If you’re looking for Basque food in its purest form, point that truck towards Nevada and follow I-80 through the northern part of the state. Over the course of one long weekend, you’re likely to find some of the greatest Basque restaurants one could ever dream of—a hub of Michelin-starred spots that could make even Paris blush in green envy.
In the past few decades, the Basque Country food obsession has taken the nation by storm, as many of today’s best Basque restaurants once served as rooming houses for newly immigrated Basques from the Pyrenees Mountains. The boardinghouse cuisine is served typically in a family-style setting with a variety of food choices, including lamb stew, paella, beans, steak, pork chops, and tons of seafood, which makes dining a la Basque a truly unique experience all its own. Here are the five best Basque restaurants in Nevada.
Enjoy These 5 Basque Restaurants In Nevada
1. Star Hotel – Elko, Nevada
It’s a no-frills, totally family-style restaurant and lounge offering more than an array of traditional Basque dishes. The clan-style service even goes so far as to include a calling dinner bell, as well as regularly visiting customers such as long term boarders who have eaten at the Star for decades and are now considered part of the fam.
Current owners Scott and Tricia Ygoa purchased the establishment in November 2004 and continue to provide the same friendly atmosphere and excellent food that has been the hallmark of the Star since 1910. Get your taste buds a goin’ with superb European-style cuisine in an old world atmosphere, with specialties such as steaks and lamb dishes.
2. The Martin Hotel – Winnemucca, Nevada
Craving traditional Basque fare served in the family-style dining room of a historic 1898 rooming house? Well, go on and discover this Basque food oasis located on the corner of Railroad and Melarkey Streets in Winnemucca—it’s no doubt one of Nevada’s best Basque spots.
Established in 1898-- and listed on the National Register of Historic Places-- the dining halls of the establishment previously served heavy passenger and commercial traffic generated by the adjacent Southern Pacific Railroad. Its rooming house was also once a fave spot for cattle ranchers and sheep men to stay in during their trips to town. Today’s the Martin’s family-style Basque dining room, bar, and meeting rooms remain a fantastic gathering place for townsfolk and travelers alike, offering a unique stucco exterior, interiors covered with an amazing variety of pressed tin walls, a familiar veranda, hitching posts, and some of the best Basque American meals to be had.
NYT political reporter Jennifer Steinhauer “highly recommend[s] the lamb shank with garlic mashed potatoes — emphasis garlic — with mint jelly. A more tender, falling-off-the-bone shank you may not consume again soon.”
3. J.T. Basque Bar & Dining Room – Gardnerville
For more than a decade, this Basque bar and dining room has been voted "Best Basque Restaurant" in the Carson Valley. It offers multi-course family-style meals that come in generous portions and has a history that spans back well over half a century- making it a true Nevada icon.
It’s no doubt a local favorite that’s festive, family-oriented, and fun, so if you’re looking to chow with the clan on Basque fare and cocktails inside a storied old-timey Victorian building, bring your hearty appetites to this intimate but always bustling spot featuring a dinner menu that’s usually got a tureen of soup, salad, beans, a stew course with fries, and your choice of an entrée (either beef, lamb, chicken or shrimp).
4. Louis' Basque Corner - Reno
Home of the World Famous Picon Punch, this Reno favorite has been serving delicious Basque cuisine since opening in 1967. It offers a traditional menu and family-style meals—not to mention brilliant servers who don authentic Basque costumes to make the dining experience even more fun than most.
Experience the allure, charm, and comfort of American West Basque cuisine with expertly prepared homemade food that’s rooted in Basque country but then adapted to life in the West. Make sure to make room for the picon punches that flow freely from the bar, and the endless amounts of buzzy conversation that’ll keep you entertained for sure. At Louis’ everyone is “one of the family.”
5. Sante Fe Hotel – Reno
Traditional Basque cuisine served in a comfortable atmosphere that always encourages customers to come as they are-- what’s not to love? This Lake Street favorite serves family style meals inside a vintage, neighborhood landmark that’s got communal seating and a more than rustic vibe. It's a family owned business that's been around for over half a century, offering one of Nevada’s oldest traditions in dining—it’s also well known for its favorite Basque cocktail, the "picon”!
Start the evening off at the bar before chowing down on soup, salad, beans, entrees with include steak, lamb, pork, or chicken, as well as side dishes like sweetbreads, tongue stew, and paella, or traditional desserts such as Gateau Basque, bread pudding, and flan.
This article was written by Pamela Chan.