Okay, you’ve spent all your money on your lift passes and maybe you lost some of it at the Nevada-side casinos. You need to eat cheap at Lake Tahoe. Where do you go? You can always head to a fast food joint, but why not make it more interesting and get the inside scoop on the cheap eats up at the lake that actually taste good? Here are several restaurants that dish up some inexpensive grub and drinks to wash it down. Most of the meals will run you about $10 or less.
Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant
This unassuming restaurant in Incline Village has some great lunch specials for around $7 and some spicy salsa and chips. The specials usually include one to two entrees along with rice and beans and a salad. Some locals claim Lupita’s has some of the best Mexican food at the lake, so you get even more bang for your buck.
Also in Incline Village, Thai Recipe serves up a decent lunch special, but only during the week. You can get a main dish, rice, soup and a drink for around $10. The decor is nice and the staff are quick, so you can get back to the slopes for the afternoon runs.
Full Belly Deli
The name of this deli in Truckee says it all. You can fill up on pressed sandwiches, bagels, subs, salads, wraps and soup for around $7-$8. Locals rave about the fresh ingredients and friendly staff.
The Fat Cat Café
The Fat Cat Café in Tahoe City has a great, artsy atmosphere and free music on most weekends. Their lunch and dinner menu items include salads like caprese, sandwiches like Chicken Bacon Ranch and “share” plates like sliders and fries. Their soups are great for a cold day and most of these items will run you about $7-$10. If you want to spend a little more, check out their fully stocked bar. They have happy hour specials on draft beers, wines and cocktails.
Tahoe House Bakery & Gourmet
This bakery on the way from Tahoe City to Homewood is great for breakfast, lunch or anything in between. Carbo-load with fresh baked bread, deli lunches, soup, pastries and coffee. Sandwiches are made to order on fresh focaccia, bagel, squaw bread, super grain bread or sour dough and will cost you about $7.00. A soup and sandwich will run you about $10. They also offer specialized deli salads like fresh beet salad, Thai noodle and salmon salad.
Sprouts Natural Foods Café
Sprouts is the vegan/vegetarian choice for South Lake Tahoe. Sandwiches, soups, breakfast items, quesadillas, burritos, salads and coffee are served here in a funky, lively atmosphere. The prices are a bit more expensive than your average sub-shop, but everything is fresh. You can get a sandwich and a drink for around $10 and a breakfast burrito or a smoothie will cost you around $6.
You can just fill up on the chips and salsa bar at this Mexican restaurant in South Lake Tahoe if you want, but spend a little more for their extensive breakfast and lunch menu. Brothers’ breakfast menu items run around $4 and the lunch combos are around $5. The portions are huge and the lines can be long.
Photo courtesy of [star5512/Fickr]