The Full Belly Deli in the mountain town of Truckee not only serves up inexpensive sandwiches and subs for the tourist crowd, but locals are quick to run to the deli for their own breakfast and lunch. Full Belly breakfast includes items like Green Eggs & Ham with scrambled eggs, pesto, black forest ham and swiss cheese on your choice of bread, and Veggie Bagels with cream cheese, tomato, cucumber, onion and sprouts on your choice of bagel. Lunch sandwiches can be pressed or subs like the Pesto Chicken Salad or wraps like the Thai Chicken with green and purple cabbage, red onion, cilantro and spicy peanut dressing. Don't worry, these guys don't shirk from meats. For something hardy get the Dirka Dirka with corned beef, pastrami, pickles, yellow mustard, swiss cheese and jalapeño coleslaw.
Recommended for Best Value because: You can fill your belly with both food and drink for under $12 at Full Belly.
Christina's expert tip: Full Belly Deli posts their daily specials on their social media accounts.
Azul Latin Kitchen is located in the Heavenly Village beneath the Heavenly Mountain ski resort. The restaurant serves a fun and creative mix of organic Latin dishes with a California inspiration. They also serve some of the biggest and best margaritas in the area. The restaurant strives to use local, organic and sustainable products whenever possible and uses fresh squeezed juices and limes in their drinks. Dishes include house made chips ($3) with a variety of salsas including green salsa and pineapple-jicama pico de gallo and guacamole. The Shrimp Ceviche ($11) includes jicama, cucumber, rotisserie roasted pineapple, cilantro and mint. The tasty Sonoma Goat Cheese and Sweet Potato Flauta ($13) has roasted sweet potatoes, goat cheese, black beans, and green chili salsa suiza.
Recommended for Best Value because: Many of Azul Latin Kitchen's entrees are under $15. Save room for their delicious margaritas for only $6.
Christina's expert tip: If you are in the area in winter, enjoy your drinks by the outdoor fire pit.
The Driftwood Cafe near the Heavenly ski area has a huge menu full of breakfast and lunch items. This cute little diner serves items such as Huevos Rancheros, Eggs Benedict, Breakfast Burritos and Sandwiches and their Outrageous Omeletts with three eggs. The Herb Cheese Omelette has zucchini and green onions topped with herb cheese sauce and the Black Bean Chicken Chili Omelette has cheddar cheese, green onions and sour cream. The Driftwood also serves buttermilk pancakes, French Toast and an assortment of waffles. For lunch the Driftwood serves various sandwiches, salads, soup, chili and specialties such as Fish Tacos, Escargot and Grilled Basa.
Recommended for Best Value because: The Driftwood's breakfasts are huge and start at around $12.
Christina's expert tip: The Driftwood serves locally roasted coffee.
The Best Pies & Pizzeria restaurant is located right in downtown Truckee and features massive thin crust pizzas, Italian dishes and a lively atmosphere and affordable prices. Their speciality pies include the Garbage Pie with sausage, pepperoni, canadian bacon, mushroom, olives, bell peppers, onions the Pesto Pie with Sausage and fresh tomatoes and the Filetto Di Pomodoro Pie with sausage and basil. Each of these pies are around $20. You can also order items like their popular Garlic Knots, Cheese Calzone, Chicken Parmigiana and Spinach and Goat Cheese Rolls or Pasta with a side salad. Best Pies has a kid's menu and a full beer list.
Recommended for Best Value because: During Best Pies' Happy Hour get a slice and a beer for only $5.
Christina's expert tip: The Best Pies Signature Pie with the cherry peppers, mushroom, pepperoni, garlic and parsley sauce is awesome.
Located at Camp Richardson on the South Shore, this restaurant and bar is a summer party heaven. You can boat or kayak right up to the restaurant and enjoy a meal or drink with views of the water and Mount Tallac. The menu offers items like Deep Fried Calamari, Clam Chowder, Seared Ahi, Crab and Shrimp Enchiladas, Burgers and a very tasty Creamy Pumpkin Pasta, bow tie pasta topped with a pumpkin cream sauce served with a garlic cheese bread. You can also get smaller, lunch-priced items for dinner. Drinks include wine, beer and cocktails including the popular and potent Rum Runner.
Recommended for Best Value because: The Beacon's Happy Hour features "Sliders of the World" like the Italian Meatball Slider and Hawaiian Coconut Shrimp Slider.
Christina's expert tip: The Beacon features live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
The Old Range Steakhouse in Tahoe Vista is one of the most popular steakhouses at the lake and offers a wide range of aged steaks, chops, prime rib, King Crab legs, BBQ ribs and a full bar with several dozen wines to choose from. For dinner try the Barbecue Ribs and Rotisserie Chicken. The Garlic Mashed Potatoes are very good and the house bread is warm. The restaurant has a great view of the lake, mountains and the forest and the interior is cozy, but can be dark. The main meals run around $25-$35 and their classic Caesar salad is $12.
Recommended for Best Value because: You can get a house wine carafe for two for $13.
Christina's expert tip: There isn't a wine list at the Old Range. You choose your wine from a nearby wine rack and the waiter opens it and serves you.
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.
Recommended for Best Value because: The basic, organic Burger Me Hamburger is only $6.50 and the Cheeseburger Slider is only $3.50.
Christina's expert tip: The best sweet potato fries in the area.
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.
Recommended for Best Value because: You can get a filling meal at T's for under $10. The sauces are awesome, too.
Christina's expert tip: T's is a cash-only establishment.
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.
Recommended for Best Value because: The Blue Angel has nightly and seasonal specials including Taco Tuesdays and Pasta Wednesdays.
Christina's expert tip: The happy hour is from 4-6 p.m. every day.
Chimayo Street Market on the South Shore of the lake is not your average Latin restaurant. Chimayo specializes in in-house smoked BBQ meats served in classic Mexican food dishes. Many of these dishes can be enjoyed for under $10 which is unusual for a popular tourist area. Start off with the Smoked Street Corn on the cob with chimayo sauce, cotija cheese and cayenne ($4) or maybe the decadent Frito Pie ($8) with the spicy brisket chili. Come on a weekday for Happy Hour for $2 off bottled beer and $4 off draft beer. Many of Chimayo's entrees can be shared including the Stack of Ribs ($11) and the Ceviche Tostadas with lime marinated shrimp and Mexican crema ($12). Chimayo also has a price range of sides. I'd go for the $5 Fried Pickled Veggies and Cornbread.
Recommended for Best Value because: Scuza offers an endless basket of garlic bread and wine specials.
Christina's expert tip: Chimayo only serves lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.