Delayed Lake Tahoe trip report

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.


Our summers have gotten even crazier because, IMO, the summers around us are so damn hot and dry that everyone says “Let’s go to Tahoe.” Try after Labor Day if you have that option.

For breakfast we’re totally addicted to the $3.33 special at Crystal Bay Casino just up the hill from Kings Beach. Three eggs, three strips of bacon, potatoes and toast. And a GREAT cup of organic coffee for a buck.

We’ve kinda stopped going to Fire Sign which was a fave for years. Just got kinda undependable. But if you do go the Baker’s Benedict with a sausage patty is yummy.

We eat great huge salads at Austin’s everyone in a while.

Bridge Tender in Tahoe City is one of our go-to’s for lunch. Their ribs and cross cut fries are delish and a large portion. Even sharing we sometimes bring some home.

Jason’s in Kings Beach has become popular with us. In warm weather they have a glass enclosed area that looks out on the lake.

I describe Tahoe food as LCD, lowest common denominator. As you say, they have a captive audience who may not ‘demand’ anything innovative. But it’s so gorgeous here that the food is second…at least.

Thanks for a good writeup.

NOW you post this? :neutral_face::upside_down_face: We were in Tahoma for five days September 8-12 and, although two were taken by a wedding, we would have loved those recs. We went to Fire Sign twice for late breakfast and it was very good both times. Also went to Tahoe Mountain Brewing and took out from both Blue Agave and Front Street Station. The wedding was catered by a company in South Lake I think. Will save the recs for next time.