10Best Restaurants and Cafes in Lake Tahoe: From Casual to Elegant

Lake Tahoe has a great mix of both casual and elegant restaurants. Whether it's a place to pop the question or to celebrate a special occasion, you can find a great table with a fantastic view of the lake at Christy Hill in Tahoe City or the darling Cafe Fiore–named one of the top places to kiss in California. Special occasions call for reservations at the award-winning Stella at the Cedar House Hotel or the Zagat rated Soule Domain.

If you just want to keep your dinner low key, but cozy after a day out in the snow, visit Pianeta for their rustic Italian food or Burger Me for their organic burger and great lemonade. Both of these restaurants are in the foodie capital of Truckee, California. If you want another nice view of the railroad town, visit the Cottonwood on the hill above Truckee.

For breakfast (or a hangover cure) head to the Fire Sign Cafe in between Tahoe City and Homewood for their omelets and wonderful baked goods. If you are closer to the North Shore, go to the Old Post Office Coffee Shop in Carnelian Bay for a stack of pancakes that will give you the crab loading you need for Tahoe's winter sports. If you are on the South Shore, a must-do stop will be at Rude Brother's Bagels where you can pick up some excellent bagels and coffee or bagel sandwiches to take with you in your hiking backpack.

Gar Woods Grill and Pier Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Gar Woods


Gar Woods on Tahoe's West Shore is best known for it's wonderful pier and wooden boats, but it also has a great menu and a fun bar. The floor to ceiling windows, large deck and balconies provide breath taking views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra...  Read More



Right in the middle of downtown Truckee sits this charming northern Italian restaurant. Outfitted with a full bar on the lower level and a dining room on the mezzanine, Pianeta offers several dinner options. For a more casual meal, dine on...  Read More

South Lake Tahoe


This is the perfect romantic spot for a special dinner. Decorated with white linens and glimmering candles, this cozy Italian restaurant is furnished with only seven tables for an intimate atmosphere. During the summer, you can enjoy your meal...  Read More



With rave reviews from locals and visitors and lines that often snake out the door on busy weekend mornings, Fire Sign Cafe is surely one of Tahoe's most popular breakfast spots. A quick glance at the menu shows why – a dill and artichoke...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Cottonwood


Eat indoors or on the restuarant's beautiful patio. They have all kinds of dishes to seduce your taste buds. Choose between crispy Baby Back Ribs grilled with jerk spice, and served with house made barbecue sauce or Jerk-spiced Fried Rock Prawns...  Read More



Located in the center of Tahoe City, this restaurant offers excellent food and one of the best views on the lake. It's a small restaurant and reservations may be required during the high seasons, but the staff is friendly and very accommodating....  Read More



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...  Read More



Stella is located in the Cedar House Sport Hotel near Truckee and offers an award-winning menu by chef Jacob Burton. Stella's menu features many items from the Cedar House Hotel's gardens and incorporates simple ingredients that make for...  Read More



The Manzanita restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton at the Northstar ski resort not only embraces the natural surroundings with its name (a manzanita is an evergreen shrub that graces the Tahoe mountains), but it brings the beauty of nature into its...  Read More



Consistently topping local lists of the area's most romantic restaurants, this family-run Tahoe mainstay has become the go-to place for diners seeking to impress first dates and enjoy a great meal in the bargain. Fresh, organic ingredients...  Read More


Meet 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...  More About Christina