The sweet tooth: Top desserts at Lake Tahoe
When traveling to Lake Tahoe, one looks for a variety of fun ways to make memories with families and loved ones. One specialty in Lake Tahoe are the handcrafted desserts that are specially made for each patron of the basin, rich in flavor and finesse and perfect for any occasion.
On the North Shore, restaurants like Bite and Lone Eagle bustle with abundance and offer decadent options for dessert, with options like the Baked Tahoe and the Chocolate Pot de Créme perfect for date night with you person or after dinner cocktails with friends.
On the South Shore, family style options are abundant, with local, family owned options like Aloha Ice Cream and The Baked Bear.
So whatever you’re in the mood for on your next night out, make sure to check out these desserts, voted to be the best by the people of Lake Tahoe.
Bite American Tapas, Incline Village
If you’re looking for a quiet night in Incline Village with incredible dishes bursting with flavor, head over to Bite American Tapas in Incline Village.
Known for their shareable menu, this tapas restaurant and cocktail bar is perfect for any date night with your special someone or a quiet night out with the family.
As for their desserts, one can never go wrong with ordering their popular chocolate Pot de Créme with salted caramel mousse and hazelnuts.
The chocolatey mousse is light and airy, and pairs perfectly with the crunchy hazelnuts bedded on top. Salty caramel notes are embedded in this sweet treat, and is a scrumptious way to end your meal.
If you’re looking for a cocktail to end the evening, make sure to try the Mexican chocolate martini.
This exquisite drink is made with Dorda chocolate liqueur and Shipwreck Madagascar vanilla rum. The drink also includes Ancho chili liqueur and Tahoe Blue vodka, and can undoubtedly be described as Christmas in a martini glass.
The thick and smooth chocolate is followed with a cinnamon and spice aftertaste that pairs phenomenally with the Pot de Créme, and should be on your list the next time you eat out at Bite.
Lone Eagle Grille, Incline Village
Those looking for something extravagant in flavor and presentation should make their way to Lone Eagle Grille in Incline Village for a taste of their infamous Baked Tahoe.
The Baked Tahoe is a tower of vanilla toffee ice cream between two buckwheat cookies, completely encased in a toasted meringue.
These soft, mellow peaks are beautifully toasted along the outside, leaving you with a gooey, soft bite beneath some of the richest, tastiest ice cream on the north shore.
The plate is decorated with a liberal amount of chocolate sauce, perfect for dipping your ice cream and meringue along the way.
Stop by for a drink at the bar and enjoy the stunning architecture complete with beautiful stone walling and mystical artwork, along with a fantastic view and top-notch service.
Lone Eagle Grille is also family-friendly, but is geared more towards the adult crowd with a fire pit and tables outside to enjoy your meal with a first-class view of the lake.
Soule Domain, Kings Beach
Soule Domain is nestled in the quiet corner at the meeting point of Kings Beach and Crystal Bay, offering the perfect Lake Tahoe dining experience, starting with their warm and inviting space and finishing with the excellent dessert options.
With beautiful art installations on the walls and a warm, candlelit setting, anyone would want to spend their next date night here or outing with the family.
The restaurant offers a number of dessert specials, but the two house favorites included the Warm Bread Pudding and the Queen of Sheba flourless chocolate cake.
The warm bread pudding has rotating flavors, with the flavor at the time being pineapple, raisin and walnut. If requested, the dish can be served a-la-mode with homemade vanilla almond ice cream, rich with cinnamon and paired delightfully with the bread pudding.
The bread pudding itself is full of incredible flavor, and melts in your mouth upon impact. The softness of the breading pudding mixed with the crunchy walnut and the savory raisin and sweet pineapple creates a meltdown of fresh and fruity flavors unlike any other.
Paired with the homemade ice cream, it’s undeniably one of the best desserts on the north shore.
The Queen of Sheba is true to her name, made with a flourless chocolate almond torte and adorned with a whip cream filling and a chocolate amaretto glaze.
This decadent, rich sponge is bouncy and soft to the bite, and is served with fresh strawberries which offers a nice balance of sweet with a mix of almonds to offer some savory. This cake is also amazing with the homemade ice cream.
Both dishes are more than worth trying, and taste amazing when taken home and heated up in the morning; especially the bread pudding, which pairs perfectly with your morning coffee.
Susie Scoops, Incline Village and South Lake Tahoe
Those looking for a classic, family experience to the ice cream shop should stop by Susie Scoops, with two locations; one in Incline Village, and the other in the Heavenly Village in South Lake Tahoe.
The iconic banana split is only the start of the incredible variety of options at Susie Scoops. The split is made with three scoops of ice cream – vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. After splitting the banana and carefully constructing this masterpiece, the work is not done. Next, the treat is topped with chocolate sauce, strawberry sauce, whipped cream, and nuts and cherries on top.
Not only is it photo worthy, but it is mouthwateringly good and impossible to resist a bite.
Along with options for sundaes and banana splits, there are plenty of waffle cones and ice cream flavors to choose from. Waffle cones are handmade with chocolate on the outside and different toppings to choose from including nuts, sprinkles, or coconut.
There are a large number of flavors of ice cream to pick, with classics such as rainbow sherbet and chocolate, along with unique flavors all locally made, including Mud Pie, which is coffee flavored ice cream with Oreo and fudge, or the strawberry-lemonade sorbet.
In the summers, popular flavors include the fresh peach ice cream, the mango ice cream infused with mango pieces, and the banana chocolate chip are all popular, and totally worth a taste this summer.
Tahoe House Bakery & Gourmet, Tahoe City
Tahoe House Bakery & Gourmet is a family-owned and operated bakery that has been around since 1977, and was voted one of the best places to get the dessert on the west shore in the Sierra Sun’s Best of Tahoe 2022 competition.
The people spoke and they were right, because Tahoe House Bakery has some of the best pastries and cakes in Tahoe City.
Choose between the savory Carrot Cake, handmade and crafted for a delightful dessert flavor, or the sweet Cannoli Cream cake slice, which is enticing with its fluffy cake layered between sweet cannoli cream and encased in a chocolate frosting and decorated beautifully with vanilla swirls on top.
If cake isn’t your forte, don’t worry, because this bakery run by two sweet sisters has even more sweet treats for you to choose from.
The Chocolate Hazelnut Puff Pastry is rich in a hazelnut chocolate with light and flaky layers with a sweet glaze. Each bite is crunchy and plentiful and leaves you wanting more.
By far, the best dessert happens to be one you’d enjoy in the morning- the Swiss Chocolate Croissant.
This flaky croissant is dipped in and filled with delicious Swiss chocolate, offering a delightful balance of sweet and savory. Heated up to the perfect temperature, this pastry has to be one of the best croissants on the west shore.
If you’re looking for your next favorite cookie, make sure to try the lemon cookies, which is a simple lemon flavored cookie with a lemon icing on top. While it sounds like your classic dessert, it proved to be one of the most flavorful cookies to date, with bursts of tangy lemon and sweet sugar mixed in.
There are plenty of desserts to try in this one-of-a-kind bakery, so make sure to stop by and try them all to find your favorite.
Freshie’s Ohana Restaurant and Bar, South Lake Tahoe
Looking for a special night out with the family and tasty dessert options? Head over to Freshie’s Ohana in South Lake Tahoe. Their hand-crafted house-made desserts have a fresh Hawaiian flare with so many incredible options to choose from. There’s The Big Kahuna, which is the restaurant’s own version of a Mud Pie-Kona coffee ice cream blended with toasted walnuts on an Oreo and coffee crust topped with chocolate sauce and fresh whip cream.
Another take on flourless cake is the Flourless Dark Chocolate Brownie Cake. This warm, gooey, gluten free fudge brownie is weightless yet thick and sweet smothered in a sensational chocolate sauce with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The ice cream is essential for this dish in order to bring that perfect balance between the gooey goodness of this brownie and the creamy coolness in the ice cream.
Looking for something lighter? Have no worries, and take a chance with Freshie’s vanilla filled churros. These delectable treats come with two churros filled with vanilla cream and dusted with a cinnamon sugar mix. Choose between a caramel or chocolate drizzle and enjoy these incredibly delicious churros with a topping of whip cream.
The crispy outer shell with the creamy, sweet, gooey filling is a taste that is unmatched around the basin, and is definitely worth a try.
Aloha Ice Cream, South Lake Tahoe
Aloha Ice Cream, conveniently located next to Freshies Ohana, has some of the best ice cream concoctions on the south shore, and is not to be missed. Voted the best place to get dessert in the Tahoe Daily Tribune’s Best of Tahoe 2022, this ice cream shop specializes in rolled ice cream and phenomenal flavors.
By far the best item on the menu has to be the Tahoe Tessie, which is a creme de la creme of desserts in South Lake Tahoe.
This out-of-the-box sundae is made with a warm homemade brownie nestled nicely at the bottom of your cup, topped with two scoops of creamy vanilla ice cream and a cacophony of hot fudge, caramel syrup, whip cream, nuts, and a cherry on top.
This mouthwatering sundae is almost unstoppable once you start, and is better with each bite you take. The toasty brownie is the perfect addition to this sundae, bursting with chocolate and fudge and cooled to flawless temperature with the velvety ice cream, and don’t forget that crunch with the nuts.
Looking for something lighter? Don’t worry, just try out the rolled ice cream, which can be made with a variety of different flavors. The by far best and popular favorite by customers has to be the Mauy Thai, which has a Thai tea base made with condensed milk and topped with whip cream.
The ice cream is fresh and tasty, and has added richness with the whip cream topping.
Even better, the process of watching the ice cream get rolled is one for the books, since the key to making a frozen base for the rolls relies on the mixing by hand done directly on a freezing pan in order to shape the ice cream.
This fun ice cream shop offers so many different amazing flavors to choose from, is family-friendly, and even has windows around the station to roll ice cream in order to watch the magic happen.
The Baked Bear, South Lake Tahoe
Last, but certainly not least is The Baked Bear near Heavenly Village, which is home to ice cream sandwiches, cookies, and brownies, as well as an assortment of drinks.
The service at The Baked Bear is unmatched, with someone there to help you make every decision regarding your prized possession: the ice cream sandwich.
Choose between an assortment of any two cookies you’d like, and slap two plentiful scoops of ice cream in the middle for the most ferociously good ice cream sandwich you have ever had.
For those looking for a multitude of cookie deliciousness, try out the Cookie Monster cookie with bear batter, rolled in sprinkles. This sandwich brings you back to being a child out on the playground with a creamy, cake batter ice cream infused with Oreos and chocolate chips, matched with two sugar cookies baked with Oreos and colored bright blue.
The cherry on top happens to be the sprinkles encasing the sandwich, which bring an added crunch to a soft and gooey cookie treat.
For those looking for something on the fruitier side, you cannot miss a snickerdoodle cookie with the blackberry crumble ice cream inside embedded with Fruity Pebble cereal.
This unlikely pairing is the perfect balance of cinnamon and fruity with a twist. The cookie is soft and flawless in its execution, with hints of blackberry and vanilla ice cream enriched by the fruitiness of the pebbles.
This sandwich is not one to miss out on, and should definitely be on your list the next time you stop by the shop.
Editor’s note: This story appears in the 2023 summer edition of Tahoe Magazine.
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