Gourmet Tahoe South
After much high-altitude wining and dining, we bring you our picks for best places to eat in South Lake Tahoe.
Ciera Steak and Chophouse
Just completed your first Black Diamond run without wiping out? Then you need to reward yourself, and Ciera steak house at the Montbleu Resort is your spot. The sound of slot machines tinkling outside and the plush, luxurious interior of the restaurant within will make you think you’re in Vegas. And indeed, indulge is the word of the night, from creative cocktails to crisp salads to the main event: meat. A small filet is anything but: Cooked and seasoned perfectly, this tender steak is a gem. Steak au poivre is a cowboy version of the French original, with a smooth, not-too-spicy sauce. Side dishes are just about perfect. From scalloped potatoes to truffled macaroni and cheese, one is tempted to make a meal of them. A huge wine list and unusual desserts, such as an assortment of individual berries served on spoons with tiny dollops of whipped cream, round out a decadent evening. 55 Hwy. 50, South Lake Tahoe, (800) 648-3353, http://www.montbleuresort.com
Evans, a cozy little restaurant on South Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay Road, is the perfect setting for an elegant après ski feast. Dried flowers and soft lighting add to a cozy cottagelike feeling, and the luxurious food (takes on American and European classics) will warm your ski-weary body right to the bones. Delicate scallop quenelles are the perfect match for a starter glass of champagne, or begin with the exotic grilled prawns in mango chutney. Main courses include juicy pork tenderloin with rib-sticking potato cakes and apple chutney, and an Olympic Gold Medal–worthy portion of rack of lamb with risotto, braised chard, and a parsley salsa verde. Save room for huge, luscious desserts the friendly staff will insist you try. 536 Emerald Bay Rd., South Lake Tahoe, (530) 542-1990, http://www.evanstahoe.com
Stop by Kalani’s after checking out the boutiques at Heavenly Village: Right under the gondola and nestled among the galleries and shops is a taste of the tropics. Kalani’s colorful space provides welcome warmth from the chilly weather. Sit at the bar, sip well-made drinks, and enjoy such creative bar food as spicy ahi wraps. A refreshing way to shore up a Singapore Sling, the wraps marry cooled rare ahi tuna slices with somen noodles and a garlic-ponzu dressing. A California summer roll is everything you want it to be: rich and clean, with avocado and cool cucumber. Sure, you could sit in the dining room, but why not chat with the cute bartenders, check out the ski bunnies, and feel like a local? 1001 Heavenly Village Way, Ste. 26, South Lake Tahoe, (530) 544-6100, http://www.kalanis.com
One vision of heaven could involve sitting down to a rich yet rustic French meal after a day of skiing. Imagine an Alsatian onion tart, the flavor of its delicate, buttery pastry set off by sweet bits of onion, smoky bacon, and enough Gruyère to impart a little zing. Or sweetbreads in a classic cognac cream sauce studded with succulent chunks of mushroom and served in light-as-air puff pastry. A simple pasta special made with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach had a cream sauce that gave us flashbacks of vacations abroad. Desserts are elegant and over-the-top, including soufflés and hard meringue creations. Don’t be put off by the restaurant’s beauty salon neighbors. Even the coffee is outstanding. 290 Kingsbury Grade, Stateline, (775) 586-1007, http://www.mirabelletahoe.com