|Tahoe City Restaurants|
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Talk about longevity--this popular place has been operated by the same family since 1932, and the menu has stayed consistent. The restaurant serves robust dishes with a rich (and sometimes overwhelming) tomato sauce and a winning, homemade minestrone soup. Don't look for opens at 4 p.m., the dining room at 5:30 p.m. Reservations suggested. $9-$36. MasterCard, Visa, American Express. Off Highway 28 near Dollar Point, two miles northeast of Tahoe City. 2905 Lake Forest Road, Tahoe City, CA; (530) 583-3324.
Blue Agave Mexican Restaurant
425 N Lake Blvd., (530) 583-8113
Bluewater Brewing Company
This place is hard to find because it's in the back of a shopping center, but the North Shore's only microbrewery has become popular with the beer-drinking crowd. Inside you'll notice its modern, bleached pine interior, its requisite view of the tanks through oversized glass windows, and its small restaurant. The menu features handcrafted fresh ales (you can try all of them in small samplers), Hungarian goulash, chicken satay, black beans and rice, and chicken and sausage jambalaya. Try the St. Patrick's Pale Ale if you like light amber beers. This is a non-smoking establishment. Open 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. $5-$8. Visa, MasterCard. At Lighthouse Shopping Center. 850 North Lake
65 W Lake Blvd., 583-3342
Christy Hill **
Owner and chef Matt Adams has developed a deservedly strong following at Tahoe, and this delightful lakeside dinner house serves some of the best gourmet food in the basin. You can make a meal of the appetizers alone, choosing from Maryland soft-shell crab sauted with toasted hazelnuts, garlic and brown butter, tiger prawns saut ed with sun-dried tomato in a lemon, garlic and butter cream sauce, and three-cheese ravioli with a fresh sage, roasted garlic and sun- dried tomato demi-cream sauce. Hungry yet? Now move on to the main course, if you can. The menu features broiled, farm-raised New England elk loin with Chanterelle mushrooms, stuffed grilled eggplant, and Canadian pintelle sauted with fresh figs in an amaretto demi-glace. This is a non-smoking establishment. Dinner is served from 5:30 p.m. (closed Monday). At Lakehouse Mall. Reservations (530) 583-8551
Coyote's Mexican Grill *
This is a small place, with an emphasis on take-out orders, though there are a few tables inside and outside. The Mexican food is good, and is prepared without lard or preservatives. Fresh menu items include fajitas, homemade salsa, vegetarian dishes, and microbrewed beers. A children's menu is available, and phone orders are welcome. Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekly, serving lunch and dinner. $4-$7. 521 North Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City, CA; (530) 583-6653.
For a breakfast house, this place has one of the best views on the North Shore, right above the lake. Home-style cooking with a few interesting twists includes eggplant omelette, mountain mush (oats, walnuts, raisins, brown sugar and fresh fruit), fresh-baked muffins in a basket, an espresso bar daily specials available. Open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. $4-$8. All major credit cards accepted. 120 Grove Street, Tahoe City, CA; (530) 583-2225.
Fire Sign Cafe *
This is an unassuming place, but it's one of the locals' hangouts, particularly for breakfast. The menu also features teriyaki steak, turkey club, chicken salad sandwich and veggie potato. Open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. $4-$7. Visa, MasterCard. 1785 West Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City, CA; (530) 583-0871.
Grazie Ristorante and Bar *
This is a large, lively, attractive and popular restaurant near the waterfront, but the place sometimes seems overwhelmed on weekends and, as a result, both service and food can be uneven. There are several dining rooms and a central kitchen that is visible to diners. The bar has a cozy fireplace and an interesting tile mural of a fish on the wall above it. The Italian menu offers creative items such as soft-shell crab, deep fried and served on house-baked focaccia with a dill-oregano tartar sauce, and house pasta such as paglia e fieno carbonara--green and white linguini, cream, peas, prosciutto, asiago cheese and fresh basil. Other entres include osso bucco traditionale, cappelini vongole and pollo roti. Sauces are sometimes on the bland side. Dinner is served daily, and lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. Friday through Monday. $6-$18. All major credit cards accepted. At Roundhouse Mall. 700 North Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City, CA; (530) 583-0233.
Hacienda Del Lago *
Picturesque views of Lake Tahoe with spicy Mexican entres are the forte at this attractive restaurant. The menu features fajitas (beef, chicken, turkey and shrimp), chimichangas and 11 combination dinners, including the El Grande. The full bar has just about every flavor of frozen margar-itas. Open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily, Happy Hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. $6-$9. Visa, 583-0358.
Jake's on the Lake
This is a formulaic, fairly predictable place, with its mixture of steaks, seafood and chicken. But with its reasonable prices and delightful lake views, it has endured in popularity. The menu includes prosciutto basil prawns, Hawaiian swordfish, ginger chicken, scampi and a desert called "Kimo's Original Hula Pie." Seafood specials change frequently. Breakfast, lunch, and Sunday brunch are served from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and dinner is served nightly from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. $5-$35. American Express, Visa, MasterCard. At the Boatworks Mall. 780 North Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City, CA; (530) 583-0188.
Pfeifer House **
Remember the 1982 movie Forbidden Love with Yvette Mimieux and Andrew Stevens? No? I thought not. Anyway, scenes were shot here. But that shouldn't be the reason to dine at one of Medal winner Franz Fassbender, who moved here from Germany in the 1960s, brings to every course he serves. This is a low-light kind of place, with lots of Old European ambience. The menu includes pepper steak, leg of lamb with garlic butter, duckling with orange sauce and veal picatta. All dinners are served with soup and salad. Cocktails are served from 5 p.m., dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Monday. Reservations advised. $12-$50. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Carte Blanche (no personal checks accepted). One- quarter mile north of Tahoe City on Highway 89. 760 River Road, Tahoe City, CA; (530) 583-3102.
River Ranch Lodge *
When water is released from Lake Tahoe in late spring and early summer, it comes kicking down the Truckee River like a herd of mustangs. This restaurant, part of an attractive country inn and one touch with the bar--it protrudes over the river, allowing you to check out the trout. The menu includes fresh fish and game, with Idaho rainbow trout, Miwok salmon, roasted fresh elk loin, flame- broiled steak and roasted free-range chicken. This is a non-smoking establishment. The riverside patio, open during the summer, often features name jazz groups and other entertainment, and also is available for private parties. River Ranch is at the end of a popular cycling and skating trail. $11-$25. Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club. On Highway 89 and Alpine Meadows Road. 2285 River Road, Tahoe City, CA; (530) 583-4264.
This family-style place has rib-sticking food, and it's a longtime favorite with the locals. House specialties include Southern fried chicken, Yankee pot roast, fresh seafood and stir-fry chicken. A children's menu and full bar are available, and there's live entertainment after dinner. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the bar is open until 2 a.m. $4-$18. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover. 571 North Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City, CA; (530) 583-8504.
Doug Baehr, former Woolfdale chef, operated the Stony Ridge Cafe in Tahoma until rent increases and the desire to spend more time with his family promped him to cut back and move to a small area in the back of New Moon Natural Foods.
505 W Lake Blvd., 583-FOOD (3663)
Tahoe House Restaurant and Backerei **
Family-owned and operated since 1977, this is not only one of the lake's best dinner houses, it's also the best bakery in Tahoe City. Heart-smart Swiss and California cuisine such as garlic linguine with applewood smoked chicken, veal Tahoe House (with marsala wine, ripe tomatoes and demi-glace), cordon bleu, wiener schnitzel and seafood risotto will whet your appetite. Save room for dessert, because chef Peter Vogt's rich creations (from homemade chocolate truffles to elegant tortes) will be irresistible. All dinners and desserts are available for take-out. The bakery (take-out only) is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and dinner is served from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations advised. $7-$18. Visa, American Express, MasterCard. On Highway 89. 625 West Lake
The structure that houses this restaurant is nearly a century old, having been built at Glenbrook and barged to the present location in 1901, next to the lake. Douglas Dale, the owner and chef, calls his menu "cuisine unique," because it has touches of Asian cooking and California cuisine. The menu includes light and creative fare such as Thai-barbecued chicken over kale and jasmine rice, alder-wood- roasted Columbia River sturgeon, fresh and wild mushroom pasta with broccoflower, and marinated and grilled venison loin with demi-glaze and a pure of fennel and Jerusalem artichokes. Try the spicy red pepper soup with a grilled tomatillo onion relish, or a starter of Dungeness crab cakes with a wasabi-sour cream sauce. Yum! Dinner is served from 6 p.m. Wednesday through Monday, with the bar opening at 5:30 p.m. Reservations accepted. $12-$19.
It's inexpensive, it labels itself "a simple Italian restaurant," and the locals rave about it. For nibbling, try the garlic chips, polenta with mushrooms, baked eggplant and fresh mozzarella and roma tomatoes. Main courses include smoked chicken calzone, rotini and serves a gelato cannoli for dessert has got to be a hit. Dinner is served from 4:30 p.m. (closed Tuesday). $6-$10. No credit cards accepted. 395 North Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City, CA; (530) 583-1812.
Jiffy's Pizza: (530) 583-3303 265 N Lake Blvd Tahoe City, CA - Will deliver to Homewood
A.J.'s Noodle Company: Italian deli with gourmet to-go pastas, pizzas (you bake them) and calzones. Picnic baskets available. $4- $7. In the Henrickson Building, at the entrance to the Tahoe City Golf Course. 255 North Lake Tahoe Boulevard #C, Tahoe City, CA; (530) 583-1947.
Fast Eddie's Texas-Style BBQ: Family-style barbecue, with vegetarian cuisine, a salad bar, take-out and a children's menu. $2-$13. All major credit cards accepted. 690 North Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City, CA; (530) 583-0950.
Galley Cafe: Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Children's half portions are available. $4-$16. Visa, MasterCard. At Roundhouse Mall. 700 North Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City, CA; (530) 581-3305.
Lakehouse Pizza: A bar and grill, with a patio and take-out service. $6-$21. American Express, Visa, MasterCard. 120 Grove Street, Tahoe City, CA; (530) 583-2222.
Willii B's: Specialties include seafood jambalaya, house-smoked barbecued ribs and an oyster bar. Reservations accepted. $4-$19. MasterCard, Visa, Discover. On Highway 89, south of the Lucky market on Fanny Bridge. 125 West Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City, CA; (530) 583-0346.
Chinese Cuisine: Lo Fat, No MSG, Susi (off season Susi is fresh on weekends). At Lighthouse Shopping Center on Highway 28. 950 North Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City, CA; (530) 583-9262.
This is an elegant and romantic lakeside lodge with the Old Tahoe- style architecture of stone and wood-beam ceilings. Its handful of guest rooms are always full, and its restaurant is always crowded, so forget about just "dropping in." Employees have a habit of being brusque with those who do so. The menu features New York steak, Pacific king salmon, Hawaiian mahi mahi, fettuccini with seafood and ginger chicken. There's always a special dessert of the day. During the winter Wednesday is fish taco night. Open 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily (bar open until midnight). Don't even think about coming here without reservations. 1850 West Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, CA (2.1 mi. S of 28/89 junction); (530) 583-7200.
Black Bear Tavern
Taste Old Tahoe in this 1933 building of peeled logs and antique oil lamps, complete with full bar and easy parking. And keep an eye out for old Bruin, 'cause bears have been known to come down from the woods and check out the menu. Dinner includes sizzling top sirloin steak grilled with garlic and cracked peppercorns, calamari steak, fusilli primavera, and local favorites such as Joanna's meatloaf, beef stew and chicken pot pie. The restaurant is a convenient stop on the West Shore Bike Path, a fact that is not lost to the cycling crowd. Lunch is served noon to 3 p.m. weekdays, Reservations accepted. $10-$19. Visa, MasterCard. 2255 West Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, CA (2.6 mi. S of 28/89 junction); (530) 583-8626.
Homestyle cooking. Voted #1 for best breakfast. Cozy country atmosphere.
Outside dining, food to go. Open 7am 'til 3pm, 7 days a week. Sunnyside.
Large Omelets, pancakes, pecan waffles.
1785 W. Lake Blvd. (across from Sunnyside) 530/583-0871
See Also: West Shore Restaurants