Unforgettably unique Tahoe dining experiences

Heirloom carrot salad at The Dining Room. | Priya Hutner.

What makes a unique dining experience? For me, it’s delicious food, a distinctive atmosphere and a memorable time. I set out to explore some of Tahoe’s unique places to eat a meal, have a cocktail or enjoy a snack. Have dinner, sip on a beer or eat a toasty warm s’more in an igloo, ride a gondola to dine slopeside, or snowshoe to a chalet for dinner.

Fine dining by gondola
Dining at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort is an unforgettable experience. From the breathtaking drive up Old 40 to swaying high above the snow-covered terrain on the Village Gondola, this is only the beginning of this unique dining experience.

Jeremy Anderson, an Ayurvedic educator, joins me for dinner. Mark Beevor, vice president of hospitality, guides us to The Dining Room at Sugar Bowl to meet Executive Chef Jason Landis. Once seated, the majestic snow-covered mountains are the backdrop for this dining adventure. Chef brings out an array of starters from their new curated menu, including a house-made Spinach Tortellini, which is creamy perfection with a touch of crispy basil leaves, a Wedge Salad served in baby iceberg cups with buttermilk bacon vinaigrette, pickled shallots, and Point Reyes blue cheese, an Heirloom Carrot salad served with roasted winter carrots and preserved lemons served with harissa tahini, and last but night least, an Ahi Tuna Crudo served with Bartlett pear, radish and ginger dressing. Every dish is equally delicious. I gaze at the beautiful assortment of colors and taste the exquisite flavors before me, and I am impressed.

For the main course, Chef prepares a dry-aged Duck a l’Orange served on forbidden rice, Seared Hokkaido Scallops in a winter citrus sauce, a dry-aged Tomahawk steak on creamy polenta with Brussels sprouts and maitake and hen in the woods mushrooms, and a Black Truffle Taglierini Pasta with truffle butter sauce and Grana Padano. Each bite of food is phenomenal. We end with a Lemon Curd Pavlova served on cardamom cream and a Sticky Date Pudding. Amazing.

The menu is beautiful and includes lovely vegetarian selections. Sugar Bowl has made a priority to create a unique dining experience throughout the resort, from fine dining at The Dining Room, grabbing a bite at the mid-mountain smokehouse, or eating sushi and ramen at the Judah Lodge. One thing is certain: dinner at The Dining Room at Sugar Bowl is a must. No lift tickets are required to ride the Village Gondola over and dine at Sugar Bowl. | sugarbowl.com

Dinner in an igloo
I am intrigued by dining in an igloo in Incline Village. Nestled in a small shopping center is Fumo, where owners Nellie and Jonas Saia have created a memorable dining venue. Excited to experience their menu, Alison Bermant and I were seated in a four-person igloo.

The glow from the fire pit outside gave the feeling of dinner at sunset. For cocktails, we tried a Blue Pom Whiskey Sour (Alison loved this) and a Paper Kayak (I love a good bourbon cocktail). Manager Kandace Dirgan recommended some of Fumo’s favorite dishes.

We begin with Fumo’s housemade Clam Chowder, served with a lovely array of whole clams in a creamy broth. Appetizers include a Shrimp Ceviche with mango salsa, tri-colored tortilla chips, sliced avocado, and Diver Scallops with parsnip puree and pancetta. The ceviche is tangy and tasty, with just enough spice and heat. The Diver Scallops are to die for – some of the best scallops I’ve dined on in a long time. We both loved the parsnip puree.

The Elk Chops are the main course. It is served with a blackberry port sauce, mashed potatoes and broccoli rabe. The chops are cooked perfectly, and the elk is tender and delicious. We finish with Fumo’s Tiramisu, and it is divine. Fumo offers a daily menu special with a choice of appetizer, main entrée and sides and dessert. At $55, this is one of the best dining deals in Tahoe. This charming restaurant with four outdoor igloos and indoor seating does not disappoint. A combination of casual dining with an impressive menu made me enamored with this most unusual, excellent dining experience from start to finish. | fumotahoe.com

Snowshoe Chalet Dinner
Embark on a guided snowshoe tour and chalet dinner at Palisades Tahoe. Snowshoe to the mid-mountain Chalet at Alpine Meadows and enjoy a four-course Bavarian-inspired meal. A complimentary drink before setting out and a glass of champagne upon arrival add to this unique dining experience. Snowshoes are provided free of charge. Offered on select dates until March 16. | palisadestahoe.com

Tōst with on-mountain bubbly
Northstar offers a unique bubbly experience at Tōst. Ski up and enjoy a glass of bubbly or apple cider on the mountain. Toasts are at 2 p.m. and are served on a first-come, first-served basis. | northstarcalifornia.com

Free s’mores daily
Bring the kids for complimentary s’mores at 4 p.m. daily at the Overlook Bar in the Village at Northstar. Sit by a fire pit and watch the ice skaters while enjoying a warm marshmallow treat (s’mores are first-come, first-served). There’s also hot cocoa stations and a full bar for adult libations. | northstarcalifornia.com

S’mores in an igloo
Tubing on a hill and s’mores in an igloo provides a memorable family event. Rent an igloo at the top of TubeTahoe’s tubing hill, kick back on a cozy couch and enjoy tasty s’mores in the warmth and comfort of an igloo. Reservations are required. | tubetahoe.com

Beer tasting in an igloo
Beer in an igloo is on tap at The Hanger Taproom. Enjoy an elevated beer experience while hanging out and sipping a brew in one of the Hanger’s three outdoor igloos. | thehangarlaketahoe.com

Hawaiian cuisine & a strike
Bowl a game and enjoy delicious Hawaiian food at Bowl Incline featuring Sam Choy’s Ohana Diner. Sam Choy is recognized as the godfather of poke and the menu reflects his Hawaiian heritage. Bowling-themed cocktails add to the unique fun that can be had at Incline Bowl. | bowlincline.com

Tasty bites & last tracks
Experience a different ski and food adventure at Diamond Peak at Snowflake Lodge. Last Tracks participants take the last chairlift, savor wine or craft beer with delectable appetizers, and then ski down a freshly groomed run at sunset. Unfortunately, all the Last Track events are sold out for this season but put this one on your radar to grab tickets in 2025. | diamondpeak.com