8 Dining Experiences to Make the Holidays Special in Lake Tahoe

By Shanie Matthews | Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Spending the holidays in Lake Tahoe offers so much joy. From opportunities to ride in a horse-drawn sleigh to experiencing the beauty of a wilderness kissed by Jack Frost, from feeling the joy of Christmas cheer with tree-lighting ceremonies and Santa Claus visits to finding the many benefits of buying gifts from local businesses, Lake Tahoe is one of the best places to take in the splendor of the holidays.

One of the ways Lake Tahoe excels at providing a holiday experience is with incredible restaurants. To help lessen the burden of deciding where to go, here are my top eight picks for dining experiences in Lake Tahoe that will make your holidays that much better. Bon appétit!  

Photo: Edgewood Restaurant at Edgewood Tahoe Resort has an impressive setting that makes for festive holiday dining.

River Ranch Lodge and Restaurant

Alpine Meadows 

River Ranch has the established elegance that comes with years' worth of experience in the gourmet dining arena, and they really shine when it comes to fine dining during the holidays. Maybe it's because of their location set right on the banks of the Truckee River, giving the ambiance that accentuates the sparkle of the holidays. Or maybe it is their top-notch service and incredible menu that makes the dining experience exceptional. Whatever the reason, River Ranch has been a favorite for locals and visitors during the holidays for decades now.

The River Ranch dining room all dressed up for the holidays. Photo courtesy of the River Ranch

Sunnyside Restaurant and Lodge


It's true that Sunnyside has two sides to its restaurant. Looking out toward the water, the left side of the restaurant is dedicated to a menu filled with items like burgers and fish tacos. The right side of the restaurant, on the other hand, is a dining experience that deserves to be in the category of impressive and is a perfect place to frequent during the holidays. The gourmet menu is huge and changes often, with the majority of ingredients sourced from local farms. What helps to set Sunnyside apart, though, is its outstanding wine menu that perfectly pairs with the flavorful dishes.

Christy Hill Lakeside Bistro

Tahoe City

With panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and a secluded setting just 100 feet from the shore, Christy Hill is a gourmet experience that combines modern American flavors with Mediterranean touches. The combination of the ambiance and exceptional menu makes this a fantastic choice for celebrating with loved ones. For the holiday weeks they will be open on Tuesday, December 21 and Monday, December 27.

The views from Christy Hill are a gift in themselves. Photo courtesy of Christy Hill Lakeside Bistro

Edgewood Restaurant


Considered a hidden gem among Tahoe gastronomes, Edgewood Restaurant at Edgewood Tahoe Resort is a place that is to be admired for more than the flavors it offers. Most notable is the impressive setting accentuated with floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase Lake Tahoe's beauty, cathedral-like ceilings made from tenured wood and impressive stone masonry. The dishes are expertly prepared by an exceptional culinary team and can be paired with carefully selected wines. This combo creates a delightful experience that puts the silver lining on a great holiday experience.

Wolfdale's Cuisine Unique

Tahoe City

If you are looking for a dining experience that weaves together high-end simplicity, attention to detail and an incredible menu, then Wolfdale's is an exceptional choice. The dishes are filled with local flavors accentuated with Asian and European influences. Wolfdale's has its own wine cellar, and the staff members are experts at pairing the best wines with their tasty cuisine. 

Lone Eagle Grille

Incline Village

Lone Eagle Grille is the exclamation point for high-end living. The stunning ambiance created from a grand lodge appearance of aged wood, scissor-truss vaulted ceilings and a giant stone fireplace lends well to the holidays. Showcasing craft cocktails, impressive wines from their 600-bottle enoteca and dishes created in an impressive open-air kitchen, Lone Eagle is a place that matches the Hyatt Regency emblem it operates under.

Cottonwood Restaurant & Bar


The Cottonwood has been a long-standing favorite for decades for both locals and visitors. Known for its spectacular food, entertaining live music and comfortable, rustic ambiance, the Cottonwood is a place that helps you feel like you are coming home for the holidays. Their location is perfect for enjoying Old Town Truckee and the seasonal atmosphere in this area during this time of year. Not to mention, the Cottonwood is located within what was once the nation's oldest ski lodge ... a fun aspect to add to your celebrations.

The snow, the holidays and the Cottonwood go hand in hand. Photo courtesy of Cottonwood.

Boathouse on the Pier

South Lake Tahoe
For a dining experience that ranks up there as the best place to take in the glorious sunsets of Lake Tahoe, you can't get much better than enjoying the holidays at the Boathouse on the Pier. The views are absolutely awe-inspiring, the setting is situated above turquoise water reminiscent of the tropics, and the layout of the dining room makes it certain that everyone gets to enjoy the splendor of the views. The dishes are outstanding, including some of the best options for seafood that can be found in the basin. 
Be sure to visit our Daytime and Nightlife sections to learn about fun holiday events happening around Lake Tahoe.
About the Author Shanie Matthews
A longtime Lake Tahoe local, Shanie is a freelance writer, Vinyasa Flow yoga teacher and positivity warrior. A true lover of the the gorgeous Tahoe region, she connects with the serenity of the mountains via skiing, biking and backpacking. She also believes in the gift of yoga and its way of allowing one to become his or her true best self, a passion she shares with the world with her online yoga studio.
Featured Article

Overcoming Ankle Instability

By Paul Ryan, MD
Winter sports are here, and whether it’s on the basketball court, the slopes or the ice rink, ankle sprains may happen. An ankle sprain is the most common sports-related injury, accounting for 40% of all sport injuries. The good news is that... Read More
Lake Tahoe Articles