Lake Tahoe brings locals and visitors the crème de la crème in vacation luxury across the board.
For the adventure-seeker, exhilarating outdoor excursions abound, while those in need of a wellness recharge can reach ultimate relaxation through an array of world-class wellness treatments.
Between satisfying the adrenaline bug and catching up on well-needed rest in one of the most scenic destinations in the country, any vacationer can appreciate savoring a gourmet dinner.
Lake Tahoe has no shortage of memorable, upscale eateries. Below is a quick-hit list of some not-to-miss dining locales in North Tahoe, Truckee and South Lake to consider adding to your next vacation itinerary.
Manzanita at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe
A must-visit resort in North Lake Tahoe, The Ritz-Carlton (13031 Ritz Carlton Highlands Court) features a warm dining atmosphere with a gourmet menu to match in the hotel’s signature restaurant, Manzanita.
Executive chef Mark Jeffers and his culinary team pride themselves in sourcing ingredients from top purveyors in Northern California and supporting small farms, farmers and artisan producers.
“Our vision at Manzanita is to combine classical techniques with a modern culinary philosophy,” Jeffers said. “We conceptualize the menu by sourcing fine seasonal ingredients and then manipulating them to create diverse flavor profiles, presenting familiar dishes with a new twist.
Serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and kids’ options, Manzanita caters to everyone in the family. Guests can enjoy handcrafted cocktails, artisan wines and craft beers at the hotel bars and can gain up-close dining experiences at the Chef’s Table with reservations.
When it comes to recommendations, chef Jeffers shared two of the restaurant’s highlights planned for this winter.
“Two of the must-try new items on our menu include our Chicken Pot Pie, which is a take on the classic with a Ritz-Carlton twist. We have a fantastic chicken velouté with roasted root vegetables and a puff pastry top, that then gets finished at the table with shaved truffles and foie gras,” he said. “Another dish to try is our Olive Oil Poached Halibut, which comes with sunchokes, celery, pickled mustard seed and a buerre rouge sauce.”
Also check out: Pianeta Ristorante
Pianeta (10096 Donner Pass Road) is the ultimate Italian fine-dining destination located in the heart of historic downtown Truckee. Its elegant and warm dining room welcomes guests to enjoy dishes from an extensive menu and includes dinner and dessert wine options, spirits, bubbles and hot drinks.
NORTH LAKE TAHOE
Located almost right on top the California/Nevada state line, Soule Domain (9983 Cove St., Kings Beach) has been serving delicious dishes using quality ingredients and culinary creativity for the past 32 years. Chef and owner Charlie Soule has created an upscale and intimate restaurant where guests can expect a phenomenal meal set to a cozy and stylish dining room, which his brother manages.
“I’ve been calling it ‘creative American cuisine’ since day one, and that was a term that to me meant bringing different cultural influences together into a melting pot of American cuisine,” Soule said. “We incorporate global influences, and I feel that America was founded as a melting pot of cultures, so we reflect a really eclectic blend of input from other cultures.”
Soule Domain features wonderful dinner courses including appetizers, salads, petite plates, entrees and dessert — in addition to vegan choices for their guests.
“We always use high quality ingredients, organic and free-range as much as we possibly can, and we have a nice wine list for the size of the restaurant with some exciting wine options,” Soule said.
Chef Soule has his favorites on the menu, but says the real trick is to hear the constantly changing evening specials.
“We have our verbal additions each evening, which are what the waiters present at the table — they’re not always on the menu and they change seasonally — but a few consistent ones that I’d recommend are the seared scallop appetizer, which we’ve done with Meyer lemon basil butter and pea sprouts; the sauce is different depending on the season but it’s really exceptional,” he said.
Soule said the grilled lamb and goat cheese salad is another not-to-miss plate, as well as the fresh scallops, which are poached in champagne and served with kiwi and mango.
Also check out: Christy Hill
Christy Hill (115 Grove St., Tahoe City) offers modern American dining with locally sourced ingredients and served to breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe. The intimate dining room and full bar create a special atmosphere for guests to enjoy small plates, salads, gourmet entrees, sides and desserts as they choose from an extensive wine list.
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE
On the south side of the lake is Kalani’s Restaurant, bringing tropical flavors to its location at 1001 Heavenly Village Way, No. 26, South Lake Tahoe.
“Kalani’s is an extension of the islands nestled on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe. We bring Hawaiian fusion and sushi dining to locals and travelers’ palates from as far as the Far East to our western coastline,” said executive chef, Kevin Martinez. “We are fortunate to be right here in the Heavenly Village, next to great shops, cinema, family fun, skiing and the Grand Residence Marriott, which accommodates travelers from all around the world.”
The cuisine at Kalani’s, which has been open for almost 14 years, first starts with a great product, using sustainable ingredients including fresh fish flown from Hawaii two to three times per week. Local produce from small, sustainable farms in the area bring excellent quality and flavor to their dishes.
“We pride ourselves in delivering ‘Aloha,’ and with that Aloha, you get the feeling of warm welcomings as you walk through our doors. Aloha also transforms into our preparation of every meal,” Martinez said.
Integrating authentic Asian flavors with modern island-style techniques lends Kalani’s menu to deliver integrity in its final product.
Guests can choose from a wide array of fresh dishes including starters, salads and soups, vegetable alternatives and entrees from the land or the sea. The chefs highlight the main ingredients using fresh, light sauces and side items, continuously infusing an island flare in each menu offering.
“The dishes that stand out and always are a mainstay are the Kalbi-basted Baby Back Ribs appetizer, and the ever-so-popular Miso-Yaki Chilean Sea Bass,” Martinez said.
The ribs are basted in a sesame garlic soy sauce and served with sweet plantains for a tangy, sweet and well-rounded starter. The Sea Bass was featured in Bon Appetit Magazine and is served with Thai basil mash and wilted kula greens with balsamic and ponzu beurre blanc.
Also check out: Evan’s American Gourmet Café
Flavors from around the world culminate to inspire the menu at Evan’s American Gourmet Café (536 Emerald Bay Road, South Lake Tahoe). Guests delight in enjoying scrumptious suppers from within a vintage Tahoe cabin surrounded by the beautiful natural forest. The appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts present something for everyone in your party to enjoy, and bring to life flavors inspired from an array of cultures and served with culinary precision.