Best Italian Restaurants in Tahoe

Pizza & Pasta by the Lake: 10Best Italian Restaurants in Tahoe

After a day of hiking, mountain biking or skiing, a giant plate of pasta or a deep dish pizza is first on the list. While Tahoe is not really known for its Italian food, there are some great restaurants in the area that make carbo loading very easy for your next outdoor adventure.

One of the best Italian restaurants is actually in Truckee and that's Pianeta Ristorante. This cozy and warm restaurant is perfect for a winter dinner. Pianeta means "planet" in Italian and the walls are covered in drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and the plates are filled with elegant country Italian food. Just down the street from Pianeta is Best Pies where the portions are as large as the table. Two local favorites are located right on the lake: Scuza and Capisce are both family and group friendly and serve excellent and hearty Italian dishes and pizza.

If you want another great view, try the Front Street Station on the Truckee River in Tahoe City or the Ristorante Montagna in the beautiful Squaw Valley in North Tahoe.


A hit with locals and visitors, Lanza's is Kings Beach's go-to Italian place. Large, reasonably-priced portions of standard Italian fare (including pizza, pasta, chicken, and veal) keep regulars happy and coming back for more. Main courses include Stuffed Lumaconi with beef, parmesan, spinach, eggs and cheese ($20.95) and Marinated Chicken with red wine, rosemary, garlic and mushrooms ($18.95). The pick-your-own pasta and sauce offer pleases everyone, and vegetarians are enamored of portobello or shiitake mushroom ravioli. Take home a slice of tiramisu or cheesecake to enjoy later. A full bar and a casual, friendly atmosphere make you feel right at home.

Recommended for Italian because: Each night Lanza's serves their pasta dinners with your choice of sauce, salad with homemade dressing and fresh bread.

Christina's expert tip: You have to try Lanza's house-made salad dressing.

Read more about Lanza's →

South Lake Tahoe

Primo's Italian Bistro in South Lake Tahoe has been getting great reviews for its authentic Italian food which includes pasta, pizza, soups, salads and classic dishes like Steak Pizzaiola, Saltimboca, Cioppino and Homemade Lasagna. Other items (all under $10 for lunch) include Eggplant Parmesan, Baked Ravioli and Linguine with Clams. Dinner items include Organic Free-Range Chicken Marsala for $15.95, Osso Bucco and Seafood Fra Diavolo. They also offer gluten-free pastas. Primo's pizzas are hand tossed and baked in a brick oven. A large is $14.95 and you have your choice of Sausage with Red Roasted Pepper & Caramelized Onions, White Pizza with Spinach, Artichoke & Tomato, Eggplant, Roasted Garlic & Ricotta, Capicola, Sausage, Peperoni & Meatball, Shrimp Scampi Pizza, and Pesto Margherita.

Recommended for Italian because: Primo's offers many lunch menu items like Handmade Baked Ravioli for under $10.

Christina's expert tip: Try the boar ravioli.

Read more about Primo's Italian Bistro →

Run by a New Jersey couple, 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. You can also build your own pizza with various ingredients. Front Street also serves Mexican food like burritos and carnitas as well as Italian Meatball Subs, calzones and fresh salads.

Recommended for Italian because: The Spicy Thai Chicken Pizza has sweet chili sauce, grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella, onion and a great peanut sauce and cilantro.

Christina's expert tip: Sit on the porch with your pizza and enjoy the Truckee River.

Read more about Front Street Station Pizza Company →


This family run restaurant in Zephyr Cove is known around the area for its home-cooked classic Italian dishes and wonderful service. This is a great place for that special occasion and the food is really tasty. Try the Ravioli Sampler or the Fried Eggplant as an appetizer or get the Capisce Soup that is affectionately called "wop soup" by the family. The Caprese Salad is also great. Entrees include classic items such as Lasagna, Chicken Pesto and Fettuccine Alfredo or other items such as Grilled Rib Eye, Veal Piccata and baked Salmon with white wine and lemon juice. Their excellent risotto is served on the side. Homemade pizza is available as well as desserts such as the Capisce Lake Tahoe Sunny Buns, Tiramisu and the Capizookies which is a family recipe.

Recommended for Italian because: The homemade raviolis at Capisce are huge and the best in Tahoe.

Christina's expert tip: Capisce is closed on Mondays.

Read more about Capisce →

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 as well as a large wine list and Happy Hour. For a more casual meal, dine on appetizers like eggplant bruschetta at the bar; alternatively, the main dining area offers upscale atmosphere and entrees like linguine with shrimp, mussels, and clams, or double-cut lamb chops in a minty pesto sauce. The House made Italian Pork Sausage & Tagliatelle for $19 is zesty. Lots of exposed brick and stone lend a comfy, rustic feel to this restaurant.

Recommended for Italian because: The Caesar salad is to die for. Don't be afraid, ask for the whole anchovies on top.

Christina's expert tip: Get to the restaurant early to make a reservation and then spend some time shopping in the downtown area.

Read more about Pianeta Ristorante →

Fireside Pizza at Squaw Valley is perfect for a tasty, satisfying lunch, this casual restaurant at Squaw Valley serves pizzas that are a cut above, courtesy of fresh, unusual toppings and a delicious blend of cheeses. Try the Smoky BBQ Chicken with oven roasted chicken, crisp bacon, red onions, hickory BBQ sauce, topped with creamy smoked gouda cheese and garnished with cilantro or the delicious Big Mountain pizza with Italian sausage, bacon, pepperoni, and Canadian bacon. Toppings like portobello mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes add zest and flavor. Sit outside at an umbrella-shaded table for great views and people-watching.

Recommended for Italian because: Fireside Pizza is in a very convenient location to all the activities in Squaw Valley.

Christina's expert tip: Fireside Pizza and Base Camp Pizza at Heavenly have nearly identical menus.

Read more about Fireside Pizza Company →

South Lake Tahoe

Scusa Italian Ristorante has been serving authentic Italian to the Tahoe are for years. The restaurant has a large selection of appetizers (including the dynamite Lobster Ravioli), salads, fish and pasta dishes and classic regional and coastal Italian food like Lasagne, Salmon Scaloppine with lemon-caper butter, Calamari and Scampi. The bread and desserts are baked in-house daily. Scusa also has many vegetarian options and whole wheat or gluten-free pasta dishes. Their pasta dishes include Seafood Fettuccine, Sausage Linguine Bolognese, Cappelini with homemade sauce and Spinach Pasta Mediterranean with eggplant, artichoke hearts, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, feta cheese. Most of the dinner dishes start at around $16 to $18 and most appetizers like the Fresh Baked Mozzarella and the Frito Misto Scusa are under $10. Scusa also has a huge wine list featuring regional and Italian favorites as well as domestic and imported beer.

Recommended for Italian because: Scuza's Grilled Chicken and Ravioli is divine and only $20.

Christina's expert tip: Scusa also has an al fresco dining area with live Jazz on the weekends.

Read more about Scusa! →

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 Italian because: The Best Pies Signature Pie with the cherry peppers, mushroom, pepperoni, garlic and parsley sauce is awesome.

Christina's expert tip: On weekends all year long, Best Pies fills up–but go ahead and share tables.

Read more about Best Pies →

Located at the beautiful Resort at Squaw Creek, Montagna has stellar views of the mountains it is named after. Montagna features a contemporary approach to classic Italian dishes and uses locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. Start off with a classic salad of Squaw Caprese ($16) with fresh mozzarella or the buttery Parisian Gnocchi topped with herbs grown on the resort's rooftop garden ($14). The wood fired oven dishes out fresh garlic bread, Pacific swordfish ($26) and even beef tenderloin ($39) and the pasta (like the bucatini with shrimp) is made fresh in-house. Dont' forget to order a glass of wine from the extensive list of Italian and California vintages.

Recommended for Italian because: Montagna serves classic Italian dishes with a contemporary vibe.

Christina's expert tip: If the weather cooperates, eat outside on Montagna's deck. The view is phenomenal.

Read more about Montagna →

Whitecaps Pizza
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann

Whitecaps Pizza not only has some great views of the North Shore of Tahoe, but it has an extensive menu for both lunch and dinner dining. This locally-owned pizza and sandwich restaurant makes all their pizzas by hand and tries to feature local produce in all their dishes. The top choices on the menu include small plates like gluten-free Gazpacho ($6) with chilled heirloom tomato, peach, cucumber and sweet corn and warm castelvetrano olives ($5). The pizzas include the divine Arugula Bacon Peach ($19/$27) with applewood bacon, summer peaches, fresh arugula, gorgonzola, whole milk mozzarella, balsamic drizzle, house-made white sauce. Also try the Thai Shrimp ($20/$28) with jumbo shrimp, carrots and fresh cilantro.

Recommended for Italian because: Whitecaps serves excellent craft pizzas with season ingredients like peaches and heirloom tomatoes.

Christina's expert tip: Whitecaps Pizza is right on the beach with views of the North Shore.

Read more about Whitecaps Pizza →


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