Our Favorite Spots to Eat in North Lake Tahoe

Updated: June 25, 2021

The North Lake Tahoe area holds a special place in my heart. My husband and I have been vacationing here several times a year for over 20 years. Although I love Tahoe during both summer and winter, there is something about the smell of the trees, the lake shimmering in the sun and the countless outdoor activities that make summer my favorite season to visit. Dinners in Tahoe are combination of BBQing at the cabin, re-visiting our favorite restaurants and trying at least one new spot each summer. This past trip we re-visited the Truckee Tavern and Pianeta. Both spots never fail to provide up with a delicious meal! Do you have a favorite North Lake Tahoe eatery? I would love to hear your menu recommendations. I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of our most loved spots eat with all of you in case you are planning a trip to the North Lake Tahoe, Donner Lake, or Truckee area.

Favorite Lakeside Spot


5000 North Lake Blvd., Carnelian Bay- Open Daily for lunch and dinner

We have been visiting GarWoods at least once a summer for the past 20 years. Ordering a Wet Woody while enjoying the gorgeous view of Lake Tahoe is a summer tradition. Reservations are recommended. I always ask for deck seating so that we have an optimal view of the lake. You can’t go wrong ordering the blackened fish tacos. The meal isn’t complete for our family without sharing an It’s It drizzled with hot fudge and a scoop of whip cream. After we finish eating we like to skip rocks at the beach to the left of the restaurant and take family photos on the pier. GarWoods is a short drive from the Tahoe Vista Treetop Adventure Park and a quick walk from Magic Carpet Miniature Golf, two of our favorite activities to do as a family.

Favorite Fine Dining Restaurant


10096 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee- Open Daily 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm

We rarely visit Tahoe without a reservation at our favorite dinner spot. Pianeta is perfect for a intimate date night or special celebration. Reservations are a must and often must be made weeks in advance if you are visiting on a busy holiday weekend. Their caprese might just be one of my favorite dishes on the planet. The tomatoes and fresh mozzarella are served in the most amazing pesto and balsamic reduction. Tip: Save the bread you server will bring to your table to mop up this amazing sauce. I usually order whatever the special is for dinner, but my husband is a huge fan of the grilled sausage & tagliatelle and orders it on almost every visit. The chocolate polenta puddle cake is the perfect ending to what is sure to have been a fantastic meal. In addition to wonderful food, I adore the cozy interior of Pianeta that oozes old world ambiance.

Favorite Family Pizzerias

Village Pizzeria

11329 Deerfield Dr, Truckee- Open Daily 11:30 am – 9:00 pm

Two Words- Pasta Bread!!! This ball of pizza dough topped with house-made garlic butter is the first thing we order every time we visit the Village Pizzeria. We usually split one of these balls of yumminess 4-ways, but make no mistake my daughter could eat one all by herself.
My husband and I always order the stuffed pizza. There is something about the extra layer of crust and sweet sauce on top that ranks this pizza as one of our all time favorites. Warning: be prepared to wait a little longer for the stuffed pizza as it takes more time to prepare. The Village Pizzeria does not take reservations and is a popular spot. We try to arrive before 5:30 to ensure that we don’t have to wait too long for a table. Village Pizzeria is the perfect spot to fill your belly after a long day of skiing.

Rubicon Pizza Co.

6001 Northstar Dr. Suite 6105, Truckee- Open Friday – Tuesday: Noon – 8:00pm

Rubicon is my first pick for a slice of pizza during the summer months. I enjoy sitting outside watching the roller skaters at the rink across the way. The 10″ thin crust pizzas are tasty and not too heavy. Gluten free crust is available upon request. We order two pizzas for our family of 4 and usually leave with a couple slices leftover.

Favorite Spot for a Treat

Little Truckee Ice Creamery

15628 Donner Pass Rd. Truckee- Open daily noon – 9:00 pm

This is the third year the Little Truckee Ice Creamery has been open and we can’t get enough of their deliciously creamy ice cream. Sizes range from a mini (the perfect size when you just want a couple spoonfuls or are watching your waistline) to a triple scoop. The ice cream is all natural and made at the quaint scoop shop on the west end of Donner Lake. Flavors change daily and there are always non-dairy options available. The Little Truckee Ice Creamery also has a truck selling scoops in downtown Truckee. 

Favorite Spot to Eat During Truckee Thursdays

Truckee Tavern & Grill

10118 Donner Pass Rd. Truckee – Open daily for dinner, Thursday – Sunday for lunch

Patio seating during the summer is my favorite so that I can enjoy watching what’s going on in downtown Truckee. The menu changes daily, but I always enjoy their house made bourbon concoctions, fresh salads, juicy burgers and creamy mac & cheese. I often split the dinner entree and still feel like I need to be rolled out of the restaurant. Their ingredients are always top-notch! 

Truckee Restaurant
Truckee Tavern & Grill

A few other spots we have enjoyed…

Breakfast & Lunch

Drink Coffee Do Stuff

 10115 Donner Pass Road

This cute coffee spot recently opened where Marty’s Cafe used to be located at in downtown Truckee. The Purple Have Latte made with lavender, vanilla syrup, espresso and your choice of milk is AMAZING! You can also pick up a quick bite to eat here. 

Coffee And

10106 Donner Pass Rd., Truckee

Coffee And’s biscuits are my favorite. The kids look forward to ordering the Mickey Mouse chocolate chip pancakes.
Rosie’s Cafe

571 North Lake Blvd., Tahoe City

The extensive menu will have something for everyone in your party.

Donner Lake Kitchen

13720 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee

Enjoy a hearty traditional breakfast at this popular spot across from Donner Lake. Expect to wait for a table. The children’s animal shaped pancakes are just the cutest!


The Lodge Restaurant & Pub

12850 Northwoods Blvd., Truckee

I like the fact that the children’s menu includes healthier options like the fresh catch of the day or a grilled chicken breast.

Cottonwood Restaurant & Bar

10142 Rue Hilltop Rd., Truckee

Yummy cocktails and you can’t beat the view of downtown Truckee while sitting on the deck.

Truckee restaurant
View of downtown Truckee from Cottonwood Restaurant and Bar

11401 Donner Pass Rd., Truckee

Their caesar salad is one of my favorites and the kids love the game room at the back of the restaurant


A friend recently recommended this as a great place for sushi in the North Lake Tahoe area. My husband and son agreed that the sushi was top notch. I enjoyed the chicken teriyaki and am looking forward to trying the ramen on our next visit. The staff was incredible friendly and helpful. MakiAli is currently only open for take-out.  

Food Truck

Tacos Herrera

The shredded beef tacos are so yummy that it is not uncommon to wait in line for over a half hour during Truckee Thursdays. Tacos Herrera are currently available at the Little Truckee Ice Creamery on Fridays from 10am – 6pm.

street tacos in North Lake Tahoe
shredded beef tacos from Tacos Herrera


Dairy Queen

11355 Donner Pass Rd., Truckee

It’s not a summer in Tahoe without a trip to DQ for a blizzard or dipped cone.

Dairy Queen Truckee, CA
Enjoying Blizzards from DQ in Truckee

Please leave a comment below if you make it to any of these spots on your next trip to Lake Tahoe or if you have any recommendations for spots we should try the next time we are here. Check out my Family Summer Activities in North Lake Tahoe post for ideas on how to spend your time.  I hope your your summer travels are filled with unforgettable memories!


  1. Nancy B

    July 28, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    Great to meet you on the rafting trip and thanks for the great recs in the Tahoe area!

    1. Parker

      August 1, 2019 at 12:35 pm

      Hi Nancy!
      It was lovely to meet you as well. I enjoyed our chat to and from the river. I hope the rest of your trip was a success!

Leave a Reply