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Eat like a local at the best Reno/Lake Tahoe restaurants we love

By Jessica Houk 
best Reno/Lake Tahoe restaurants
Liberty Food & Wine Exchange

If you’re anything like me when you travel, you want to find the local spots. And visit new restaurants like these best Reno/Lake Tahoe restaurants that have caught the local eye and fork.

My husband and I moved away from Reno eight years ago. We currently live in Spring Creek, Nevada, a rural town, with views of the Ruby Mountains.

Luckily, we live close enough we are able to spend time in Tahoe and visit the in-laws in Reno almost monthly. I’m not quite a Reno local, not quite a tourist.

I’m a localist or a tourical if you will. I have my favorite haunts but always make time for new restaurants when we go.  

Reno is truly one of my favorite cities for the food scene. There is an explosion of innovation with a high priority on sourcing local ingredients.

The restaurants here focus on the Great Basin and all the many flavors and history it brings with it.

Liberty Food and Wine Exchange photo by Jeramie Lu Photography

Liberty Food and Wine Exchange’s menu evolves weekly, showcasing hand foraged and local ingredients of the season. It’s a casual dining experience centered on sharing plates, stories, and a good time. 

Focused on small-batch artisanal cocktails, Seven Troughs Speakeasy started as a local distillery in Sparks.

They have since opened the Speakeasy in The Basement under West Elm on Virginia St. They serve small bites, brunch, and my personal favorite, a black cherry Manhattan.  

best Reno/Lake Tahoe restaurants
Great Basin Brewing Company

While not new, Great Basin Brewing Company is my gold standard for brewpubs. With two locations, they have a breadth of beers and can claim the title of Nevada’s most award-winning brewery.

The eclectic menu has something for everyone from fresh Atlantic salmon to their famous 50/50 burger. I’m eagerly awaiting my chance at their seasonal Tom Hate’s Pumpkin Ale. 

What better way to celebrate the season than with a Christmas blend coffee from Hub Coffee Roasters. A true community-driven business, Hub coffee has three Reno locations to energize your cold-weather days.  

HIGHER ELEVATION FLAVOR 

Not to be outdone, Tahoe has a bevy of inventive restaurants. One of the new kids on the block, Thirdman Taphouse and Gourmet Deli in South Lake, centers on quality smoked meats and fresh, from-scratch bread. They offer quick bites so you don’t miss time on the slopes.

When we’re in the mood for yeasty brick oven pizzas or my husband’s favorite tri-tip hero sandwich, we head to Tahoe Tavern and Grill, in Stateline. This casual dining spot is quickly earning a reputation for its elevated American fare. 

Also in Stateline, Clydes Coffee Roasting Company sells boutique coffee with a side of delicious pastry. Get there early to try a ham and cheese croissant and a cup of cowboy coffee. 

Tunnel Creek Café, in Incline Village, is a perfect first stop before exploring the East Shore Path. Their traditional breakfast and lunch menu is tasty fuel to get you started. 

best Reno/Lake Tahoe restaurants
The Bank Saloon

While my time is typically split between Reno and Tahoe, I will give an honorable mention to Bank Saloon, in Carson City. When we want a guaranteed great date night, we drop the kiddos with the in-laws and head south on the I-580.

This upscale cocktail bar is housed in a historic building in the Capitol of Nevada. The handcrafted drinks are made with house syrups, and when possible, local ingredients. 

Traveling back to my home away, I’m amazed and delighted at the plethora of new eateries to try.

Whether I’m in the mood for a robust meal bursting with local flavor or an expertly crafted cocktail, I can always find something to get my taste buds singing at the best Reno/Lake Tahoe restaurants around.