Check Out Truckee's New Dining Experiences

Check Out Truckee's New Dining Experiences

February 4, 2024

From An Insider’s Guide, Winter Issue 2023-2024

Truckee has been a longtime leader in culinary excellence in the Tahoe area. Moody’s Bistro, Bar + Beats, Bar of America, and The Lodge Restaurant & Bar in Tahoe Donner are examples of go-to restaurants that have been serving excellent cuisine for decades. As our population continues to grow, so do the dining options. Following are some exciting developments in Truckee’s dining scene. 

Mountain Lotus Cafe

Plant-slant mobile kitchen Mountain Lotus Provisions recently teamed up with Mountain Lotus Yoga’s owner Scott Fitzsimmons to provide a high-quality, vegan dine-in experience with Mountain Lotus Cafe. Chef Raymond Applegate’s dishes are inspired by the “Blue Zones” of the Pacific Rim (see sidebar) and highlight the diverse local food systems of the northern Sierra Nevada region. His Meatless Monday Supper Club offers a three-course prix fixe menu exploring the distinct flavors and regions of the Pacific Rim. Guests can order online each week by Thursday at midnight and either pick up their meal or dine on Mondays between 5:00 and 7:30 p.m. The cafe features a rotating elixir menu, local beers, and natural wines. Guests will be delighted by what this space has to offer, whether it’s hosting a private event or stopping by to experience a Mountain Lotus curated event — such as open mic night or a live DJ set with a state-of-the-art sound system in this beautifully remodeled former church. (Photo © Ken Mendoza)

Rakkan Ramen

Rakkan Ramen has become a popular spot since it opened late last summer on Soaring Way, across from Raley’s.The restaurant faithfully follows Chef Ryohei Ito’s original Rakkan Ramen recipes and uses the same types of high-quality ingredients. Rakkan Ramen has received numerous awards for its ramen, including being chosen as one of the top 100 ramen restaurants in Japan by one of Japan’s most popular food review forums, Hyakumeiten. The star of Truckee’s Rakkan Ramen menu is their ramen, of course, but they also serve dumplings, pork buns, gyoza, and many other delicious Asian fare. They are also exceptional at meeting dietary needs for all. The menu includes clear labeling of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. The restaurant offers five vegetarian broth options, each available in a vegan variation. Of course if you want traditional toppings of pork, chicken, and egg – they have that too. Rakkan offers traditional wheat ramen noodles, gluten-free noodles made from rice and potato, and vegan noodles made from kale. They pride themselves on sourcing high-quality ingredients that are as local as possible, providing a great work environment for their staff, and connecting with the community.

Sugar Bowl

This summer, Sugar Bowl welcomed new Executive Chef Jason Landas. After delighting guests with many private events at Lake Mary throughout the fall, he has been hard at work pulling his culinary team together for dining throughout Sugar Bowl and revamping the menu for The Dining Room at Sugar Bowl Lodge. Jason has been cooking in 3 star Michelin-rated restaurants for the past 14 years. He is a very versatile chef specializing in California cuisine and his primary focus is ultra seasonality – cooking with foods that are abundant for the season – as well as fresh twists on traditional favorites. Jason’s goal is that people will come to enjoy dining at Sugar Bowl, whether or not they are skiing or staying at the resort. Sugar Bowl also recently hired head sommelier Clay Reynolds, who has curated an eclectic wine collection that will complement Jason’s culinary creations. 


Tangerine, a new classic French bistro, opened in October to rave reviews. Located  in the original Philosophy building at the west end of downtown Truckee, Tangerine is a welcome addition to Truckee’s dining scene. Tangerine is the second Truckee restaurant by Brandon Kirksey, Executive Chef and Co-founder of Great Gold Hospitality Group. Great Gold in Truckee’s Pioneer Center is a local and visitor’s favorite, serving innovative and fresh Italian dishes since it opened in 2020. Tangerine’s menu offers an array of traditional French dishes, including French onion soup with sherry and gruyere, duck foie pate with blackberry jam, mussels with fresh hose-baked baguette, cassoulet with duck confit, cote de boeuf steak frite and more. French wines and local wines made using grape varieties indigenous to France are served to complement the French menu.

The Pub at Donner Lake

The Pub at Donner Lake reopened Memorial Day weekend with a new owner and head chef, Brian Reynolds (left). Open daily from noon to 8:00 p.m., this popular Donner Lake neighborhood pub boasts a full bar with craft cocktails made by August, a longtime Truckee bartender. It’s a great place to unwind after work or watch a ball game while enjoying a casual dinner. Brian, a career restaurateer who is often seen chatting at the bar with customers, wanted to keep the pub’s “elevated pub faire” style menu, but is gradually adding more entree options and vegetables. “I wanted to keep what existing pub customers like, but know that many want a full meal – it’s so convenient to have a neighborhood pub you can walk to instead of driving to town for dinner,” said Brian. “You can still get your fish & chips and burgers, but we’ve added specials based on what’s in season.” One of those specials currently available is grilled chicken breast with a fresh pomegranate glaze served on Truckee Sourdough with melted provolone. The Pub’s pork pozole is a customer favorite, following the recipe of Brian’s grandmother from Michochan. Another new twist is a delicious curry dip to go with the fries, reminiscent of a London pub, which is an influence that Brian is embracing. He has also added family-style specials, such as a whole roast leg of  lamb or a beef roast, or a roast chicken, meant to share. Brian noted that there will be limited supplies of the shared specials, maybe 2 or 3 a night of each. Follow the Pub at Donner Lake on social media for their latest news and specials. 

Buoy and Trap Seafood

Buoy & Trap Seafood, owned and operated by fifth-generation Rhode Islander Zack Duksta, brings a taste of Northeastern-style and premium quality seafood to Truckee. Zack’s culinary journey began in his childhood, shucking oysters and grilling striped bass with his dad. Zack left the world of finance to move to Truckee, getting out on the mountain and lakes and working at downtown restaurants and bars for the past 10 years. He opened Buoy & Trap in February 2023. It is both an eatery and fish market and he also caters private events. Dining in means pulling up high stools at the counter and often chatting with Zack as he works. Zack serves up traditional New England lobster rolls that are exceptional. You can also choose from a selection of fresh seafood, oysters, salmon, halibut filets, and more. Zack, who is the head chef, is more than happy to give you tips about how to cook your seafood. Whether you’re looking for fresh seafood to cook at home or prefer to savor it on-site, Buoy & Trap has you covered.

Casa Baeza’s Food Truck

Look for Casa Baeza’s state-of-the-art new food truck serving up freshly cooked Mexican food at lunch. Casa Baeza co-owner and chef Cesar Aguilar has been taking his mobile restaurant with a complete kitchen, including rotisseries, to where people are hungry and welcome a break for warm, delicious Mexican food. He’s been parked at the new hotel development site at Gray’s Crossing across from Frishman Hollow Apartments several days a week. Along with pop-ups, Casa Baeza’s food truck is available to book for private catering events. Cesar enjoys the opportunity to expand his business and to provide another delicious, affordable option for events.


What Are Blue Zones? 

Blue Zones are 5 populations across the world that are considered to be the healthiest in the world, where people live longer than other communities despite representing different cultures and diverse locations. The Blue Zones identified are: Ikiria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California; Oligastra Region, Sardinia; and Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. The characteristics that all Blue Zones have in common are sticking to mainly a plant-based diet, minimizing stress, moving regularly throughout the day, and having a clear sense of purpose. There is a Blue Zone movement to help bring these practices into more areas and cultures, led by adventurer and author, Dan Beuttner, who discovered these communities in his extensive world travel. You can find articles, recipes, and information about how to join the movement on