My wife and I just came back from an extended weekend in Big Bear so I thought I'd share some of my restaurant opinions, since there's not a lot of info on Big Bear area restaurants on Chowhound yet. I'd read that there aren't any good choices, just tolerable ones, and I'm happy to say that's not really true. Although I don't anticipate craving any of the food from Big Bear, I'll probably revisit some of the better meals.
- Big Bear Mountain Brewery (40260 Big Bear Boulevard, 92315, 909-866-BEER)
This is really a cool little bar. We just popped in for a couple of beers and an appetizer. It seems to be a family-owned and operated bar with 4 or 5 really good proprietary beers as well as some of the better domestic micros (it's rare to find Moose Drool this far from Montana). Though we liked all the beers we sampled, our favorite was the Red Ale, which can be found in a lot of the places around the lake. You can also buy a growler for pretty cheap ($13?). For an appetizer we tried their spinach-artichoke dip, which was just okay. My wife liked that it wasn't too cheesy; I think she said it tasted "healthy"; but I found the bread bowl too salty and stale.
- Outlaw BBQ (41618 Big Bear Blvd., 92315, 909-866-8320)
This place had some pretty good mentions by other 'hounds, but I couldn't find anything here to recommend. If you really like BBQ, this might work for you, but I found it all real m'eh. Sure their cheesy potatoes are pretty good, but that wasn't enough for this cowboy.
- North Shore Cafe (39226 N Shore Dr, Fawnskin, CA 92333, 909-866-5879)
We only hit this place up for breakfast, when we were looking for a place that allowed dogs on the patio, and we were frankly surprised. The waitstaff was very attentive, the omelette was mixed together in the pan (I don't like omelettes with ingredients wedged inside like in a taco), the bread pudding french toast was really rather good and topped with real maple syrup, and the wheat toast seemed home-made. It was so good on Sunday, that when we couldn't find another place that allowed dogs on Monday, we returned. However, the staff, understandably, was a lot smaller on Monday, and none of the items, other than the toast, were really as good.
- Paoli's Italian Restaurant (40821 Village Dr, 909-866-2020)
We ordered pizza for pick-up one night from Paoli's since it was recommended by another 'hound. What a great recommendation! The hand-tossed crust had plenty of cheese melted along the outside to keep me coming back for more. And the ingredients were fresh. When I picked up the pizza, I looked around at other meals and saw the largest antipasto salad I'd ever seen. It was just this side of the ridiculous, just south of Buca de Beppo. I think I'll return to this place the next time we go back.
-Get the Burger (1117 W. Big Bear Blvd, 92314, 909-584-1300)
This is a little burger stand just west of the lake in Big Bear City featuring surprisingly good, almost In-N-Out-esque burgers and shakes. Also features Big Bear Mountain Brewery's red ale.
Any other suggestions for my next trip would be greatly appreciated.