We spent 4 nights in Lake Tahoe in mid-July, near Kings Beach. Here are our dining experiences, but first, I should point out that most restaurants were crazy- busy during the peak summer season. For example, although we were staying nearby, we couldn’t even get in to the Char-Pit for a simple burger the whole time we were there, although we tried at various times of day. Our overall expectations for food quality were not high, and you could say our expectations were met. It’s a resort area with a captive audience, so that’s how it is.
First night there, we tried to get in at the highly-recommended Bite American Tapas in Incline Village. Nothing doing --hour-plus wait on a weeknight. Upon a local’s recommendation, we ended up settling for a nearby sports bar called Rookies. Don’t Go There. It wasn’t busy and we found out why – we were served some of the worst burgers we’d had in as long as we can remember. Grossly overcooked commodity beef, and slow service. OK garlic fries though. Not a good start.
Log Cabin Cafe (Kings Beach): Excellent breakfast potatoes and potato/meat/veg skillets; mediocre eggs benedict – they couldn’t get the eggs right, and the hollandaise was watery and not flavorful. Sort of a pretend-hollandaise, really – just a thin, bland yellow sauce. A so-so commodity burger on another visit for lunch. Those home fries and skillets were great though, and we came back for those a couple of times.
Fire Sign Cafe (Tahoe City): Perfect eggs benedict – eggs exactly as requested, outstanding hollandaise. Unfortunately their home fries and veggie potatoes were greasy and underdone, even though we asked for them to be crispy. They said, sorry, their griddle wasn’t big enough to tie up for crispy potatoes when it was busy. Except it wasn’t busy. Huh? If I could have had the Fire Sign benedict with Log Cabin’s crispy home fries, it would have been a perfect breakfast.
Austin’s (Incline Village): Buttermilk fries app – just OK. Same for my meatloaf, and S.O.'s grilled portobello. Decent service, despite their being quite busy.
Caliente (Kings Beach): Overpriced average Mexican food, super-slow service. Plus, we got hit for $22 for two virgin mojitos. We won’t be back.
Himmel Haus (across from the Heavenly Valley parking lot). Good standard-issue German food. We started out with Belgian frites, which came with the only (housemade) curry ketchup we’ve ever liked, plus some good garlic aioli. For mains I had sauerbraten and a side of potato salad, and S.O. had a sausage platter. Mains were good; frites were great. Excellent Fentiman’s herbal soft drinks also. Best meal of the trip overall.
We made another couple of tries to get in at Bite, but no luck there. Other meals were mostly deli items taken back to our room, supplemented by some great berries, granola and such from the Tahoe City farmers market.
On the bright side, since we were staying on the north end of the lake, we spent far more time enjoying the lake itself, and less time driving around. Notes for next time: Avoid the peak season, do some grilling, and bring more prepared foods with us. And avoid Rookies sportsbar like the plague.