Northstar-at-Tahoe with kids: dining on and off the mountain

Let’s face it: feeding a hungry family at a ski resort can be pricey! Northstar-at-Tahoe is no exception, but with a thriving village scene and the addition of a brand new mid-mountain lodge, guests have more choices than ever. And we all know that more choices mean greater food freedom for families. Plus, with most lodging options including kitchens or kitchenettes, it’s easier than ever to bring groceries and eat in-suite for convenience.


On-mountain: We loved to see rehydration stations dotting the top of lifts, and quick snacks to be had at the several EuroSnacks kiosks (we never slowed down long enough, but I’ve heard the waffles are to die for). We ate two lunch meals at the brand new Zephyr Lodge, which offers a quick but extensive salad bar, full grill, pizza kitchen, and Asian bowl station (which, with teriaki shrimp and soba noodles, was my ten-year-old’s favorite). More dining can be had at both the Day Lodge and Summit Grill, both of which offer Mexican food choices in addition to grab-and-go sandwiches, burgers, and the like. Best of all for those of us who hate fighting crowds, the addition of the Zephyr Lodge has ensured that even when stopping for a break in the middle of lunch hour, on a weekend, we didn’t have trouble finding a table. Plan to spend approximately $15 per adult for a regular meal, and $10 per child, plus drinks (use those free hydration stations!). In our experience, kids’ meals were generously portioned. Brown bag lunches are permitted in the Day Lodge (at the base of the mountain), but consider there to be a $10 surcharge: the cost of a locker to store your food.

Zephyr Lodge

In the Village: Families must eat at Rubicon Pizza Company (my husband swears the Thai Red Curry Chicken pizza will change your life). Not only does this family-friendly restaurant bring games and toys to the table (without having to be asked) and serve gourmet pizza and salads (well-earned after a day of skiing), but it’s located directly adjacent to the village ice skating rink, Cabana Bar, several sweet shops, and outdoor fire pits. In addition to the aforementioned Thai Curry, we loved the Apple-Pecan salad (big enough to share, not that I did) and wings. For dessert, don’t pass up the chance to have the Out of the Oven Chocolate Chip Cookie, which is just that. Baked after you order, it’s served with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. After eating at Rubicon, plan to spend the rest of the evening soaking up the village fun! (If you’re needing a night in, however, Rubicon does offer take-out!)

Rubicon Northstar

Directly before the shuttle drop-off and pick-up area at the edge of the village, families will find TC’s Pub, which offers a great pub atmosphere for the adults while still catering to kids. Watch the latest ball game (or winter sports) on the multiple flatscreen TVs over the bar, and try the Cadillac margarita. Our server, Michael, was as friendly as he was knowledgable, and steered us right toward the burgers, BLTs, and deep-fried everything.

At either family dining option, plan to spend $7-9 per kid and $13-20 for adults, not including appetizers or drinks (individual pizzas at Rubicon are $13). And we can guarantee: your kids will want to roast marshmallows afterward in one of the many outdoor fire pits! S’mores kits can be purchased from True North (across from the ice skating rink), but a word of warning: the store closes up at 8 pm. Nearby EuroSweets is open later, but sells fancier marshmallow creations that just might be too cute to roast!

If you’re planning to take advantage of Tahoe Mountain Resorts lodgings’ full kitchens, or are staying in a rental home or condo nearby, stock up on groceries in either Reno or Truckee for the best prices. If you’re flying into Tahoe and don’t want to hassle the expense of a taxi for groceries, the Tahoe Mountain Resorts concierge can direct you to several companies who will shop for you and deliver. We ate every breakfast in our kitchen, and loved the convenience and savings!

Thank you to Northstar-at-Tahoe, Rubicon Pizza Company, and TC’s Pub for providing our meals during our time exploring the village and resort.