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Jun 15, 2005 03:16 AM

Big Bear Recs - one last try

  • m

I posted a rec request for the Big Bear - Lake Arrowhead area a week or so ago and only one poster had a suggestion. I've since found a number of restaurant names that seem possible in BIg Bear itself, so I thought I'd try one more time and list the names. Maybe it will jar someone's memory.

Looking for a nice dinner spot for re-union with a friend and his wife who are driving in for a wedding in Big Bear this weekend.. Here's the list (I think they're all still open):

Barnstorm Cafe (CH rec from previous post))
Mozart's Bistro
Stillwell's (Northwoods Resort)
The Blue Whale
Old Country Inn
North Shore Cafe
Nottingham"s (Robinhood Resort)
The Captain's Anchorage

Thanks for any help. I'll post on the place we do try.

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  1. I think this might need to be on a different board, but in any case, Big Bear in general has very disapointing food. The only place I would recomend is Pat and Mary's. I cannot recall the exact address, but is in the little village area.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Paige H.

      This is the appropriate board for Big Bear, Arrowhead, etc.

    2. Sorry to say, the pickings are below slim in Big Bear. The food served in most places just doesn't stand out.


      There is a sushi place up there that is passable, but expensive.

      If I were you, and you are staying in a cabin of rental with a kitchen, buy or bring some good food and cook a meal.

      Otherwise, your best bet is to find a nice resort hotel and eat there.

      I heard there's some place with really good Pot Pies on the North Shore, but I ever tried them...probably advertised in one of the visitor's papers.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Diana

        Is Paoli's still in the village? Their pie is pretty good, and sitting outside on the patio makes for an enjoyable dining experience.

        1. re: Honeyman

          paoli's! great red checker italian.

          their pizza is pretty great! i like it better than the LA pizza places i've tried -- the usual pizza chains, cpk, domenicos, petrillos.

          another poster mentioned in the past that she/he didn't like the other pasta dishes, but i don't think she/he had the pizza, so it's probably a one-item place.

          1. re: Honeyman

            All of Paoli's food is "fine." Nothing is inedible or fantastic, but after a day of skiing, it's a nice place to go for pasta, pizza and red wine.

            Old Country Inn is heavy Germanic food, and if you don't have reservations, there's usually a significant wait. good martinis.

            I had decent King Crab legs at the Blue Whale -- it's a nice setting, with decent food.

            All of the above places are appropriate for kids as well, and The Blue Whale has a kids' menu.

            In many years of eating at Big Bear I have not had horrible meals, nor have I had anything particularly noteworthy.

        2. Noting your need for a “nice” dining place in Big Bear, my Grubchoice last time, the Barnstorm Café, may be a bit too downhome for you.

          Here’s my take on your list:
          Barnstorm Café – best food choice, but ambiance is kinda Holiday Inn coffee shop
          Mozart's Bistro – enjoyed several dandy meals here 2 yrs ago, but last year thot the wheels seemed to come off. Can’t recommend any more.
          Stillwell's – bad, bad, bad in each & every sense of the word
          The Blue Whale – nice place, nice setting, truly homogenized food at premium (for BB) prices.
          Old Country Inn – nice watering hole, but food – German-ish – far from exemplary
          North Shore Café – no se. Has long been a “must try,” but haven’t
          Nottingham’s – again, very bland food.
          The Captain's Anchorage – prob best of the worst. Decent steaks & fish in funky, Tam O’Shanter-esque setting. Tchotchkes, button Naugauhyde. As Big Bear as it gets. [Another good local bar. BB does way better at bars – the aforementioned Old Country, Whale’s Tail, Murray’s, among others -- than dining rooms.]

          Since this has turned into a BB roundup, a few others are worth a Grub mention:
          Cowboy Express (from 1st post) – steaks, steaks, pls only steaks. Good beef, always properly charred. If a poly picnic table on the deck is available, nice way to spend an evening.
          Grizzly Manor (also from 1st post) – one of the absolute best lumberjack bkfsts you’ll eat anywhere. & a hoot to boot. Mostly bkfst – closes at 2. Bring a book.
          Firehouse Ribs, Big Bear City – lots of rib joints hiding out in BB. Firehouse is best of bunch, altho sauce at the biker bar mid-BBBlvd (Suzie’s? Sally’s? Sandy’s?) is terrific. Unfortunately their cooking is, um, distracted.
          Vintage - the "special event" resto for locals. Not so special.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Mr Grub

            WLA, King of The Links, bookmark this, finally a rundown of the victuals up there in them thar mount'ns.


          2. We had a great meal back in October at The Mandoline Bistro. Not sure if it is still open, but I highly recommend it.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Judy

              Ah, Judy. Thx for stimulating my wine-addled mind. Mozart's Bistro, which I mentioned in my prior post, is now indeed Mandoline.

              Unfortunately, we seem to disagree on its chowworthiness. We Grubs thot the Mozart gang's attempt was superior to Mandoline incarnation. YMMV. I guess Mozart failed cuz it's tough selling that-there fancy food to the good ol' boys.

              1. re: Mr Grub

                Boo to Mandoline. It's fine, don't get me wrong. But snobs will be sorely underwhelmed by the Ruby Tuesday's-quality cuisine.

            2. If the Iron Squirrel is still there, it is/was considered a better eating establishment, on the main road right in town. White tablecloths. I've had good Chinese lunches at the place out at the airport, upstairs. Actually has fish tanks with lobsters and crab. The consenses is right, though, pretty sorry state for fine food. In Arrowbear, had good sandwiches at Blondies. Enjoy the fresh air and pine trees, and pack it in I always say.