Tapas Time: The best small plates in the Sierra

Whether it’s a light date night dinner or a group of all your besties passing dainty dishes filled with morsels of tasty goodness, options abound in the area for some tasty tidbits. Here we’ll tour a few of our favorite tapas spots to add to your itinerary:

Bites in the Biggest Little City

If you’re into dining among great works of art, then chez louie inside the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno’s Midtown district is your ticket. This French-inspired eatery is churning out fare that is truly inspired. Yearning for some great cheese? Their cheese plate and cheese fondue will hit the spot. The also serve a delicious beet tartar for the veggie lovers and the ahi poke is a great way to add some protein to the mix. And, don’t forget dessert. Their caramel budino with a delicate chocolate cookie crumble and caramel custard is what dreams are made of. chez-louie.com

Head to Sierra St. Kitchen for a smorgasbord of deliciousness. Their Kobe sliders stack caramelized onions, aged Vermont white cheddar and steak sauce aioli atop the mini patties. Try the lamb chops with mushroom risotto and chimichurri sauce and add a tasting of lobster ravioli, steamed clams, bacon wrapped dates, and banana bread pudding. Sierra St. Kitchen hosts some fun events including wine pairings and live music sure to entertain more than just your taste buds. sierrastkitchen.com

Centro Bar and Kitchen in Reno is a must for folks strolling the Cal Ave District just west of downtown. Nestled among many other local faves from the bar and restaurant scene, this eclectic, local food-focused eatery serves a variety of seasonal dishes on its ever-changing menu. A few tried and true options include their quail with trumpet mushrooms, poblano peppers, parmesan, petite herbs and sage jus; or try the octopus with black garlic, carrot vinaigrette, orange and greens. And, be sure to ask about the daily grill – it’s always a hit! centroreno.com

Shared nibbles in Tahoe and beyond

On your way to South Lake, grab a bite and make some new friends at Battle Born Social in Carson City. A self-described small plates cocktail bar and tasting room with focus on local ingredients and community support, here you’ll find some really great food and plenty of cheer. Order their social cheese fries with beer cheese sauce, Calabrian chili, queso fresco and fried cheese curds. And try any of the delicious items on “The Un-usual Suspects” menu including a few of my favorites such as the Basque deviled eggs and CrawFish Mac + Cheese. battlebornsocial.com

Located at the base of the gondola in Heavenly Village, Gunbarrel Tavern and Eatery is THE après ski destination. Their snacks menu includes just what you might need after a long day on the hill including lamb lollipops with cucumber-mint salad and harissa yogurt. Warm up with jalapeno and bacon mac n’ cheese and try their namesake street tacos for a real treat! gunbarreltavern.com

Voted one of the “10 Best Restaurants in Incline Village” by USA Today, Bite American Tapas combines the flair of an upscale gastropub into a creative menu of tasty small plates. With a funky, metro style, Bite is not something you’d expect to find in the area. If you go, be sure to try the ahi sliders with arugula, pickled ginger and wasabi aioli; grilled cheese bites featuring melted provolone, tomato and pesto sandwiched between tangy sourdough; and, the little gems “wedge” salad, a deconstructed plate with bacon, balsamic onions, cherry tomatoes, Point Reyes blue cheese (yum), herbed croutons and creamy buttermilk dressing. Oh, and I can’t forget dessert … They’re all great, but the Bite ice cream sandwiches are Ah-Maz-Ing! bitetahoe.com

Looking for a new vino to pair with your meal?  I’ll bet you find a favorite at Petra at The Village at Northstar. Nestled just behind Starbucks, this space features a rustic yet charmingly open design with an exposed ceiling and giant branches stretching above the bar. On the menu you’ll find an earthy heirloom beet salad with winter greens, Sonoma goat cheese and pistachio vinaigrette; and, house-made hummus alongside Truckee Sourdough Company bread, roasted garlic and tahini. They also have an awesome happy hour offered daily from 3-5 p.m. where $21 gets you two glasses of wine and an artisan cheese plate. northstarcalifornia.com

While tapas aren’t the newest food trend on the block, they certainly make for a memorable way to share a meal with friends. When my crew goes out, we all pick a few plates to get a good variety with plates that I may have overlooked. It’s a great way to expand your palate and enjoy the company. Here’s to some serious sampling in the Sierra!

The Getaway team would love to hear about your dining experiences! Please share your photos and favorite foodie finds with us:

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By: Heidi Bethel