Café Whitney opened at Whitney Peak Hotel, taking over the space that was Roundabout Grill after an ownership change. Previously operated by MaryBeth and Colin Smith, the hotel’s main eatery is now managed by Whitney Peak Hotel itself. While the same chef—Executive Chef Christian Flores—is at the helm, the menu got a complete overhaul, swapping some of the fussier Roundabout dishes for simplified meals.
Inside, the atmosphere remains the same. There were little, if any, design changes made inside the space, which is airy and offers an open-concept kitchen. The long bar still welcomes guests as well as high-top tables nearby. A couple of walls and design elements offer separation between dining spaces.
The menu is simpler. Noticeably missing are the charcuterie boards beloved at Roundabout, but overall the menu items cater to a diverse crowd and the easy dishes are well executed. The menu will change seasonally so what you see now may not be what you get months from now.
For starters, we sampled a few wines. The staff was generous in allowing the table to try sips of a couple varietals before settling on our glasses. To accompany our glass, we opted for the Street Taco Trio, sampling both the marinated asada and chicken tinga options. Each was topped with pickled red onion, cilantro, and fire roasted red and green salsa inside of flour tortillas. The combination of heat and spice was perfect—not overwhelming—and the pickled red onions added the perfect crunch. The tacos were warm and the freshness of each of the ingredients was evident in its taste.
For an entrée, several dishes piqued my interest. The downsizing of the menu was apparent—a 12-oz. ribeye, pan-roasted chicken breast, pan-seared cod.
There were also vegetarian options including a veggie pasta made with zucchini, garlic, fennel, tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella and served with garlic toast, and a sesame and herb-crusted tofu complimented with coriander, coconut curry, stir-fry vegetables and jasmine rice. I opted for the penne carbonara (bacon, peas, parmesan).
We split the entrée between two people and the staff made the process easy, serving it in two smaller bowls with even the garlic toast cut in half. From start to finish, the quality of the customer service was evident and you could tell everyone took the extra steps to help the experience run smoothly.
The pasta was exactly what I had hoped for. The dish was straightforward but every element was done well from the creamy sauce to the soft but not soggy peas. I even appreciated that this carbonara was made with bacon and not ham.
At the end of the meal the waiter offered to put the charge on our room, and it was abundantly clear that, at least on the night we visited, we were amongst few (if any other) locals. That being said, our waiter was pleased to hear there were Renoites enjoying the new Whitney Peak dining experience, as well.
Located on the bottom floor, it is easy to access the dining room even without staying at the hotel, which makes it accessible to locals and visitors alike. That is one aspect that—regardless of the restaurant’s name—I have always appreciated about the Whitney Peak space.
In person: 255 N Virginia, Reno, NV 89501
Call: (775) 398-5456
Hours: Breakfast daily 6 to 10 a.m., Dinner Sunday – Thursday 5 to 9 p.m. or Friday – Saturday 5 to 10 p.m.
Nora Heston Tarte is a long-time Reno resident living on the southside of town. In addition to food, her hobbies include wine, hiking, yoga and travel. She is also the managing editor of a regional, lifestyle publication and freelances for other publications most frequently in the travel space. Nora received her bachelor’s in Journalism from California State University, Sacramento before graduating from University of Nebraska, Lincoln with a master’s in Professional Journalism. You can follow her travel adventures, and local exploits, on her Instagram account @wanderlust_n_wine.