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Mar 13, 2008 08:55 PM

Kid-friendly yet high quality food in North Shore Lake Tahoe?

We'll be at Northstar in a few weeks and will have our 2 year old daughter with us. She's well-behaved and eats out with us regularly, but that doesn't means she doesn't occasionally raise her voice or throw a napkin on the floor. I don't want us to be "that" couple with the kid at a formal restaurant, but I'm also hoping we're not going to be stuck eating at the chain restaurants/coffee shops/OB's.

I've scoured the boards for general North shore recs and wanted to know if Moody's, Dragonfly, Plumpjack or others in that range might be appropriate for lunch w/a 2 year old (I assume no way for dinner but correct me if I'm wrong). We've eaten at Cottonwood in the past pre-kid and I just don't think it's appropriate to bring a 2 year old there with its more formal vibe (and we weren't that impressed by the food).

Any help/advice would be much appreciated!

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  1. I suggest The Soule Domaine at state line on the North Shore. If you search the California Board you wil find posts and a link to the restaurant. I've eaten there at least 20 times in the last 20 years. It is one of my favorite restaurants. The OLD cabin with a small fireplace has a very cozy feel. While I don't recall ever seeing a small child I don't think it would be a problem for dinner. I've never eaten lunch there.

    1. Honestly, most restaurants in the LT are casual and family friendly. Not all would have a children's menu but it's a resort area so even the most high end establishments welcome the patronage.

      Even though Plumpjack would be on the high end I'm sure the would accommodate you. I've seen children at Dragonfly. I would skip the West Shore Cafe just because of the price.

      We spend most of the summer there and I've posted a few reviews here:

      I would also recommend looking for posts from RevrendAndy. He posts a lot about the area.

      1. My wife just questioned my suggestion for The Soule Domaine. She doesn't agree with it as Kid-friendly. We've agreed to disagree on it. Good luck on what ever you chose and enjoy your stay at Northstar.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pasoguy

          pasoguy: The Soule Domaine sounds delicious and is such a lovely restaurant (went to the website), but I think I agree with your wife that it might ruin the mood for other diners if I bring my 2 year old. She's cute and sweet, don't get me wrong, but that kind of peaceful ambiance isn't going to last if she starts talking up a storm (as she doesn't have volume control yet). We'll have to convince the in-laws to go north w/us in the future so they can stay home w/her while hubby and I go!

          MSK: I'm still going through your very detailed reviews. AWESOME! Thanks for the link. I found it through the search engine and was halfway through it last night, when I got distracted by the Wild Goose reference and started trying to find out if my in-laws were members (they own up at Northstar). Alas, they are not members (as it's separate from the ownership), so we can't go try that restaurant out. Sounds like a really unique dining experience! Though again, I think it would be too inappropriate for a 2 year old.

          Anyhow, thanks so much and I welcome more suggestions!

        2. Was just up there and really enjoyed our grilled sausage and beers at the Mellow Fellow just over the CA border in North Tahoe. Normally I don't dig dreaded people serving my food but the ladies were so cool! Doing a great job on the chalkboard art/menu! We had a nice time and the husky is beautiful and working! Thanks for making that area fun for us. Also recommended for families and anyone. $

          We also went to Gar Woods for the great m-f happy hour. The wet woodies are a super brain freeze (151 float!). This place also is a chain of 2 restaurants Riva Grill on south shore is also terrific! 1/2 price woodys and pizza and apps 4-6:30pm. Worth it and buzzy!

          As for hotels, Border house is fantastic with toto color therapy tubs and frette linens. It is a historical place and everything was top notch. However I cannot recommend bistro Elise at crystal bay casino. Cheap but not good :(

          Lupitas mexican restaurant in incline village was delicious casual and also family! The homemade guacamole and chile verde burrito were both amazing. Both a sea of green and super delicious. Wish I had a photo of the willie and the verde burrito. Memorable!

          2 Replies
          1. re: chewbacca

            So.......after spending years renting a home outside Tahoe City for the summer every year, we have bit the bullet and purchased a place in Crystal Bay.....walking distance to a couple of the places mentioned here. Your 2 year old is prob 10 by now.

            I am excited to try Mellow Fellow, it looks like fun each time we drive by. Thanks for the heads up on Bistro Elise. We will skip checking that out. I've heard good things from locals about the outdoor burger/taco stand (only open in the summer) at Jim Kelley's Nugget next door. I would love to hear a review or will post one when we stop by in the future.

            Caliente just down the road in Kings beach is part of the Gar Woods, etc. group. We always thought it was on the pricy side for Mexican cuisine but it's a fun atmosphere and they have lots of happy hours (changes seasonally) with great options. Right now they are doing Taco and app specials in the bar every time there is an NFL game.

            Another restaurant in the Crystal Bay Casino is actually a pleasant surprise. The CB Steak and Lobster House is an funny, old style, East Coast kind of establishment (chandeliers and red velvet) with high prices but excellent food. Table-side Ceasar Salads, Steak Diane, Chateaubriand (says for 2 but enough for 3-4) and Bananas Foster service. Good appetizers. Animated and lively waitstaff. It's worth a special (not really romantic) night.

            We also enjoy Soule Domain, the quaint log cabin restaurant that has been a staple in the area for many years (just up the St from Mellow Fellow). It has a lovely, casual mountain style atmosphere, decent prices (by Tahoe standards at least) and good portions. Sometimes I think that they are trying to hard to cover ALL the bases with their menu choices (many complicated specials that mix styles and ingredients) but I've enjoyed almost everything that comes out of the kitchen. Maybe not for a 2 year old but if that child is 10 now, he/she would do fine!

            Lastly, (and I realize I am no longer listing a kid-friendly destination as the OP was requesting), we celebrated the purchase of our new home purchase at a Fine Dining spot closer to Truckee. Stella in the Cedar House Sport Hotel was one of the finer meals we have ever had. It rivals any SF hot spot. Well worth a Special Occasion visit.


            More to come as we explore our new nabe!

            1. re: MSK

              Congrats on the new vacation home! Very exciting. My eldest is now 8, so not quite 10.

              We haven't been back to Tahoe in a couple years, but the last time we went, we had a delicious breakfast at Log Cabin Cafe. Girls got pancakes, I opted for the crab cake Benedict, DH got some sort of scramble, and we both enjoyed Bloody Mary cocktails. Now that they're 5 and 8, we can go to more restaurants but since we have a kitchen in the condo at Northstar, DH usually just cooks.

          2. Smiles33,

            Just curious, but what are the OB's you refer to? All I can think of is Old Breakfast joints, but that can't be right...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Tripeler

              This is a SUPER old thread (that 2 year old daughter in my OP is now EIGHT!) but OB's used to be a casual "locals" restaurant in Truckee that was a bar/pub. It was priced out of the area once more tourists flooded in. Looks like it closed sometime in 2008 per a quick google search...