Pianeta Ristorante

Nestled in the heart of Truckee’s historic downtown is Pianeta Ristorante with a cozy atmosphere, excellent Northern Italian cuisine, unique wine and cocktail program and an amazing staff. Pianeta has been a welcome respite for dining aficionados since 1998.

Elegance, Pianeta style. | Courtesy Pianeta

Co-owners and operators Nicole and Tom Beckering greet you at the door or from behind the bar with the type of energy and charm that make you feel like family. In the kitchen, talented executive chef Bill Arnoff leads the culinary team.

“The beauty of rustic Italian is that the different flavors stand on their own,” says Arnoff. “Italian at its best is fresh, intense and well-balanced.”

Executive chef Bill Arnoff. | Courtesy Pianeta

I can attest that philosophy comes through in spades on the plate. And with Mr. Beckering offering a wine list that complements the food to a T, all that’s left is to take you on a dinner journey Pianeta style.

A great start is the Insalata Robyn, named after founding owner Robyn Stills. This salad reflects her sensibilities of freshness, boldness and balance. On a bed of butter leaf lettuce and spinach there is a palate of vegetables, olives, gorgonzola and crunchy croutons with an authentic Tuscan vinaigrette. Italian white wines are made to dance with food and Pianeta features a wonderful Verdicchio from producer Colle Stefano by the glass that feels alive on the palate with brilliant citrus and almond flavors enhanced with a mineral streak that stands right up to the bold salad flavors and textures.

On a cold winter night in Truckee, there is truly nothing better than the cozy atmosphere and amazing Italian offerings at Pianeta Ristorante.

In true Northern Italian style, a pasta dish was next up and we chose the Pasta di Olio featuring angel-hair with four types of mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach and pine nuts, topped with garlic, olive oil and fresh basil. Italians love Lambrusco with mushroom dishes and we enjoyed the Monte Delle Vigna that brought the classic dark/tangy cherry profile with the bright bubbles of a good Lambrusco.

For entrees, we went with Chicken Marsala in the classic wine-reduction with orecchiette pasta, and the Agnello double-cut lamb chops served with goat cheese ravioli and a mint pesto. Have to go to Piedmonte for the wine and the Produtorri de Barbaresco was a home run with licorice, roses, dried cherries and beautiful earth-notes embracing and enhancing the food.

Tiramisu. | Courtesy Pianeta

Dessert? You bet. A generous portion of Tiramisu with espresso-soaked lady fingers, mascarpone cream and chocolate sauce. Pianeta has an exceptional dessert wine list. We invited the Taylor 10 Year Old Tawny Port with rich notes of caramel, roasted nuts and smoke for the final dance.

On a cold winter night in Truckee, there is truly nothing better than the cozy atmosphere and amazing Italian offerings at Pianeta Ristorante. Mange.

Lou Phillips

Lou is a Level 3 Sommelier based on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, who loves traveling the wine world doing research for his writing. He also consults for collectors and businesses buying and selling fine wine and creating special events.