This weekend we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. My husband ALWAYS surprises me with a great weekend away where the highlight is some amazing food at new places we have never been. This weekend was no different except that we went to one new place and one place we have been before. Cafe Fiore is, by far, our favorite dinner spot in all of Lake Tahoe so I definitely didn’t mind coming back.
They tend to fill up quickly so reservations are required. My husband makes reservations about 2-3 months in advance just to be on the safe side. When he called for my birthday, he thought he was calling ridiculously early but he was told that it wasn’t uncommon to book that early, especially if it is a particularly busy weekend. There are only 7 tables inside that seat a maximum of about 22 people and then they also have patio seating when the weather is warmer. Cafe Fiore also has a pretty extensive wine selection and their bottles are displayed throughout the restaurant in various types of wine racks.
Cafe Fiore offers about 3 entree specials each evening as well as appetizer and dessert specials. We decided to go with the potato cake and wild mushroom appetizer special. Paul ordered the special Trout Amandine for dinner and I went with Linguine alla Toscana, a regular menu item. I was craving pasta all day in the hopes we might return here for dinner. All entrees are served with soup or salad and a shared side dish which I will get to later.
Upon being seated and ordering our drinks, our waiter asked us if we would like some garlic bread. It is made to order so they like to get the order in quickly. We love the garlic bread here so before he could even finish asking us if we would like some we said yes. Our garlic bread and potato cake appetizer arrived a short time later. My potato of choice is usually the french fry but the description sounded good and it WAS their special so I went with it. The potato cake was mashed and seasoned then lightly fried or baked which gave it a slightly crispy coating. The wild mushrooms were sliced and very flavorful. I probably would have been happy with just the mushrooms but the potato cake was pretty good, too.
Next came the salads. Paul chose the shallot vinaigrette which was subtle, not overpowering, but you could really taste the shallots. I went with the creamy Gorgonzola. The salads were made with romaine lettuce and had shredded carrots and purple cabbage for color as well as some croutons. Mine was also topped with crumbled Gorgonzola. The dressing was creamy and tasted similar to bleu cheese. I guess that is because Gorgonzola is a type of bleu cheese produced in Northern Italy. I learned something new this evening!
After finishing our salads our plates were cleared. Our main courses and shared side dish were delivered a few minutes later. The servers really do a great job timing the various parts of the meal. Nothing is rushed but you never feel like you have to wait a long time between courses either. There are three servers and they all work all of the tables so the service is efficient. The shared side dish consisted of penne pasta drizzled lightly with olive oil, grilled zucchini, a new red potato, and carrot puree. The grilled zucchini was my favorite this time with the pureed carrots coming in a close second (and I don’t even like carrots). The zucchini had a great roasted flavor. It really needed no seasoning. The carrots were slightly sweet and extremely smooth.
I must confess that I have never really tried trout. I always think of it as being stinky because I remember the smell of it being fried up when I was a child. Since that was a few decades ago, I decided I wanted to try a bite. I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor and might even order it in the future. It wasn’t “fishy” tasting like I expected.
My Linguine alla Toscano was tossed with chicken, Italian sausage, red onions, tri-color bell peppers, butter, garlic and sherry. If I had to say anything negative it would be that the chicken pieces were a little large so they had to be cut with a knife. As a result, the pieces were slightly dry on the inside. Everything else in this dish was fabulous, especially the sausage and the light amount of sauce. The Italian sausage was perfect, juicy and tasty. The onions and bell peppers were sauteed and soft.
Cafe Fiore’s signature dessert is their homemade white chocolate ice cream garnished with fresh blueberries and sliced strawberries. I have to admit it is my dessert of choice, however, I wanted to give something else a try, simply for blog purposes. I knew Paul would get the ice cream so I could surely talk him out of some bites. A special tonight was a pear poached in white wine and sugar, then rolled in almond slivers and served over a pomegranate port reduction. The pears were soft and the reduction sauce was sweet. Although I enjoyed my dessert, I kept eyeing the ice cream. Luckily the server brought us each a fork and a spoon so we could easily just dig right in to each other’s desserts. I knew mine was safe because Paul doesn’t really like pears but I had no problem helping myself to some of his ice cream. This is not your ordinary ice cream. Have you ever eaten white chocolate and just let it melt on your tongue? Combine that smooth but thick consistency with cold cream. It is like nothing I have ever had. I savor every bite. Something this good just can’t be rushed. Since it was our anniversary, both desserts were presented with a candle, which I thought was a nice touch.
Take a look at their reviews on Yelp. They currently rank 4 1/2 stars with nearly 200 reviews. Their address is listed as Ski Run Blvd in South Lake Tahoe but it is actually set back a bit from the main road and the entrance is on Tamarack. If you are just looking on Ski Run, it could be easy to miss. When in South Lake Tahoe for a special occasion, this is the place to go. I never hesitate to recommend Cafe Fiore.