By Annie Flazraich
While it took Jules Verne’s characters 80 days to circle the globe in his 1872 adventure novel “Around the World in Eighty Days,” you can make the same trip in just 28 meals by touring the world cuisine available in Reno/Tahoe’s restaurants. So, hop in your metaphorical hot air balloon, and get ready for a culinary journey.
IN SEARCH OF UMAMI
We’ll start our tour with Asian cuisine, of which there is no shortage of options in the region. Of course, there’s Reno’s signature dish: All You Can Eat Sushi, which can be found at dozens of locations. To try one of the longest-standing AYCE spots, head over to Sushi Pier. sushipier1.com
Then, venture out to tantalize your taste buds. Kauboi Izakaya is Reno’s first restaurant focused on ancient Japanese charcoal grilling. At Tahoe Hot Pot in Stateline, diners can enjoy traditional Japanese hot pot meals and Thai dishes in a relaxed, family owned eatery. For innovative dishes, including boiling crab, crawfish and seafood, head over to Crawfish Asian Cuisine. Craving Thai flavors? Head to The Basil in Carson City. A long-time community favorite, this restaurant recently reopened and now serves dishes made with techniques from Thailand, the home country of all six owners. myshabu.net; crawfishasiancuisine.com; thebasilrestaurant.com
CURRY UP SOME FLAVOR
Next, we’ll head west to explore the flavors of India. At West Street Market in downtown Reno, you can find two sister restaurants serving different dishes at different times of the day. For lunch, try the light and flavorful vegetarian and vegan Indian fare at Maya’s South Indian Cuisine. By night, the space transforms into Thali, Reno’s only fully organic Indian restaurant. At Lake Tahoe, get a taste of Nepal and India at Shangrila Himalayan Kitchen. weststreetmarketreno.com; thalireno.com; shangrilahimalayan.com
LABVASH, PITA AND INJERAE
Continuing on our quest, we’ll journey to Africa and the Mediterranean. On the south shore of Lake Tahoe, visit either Artemis Mediterranean Grill or Artemis Lakefront Café for Greek and Mediterranean flavors. Craving a falafel or gyro in Reno? Surely, it would be best if you stopped at Suri’s Mediterranean Kitchen. If you’re not afraid to eat with your hands, Zagol is a tactile Ethiopian cuisine experience that you won’t soon forget. artemismediterraneangrill.com; artemislakefrontcafe.com; surisreno.com; zagolofreno.com
It’s a-boot time that we traveled a bit north to Italy. Dine on traditional Italian fare, including pasta and wood-fired fish and meats in Calafuria’s homey, midcentury digs in Midtown. Nevada’s capitol, Carson City, boasts two must-try Italian restaurants. Dig into classic dishes and pizza at Mangia Tutto or taste what Chef Mark Estee’s cooking from ingredients sourced from the local farmers and purveyors at Cucina Lupo. In South Lake Tahoe, Primo’s Italian Bistro serves southern Italian classics and northern specialties too. calafuriareno.com; mangiatuttopizzeria.com; cucinalupo.com; primositalianbistro.com
IT’S ALL EUROPEAN TO ME
Let’s head north, shall we, and head onward into continental Europe. Start with some lighter fare, savory or sweet, from Creative Crepes at Heavenly Village in South Lake Tahoe. Then, for an entree, try the alpine cuisine at La Fondue in Incline Village, or the French vibe at Z Bistro in Carson City. Of course, what’s a meal without a sweet finish? For a taste of Austria’s best deserts, scope the display case at Franz’s Backstube Austrian Bakery in Reno. creativecrepestahoe.com; tahoefondue.com; atzbistro.com; franzsbackstube.com
BASQUE IN THE EXPERIENCE
Before we journey to the United Kingdom, let’s take a detour to the Basque country, between France and Spain. For more than a century, the Basques have been closely tied to sheepherding in Nevada. As a result, our region features many uniquely Nevada Basque restaurants.
For the classic family style dining experience, check out Louis Basque Corner or the newly re-opened Santa Fe Hotel in Reno, or J. T. Basque Bar & Dining Room in Gardnerville. Or, for paella and chorizo, go to Villa Basque Café in Carson City. louisbasquecorner.com; santafereno.com; jtbasquenv.com; villabasquecafe.com
There’s no sign of Brexit or Megixt at the U.K.inspired restaurants in Reno/Tahoe. For a Scottish influenced dining experience, order a pint and a shepherd’s pie at MacDuff’s Public House in South Lake Tahoe. In Reno, O’skis Pub & Grille dishes up the city’s largest selection of corned beef dishes in an Irish pub atmosphere. macduffspub.com; oskispub.net
For the final leg of our trip, let’s go across the pond and head south to Latin America. In Reno, Sabor Latin Cuisine dishes up Peruvian, Argentinian, and Mexican food. In Midtown, the newly opened Churrasco Brazilian Steakhouse treats diners to an unforgettable rodizio experience with 15 succulent types of meat and 50 sides. In South Lake Tahoe, don’t miss La Promesa’s fish tacos and homemade baked goods. For Salvadorian cuisine, La Santaneca in Carson City is the place to dine. @sabornv; churrascobr.com
From classic comfort food to avant-garde cuisine, it’s all available in Reno/Tahoe. Pick where you want to go and start your epicurean journey!