One of the best restaurants at Lake Tahoe offers creative food, lakefront views, sunny ambience and their own line of cocktails. Gar Woods Grill & Pier restaurant serves up fun, festive and fine dining on Tahoe’s north shore at Carnelian Bay. Large outdoor decks and floor-to-ceiling windows draw the eye across the lake, along the forested shores and up the mountain peaks. And unlike many other restaurants with enviable locations, the food here actually lives up to the scenery. If you come by boat, you’ll enjoy complimentary valet service on the pier.
For lunch, try the crab chili relleno (also offered as an appetizer version at dinner). A far cry from the typical heavy cheesy dish, this one offers delicate, complex flavors with each bite and is surprisingly light. Innovative salads, sandwiches and burgers round out the lunch menu. Seafood is prominently featured on the dinner menu.
Retro boat branding
The owners have done a superb job branding the restaurant. Produced from the early 1920s through the 1940s, Gar Wood boats featured beautiful mahogany exteriors, luxurious appointments and powerful engines. Several of these vintage craft still in excellent condition ply the waters of Lake Tahoe today. Dining here captures the nostalgia of Tahoe’s classic wooden boat era.
Then there are the cocktails
The branding takes a racy step forward with the rum-based specialty cocktails labeled “Wet Woodys.” The double entendre just proved irresistible to the copywriter of the definitely R-rated cocktail menu. For some saucy fun, try reading it out loud to your date! If you like your drinks on the drier side, opt for the “Prickly Pear of Woodys.”
There’s a light, breezy insouciance here reminiscent of Waikiki beachfront restaurants albeit with a mountain twist. With its to-die-for lakefront setting, Gar Woods excels at creating that I’m-on-vacation feeling.
Gar Woods Grill & Pier:
5000 North Lake Blvd.
Carnelian Bay, Calif. 96140
Open Monday-Thursday noon-11:30 p.m., Friday noon-1 a.m., Saturday 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m., Sunday 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
Want to learn more about Carnelian Bay and Gar Wood boats? Check out The Gar Woods Story.
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