5 Great Eats in Mammoth Lakes, CA
Whether you’re looking for a quick healthy lunch, a post-hike beer, or an unforgettable fine-dining experience, these eateries do not disappoint.
Mammoth Lakes, CA, is truly an outdoor adventurer’s paradise. Mountains, lakes, and rivers abound, providing endless opportunities for hiking, fishing, boating, mountain biking, trail running, skiing, and more. You can easily spend hours exploring and not even scratch the surface of what the region has to offer. Of course, there is nothing better than a good meal after (or before!) a long hike in the mountains, so head into the town of Mammoth Lakes or The Village at Mammoth for some solid food and drink. Whether you’re looking for a quick healthy lunch, a post-hike beer, or an unforgettable fine-dining experience, these eateries do not disappoint.
The Vibe: This cool, casual little distillery is tucked in amongst the hustle and bustle of Mammoth Village. In good weather, sit outside on the patio or opt inside and enjoy your meal next to the large distilling tanks. In addition to spirits, Shelter Distilling makes beer - we tried a unique special-edition Jasmine IPA made in celebration of Women’s Month by a woman distiller. All of their creations are inspired by the larger-than-life nature of the Eastern Sierras.
What to Order: Shelter’s cocktail menu is extensive. Whether you like your drinks sweet, savory, herbaceous, or spicy, there is something for everyone. Try ‘The Crib’ - a fantastically balanced drink made from blue agave infused with jalapeño and serrano, lime, grapefruit, agave nectar, Diablo bitters, and salt. The drink leads with a deliciously smoky aroma, follows with bright citrus and sweet agave, and finishes with a slow-to-build heat. Looking for some bites to pair with your cocktails? The Sesame Shishito Pepper and Beet Salad are fresh and flavorful.
2. Stellar Brew
The Vibe: You can’t miss the whimsical blue cabin that’s home to Stellar Brew. This sweet little cafe focuses on organic, natural foods and offers a range of coffee, smoothies, Acai bowls, pastries, lunch items, and more. The cafe is locally-owned; the founder and owner was born and raised in the Eastern Sierra. She noticed the absence of restaurants serving healthy, organic foods and Stellar Brew was born.
What to Order: For a refreshing, healthful post-hike pick-me-up, try the Stellar Smoothie. Made with ginger, lemon, carrots, beets, kale and apple juice, this smoothie is full of flavorful goodness. For a heartier lunch, grab one of their pre-made veggie hummus wraps from the cooler. If you’re looking to fuel up before a long day on the trails, try the Stellar Sammie - we’ve heard it’s a winner!
The Vibe: Mammoth Brewing Co. has been serving up microbrews since 1995. Today, they offer a wide variety of seasonal beers and dog-friendly outdoor seating with views of the mountains. The patio sits at the intersection of Lake Mary Road and Minaret Road, however, the tasty beers distract from the traffic. In addition to regular pints, they offer tasting flights of all their original and seasonal beers.
What to Order: For a hearty post-adventure drink, try the Double Nut Brown and a basket of fries. Dunk your russet potato waffle fries in chipotle aioli and sip your beer as you gaze out at snow-capped mountains and craggy rock faces. For dinner, fill up on the Pub Salad and Damn Good Veggie Burger.
The Vibe: Don’t let the kitschy decor distract you from Schat’s delicious offerings. The spacious bakery, located on the main drag, serves up everything from donuts to macaroons to hearty sandwiches. The display cases are filled to the brim with scrumptious treats, meaning you’ll probably have a hard time choosing what to head home with.
What to Order: For a satisfying pre-hike lunch, order a veggie sandwich with everything. Select from a number of bread options and ask for the spicy mustard for a little bit of an extra kick. The full sandwiches are pricey but huge, so you could easily share one between two people. As a bonus, each sandwich comes with a pickle and a chocolate chip cookie!
The Vibe: Set off the main drag with an unassuming facade, this just might be Mammoth Lakes’ best kept secret. Step inside and you’re greeted with the warmth of simple, Scandinavian design. Wooden skis, geometric lamps, ornate wooden carvings, and evocative paintings create a homey yet distinct ambiance.
Skadi, named for the Norse goddess of hunting and skiing, first opened in 1995. Today, chef and owner Ian Algerøen often steps out of the kitchen to guide diners through an exquisite dining experience, adding context to the dishes with stories of ingredients, preparation techniques, and history. During our visit, Chef Algerøen saw us studying the painting above our table and took the time to explain the story and significance behind it, even recommending a movie that tells the story (The Last King on Prime, in case you’re interested). The chef’s personal touch elevates already top-notch dining to a true experience.
The restaurant is small and intimate with only ten tables. If you can, sit at a table near the open kitchen where you’ll have the pleasure of watching the chefs prepare and plate Skadi’s meticulously artistic dishes.
What to Order: Every dish is a miraculous combination of color, texture, and flavor. Ask and the chef will give his personal recommendation of how best to enjoy each dish - which bite to take first, which bite to take second as a palate cleanser. If you’d like to pair your meal with wine, the knowledgeable wait staff can easily recommend perfect accompaniments for each dish. If you save room for dessert, try the ‘Tasting of Skadi’s Chocolate Desserts.’ It’s an elegant and indulgent way to finish out what is sure to be an unforgettable meal.