8 Super Good Tahoe City Restaurants

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patio overlooking lake tahoe at jakes on the lake

Wait—before we get started, don’t yell at us because a few of these expand beyond the limits of Tahoe City. We’re not going far beyond. No more than a 15-minute drive. But because you all are scrupulous with details, we know that creeping into the boundaries of Lake Tahoe’s west shore or Kings Beach is gonna ruffle your feathers.

But hey, the point here is to not only to cover Tahoe City’s best restaurants, but the best places to eat when you’re staying in Tahoe City. And a little drive for bomb food is never a bad call. So let’s get into it:

Bridgetender: Bar Food & Outdoor Patio

  • Price range: $11 – 30
  • Tahoe City, CA
  • Live music & views of the Truckee River
  • Try the burgers, waffle fries & bloody mary

With an effortlessly cool, riverfront location at the base of the Truckee River and a menu full of craveable classics, the Bridgetender is a natural contender for one of the best restaurants in Tahoe City.

Not in the upscale, gourmet eats kind of way, but more so in the burger, fries and a beer sense. At that, it’s king. The food is simple but satisfying—think totchos and tacos—but the outdoor bar and patio are what you’re really coming for.

Picturesque with plenty of outdoor seating, it’s the perfect summer chill spot. Split a burger, drink one too many beers and then walk them with off along the trail that follows the Truckee River.

Popping in during winter? No worries. The rustic interior is just as inviting as the outdoor patio, and the friendly staff and bloody marys pay no mind to the changing seasons.

West Shore Market: Gourmet Subs & Picnic Supplies

  • Price range: $8 – 14
  • Tahoe City, CA
  • Order-at-the-counter & grab-and-go beer and wine
  • Try the italian or veggie sandwich

The West Shore Market fits our vibe in a big way. A chic deli squeezed into an even chicer curated market, this spot is unbeatable for a quick, tasty lakeside lunch. Grab a sub from the order-at-the-counter deli—we say go for the Italian, but to each his own—or stock up on the plentiful supply of artisan cheese and fine charcuterie.

There’s also a coffee bar with baked goods and sweet treats, a breakfast menu and weekend flatbreads. You’ll find tons of local ingredients in the deli and the grocery shop, a nice wine selection and grab-and-go beers in the cooler.

As if you’re not already adding this casual dining mecca to the top of your list, there’s also a cute, pet-friendly outdoor patio to picnic on. Annnnd, that lovely patio is just steps from the sandy shores of the lake we all love so much. It’s a happy mélange of all our favorite things.

Fire Sign Cafe: Breakfast & Boozy Brunch

  • Price range: $11 – 30
  • Tahoe City, CA
  • Pet-friendly outdoor patio
  • Try the french toast, omelettes & fresh squeezed juices

Every town has that one breakfast place with a cult following. In Tahoe City, without a doubt, that spot is Fire Sign Cafe. I mean, in our opinion, anyplace that’s offering pitchers of mimosas deserves such a reputation but that’s certainly not the only reason this one makes our list. (And just about everyone else’s list too.)

So what exactly does put this epic breakfast & brunch spot at the top of the list for Tahoe City restaurants? The pancake toppings for one. The eggs benedict. The abundance of (pet-friendly!) outdoor seating. The massive breakfast menu and equally massive portions. The fresh squeezed juices. Then there’s lunch, with its homemade sides, loaded sandwiches and tasty, fresh salads.

It’s cute, it’s welcoming, the staff is friendly and the food’s made with only the freshest ingredients. The only thing to keep in mind about this dearly beloved Lake Tahoe restaurant is that it’s popular. Very popular. There can be a long wait, BUT—it’s worth it. So just plan accordingly.

Whitecaps Pizza: Pizza, Brews & Lake Views

  • Price range: $11 – 30
  • King’s Beach, CA
  • Happy hour & lake views
  • Try the kale & salsiccia pizza and broccolini appetizer

Spoiler alert: Whitecaps Pizza is technically in King’s Beach. A neighboring north Lake Tahoe community, it’s only 15 minutes away from Tahoe City and well worth the travel. It’s really fun pizza.

At the core of their creative menu is a laundry list of innovative pizza toppings—sopressata, peaches, micro sliced lemon and a honey drizzle, anyone? Their masterful collection of unique flavors is addictive to say the least, and makes the perfect complement to their chewy crust and selection of appetizers.

There’s the normal ol’ pizzas for those feeling a little more casual. Think less goat cheese, and more pepperoni. They’re equally special though and pair well with cold beer (of which they have a lot) and their surprisingly impressive wine list.

But, no matter what you’re sipping or what slice you choose, we promise that nothing will pair better with it than the outdoor patio’s incredible views. Almost a toes-in-the-sand situation, the back patio is steps away from the beach. Meaning epic views of Lake Tahoe and people watching are also on the menu.

Spoon: Upscale Date Night Spot

  • Price range: $11 – 30
  • Tahoe City, CA
  • Outdoor & indoor seating and no corkage fee
  • Try the macaroni and cheese, meatballs & pan fried fish

Can upscale California cuisine and a warm, homey energy perfectly co-exist? Spoon, one of the most unassuming restaurants Tahoe City has to offer, all but screams the answer—and it’s a loud, ringing yes.

From the exterior, it’s simple and quaint. There’s no floor-to-ceiling windows or dramatic stone hearth; mile-long wine list or tasting menu. But there is an expertly curated selection of gourmet dinner entrees and desserts made with fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Think seared fish and braised lamb mains, beautifully plated with vibrant veggies and creative sides. It’s very vegan and vegetarian friendly, with a focus on all things fresh, light and perfectly prepared. An order of the Mac-n-Cheese is a must, as is dessert.

Need an extra reason to love it? They don’t offer beer or wine, so you’re allowed to bring a bottle of your own. And there’s no corkage fee. Yes, we know, it has already became your favorite restaurant in all of Lake Tahoe.

Tremigo: Contemporary Mexican In A Festive Setting

  • Price range: $11 – 30
  • Olympic Valley, CA
  • Mountain views & full bar
  • Try the chips & salsa, tortilla soup and spicy margaritas

Head 15 minutes north of Tahoe City, and you’ll find Tremigo; an overtly fun and upbeat Mexican restaurant in the heart of The Village at Palisades Tahoe (formerly known as Squaw Valley). It’s vibrant and cool, with a full bar (hellllooo, margaritas) and a tasty menu full of al pastor, guacamole plus tacos, fajitas and more.

This place is a true work of art. From the actual artwork on the walls to the tangy cocktails to the colorful plates of food they put in front of you, every little detail is sure to impress. Although perhaps none more so than the chips & salsa. People rave about the chips & salsa at Tremigo—a pairing that can only get better when matched with a tequila cocktail. Olé.

The vibes are strong, but it’s worth noting that Tremigo is in the middle of a bustling ski village. For some, (re: us) this is a perk. The location makes the spot even more family friendly and welcoming for large parties, plus there’s epic people watching and mountain views. It might cost a little more than your off-the-beaten path neighborhood joint and fill up faster, but sometimes there’s really nothing better than being in the middle of it all.

Jake’s On The Lake: The Ultimate Waterfront Dining Experience

  • Price range: $21 – 60
  • Tahoe City, CA
  • Happy hour, beer garden & lake views
  • Try the brie appetizer, seafood entrees & hula pie

We could—and maybe we should—lead with the epic happy hour, the seafood mains or the drool-worthy menu full of Californian and Hawaiian flavors. But if we’re being honest, none of that is really what makes Jake’s On The Lake top the list of Tahoe City’s best restaurants. That honor belongs to the location.

Don’t get us wrong. We’d sprint to their Macadamia Nut Crusted Halibut or crispy calamari no matter where it was located. But there’s just something about a view of Lake Tahoe that makes a plate of crab cakes and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc just that much better.

We dig the weekday happy hour, we dig the casual lunch menu and the upscale dinner menu, we dig the pet-friendly beer garden and we dig the hefty dose of mountain aloha. It might be a little touristy, it might be a little pricey. But you’re lying to yourself if you say that watching boats cruise along Lake Tahoe while getting handing a big ol’ Mai Tai from a friendly waiter isn’t some version of paradise.

Mountain Slice: On-The-Go Pizza By The Slice

  • Price range: $5 – 30
  • Tahoe city, CA
  • Grab-and-go slices until 5pm
  • Try the Bee Sting pizza, pizza of the week & garlic knots

And to round it off, we’ll end with any good restaurant listicle’s must-have—a solid, casual, grab-and-go pizza spot with hot, crispy, A+ slices. Oh, and full pizza pies, an espresso bar and a creamery with 10 rotating ice cream flavors.

That’s right. Mountain Slice does pizza, coffee and ice cream, and they do it well. We could stop there. But you know us better than that.

These guys are pretty punk rock. They’re doing their own thing, their own way and they’re really good at it. So here’s the deal, and listen closely. They offer pizza-by-the-slice until 5pm, but they’re open for full pies until 8. Slices can be simple cheese or pepperoni or tasty little masterpieces adorned with toppings like italian sausage, jalapeños, garlic and hot honey.

You can also order whole pies in speciality slice flavors or from a menu of classic combinations. There’s New York style pizza and there’s Detroit Style Pizza. And. And. There’s a pizza of the week.

In the world of Tahoe City restaurants, this one may be the most casual. Like, don’t bother changing out of your pajamas casual. But everything they do, they do perfectly. Hard to beat perfect.

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So that’s it guys, that’s eight of Tahoe City’s best restaurants. We’ve given you lake views, local ingredients, bomb breakfasts, quirky pizzas and quite a few real nice outdoor patios. It’s time for you to go forth and conquer. Just remember, calories don’t count on vacation.

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