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Big Bear City.
Photo by Ann Johansson/Corbis via Getty Images

21 Getaway Restaurants to Try in the LA Mountains This Summer

Here’s where to eat when on vacation in Big Bear, Idyllwild, and other mountain towns

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Big Bear City.
| Photo by Ann Johansson/Corbis via Getty Images

Southern California is blessed with so much wonder, including the ability to venture from Pacific Ocean surf to several feet of snow in as little as two hours’ time. Perhaps the most charm hails from greater Los Angeles’s access to so many different mountain towns in the surrounding national forests and parks, including Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead, Pine Mountain, and Idyllwild. Wherever the adventure, here’s the big question: Where does one eat when hiding out in some cozy grizzly bear-themed cabin?

Here now are 21 great restaurants that can be found in various mountain communities across Southern California. The list includes lesser-known Frazier Park, the always popular Big Bear, part of the Tejon Pass region, the Bernardino Mountains, and the quaint and quirky Idyllwild. Featuring wine tasting, diner eats, and incredible poke, each small mountain town has something great to offer for summertime travels.

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

La Leña Mexican Restaurant

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Whether there’s snow on the ground, or the temperature hits the low-90s during summer months, La Leña Mexican restaurant is a cozy spot with delicious food including albondigas soup, tacos, and the occasional barbecued ribs.

Caveman Cavey's Pizza

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If staying in or passing through Frazier Park, Caveman Cavey’s Pizza is a solid choice. Cavey’s french fries are dipped in chicken batter, and their wings are some of the area's best. Be sure to try the loaded baked potato pizza with a dollop of sour cream on top.

Hortencia's at the Cliffhanger

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Crestline may not see the same influx of visitors as nearby Lake Arrowhead or Big Bear, but the tight-knit community still has mountain views and crisp summer air to spare. Both are in abundance at Hortencia’s, a laid-back Mexican restaurant with a cliffhanging patio that provides impeccable looks at the mountains below.

The Lakefront Tap Room Bar and Kitchen

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Much of Lake Arrowhead’s waterfront property is inhabited by private land and homes, making the Lakefront Tap Room all the more appealing for visitors. Stop through for burgers, fries, pretzels, and a surprisingly robust craft beer list to go along with the stunning lake view.

LouEddies Pizza

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Tucked up into a literal sky forest (also the name of the locale), this charming mountain pizzeria serves reliable fire-licked pies loaded with traditional toppings from pepperoni and mushrooms to ricotta, red peppers, and pesto. This has to be the best pizza in Southern California given its proximity to the upper atmosphere, but the friendly service and sprawling outdoor digs during warmer weather make it a great destination. — Matthew Kang, lead editor

Cedar Glen Malt Shop

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Those looking for small town diner vibes will find terrific seared burgers, fries, and ice cream shakes at this retro-style malt shop in Cedar Glen. Located just a short drive from Lake Arrowhead, Cedar Glen Malt Shop has all the 50s kitsch and friendly service one would expect from a Johnny Rocket’s or Ruby’s, but with more indie charm. — Matthew Kang, lead editor

Bacon cheeseburger with onion rings and fries at Cedar Glen Malt Shop in Cedar Glen, nearby Lake Arrowhead, placed in a plastic basket.
Bacon cheeseburger with onion rings and fries at Cedar Glen Malt Shop in Cedar Glen, nearby Lake Arrowhead.
Matthew Kang

Tropicali

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Tropicali is an island-themed addition to Big Bear with excellent service, teriyaki barbecue chicken, a Caribbean-style barbacoa beef dish, and six different types of poke. Go for the Pele bowl with wild-caught ahi tuna served over rice, plenty of spice, onions, and cucumber. Order one of the Belgian waffles to share.

Amangela's Sandwich & Bagel House

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When in the mountains, a hearty bagel with turkey, chive cream cheese, avocado, tomato, onion, lettuce, and lemon pepper will do nicely. At Amangela’s, they serve the aforementioned along with soups, smoothies, coffee drinks, and sandwiches made with homemade focaccia, all in the middle of the highly walkable Village area.

Barrel 33

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Wine tasting is entirely possible in Big Bear, and a handful of rooms are dedicated to it. Barrel 33 serves regional wine, craft beer, and cider tastings with small bites, salads, charcuterie boards, Bavarian pretzels, toasted sandwiches, and a truly nice dessert menu. Order the Basque cheesecake.

Saucy Mama's Pizzeria

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Saucy Mama’s Pizzeria is Big Bear’s festive, Italian American joint where bright lights and cheerful faces serve pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and paninis. Not to be missed is the signature spaghetti made with a 70-year-old family recipe.

Bear Noodle Bar

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Bear Noodle Bar opened in late 2022 and it’s the only place in Big Bear serving shoyu or miso ramen alongside Taiwanese noodles with beef, bone broth, and crisp vegetables. The menu and room are unfussy with crispy popcorn chicken, spicy wontons, and garlic butter shrimp for appetizers.

Teddy Bear Restaurant

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One of Big Bear’s oldest establishments, the 65-year-old Teddy Bear Restuarant resides in the central Big Bear Village, with classics like chicken fried steak covered in sausage gravy and house-made biscuits with brown sugar-glazed bacon.

Chicken fried steak from Teddy Bear Restaurant in Big Bear, California.
Teddy Bear Restaurant.
Mona Holmes

La Pergola Trattoria

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Beyond traditional Italian fare at La Pergola, there’s also a marketplace stacked with a solid wine collection, olive oils, and gifts. Open in the Village since 2021, the bright dining room is where to take in a long meal with antipasti, panini, pizza, chicken piccata, and a hearty pappardelle bolognese.

Mountain Munchies

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This longtime spot prepares very reliable fare with onion rings, traditional breakfasts, burgers, and a satisfactory Salisbury steak. But the sandwiches made with multi-grain bread are the way to go, whether served hot or with cold cuts like the sub special with salami, mortadella, ham, provolone, lettuce, tomatoes, and Italian dressing.

A hot submarine sandwich with squaw bread from Mountain Munchies in Big Bear Lake.
Mountain Munchies.
Mona Holmes

Lumberjack Cafe

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Lumberjack Cafe is an essential part of Big Bear dining. The massive diner menu features eggs in any style including ones with beans and tortillas, plus pancakes, waffles, biscuits and gravy, and sandwiches to round out the daytime menu. Dinnertime options include classics like country-fried steak, fettuccine Alfredo, and pork chops.

Pickle's Pie Shop

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It’s always a good idea to glance at Pickle’s Pie Shop’s Facebook page, where staff detail the sweet and savory pie flavors of the day. From the classic Dutch apple to pecan pies, there are also quiches and pot pies that typically sell out. 

Alpaca Coffee & Tea

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There are a few solid options for coffee in Idyllwild, and Alpaca is the place to go for those in search of specialty drinks. Along with brownies, conchas, and gluten-free blondies, mornings can be made a bit sweeter with lavender or rose lattes, different types of boba, and various loose-leaf teas. For those looking to keep it simple, there’s always the standard array of espresso, cappuccinos, and more.

Outside Alpaca Coffee and Tea in Idyllwild.
Alpaca Coffee and Tea in Idyllwild.
Virali Dave

The Wine Finch - Natural Wine & Craft Beer Bar + Shop

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While a quick snack and drink before dinner might be a bit pricey here (glasses go up to $20 and vegan cheeses range from $20 to $26 per cheese), Wine Finch is the place to go for some sips of natural wine while waiting for a dinner reservation or even as a post-hike treat. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and generous with their time and local recommendations.

Glasses of wine from the Wine Finch in Idyllwild.
Glasses of wine from the Wine Finch in Idyllwild.
Virali Dave

Red Kettle

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Originally built in the early 1920s as an ice cream and soda shop, the Red Kettle is one of the oldest buildings in Idyllwild. Today, locals and tourists can expect diner fare, like breakfast combo plates, various omelets, salads, and sandwiches. As expected for a diner, it’s a casual spot, made all the more comfortable due to its warm and inviting staff. Order a meal under the red umbrellas on the back patio for prime people-watching.

Vegetarian sandwich with onion rings at the Red Kettle in Idyllwild.
Vegetarian sandwich with onion rings at the Red Kettle in Idyllwild.
Virali Dave

Ferro is one of the most popular dinner spots in Idyllwild, so be sure to make a reservation, even on weeknights. Avoid a seat in the upstairs area, which is low-lit and away from the party; the locals know to ask for a spot downstairs, where musicians play for a lively crowd. Opt for a lentil soup after a long hike and end with some pasta or pizza.

Gluten-free pizza from Ferro in Idyllwild.
Gluten-free pizza from Ferro in Idyllwild.
Virali Dave

Cafe Aroma

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Equally as popular as Ferro, another hot-spot dinner option in Idyllwild, Cafe Aroma came under new ownership in recent months. While the food and drink options are abundant, Cafe Aroma’s real charm comes from the space itself — a small cabin that happens to be a fully functioning restaurant, complete with string lights that look beautiful at twilight and dining areas with eclectic art. Expect to wait a while, and rather than rushing through your meal, welcome the leisurely pace the forest and mountains encourage. There are plenty of vegan and gluten-free options here, too.

A spicy vegan macaroni and cheese with kimchi, tofu, and jalapeño at Cafe Aroma in Idyllwild.
A spicy vegan macaroni and cheese with kimchi, tofu, and jalapeño at Cafe Aroma in Idyllwild.
Virali Dave

La Leña Mexican Restaurant

Whether there’s snow on the ground, or the temperature hits the low-90s during summer months, La Leña Mexican restaurant is a cozy spot with delicious food including albondigas soup, tacos, and the occasional barbecued ribs.

Caveman Cavey's Pizza

If staying in or passing through Frazier Park, Caveman Cavey’s Pizza is a solid choice. Cavey’s french fries are dipped in chicken batter, and their wings are some of the area's best. Be sure to try the loaded baked potato pizza with a dollop of sour cream on top.

Hortencia's at the Cliffhanger

Crestline may not see the same influx of visitors as nearby Lake Arrowhead or Big Bear, but the tight-knit community still has mountain views and crisp summer air to spare. Both are in abundance at Hortencia’s, a laid-back Mexican restaurant with a cliffhanging patio that provides impeccable looks at the mountains below.

The Lakefront Tap Room Bar and Kitchen

Much of Lake Arrowhead’s waterfront property is inhabited by private land and homes, making the Lakefront Tap Room all the more appealing for visitors. Stop through for burgers, fries, pretzels, and a surprisingly robust craft beer list to go along with the stunning lake view.

LouEddies Pizza

Tucked up into a literal sky forest (also the name of the locale), this charming mountain pizzeria serves reliable fire-licked pies loaded with traditional toppings from pepperoni and mushrooms to ricotta, red peppers, and pesto. This has to be the best pizza in Southern California given its proximity to the upper atmosphere, but the friendly service and sprawling outdoor digs during warmer weather make it a great destination. — Matthew Kang, lead editor

Cedar Glen Malt Shop

Those looking for small town diner vibes will find terrific seared burgers, fries, and ice cream shakes at this retro-style malt shop in Cedar Glen. Located just a short drive from Lake Arrowhead, Cedar Glen Malt Shop has all the 50s kitsch and friendly service one would expect from a Johnny Rocket’s or Ruby’s, but with more indie charm. — Matthew Kang, lead editor

Bacon cheeseburger with onion rings and fries at Cedar Glen Malt Shop in Cedar Glen, nearby Lake Arrowhead, placed in a plastic basket.
Bacon cheeseburger with onion rings and fries at Cedar Glen Malt Shop in Cedar Glen, nearby Lake Arrowhead.
Matthew Kang

Tropicali

Tropicali is an island-themed addition to Big Bear with excellent service, teriyaki barbecue chicken, a Caribbean-style barbacoa beef dish, and six different types of poke. Go for the Pele bowl with wild-caught ahi tuna served over rice, plenty of spice, onions, and cucumber. Order one of the Belgian waffles to share.

Amangela's Sandwich & Bagel House

When in the mountains, a hearty bagel with turkey, chive cream cheese, avocado, tomato, onion, lettuce, and lemon pepper will do nicely. At Amangela’s, they serve the aforementioned along with soups, smoothies, coffee drinks, and sandwiches made with homemade focaccia, all in the middle of the highly walkable Village area.

Barrel 33

Wine tasting is entirely possible in Big Bear, and a handful of rooms are dedicated to it. Barrel 33 serves regional wine, craft beer, and cider tastings with small bites, salads, charcuterie boards, Bavarian pretzels, toasted sandwiches, and a truly nice dessert menu. Order the Basque cheesecake.

Saucy Mama's Pizzeria

Saucy Mama’s Pizzeria is Big Bear’s festive, Italian American joint where bright lights and cheerful faces serve pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and paninis. Not to be missed is the signature spaghetti made with a 70-year-old family recipe.

Bear Noodle Bar

Bear Noodle Bar opened in late 2022 and it’s the only place in Big Bear serving shoyu or miso ramen alongside Taiwanese noodles with beef, bone broth, and crisp vegetables. The menu and room are unfussy with crispy popcorn chicken, spicy wontons, and garlic butter shrimp for appetizers.

Teddy Bear Restaurant

One of Big Bear’s oldest establishments, the 65-year-old Teddy Bear Restuarant resides in the central Big Bear Village, with classics like chicken fried steak covered in sausage gravy and house-made biscuits with brown sugar-glazed bacon.

Chicken fried steak from Teddy Bear Restaurant in Big Bear, California.
Teddy Bear Restaurant.
Mona Holmes

La Pergola Trattoria

Beyond traditional Italian fare at La Pergola, there’s also a marketplace stacked with a solid wine collection, olive oils, and gifts. Open in the Village since 2021, the bright dining room is where to take in a long meal with antipasti, panini, pizza, chicken piccata, and a hearty pappardelle bolognese.

Mountain Munchies

This longtime spot prepares very reliable fare with onion rings, traditional breakfasts, burgers, and a satisfactory Salisbury steak. But the sandwiches made with multi-grain bread are the way to go, whether served hot or with cold cuts like the sub special with salami, mortadella, ham, provolone, lettuce, tomatoes, and Italian dressing.

A hot submarine sandwich with squaw bread from Mountain Munchies in Big Bear Lake.
Mountain Munchies.
Mona Holmes

Lumberjack Cafe

Lumberjack Cafe is an essential part of Big Bear dining. The massive diner menu features eggs in any style including ones with beans and tortillas, plus pancakes, waffles, biscuits and gravy, and sandwiches to round out the daytime menu. Dinnertime options include classics like country-fried steak, fettuccine Alfredo, and pork chops.

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Pickle's Pie Shop

It’s always a good idea to glance at Pickle’s Pie Shop’s Facebook page, where staff detail the sweet and savory pie flavors of the day. From the classic Dutch apple to pecan pies, there are also quiches and pot pies that typically sell out. 

Alpaca Coffee & Tea

There are a few solid options for coffee in Idyllwild, and Alpaca is the place to go for those in search of specialty drinks. Along with brownies, conchas, and gluten-free blondies, mornings can be made a bit sweeter with lavender or rose lattes, different types of boba, and various loose-leaf teas. For those looking to keep it simple, there’s always the standard array of espresso, cappuccinos, and more.

Outside Alpaca Coffee and Tea in Idyllwild.
Alpaca Coffee and Tea in Idyllwild.
Virali Dave

The Wine Finch - Natural Wine & Craft Beer Bar + Shop

While a quick snack and drink before dinner might be a bit pricey here (glasses go up to $20 and vegan cheeses range from $20 to $26 per cheese), Wine Finch is the place to go for some sips of natural wine while waiting for a dinner reservation or even as a post-hike treat. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and generous with their time and local recommendations.

Glasses of wine from the Wine Finch in Idyllwild.
Glasses of wine from the Wine Finch in Idyllwild.
Virali Dave

Red Kettle

Originally built in the early 1920s as an ice cream and soda shop, the Red Kettle is one of the oldest buildings in Idyllwild. Today, locals and tourists can expect diner fare, like breakfast combo plates, various omelets, salads, and sandwiches. As expected for a diner, it’s a casual spot, made all the more comfortable due to its warm and inviting staff. Order a meal under the red umbrellas on the back patio for prime people-watching.

Vegetarian sandwich with onion rings at the Red Kettle in Idyllwild.
Vegetarian sandwich with onion rings at the Red Kettle in Idyllwild.
Virali Dave

FERRO

Ferro is one of the most popular dinner spots in Idyllwild, so be sure to make a reservation, even on weeknights. Avoid a seat in the upstairs area, which is low-lit and away from the party; the locals know to ask for a spot downstairs, where musicians play for a lively crowd. Opt for a lentil soup after a long hike and end with some pasta or pizza.

Gluten-free pizza from Ferro in Idyllwild.
Gluten-free pizza from Ferro in Idyllwild.
Virali Dave

Cafe Aroma

Equally as popular as Ferro, another hot-spot dinner option in Idyllwild, Cafe Aroma came under new ownership in recent months. While the food and drink options are abundant, Cafe Aroma’s real charm comes from the space itself — a small cabin that happens to be a fully functioning restaurant, complete with string lights that look beautiful at twilight and dining areas with eclectic art. Expect to wait a while, and rather than rushing through your meal, welcome the leisurely pace the forest and mountains encourage. There are plenty of vegan and gluten-free options here, too.

A spicy vegan macaroni and cheese with kimchi, tofu, and jalapeño at Cafe Aroma in Idyllwild.
A spicy vegan macaroni and cheese with kimchi, tofu, and jalapeño at Cafe Aroma in Idyllwild.
Virali Dave

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