We're embarassed to admit that even with all the great restaurants in South Lake Tahoe, we ate at McDonald's and KFC more than we should have. In our defense, the McDonalds was right next to the Embassy Vacation Resort parking lot and had excellent blackberry shakes. The KFC was just across the street and had a 2-for-1 special on Crispy Chicken Caesar roll-ups which were pretty good!
But we did go to real restaurants, too, and here's a rundown of our favorites:
The Naked Fish -- There are a lot of sushi restaurants in Tahoe and a lot of them feature "all-you-can-eat sushi", but the Naked Fish was the best by a mile. Fast, friendly, and fantastic fresh sushi. Our favorite visit was for "happy hour" -- special prices on Sake and sushi "cones".
Scusa! -- This excellent Italian restaurant specializes in fresh pasta and it was indeed superb. Our personable young waiter described dishes in detail, recommended an excellent wine, and talked hockey with our 11-year-old son. Four stars!
Fresh Ketch -- Surprisingly, there really aren't that many restaurants right on the water, but Fresh Ketch is right on the edge of the Tahoe Keys Marina. Obviously, they specialize in fresh fish and my sea bass was excellent. My wife couldn't pass up the leg of lamb special and it was perfectly done. The service was a little inattentive but we were in no hurry since we'd dropped our son off at a kids program at the Embassy so that we could enjoy an adults only dinner. Three and a half stars!
Chevy's -- The problem with this place is that it was right across the street from the Embassy and very popular. We'd look out the window of our condo and if it didn't look busy, we'd rush over. Great casual Mexican food and drinks and a fun atmosphere. Service was fast and friendly. In fact, one evening our server was in a wheelchair! We marveled at her ability to serve food and drinks while zipping around the crowded dining area. Unfortunately, at one point in the evening one wheel of her chair ran over a child's dropped crayon causing her to lose the tray of drinks she was balancing. We felt awful for her but she recovered gracefully. We'll give an extra half star for a gutsy waitress and give Chevy's three and a half stars!
Sizzler -- There are times when you just want to stuff your face for not much money. Well, this is the place! It was pretty typical Sizzler, but other than the clam chowder (avoid!) everything else was good. The servers were all very fast and friendly and there are quite a number of historical photos of the Lake Tahoe area on the walls.
Three stars because we were hungry and they filled us up! Look for discount coupons.
The restaurant at the Embassy Vacation Resort -- I've forgotten the name so I'll have to look it up. We ate lunch there the day we arrived in the afternoon while we waited for our room to be ready. The service was a little slow mostly because it was the end of the lunch shift. Our sandwiches were good but nothing special. We decided to try dinner there one night but didn't have high expectations. We were pleasantly surprised. The food was very good -- I tried the mako shark (!) special and it was well prepared and presented. Our server was from Poland and was quite an interesting conversationalist. We also enjoyed a nice sunset from our table by the window. Three stars!