Families can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner at the Beach Bear Cafe. The restaurant offers a prime setting with lake views to enjoy during all meals. Menu items include pancakes, French toast, waffles, eggs, salads, burgers, sandwiches, entrees and more. Breakfast is served daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dinner is offered from 5 to 9 p.m. daily.
Bear Moon Bar & Grill
•South Lake Tahoe, CA •530-541-6122
Located at the Lake Tahoe Vacation Resort, Bear Moon Bar & Grill offers burgers, wings, nachos, salads, chicken, seafood, pizza and more for lunch and dinner. Take-out is also offered. It is open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Bridgetender Tavern and Grill
•Tahoe City, CA •530-583-3342
The Bridgetender Tavern and Grill offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus drinks, such as local beers, at the bar. Enjoy burgers, sandwiches, wraps, burritos and Mexican-inspired dishes. Outdoor seating is available. It is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to midnight, Saturday from 8 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
•Truckee, CA •530-587-5711
For a rustic, fine dining experience, head to the Cottonwood Restaurant, which serves appetizers like ribs, raviolis and brussels sprouts, salads, chicken entrees, pasta, beef and burgers. Indoor and outdoor seating is available. The Cottonwood Restaurant is open Sunday through Wednesday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Fire + Ice Grill
•South Lake Tahoe, CA •530-542-6650
The Fire & Ice Grill inside Marriott's Timber Lodge boasts three huge outdoor fire pits ringed with chairs and offers a unique dining experience because of its entertaining "kitchen." To begin, you don't choose from a menu. Instead, you visit several buffets, laden with items you select to toss into your bowl. Noodles, shrimp, steak, veggies, sauces - it's all good. Then, you hand your bowl to the chef, who throws it -- yes, I said "throws" (my kids were ecstatic) -- into a tub and grills your selected items. Moments later, the bowl is handed back to you, and it's time to chow down. This eatery is highly recommended for mom and dad, who have had it with mac 'n cheese and need something different for a night out without the kids. It's also ideal if your kids are more adventurous eaters.
Fire Sign Cafe
•Tahoe City, CA •530-583-0871
Opened in 1978, the Fire Sign Cafe serves homemade breakfast and lunch daily. Menu items include eggs, omelets, pancakes, sandwiches, soups, salads and more. The kids' menu offers much of the same, including French toast, oatmeal, cereal, burritos, corn dogs, PB&J, grilled cheese and more. The cafe is open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
•South Lake Tahoe, CA •530-577-5132
The Gateway Cafe offers families breakfast, lunch and dinner. To-go lunches and dinners are also on offer for families on the go. The kids' menu features burgers, pasta, corn dogs, chicken tenders and grilled cheese. The cafe is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. for breakfast and lunch, and Thursday through Saturday for dinner, starting at 4:30 p.m.
•South Lake Tahoe, CA •530-544-4880
IHOP is a great option for families who are looking for a chain restaurant in Lake Tahoe. Enjoy breakfast all day long, with pancakes, French toast, omelets and more on the menu. It is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Jake's on the Lake
•Tahoe City, CA •530-583-0188
Families can enjoy waterfront dining at Jake's on the Lake. Menu items include salads, ribs, sushi, soup, seafood, chicken, steak and more. It is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Jason's Beachside Grille
•Kings Beach, CA •530-546-3315
Jason's Beachside Grille offers indoor and outdoor seating with views of Kings Beach. Families can enjoy hot wings, onion rings, crab cakes, fish and chips, steak, seafood, chicken, salads, burgers and more. The kids' menu features a burger, fish and chips, chicken tenders, pasta, salad, a chicken dinner and BBQ ribs. All kids' items come with French fries, fresh fruit and a cookie. It is open daily, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
•South Lake Tahoe, CA •530-600-3501
Jimmy's is located at The Landing Resort & Spa and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Indoor and outdoor seating is available, too. Small plates, like salads and seafood are available, as are large plates meant for sharing, such as steak, chicken and lamb. Breakfast consists of the normal items, and the kids' menu offers cereal, short stacks of pancakes and a "Little Jimmy's" plate with eggs, bacon and potatoes. Jimmy's is open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
•Kings Beach, CA •530-546-2434
If everyone wants a large Italian dinner, head to Lanza's. It's "build your own pasta meal" night, kids! First, you're encouraged to pick a pasta. Second, you pick the sauce (meat, pesto, Alfredo, butter garlic sauce and more). Last, you add something extra like meatballs, sauteed mushrooms or chicken -- it's all your choice. If you don't want to create your own meal, entrees include portabello mushroom ravioli, calamari steak and eggplant parmigiana. You can also build your own Sicilian-style pizza.
Moody's Bistro & Lounge
•Truckee, CA •530-587-8688
Enjoy pizza, sandwiches, burgers and more at Moody's Bistro and Lounge. Entertainment is offered on the weekends, too. The restaurant is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Red Hut Cafe
•Lake Tahoe , CA •530-541-9024
This is one popular eatery for a fun breakfast, so either get in on a weekday or early on the weekends. It's a fun place -- before we even saw a table, we received three "good morning"s from three different staff members, all with a hearty smile. I was impressed before I had my first cup of coffee.
An enormous old chairlift hangs from the ceiling, and the lobby is lined with framed, old-time photos of Lake Tahoe. The menu carries your favorite breakfast items: omelets, waffles, pancakes, orange juice, etc. The portions are large, and the servers are friendly. It's a little pricey, but it's a happy experience.
•Tahoe Vista, CA •530-546-4281
For causal yet fine dining, families can head to the Rustic Lounge, located at the Cedar Glen Lodge. Tapas, salads, soups, chicken, seafood, steak and more line the menu. The restaurant and wine bar is open for dinner, Wednesday through Saturday, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Scusa Italian Ristorante
•South Lake Tahoe, CA •530-542-0100
Scusa Italian Ristorante offers families indoor and outdoor seating, with salads, seafood, pasta, chicken and steak on the menu. It is open Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m.
Six Peaks Grill
•Olympic Valley, CA •530-581-6621
Located within the Resort at Squaw Creek, which sits at the base of Squaw Valley USA, Six Peaks is a fine dining experience that welcomes the kids but is much more fun without them. With a grand floor-to-ceiling window view of the mountains, an outdoor fire pit and an elegantly laid out buffet, the Six Peaks brunch impresses every step of the way.
Six Peaks also provides lunch and dinner menus with a focus on fresh breads, wild game and the total omission of trans fat. And, all are artfully presented. The deck provides a roaring fire pit that's lovely to sit around with a glass of wine as you feast on an incredible view of Squaw Valley's six peaks. Reservations are recommended.
•Tahoe Vista, CA •530-546-2191
Spindleshanks serves up steaks and seafood, plus appetizers and salads. Live music is also offered frequently. Breakfast is also offered, with the usual suspects on the menu. Spindleshanks is open daily from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
•Truckee, CA •530-587-9814
Squeeze In serves up breakfast and lunch daily, with omelets, eggs Benedict, oatmeal, fresh fruit and more on offer in the morning, and burgers, sandwiches, burritos and more for lunch. The restaurant is known for its omelets, so be sure to stop in for breakfast. It is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
•Tahoe City, CA •530-583-7200
Sunnyside Restaurant offers sushi, salads, seafood, steak, chicken, burgers and more in a setting that offers grand views of Lake Tahoe. The kids' menu consists of a burger, chicken strips, quesadilla and rice bowl. Sunnyside also offers a gluten- and dairy-free menu. It is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.