Mountain cuisine of the highest order is served up at Himalayan Restaurant, one of the most inviting and popular restaurants in Big Bear Lake. Tables fill up fast at this well-established place, and it's little wonder: dishes from the Nepalese and Indian Himalayan regions such as palak aaloo (silky pureed spinach leaves and bite-sized potatoes sautéed with onions, ginger, garlic and homemade spices) and lamb makhni (tandoor-cooked lamb prepared with tomato-saffron and a curry cream sauce) are outstanding and come in rapid fire out of the small kitchen. It's a homely, relaxed setting—ski parkas and snow boots are welcome—and the staff are friendly and will happily guide you through the menu and suggest dishes. If you or members of your group are vegetarian or vegan, this is the perfect alternative to the burger and pizza places in Big Bear Village, as many of the dishes are vegan- and vegetarian-friendly.
Make sure you order a selection of naans (garlic, onion, cheese and more), which receive especially enthusiastic reviews, and don’t miss the mo-mo, Tibetan flour dumplings stuffed with meat or vegetables and served with a homemade achar dipping sauce and chutney. The house lemonade is also not to be missed—made with ginger for an extra twist, it’s perfect for imbibing on the outdoor patio in the summer. Indian beers and mango lassis (yogurt shakes) are also offered, which complete the authentic Himalayan vibe. And do strike up a conversation with your server; some of the staff have summited Everest.
With its inviting destinations and uncrowded wilderness, this region feels like an insider’s secret amid the bustling excitement of Southern California.
Mount San Gorgonio—nicknamed “Old Grayback”—is the tallest peak in Southern California, at 11,502 feet/3,506 meters.
Surprising alpine scenery around Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear beckons, with pine-scented trails in summer and winter sports when the snow flies. If you’re into action, get the adrenaline rush of seeing the world’s best NASCAR racers compete at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. For a dreamier escape, float in a hot-air balloon above rolling Temecula Valley wine country.
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