From Traditional Nevada Fare to Creative and Contemporary Dishes
Drive to it, not through it. That’s the best way to explore Carson Valley’s diverse food-and-drink scene, according to Executive Director Jan Vandermade of Visit Carson Valley.
“There are many hidden gems off the main road,” he says.
And throughout Carson Valley in general. In fact, you won’t even have to hit Reno or Tahoe to satisfy many worldly cravings.
Carson Valley offers cuisine that is creative, fresh, and locally sourced, appealing to the whole gamut of tastes. Enjoy them against a background that combines the old — with the historic buildings the valley is known for — with the new, in contemporary spaces that are elevating the region in new style.
Come here where noted chefs bring their own twist to valley establishments, and peruse the menus brimming with authentic Nevadan Basque at JT Basque and creative sandwiches, soups, salads, and desserts from Abby Jo’s Café Girasole (where the curry sandwich is to die for). Whether you’re craving something as American as a rib eye steak, or a dish with European roots, Carson Valley is here to deliver.
Cocktails at JT Basque Bar & Dining Room in Gardnerville
“No major brands or chains,” Vandermade says. “Just simple passion and commitment to good food and atmosphere. It’s one of the many reasons why we love Carson Valley… real people who are welcoming, a friendly atmosphere, and meals that are definitely Instagram worthy.”
Take a look through some of our picks for can’t-miss meals in the valley. Then, mark the destination and hit the road. There’s plenty to see along the way as you jet off toward a culinary gold mine you likely never knew was there.
Bently Heritage Estate Distillery & Public House
Located in Minden, the renovated 100-year-old flour mill now serves up spirits made on site, including vodka, gin, and Hecate cacao liqueur while slow resting its whiskey.
Chocolate Shoppe by Sweet Images
Satisfy your sweet tooth and stretch your legs in Gardnerville. Everything is made in small batches on-site with the goal of looking as good as it tastes, so the sweets bought here won’t just be delicious, they’ll look scrumptious, too.
Cook’d in Minden
In Minden, Cook’d is your sports bar and then some. Settle in to watch a game, play video poker at the bar, or sip one of the 14 beers on tap. The food is easy but well above and beyond your average bar bites, with a long list of signature pizzas, elevated pasta dishes, and mouthwatering, tower-high burgers.
CV Steak in Minden knows how to get fancy. Located inside the Carson Valley Inn Casino, this steakhouse is sure to impress. Come to celebrate a special occasion or enjoy a romantic evening for two.
Located at David Walley’s Resort in Genoa, this historic restaurant not only specializes in upscale, new American cuisine, but it also offers a patio prime for outdoor seating and mountain views when the weather is right. Come in for an herb-crusted prime rib or pizza to share or make the Holiday Inn Club Vacations establishment your stopover for happy hour on the way elsewhere.
Genoa Bar and Saloon
Nevada’s oldest bar is well known for its lineup of locally sourced ingredients that create the base for its varied drink menu. But this watering hole also is known for other spirits — ones that say “boo”! Stop by and have a drink, then stay awhile to see if you have any eerie encounters.
JT Basque Bar & Dining Room
Located in Gardnerville, this restaurant offers quintessential Nevada food. Stop in for dinner within the storied Victorian building or have cocktails at the throwback bar that will transport you right to another time. Don’t forget to order a Picon punch!
This sandwich shop has 31 beers on tap, perfect to pair with your lunchtime burger (served on a Truckee Sourdough brioche bun) or made-to-order sandwich. The tri-tip salad is among the eatery’s best. Grab some grub and goods to go; Minden Meat & Deli doubles as a grocer (and offers growler refills)!
Located in the middle of the valley, this charming small house in Minden beckons locals and visitors to stop by and order from its extensive menu. From cold brews to flavored lattes, it’s a solid choice for fueling up before an adventure.
Overland Restaurant & Pub’s dining room
Opened in an old meat market building from 1902 and the adjacent firehouse, Overland was transformed into a chic bar with brick walls, comfy leather booths, and other historic charms. The meats, pastas, breads, and other produce served with a smokehouse influence are locally sourced and celebrate Basque roots.
This place is oozing with historic Genoa charm. From portobello mushroom sandwiches to baked brie, mac and cheese to a niçoise salad, everything here is delightful, but the biggest draw is the custom cheese and charcuterie board that allows patrons to build their own with any four items, a baguette, and other accompaniments.
If eating delicious food isn’t interactive enough for you, step into Sierra Chef to try your hand at whipping up a dish. Cooking classes are curated for kids and adults and make it possible to perfect meals such as calzones, ravioli, and gelato. Through September 15, Sierra Chef also runs a farmers’ market.
With so much to explore in Carson Valley, you’ll undoubtedly need to make a few trips to see, eat, and drink it all. But each trek is sure to unlock a new discovery that makes the miles worth the journey.