Northstar is known for its skiing, but if you skip the dining on the mountain, in the Village and at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, you’re missing out on one of the best parts of Northstar’s mountain experience. To get you started, here are my personal recommendations for the ultimate culinary experience in a day at Northstar.
Lunch: Zephyr Lodge
Every time I walk into the Zephyr Lodge I feel an immediate sense of comfort and coziness that only comes from a mountain lodge. Spanned with huge wooden beams and lined by full-height windows looking out over the Sierra Nevada mountainscape, the Zephyr Lodge is an ideal spot to break for lunch or escape a storm. My personal favorite is the Zephyr Burger with a side of garlic fries, but for those looking for something lighter I recommend the Asian Fusion Bowls.
Local tip: Zephyr is a great spot to check email or post to Facebook thanks to free WiFi.
Après: Backyard Bar & BBQ
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe knows how to do it right. At the end of the day, take The Big Easy lift from mid-mountain up to the deck at The Ritz where The Backyard Bar & BBQ awaits with beer, wood-fired pizza and authentic BBQ all under outdoor heaters and surrounded by beautiful views of Northstar’s trails and forest. From 4-6 pm they have half-price flatbread pizzas and $20 6-beer buckets. The pulled-pork sandwich is seasoned just right for my taste and the vinegar slaw brings a perfect bite to the sweetness of the pork.
Local tip: When you’re done you can ski down to the Village or just walk through the hotel to the Highlands Gondola, which will deliver you right back to the guest turnaround area at the Village.
Dinner: Tavern 6330′
With unique dishes like Peaches ‘n’ Bourbon Glazed Brisket, Executive Chef Daniel Carter at Tavern serves up a really nice mix of California style with multi-regional influence. If you sit at the bar, Max will take good care of you with a few drinks that he invented himself that are only available at Tavern (and his Margaritas are some of the best I’ve had).
Local tip: On Friday evenings they host local Tahoe/Truckee artists for live acoustic sessions and if you’re lucky you can even catch special events and dinners.
Late Night: The Chocolate Bar
Open ’til 10pm midweek and 12am weekends, The Chocolate Bar is possibly one of the most unique bars I’ve found in Tahoe. It has all the regular options, plus everything you’d assume based on the name. If you have a cocktail sweet tooth, this is the place to be.
Local tip: This is another good après spot. You can kick your skis off at the bottom of Village Run, walk 10 steps to the bar, then hang out by the fire pit and watch people slide in off the hill as the day closes.
For all the winos, Petra is a haven in the mountains. Tucked away in the Village, Petra has a very chic vibe with an excellent selection of local and international wines. They serve small plates to munch on and there’s plenty of indoor and outdoor space to hang out with friends and let the conversation carry. And of course because it’s Northstar, there’s a fire pit in this outdoor area as well.
Local tip: Their gift certificates make a perfect gift for close friends or family, and can be a good way to offer an excuse to make a weekend escape to Northstar.