10 Best Restaurants and Cafés in Truckee, California

Some of the best restaurants in the Lake Tahoe area are not in Tahoe, but in the small railroad town of Truckee on the lake's North Shore. Truckee is home to a large selection of restaurants that feature local cuisine, fine dining, breakfast, lunch and brunch spots and some fun coffee and sandwich shops.

To get a great taste of Truckee, head to one or several of these 10 Best restaurants in the area. For breakfast or brunch, the Squeeze In is a popular choice among visitors and residents. It was featured on the Food Network and they have an insane number of omelettes to choose served with their wonderful salsa and sauces. For lunch, try the fun Burger Me restaurant which serves the best burgers in the area made with natural ingredients.

For dinner, you have a choice of casual and cool in the Cottonwood, which has a wonderful view of the entire town or warm and elegant in the Pianeta Ristorante which serves fantastic country Italian dishes. Other choices for dinner include Trokay, with it's locally grown food and Stella with it's award-winning menu and chef.

If you are just in the mood for coffee and a snack, visit the Coffeebar just behind the main street. This Italianesque coffee shop serves great Cappuccinos, sandwiches and crepes and gelato in the summer.


This stylish little coffee bar in Truckee is just off the main road on Jibboom street in downtown Truckee. They serve up Italian-style cappuccinos, espressos and latt�s as well as some unusual drinks like Lemon Chiffon Latte and Caffe Marocchino. The Coffeebar also serves paninis, salads, homemade crepes, filo purses filled with sweet or savory ingredients and other drinks like Italian sodas, teas and fresh juice. The Coffeebar has a great outdoor patio and plenty of seating in their well-lit space. This is a great place to meet clients or family and is away from the main street through downtown Truckee.

Recommended for Truckee's Best Restaurants because: Coffeebar has a great outdoor patio just off the main Truckee street.

Christina's expert tip: Try a breakfast crepe with your coffee.

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Sophisticated and stylish, Restaurant Trokay strives to create beautiful food from fresh, local ingredients. This hip downtown Truckee resturant serves dinners which includes unusual items like Baby Corn, Fresno Chili, Celery, Maryland Soft Shell Crab Tempura, Salt Cured Torchon of Humanely-Raised Foie Gras, House Brioche and California Peach Ice or the Lousiana Crawfish Salad with Nasturtium, Celeriac Mousse and Horseradish. Desserts can be ordered with international coffee and teas and include Coffee and Ice Cream Affogato, Buttermilk Panna Cotta, Coconut Pavlova, and Bourbon Maple Pecan Tartlet. The presentation of each dish is a work of art that needs to be photographed by each customer.

Recommended for Truckee's Best Restaurants because: The Trokay Cafe is a harbinger to the the type of food that is popping up in Truckee.

Christina's expert tip: This place is best for couples or singles. Families may find it crowded and there are not too many items for children.

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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, nushroom, 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 Truckee's Best Restaurants because: These pies are huge! Be sure to order a large pitcher of beer to go with them.

Christina's expert tip: The Best Pies Signature Pie with the cherry peppers, mushroom, pepperoni, garlic and parsley sauce is awesome.

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This local favorite is owned by Sam Okamoto, who has worked as a restauranteur, author, cooking teacher and nutrition for nearly 30 years. Drunken Monkey only uses the freshest ingredients for their rolls, sashimi and small plates that feature various meat, seafood, vegetable and noodle dishes. The restaurant also offers a selection of sake, shochu, shochu infused cocktails, Japanese and micro brewed beer, and varietal wines. Their sushi menu is offered all day and features rolls like the Dreaming Monkey with crab, avocado, hamachi, ahi tuna and salmon and the Demon Slayer with spicy ahi tuna. Their sashimi include sake, maguro and fiery bincho. Their tapas include items like Stir-Fried Garlic Serrano Prawns, Triple Herb Salmon, Mochiko Chicken and Muddy Garlic Ahi. For an unusual noodle dish, try the Monkey Jump Over Fence with stir-fried veggies, mung bean noodles, tofu and goji berries.

Recommended for Truckee's Best Restaurants because: The Drunken Monkey serves fresh sushi and unique Asian-inspired tapas.

Christina's expert tip: The lunch menu features Monkey Tacos for $7.95.

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The spot for breakfast 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.

Recommended for Truckee's Best Restaurants because: The omelette accoutrements served with each plate are so good, they should have the their own menu.

Christina's expert tip: Get to the Squeeze In early on the weekends, there is usally a line out the door.

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Right in the middle of downtown Truckee sits this charming northern Italian restaurant that is located inside a historic building. The decor is warm and full of dark wood. Pianeta Ristorante is 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 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. Lots of exposed brick and stone lend a comfy, rustic feel.

Recommended for Truckee's Best Restaurants because: Pianta has a warm, comfortable setting which is perfect in the winter.

Christina's expert tip: The Caesar salad is to die for. Don't be afraid, ask for the whole anchovies on top.

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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 with Cajun tartar sauce. Order a Braised free Range Rabbit Cassoulet with Andouille sausage, garlic, rosemary and white beans, or simply opt for a Cheeseburger with waffle fries. Here, the wine and beer lists are extensive. The Cottonwood is filled with skiing and railroad memorabilia from Truckee's days as a railroad town, this casual restaurant, bar, and lounge provides customers with great views of Truckee, charming ambiance, and lovingly-prepared Californian-American fare.

Recommended for Truckee's Best Restaurants because: The Cottonwood has a friendly bar and staff. The view is great all year long.

Christina's expert tip: The bar of the Cottonwood can get crowded and rowdy on Friday and Saturday nights. This is not a quiet and romantic restaurant.

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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.

Recommended for Truckee's Best Restaurants because: Moody's has wonderful comfort food and central location in downtown Truckee.

Christina's expert tip: Moody's Happy Hour is from 4-6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and selected items have a discounted price. The Happy Hour also includes $2 off all wine by the glass, beer and well cocktails.

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Rated one of the best burger places in Lake Tahoe Area and featured on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives", Burger Me is located in the old town section of Truckee in a former auto repair shop. The space is perfect for families and children and full of color. 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.

Recommended for Truckee's Best Restaurants because: Burger Me is a fun place for lunch and serves the best fresh lemonade.

Christina's expert tip: The best sweet potato fries in the area.

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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 comforting and inviting dishes. Chef Jacob Burton worked at the Lone Eagle Grille and the Big Water Grille, both in Lake Tahoe, before coming to the Cedar House. His menu includes appetizers such as Pan Seared Diver Scallops, Popcorn Polenta and Roasted Mushrooms on a micro green salad, entrees such as Roasted Salmon with Crispy Yucca or Colorado Lam with Fingerling Potatoes. Desserts include Marscapone Cheese Cake with Madrone Bark Syrup. A stellar wine list is included as well as after dinner drinks.

Recommended for Truckee's Best Restaurants because: Stella is a gem in the beautiful setting of the Cedar Sport Hotel near Truckee.

Christina's expert tip: Stella is only open Wednesday through Sunday for dinner.

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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