Reno refers to itself as the “Biggest Little City in the World,” and it can certainly seem that way when compared to its rambling, gambling cousin down south (Las Vegas). But where Reno can certainly puff out its chest (and belly) and put on a big show of its own is in its fantastic (and fantastically varied) cuisine. Here’s a look at our favorite palate-pleasing stops (in alphabetical order) in The Neon Babylon:
- Campo – Highlighting local ingredients from farms and ranches across the region, Campo creates a culture centered around authenticity. From Napoletana-style pizza fired in a wood-burning oven, to farm-fresh produce, handmade pasta and house-made salumi, this eatery is, in every aspect, a community kitchen. We’re all for starting with the Baked Cheese (including hot chopped peppers), then moving on to the Gnocchi (grana Padano cream sauce with truffle mascarpone) or the Bee Sting pizza (salami, serrano peppers, mozzarella, red onion, basil and honey).
- 4th Street Bistro – Food that is fresh, sustainable, local and seasonal, with most of the menu featuring local, organic farm produce. Many gluten-free and vegetarian dishes (from appetizers to desserts) help satisfy diners, no matter their taste or dietary preference. We get our spice on with the New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp (in a hot and spicy sauce) before tucking in to the Grilled Niman Ranch Pork Tenderloin (with sugar snap peas, rainbow carrots, mashed gold potatoes and carrot-top pesto aioli).
- The Gas Lamp Restaurant & Bar – A neighborhood favorite that offers a casual, friendly dining atmosphere – and consistently lives up to its reputation for pleasant dining and superb cuisine (pictured above). The menu offers an inspired array of selections that is sure to satisfy everyone in your group. The Spicy Garlic Fries are a yummy way to start, served with a Creole aioli. After that, we recommend the Ice Cube, made with caramelized pecans, sliced pears and bleu cheese dressing. For a main course, we’re torn between the Jambalaya and the Italian Seafood Stew, but for dessert we’re definitely digging the Pineapple Foster – a twist on the traditional Bananas Foster, served with coconut ice cream.
- Great Full Gardens Café & Eatery – Specializing in combining healthy dishes with unbeatable flavor, Great Full Gardens offers a complete menu of unique, healthy and tasty dishes, unlike anything else you’ll find in town. Kick things off with a Mid Town Quesadilla, made with chicken, mushrooms, broccoli, mozzarella and tomato aioli. Then we suggest either the Pupusa alla Great Full (stuffed tortilla with chicken, black beans, avocado and mixed greens) or the Chicken Teriyaki Bowl, which tosses pineapple, broccoli, mushrooms and brown rice into the mix.
- Midtown Eats – No matter where you’re looking for fine dining or a quick bite at the bar, Midtown Eats believes in comfort food unrestricted by culinary boundaries. They specialize in a wide variety of foods that people love, yet strive to broaden patrons’ tastebuds’ horizons with custom dishes and drinks, created with meticulous precision. For a snacky start, how can you say no to the Sweet & Smokey Popcorn, coated with housemade bourbon maple syrup, bacon and sea salt? For an entrée, the Beer Can ½ Chicken is a can’t-miss, but if you’re yearning for a burger, the Atomic (with avocado and chipotle aioli) will knock your socks off. For something different, Midtown also serves elk, lamb, bison and Portobello burgers.
- Naan & Kabab – Take a culinary voyage to the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea and beyond, where you can enjoy Mediterranean cuisine and genuine hospitality as part of an unforgettable dining experience. Although the traditional dishes – like Dolmades, Falafel, Hummus and Baba Ganoush are always welcome as appetizers – the Kabab Koobedeh (skewer of beef and lamb) is an absolute winner. Among the entrees, there are a number of tantalizing options – did we mention that we love Mediterranean food? – but we’d likely settle on the Istanbuli Polo (spit-roasted beef in a zesty tomato-saffron sauce, served with roasted vegetables). If you’re lucky enough to still have room for dessert, the Awesome Dudette makes for a fabulous ending, featuring saffron-vanilla ice cream and rich chocolate layered cake.
- Old Granite Street Eatery – With a menu that reflects a strong desire to provide familiar, comforting dishes having an emphasis on quality ingredients – and combined with constantly rotating craft beer selections, focused wine options and hand-crafted cocktails – it’s a casual, affordable, everyday option for neighbors and community to share in great food and drink. How can you resist started with Sweet Bacon Chips? (Other than opting for the Roasted Bell Pepper & Pumpkin Hummus, we suppose.) The Crab Cake Salad is a delightful option for an entrée, unless you’re looking for something heartier, such as the Double Cut Pork Chop, with sweet potato pudding. And don’t forget to seal the deal with the Butterscotch Pudding. Yum!
- Peg’s Glorified Ham n Eggs – A popular breakfast destination that has won numerous local “Best Breakfast” titles, and has even been called “Best Breakfast in America” by Esquire magazine. With that in mind, we wouldn’t think to try anything but breakfast, such as the Sierra Omelette (with spicy chicken, chiles, jack cheese and avocado) or Chef George’s Bene – a twist on the traditional Eggs Benedict, made with chorizo patties and chipotle hollandaise. Of course, if you’re arriving in time for lunch, Peg’s “All In” – ham, turkey, bacon or corned beef, with fries, Swiss cheese and slaw, all stuffed inside grilled Texas bread — is sure to hit the spot.
- Sterling’s Seafood Steakhouse – The ultimate dining experience, inside the Silver Legacy Resort Casino, and recently voted one of the top 100 restaurants in the nation for “Best Service” by OpenTable. We would naturally start with the Shrimp and Lobster Risotto (who wouldn’t?) before tackling the Steakhouse Wedge Salad. After that, the Tournedos of Filet Mignon and Jumbo Prawns are a wonderful way to satisfy cravings for both steak and seafood. Sterling’s dessert menu is a work of art in itself – and if you can’t choose just one, they do offer a sampler – but any sort of diet goes out the window in the face of the Blackjack Pecan Pie, Going Bananas for Cheesecake, Peanut Butter S’more, Pistachio Chocolate Tart and more.
- Stone House Café – Love in action. A family affair for generations, the Abowds have perfected the art of service, atmosphere and dining indulgence. The menu is continually growing and becoming more sophisticated and delectable. Faithful to tradition, but also delivering a healthy dose of innovation, it’s a European café in the heart of Old Southwest Reno. In a heartbeat, we’d call for the Crab Quesadillas to start, then feast on the Charles New York steak (grilled and topped with gorgonzola, horseradish and Bermuda onions). For something lighter, try the Sauteed Chicken with Artichokes. But no matter how you begin the meal, you must have the Triple Layer Mousse Cake (lemon or mango) for a phenomenal finish.
To plan your decadent dining excursion to Reno (or any of our other 40+ sumptuous cities), drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.