections from New Belgium, Black Butte and Pyramid. ((530) 587-8688)
2 Keys Cafe
The Keys Cafe is located on the South Shore, just off the main road. This small, yellow house serves up breakfast, lunch, beer wine and their famous smoothies. The atmosphere is fun and funky with local art on the walls and fresh, local eggs served in their omlettes, breakfast sandwiches and breakfast burritos. Their smoothies include the typical fruit smoothies like the Go Mango with mango, raspberry, banana and orange juice and the Castaway with Coconut, mango and pineapple juice as well as granola smoothies that are great for breakfast. The Keys Cafe also has Chai Tea smoothes, Espresso smoothies and Super Smoothies like the 911 with Emergen-C, banana, mango and orange juice. Their lunches consist of turkey, ham and swiss, roast beef, Reuben and cheese sandwiches. They also serve a sweet potato sandwich with baked sweet potato, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, marinated onions, organic mixed greens, balsamic vinaigrette dressing, on a ciabatta roll. ((530) 542-3800)
1 Blue Angel Cafe
The Blue Angel Caf� in South Lake Tahoe offers unique and interesting meat and vegetarian dishes as well as desserts, wine beer and a generous happy hour. This cozy, little restaurant has a view of the lake, a place for eating outside, a nice garden and access to all the South Lake Tahoe fun. Their food includes items like Clam Chowder, Chili Dusted Sweet Potato Fries, Pulled Pork, burgers and vegetarian dishes like the Napolean with eggplant, zucchini, tomato sauce, pesto and polenta. They have a daily happy hour with menu items and drinks for $3 and a nice couch in front of the fireplace to sit and chat with locals and other Tahoe visitors. The Blue Angel also offers catering and special wedding menus. ((530) 544-6544)
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.