North Lake Tahoe Journals

Playing and Dining Around the North Shore

Best of IgoUgo

A travel journal to North Lake Tahoe by food&fun

Squaw Valley Photo, North Lake Tahoe, California More Photos
Quote: There is world-class skiing to be found around the north shore of Lake Tahoe, and plenty of apres ski dining at every level from homey to elegant. In the summer, there are plenty of opportunities for warm-weather fun. Here are some favorites from a local.

Playing and Dining Around the North Shore

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Lake Tahoe Photo, North Lake Tahoe, California
Quote:
South Shore Lake Tahoe is known for its casinos and two ski areas (Heavenly and Kirkwood). North Shore is known more for lake-related activities in the summer and skiing in the winter. There are approximately 8 ski areas within a 30-40 minute drive from Tahoe City, which I consider to he "North Shore Central." Ski season lasts from about mid-to late-November through May, although we have been known to have enough snow to ski on July 4! January is usually the coldest and snowiest; spring skiing in April is often excellent. Where else can you ski in the morning and golf or boat in the afternoon? Unfortunately, we don't always get the light powder for which Colorado is known, but early season "Sier...Read More

Christy Hill

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Christy Hill is one of the best restaurants on the North Shore. The food is Big City quality (with prices to match), though the atmosphere is one of casual elegance. White table cloths and candles enhance the mood. The service is skilled. All tables have a gorgeous view of the lake. Appetizers range from about $7 to about $15 and main dishes are about $18 to $28. In the past, appetizers outshone the main courses, but on my last visit, everything was outstanding. I love everything the chef does with ahi as an appetizer. The ahi sashimi with soba noodles, wasabi and soy is a light, refreshing start to the meal. Smoked salmon with cilantro Dijon aioli is also a great starter. The roasted t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 3, 2001

Christy Hill
115 Grove Street
Tahoe City, California 96145
(530) 583-8551

Za's

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Restaurant

Quote:
Okay, I'm going to let you in on a true local's secret place. It's so secret, you can't even see it from the street. Turn into the parking lot beside Pete & Peter's Bar -- it's right behind the bar. Small (it seats, maybe, 50 people if they sit close), rustic and friendly. Great Italian-style food at reasonable prices. This is not a pizza joint -- there are plenty of other ones in and around Tahoe City if you want that -- Za's does have a few kinds of pizza and calzone. The pizzas are the thin-crust, almost "gourmet-style," about 10" in diam. My husband always gets the pepperoni; a friend enjoyed his pepperoin and jalapeno. One of my favorite dishes is the spaghetti puttanesca, which is he...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 3, 2001

Za's
395 North Lake Boulevard
North Lake Tahoe, California 96145
(530) 583-1812

Hacienda del Lago

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Restaurant

Quote:
Upstairs from Jake's at the Lake in the Boatworks Shopping Mall, Hacienda del Lago offers a breathtaking view of Lake Tahoe. It also offers a breathtaking list of tequilas and tequila-based drinks! It is not as homey as a hole-in-the-wall family-run Mexican restaurant and not as sterile as a chain. The menu is HUGE and reasonably priced, with most main dishes in the $8-10 range. Everything I have had here has been good. The fajitas include some unusual choices -- in addition to the usual beef or shrimp, they offer turkey, salmon, or vegetarian. All are served with the usual pico de gallo salsa and the unusual honey chipolte sauce. The burritos are enormous and stuffed with a choice of pork, bee...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 3, 2001

Hacienda del Lago
760 N. Lake Tahoe Blvd.
North Lake Tahoe, California
(530) 583-0350

Lone Eagle Grill

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Restaurant

Quote:
Lone Eagle Grill is everyone's fantasy of a mountain retreat: huge riverstone hearth, rustic wood accents, and huge windows onto a breathtaking view of Lake Tahoe. Ladies, leave your dresses at home, gentlemen, do the same with your coat and tie, after all, this is Lake Tahoe where "formal wear" means cleaning the mud off your Sorel snow boots. I've been here several times for lunch, dinner, and the Sunday brunch buffet. While the food is not outstanding, the combination of food and ambiance make for a memorable meal. Service has always been good. At one lunch, our server even steered us away from a couple of items that she said were not as good as other choices. The lunch menu off...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 23, 2001

Lone Eagle Grill
Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe
North Lake Tahoe, California 89451
(775) 832-3250

Le Bistro

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Restaurant

Quote:
Across from the Hyatt Hotel, tucked into the back of a shopping center, is Le Bistro, a little gem of a restaurant. This is about as close to a real French restaurant as you will find in Tahoe. The chef/owner Jean-Pierre Doignon trained at the Michelin 3-star restaurant Lameloise in the Burgundy region of France. He offers a fixed price menu, as well as a la carte choices. The fixed price menu is really the way to go. Although the price is $33, it's bang-for-the-buck fine dining. The menu changes with the seasons and with what's available, so what I describe may not be on the menu when you come. The fixed-price meal includes an appetizer, soup, salad, main course and dessert. I started wi...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 23, 2001

Le Bistro
120 Country Club Drive Suite 29
Incline Village, California 89451
(775) 831-0800

Boulevard Cafe

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Restaurant | "Boulevard Café"

Quote:
Boulevard Café's atmosphere can be called "mountain formal." The dining room is small and almost nondescript, but the tables are set with white tablecloths, candles and fine tableware. Artwork decorates the walls. A word of caution, during the winter, it can be drafty at floor level, though well-heated otherwise. Cuisine is California-Italian. Service is very friendly, and the servers are knowledgeable about the menu and wine list. The restaurant has received awards from Wine Spectator magazine for its wine selection. While you're studying the menu, you're brought a small dish of garbanzo bean and garlic puree, somewhat like hummus, and another of capenata to go with delicious country-style bre...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 23, 2001

Boulevard Cafe
6731 North Lake Blvd.
North Lake Tahoe, California
(530) 546-7213

Wildflower Cafe

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Restaurant

Quote:
For awhile, I was taking a ceramics class at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village. As students had 24-hour access to the studio, my Sunday mornings were usually spent throwing pots, doing my "homework." Then I'd clean up as much of the mud as I could and head over to the Wildflower for lunch before going home. It is not a fancy place; rustic is more the word I would use. But it's not a cookie-cutter plastic coffee shop, either. Seating is at formica-topped tables or the counter and napkins come from a dispenser on the table. My favorite dish would be either the barbecue beef sandwich or the French dip. An awful lot of coffee shops use thin, dried out, probably long-ago-sliced pi...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 30, 2001

Wildflower Cafe
869 Tahoe Boulevard
North Lake Tahoe, California 89451
(775) 831-8072

Gar Woods

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Restaurant

Quote:
What a beautiful place for lunch or dinner, overlooking Lake Tahoe! The lunch menu features a variety of salads, burgers and pastas. I particularly like the conchiglie pasta with grilled chicken, panchetta and artichoke hearts in a light cream sauce. The shrimp and lobster bisque soup is smooth and decadent -- wonderful on a chilly day. Although I have not had dinner here, the menu looks tempting, with some of the lunch pastas (including my favorite conchiglie) as well as steaks, chicken, prime rib, and fish. My absolute favorite meal here is the Sunday brunch buffet. The selection includes California roll sushi, a great Caesar salad, omelets made to order with a variety of fillings, waffles...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 16, 2002

Gar Woods
5000 North Lake Blvd.
North Lake Tahoe, California
(530) 546-3366

Rosie's Cafe

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Restaurant

Quote:
Rosie's cafe is a long-time favorite with locals and visitors alike. The bar is a hopping place on weekends during ski season, but the restaurant is a family-friendly place. The decor can only be described as mountain eclectic -- the rough wooden walls and exposed rafters are decorated with ancient skis, an old bicycle and whatever other detritus the owners could find. An old moose head surveys the diners from above the stone fireplace. Rosie's is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The lunch menu features burgers, sandwiches (including an unusual "Irish Dip," which is corned beef, Swiss cheese and grilled onions on a roll, served with jus for dipping), and a variety of salads, including my ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 17, 2002

Rosie's Cafe
571 North Lake Boulevard
Tahoe City, California 96145
(530) 583-8504

Fire Sign Cafe

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Restaurant

Quote:
Gargantuan portions are the hallmark of the Firesign Café, a funky, cozy little cabin that continually wins the "best breakfast" category of dining polls around the north shore. Omelets, waffles, pancakes, all generous enough to hold you until dinner. The home-baked muffins and coffee cake are justifiably renowned. You can also find fresh-squeezed juices. I am an Eggs Benedict fan, but am not crazy about bacon, so the veggie Benedict with avocado and tomato is perfect for me. I also like their special hot raspberry-blueberry sauce accompanying their buttermilk or buckwheat pancakes. The blueberry waffle is often my husband's choice, if he's not picking an omelet. If fresh berries are in se...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 17, 2002

Fire Sign Cafe
1785 West Lake Blvd.
North Lake Tahoe, California
(530) 583-0871

Alpine Meadows

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Attraction

Alpine Meadows Photo, North Lake Tahoe, California
Quote:
Alpine is a friendly area, without Squaw's "corporate" face. While not as big as Squaw, Alpine still has plenty of challenges for expert skiers, especially if you are willing to do a little hiking and traversing. Take the Summit-Six or Alpine Bowl chair and hike up a little, drop over the backside into High Traverse -- not a lift in sight and snow untouched by machines. When you get to the bottom, Sherwood Chair takes you up for more skiing on the backside or to a run back to the front. There is a half-pipe and small terrain park for snowboarders. Beginners are not forgotten, either, with two beginner lifts. The long run from the top of Hot Wheels chair to the bottom is excellent for high-end beg...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 3, 2001

Alpine Meadows
PO Box 5279
North Lake Tahoe, California 96145
(800) 441-4423

Squaw Valley

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Attraction

Squaw Valley Photo, North Lake Tahoe, California
Quote:
Squaw is know for its challenging expert terrain. The legend is that the famous KT-22 run got its name because the wife of one of the owners did 22 kick-turns to get down it the first time. But it is not just an expert's mountain. One nice feature is that there is beginner terrain at the top of the mountain, not just at the base, so groups with beginners and more advanced skiers can meet for lunch without having to ski all the way down to the bottom. There is plenty of intermediate terrain, as well, including a great loooong run, starting at Siberia Bowl at the top of the mountain, skiing all the way to the base along Mountain Run. The short runs off the Shirley Lake chair are varied and fun, esp...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 3, 2001

Squaw Valley
P.O. Box 2007
North Lake Tahoe, California 96146
(530) 583-6985

Northstar at Tahoe

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Attraction | "Northstar-at-Tahoe"

Quote:
Northstar is a great family ski spot, with a ski school that consistently gets high ratings for kids. The mountain itself is not very challenging for expert skiers (despite opening up a lot of new expert terrain recently). It is not as large as Alpine or Squaw Valley, but also not as intimidating. Most black diamond runs here, if groomed, would be rated blue at Alpine or Squaw. Thus, it is a great place for the weekend or recreational skier or the family wanting to ski together. It's also a confidence-builder to be able to ski "black" runs. Where few "black" runs at Alpine Meadows are groomed, it is not unusual here. From the parking lot to the lodge can be a bit of a hike, but there is valet p...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 5, 2001

Northstar at Tahoe
P.O. Box 129
North Lake Tahoe, California 96160
1 (800) GO-NORTH

Tahoe Bike Trail

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Attraction

Quote:
In Tahoe City (on Lake Tahoe) there are 17 miles of paved bike trail. The most fun, but also the most crowded trail goes alongside the Truckee River for 4½ miles to Alpine Meadows Road. It is separate from the highway and is pretty flat, with the only uphill portions being a matter of yards. From that point there's about a mile of quiet, new paved bike trail taking you to the entrance to Squaw Valley. During the summer there are "port-a-potties" along the trail for people on the bike trail and those rafting on the river. You'll find the trail crowded with families on bikes and roller blades, as well as people walking and jogging. If you ride into Squaw Valley (another 2-3 miles) you can get coff...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 23, 2001

Tahoe Bike Trail
870 Emerald Bay Road
North Lake Tahoe, California 96150
(530) 573-2600

Diamond Peak

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Attraction

Quote:
Not as big as Squaw Valley or Heavenly Valley and not as challenging as Kirkwood, Diamond Peak provides some variety if you are sampling the different areas around the lake or just want a break from the big areas. I've always enjoyed the "cozy" feeling of this area. My only complaint is that many of the Intermediate (blue) runs are too regular in pitch and terrain; I like a little more variety. Nevertheless, this consistency makes it a great teaching mountain because you can concentrate on what you're learning instead of worrying about what's beyond the next turn or drop-off. And, of course, the views are spectacular. If you are staying at the Hyatt or at northshore stateline hotels, this is...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 25, 2001

Diamond Peak
1210 Ski Way
Incline Village, California 89451
(775) 832-1177

Sugar Bowl Ski Resort

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Attraction | "Sugar Bowl"

Quote:
Sugar Bowl is home to the first chairlift in California & the first gondola in the country. If you skied Sugar Bowl ten years ago, you'll remember the only way to get to the ski hill was to take a gondola across the gorge from the parking lot to the rest of the mountain. Now there is a lift directly from the parking lot on the Mt. Judah side of the resort, although the old gondola is still running from the other lodge. Sugar Bowl is the closest of Tahoe's ski areas if you are driving from the Bay Area or Sacramento. It is also easy to get to from Reno via Hwy 80. Because it is on the west side of Donner Summit, it is slammed first with the winter storms before they lose their power going...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 25, 2001

Sugar Bowl Ski Resort
629 Sugar Bowl Rd.
Norden, California 95724
(530) 426-9000

Vikingsholm

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Attraction

Quote:
Emerald Bay is the most picturesque spot around Lake Tahoe, gracing many a tourist postcard. Vikingsholm is located at the southwestern end of the bay and can be reached by taking a mile-long trail from the parking lot on Hwy 89. It is well worth the hike. Vikingholm was built as the summer home of Lora Knight. Built in 1928-1929, is resembles a Scandinavian fortress, all forbidding stone and turret roofs. Stone and wood to construct it came from nearby. Tours can be taken from June through Labor Day ($1), and you can see the magnificent furnishings inside, including authentic and reproduction antiques and painted ceilings. When I asked local friends what visitors to the North Shore of La...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 15, 2002

Vikingsholm
1416 9th Street
North Lake Tahoe, California 95814
(800) 777-0369

Sand Harbor State Park

Attraction | "Sand Harbor"

Quote:
Sand Harbor is among the prettiest beaches around Lake Tahoe. Its most stunning feature is a collection of large round boulders that form cliffs around a small bay. I spent an entire day with a watercolor workshop just painting the rocks and the lake. Bring your camera!

It is a good beach for swimming, but Lake Tahoe is chilly year round, so you probably won't want to venture too far from the sun-warmed shore.

There are picnic facilities available. Parking is $6 during the day.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 16, 2002

Sand Harbor State Park
State Route 28
North Lake Tahoe, California 89452
(775) 831-0494