If you travel a lot, you probably know that restaurants near ski resorts (or water resorts) tend to be pricey, and it is not always the best food you’ve ever had. They often rely on their location to sell them to customers. To my mind, Big Bear has its share of that experience, but we found some lovely places that you should try the next time you head up the mountain.
Breakfast: Teddy Bear Restaurant
Teddy Bear is right on Pine Knot Avenue in the heart of downtown. Its rustic charm and family-owned feel attract locals and tourists alike. The portions are huge – both Andy and I had to-go boxes and the breakfasts are scrumptious. I went for pancakes, and Andy went for the heartier option (aka The Farmers complete with eggs, sausage and biscuits). The vibe is very casual, and you’ll notice from the conversations that float by that many of the customers are known by name. While Andy cooked most of our breakfasts in the cabin (which were also fantastic), we were both happy that we indulged on our last day in town. One thing to keep in mind– it is a cash only establishment.
Lunch: North Shore Cafe
Technically, the North Shore Cafe is in Fawnskin and quite close to where we were staying at Quail Cove Lakeside Lodge. It sports indoor and outdoor seating, and the staff is very friendly. Feel free to ask questions about the area – they are great at giving inside tips on things to see and do. We opted to sit outside on the patio and ordered from their healthy food menu. The breeze was blowing, the food was plentiful, and the conversation was lively – we even met a lovely man who gave us a map of the best sites for Jeep off-roading.
Dinner: The Pines Lakefront
We wanted to do something special for Andy’s birthday, so we headed for The Pines Lakefront for an evening on the lake. We did not have reservations (it is highly recommended), but when we arrived the co-owner went out of his way to find us a spot on the patio before the dinner rush. It ended up being perfect because the patio has a delightful view of the sun as it sets behind the mountains. They had live jazz inside, and the music flowed out to us as we sipped our birthday champagne. For dinner, I chose pasta, and Andy had a fantastic chicken dish. We really could not have asked for a better evening, as we watched the sun fade and the twinkle lights of the patio brighten. We would definitely come back again (though next time we will make a reservation).