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Dig into where to travel in California’s Eastern Sierra, and sooner or later, you’ll come across Mammoth Lakes.
And shortly after that, you’ll likely wonder what are the best restaurants in Mammoth Lakes, California. First, let’s get to know Mammoth then dive into where to eat.
Why Visit Mammoth Lakes?
Situated in Mono County just north of Bishop and just south of Yosemite, this alpine town off Highway 395 has much for the outdoor lover.
You’ll come for the downhill skiing, stay for the backpacking, and likely fall in love with the fishing, mountain biking, backcountry skiing, and rock climbing along the way. And somewhere along there, wonder what are the best restaurants in Mammoth Lakes.
What Is The Food Scene In Mammoth Lakes?
Being that Mammoth is a very small town at a very high elevation (set at about 8,000 feet with just over 8,000 residents), it’s an incredible place with a tight community of outdoor lovers.
But that elevation and few permanent residents means the options for everyday conveniences — from dry cleaners to shopping — are limited. And that limitation also applies to the very best restaurants in Mammoth Lakes.
For example, you won’t find as much farm-to-table fresh food as in other parts of California. Also, the town is dominated by places that cater to families and travelers on a budget.
The good news is there are only a couple of chains, so nearly every one of the best restaurants in Mammoth Lakes is a locally-owned business. And in that mix, restaurants are serving healthy bites, others shaking up quality cocktails, and others still doing their version of California mountain fine dining.
So you can find some gems and support the local economy as you eat!
Where To Eat In Mammoth Lakes
Here are the best restaurants in Mammoth Lakes, California to eat local and fresh:
For Breakfast Burritos: Stellar Brew
Started by Andrea Walker, born and raised in the Eastern Sierra, Stellar Brew is a go-to for locals. This coffee shop is just off Main Street and is the perfect place to grab food to fuel up for a day in the outdoors. The menu tends toward healthy-ish, including vegetarian, vegan, and even gluten-free options.
Their breakfast burrito is what they’re known for in our friend circle though other beloved made-to-order options are the egg-cheese sandwich (get it with pesto and avocado) or the Basin Bowl. You can also regularly get smoothies, açai bowls, soups, and salads.
Stellar Brew and Natural Cafe, 3280 Main St, Mammoth Lakes
For Espresso Drinks: Black Velvet Coffee
Black Velvet firsts started roasting coffee in 2008, but the Main Street coffee shop, serving organic, rainforest alliance, and fair trade-certified coffee, opened in 2011.
Easily the best coffee shop in Mammoth Lakes for third-wave espresso, they also have a seasonal menu of coffee drinks like Honey Orange Cappuccino and Fig Spiced lattes. Their cinnamon sugar waffles have a cult following in our crew, and they often have a few additional baked goods in their case.
You can also stop in for wine nights when they serve sustainable and often California-based wines. And, if you’re in town before heading on a backpacking or camping trip, get one of their coffee growlers to go.
Black Velvet Coffee, 3343 Main St SUITE F, Mammoth Lakes
For Breakfast: The Warming Hut
Though it’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we like The Warming Hut best for breakfast or brunch. This family-owned spot is named after the original name for the Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge and has a throwback feel even though it’s just been open a few years.
The food is always fresh, and almost everything is made from scratch. It’s an excellent place for families because there is something for everyone and the service is spot-on. We’re fans of the chilaquiles, the breakfast hash, the bacon, the pancakes, and the Bloody Marys. FYI, they don’t take reservations, so you may have to wait for a table.
The Warming Hut, 343 Old Mammoth Road, Mammoth Lakes
For Diner Food: The Stove
Family-owned and operated for over 40 years, this spot on the edge of Old Mammoth town is an institution. There is always a crowd on the weekends for breakfast and brunch, and with good reason: they serve filling breakfast classics (pancakes, omelets, and scrambles) with great service.
We say go for lunch or go during the weekdays when there is always room, and you can try their classic diner sandwiches like BLTs and Patty Melts.
The Stove, 644 Old Mammoth Rd, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
For Food Truck Eats: The Rolling Chef 395
The newest addition of where to eat in Mammoth Lakes is the Latin fusion food truck known as The Rolling Chef 395. Run by the husband and wife team of Ismael Rivera and Claudia Gonzalez, they started in the nearby town of Bishop and became so popular that they just opened a second food truck in Mammoth Lakes. Their food is fresh, pretty healthy, and always flavorful and inspired by Mexican, Argentinian, Cuban, and Peruvian cuisines.
Our menu favorites include the tallarines saltados, the shrimp burrito, and the choripan.
The Rolling Chef 395, Next to Footloose Sports, 3043 Main Street, Mammoth Lakes
For Quick Mexican Food: Salsa’s Taqueria
There are a handful of Mexican restaurants in town, but the best restaurant in Mammoth Lakes for Mexican food is Salsa’s Taqueria. This is a family-run restaurant with one location in Bishop and one in Mammoth. The interior of this taqueria is sparse, so we often take the food to go.
The portions are generous, the prices great value, and they have all the usual hits at a classic taqueria — i.e., carnitas, carne asada, and lengua — as well as Mexican American classics like burritos and nachos. Our recommendations are the carne asada nachos, the quesabirria tacos, the salsa verde enchiladas, or the taquitos.
Salsa’s Taqueria, 588 Old Mammoth Road, Mammoth Lakes
For Whole Foods: Elixir Superfood & Juice
Locals and visitors like Elixir for their whole foods-based salads, grain bowls, and laidback, quick eating; it’s one of the best restaurants in Mammoth Lakes.
You can order on their website if you’re in a hurry (or about to hit the road to drive back home), or you can wait in line and make your own. We recommend a few items on their menu: the Thai Kale Salad, the Nourish bowl, or the Falafel Bliss bowl.
In addition, they always have some fresh-pressed juices and a few healthy-ish treats. You can also find a few drinks here, like hard kombucha. FYI, their kitchen is 100% gluten-free, so you can eat here without issue if you have celiac disease.
Elixir Superfood & Juice, 3325 Main Street, Mammoth Lakes
For Bistro Vibes: Dish Bistro
A self-described “produce-driven granny chic dig,” this tiny spot is down the way from Salsa’ Taqueria, but you might miss it if you weren’t looking for it. Like Elixir, this spot has made-from-scratch whole foods dishes, making it great for vegetarians and vegans.
But, unlike Elixir, this is a sit-down spot with a cafe atmosphere, and the dishes lean more toward eclectic global flavors that meet comfort food fare. which is pretty spot on. To see what we mean, check out a few recent items on the menu: Korean pancake with shrimp, Butter chicken poutine, Bison burger with brie, Pork banh mi, and a Grain bowl with roasted vegetables.
Dish Bistro, 588 Old Mammoth Rd #4, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
For Happy Hour: Mammoth Tavern
Just off Old Mammoth Road and tucked away in the second level of a shopping center, you could easily miss Mammoth Tavern if you weren’t looking for it. And that’d be a shame because you’d be missing out on what is, in our opinion, the top tavern in Mammoth Lakes.
The cocktails are solid, and there’s always a selection of craft beers, but we like it for the elevated comfort food ranging from a stellar burger to a delicious fried chicken sandwich. Other favorites are the homemade potato chips with artichoke dip, the smoked salmon potato skins, the brussels sprouts, the burger, and the shepherd’s pie.
They have a generous happy hour, so you can go as soon as you get off the mountain. And, before or after, you can swing into Bevi Bene next door to grab a bottle of wine.
Mammoth Tavern, 587 Old Mammoth Road, Mammoth Lakes
For Quick Noodles: Noodle-ly
Mammoth Lakes is seriously lacking in Asian food — a shame considering how much incredible Asian food you can find across the Golden State. Luckily, long-time locals, Pat and Taylor Kumlue, have helped fill that void with Noodle-ly.
As a nod to Pat’s Thai and Chinese background, the menu features the best hit of Asian noodle dishes ranging from Khao Soi to Pho and BBQ Pork Noodles. They have vegetarian options on the menu and will try to accommodate gluten-free.
Noodle-ly, 437 Old Mammoth Road, Mammoth Lakes
For Lunch With A View: The Yodler
Some call the Eastern Sierra “the Alps of California,” and spots like the Yodler attest to that. Set at the foot of Mammoth Mountain across the parking lot from the Main Lodge, this deck of this Swiss Chalet-looking spot is the best restaurant in Mammoth Lakes to watch the action on the mountain.
Head here for lunch or an early après and dive into their German-inspired menu that has everything from fondue to spaetzle. We’re partial to the chicken schnitzel sandwich, their enormous pretzel, the duck fat fries, and the Hunter’s Platter, which includes a pretzel roll, bratwurst, grapes, and sauerkraut. This place is as perfect for a family with kids as it is for a group of friends.
Yodler Restaurant & Bar, 10001 Minaret Road, Mammoth Lakes
For Food Near The Village: Petra’s Bistro
Located just across from the Village in the Alpenhof hotel, Petra always has excellent service. We appreciate that their wine list has some reasonably priced gems and that their menu changes regularly.
We recently enjoyed the pork loin with chile pasilla tomatillo, the Coq Au Vin with fingerling potatoes and mushrooms, and the butternut squash gnocchi pasta with sage cream.
Petra’s Bistro & Wine Bar, 6080 Minaret Road, Mammoth Lakes
For Quality Cocktails: Shelter Distilling
The Mammoth Village is charming and has fabulous live events, but the restaurants in the Mammoth Village are not ones we locals frequent for meals. The exception is Shelter Distilling, which offers cocktails mixed with their house-distilled spirits and a selection of small bites.
We’re fans of “The Crib” cocktail and frequently order small bites like the shishito peppers, the Smashburger, and the sweet potato tacos. The seating is first-come, first-serve, and you can snag a spot at the bar or on the front or back patio, weather permitting.
P.S. If you’re looking for a quality glass of wine at the various restaurants in Mammoth village, head around the corner to Side Door Cafe.
Shelter Distilling, 6201 Minaret Road, Mammoth Lakes
For Rustic American: Lakefront Restaurant
If your mountain vacation dreams include eating at the lakeside in a rustic lodge, then you’ll want to book one of the tables at Lakefront restaurant. Set along Twin Lakes in the historic Tamarack Lodge, this rustic restaurant serves a California twist on comforting mountain food, including game and seasonal produce.
The most recent menu includes bison carpaccio with drunken goat cheese, elk chops, and wild mushroom cannelloni. They also regularly have live music, and it’s one of the best restaurants in Mammoth Lakes for a classic cocktail, so be sure to plan appropriately.
Lakefront Restaurant, 163 Twin Lakes Road, Mammoth Lakes, CA, US
For Fine Dining: Skadi
Don’t let the off-the-beaten-path location fool you: this tiny spot is the best fine dining in Mammoth Lakes.
Named after the Norwegian goddess of hunting and skiing and headed up by Chef Ian Algerøen, this beloved spot serves seasonal food with an Alpine flair. Staying true to its roots, the menu often has Scandinavian flavors, an excellent wine selection, and imported Norwegian craft beers like Nøgne and Haandbryggeriet.
Just a heads up that the restaurant is small, so it’s not the place to go with a huge group, and reservations are mandatory.
Skadi, 94 Berner Street, Mammoth Lakes
Travel To Mammoth Lakes
Though Mammoth is best known as a ski town, there is a ton to do here year-round – head here for our tips on what to do in Mammoth Lakes. We love it because it’s also a great jumping-off point for exploring Highway 395 from the Sierra Nevada as far south as Mount Whitney or up to Yosemite.
Head here for our recommendations of where to eat along California 395.
California Trip Road Trip Planner
Looking to travel to the Golden State? Did you know we’re also a boutique travel agency specializing in California vacation planning? If you’re looking to plan a trip to California, our California trip planner services are here to help you plan your perfect itinerary.
Photo Credit: Opening photo courtesy of Shelter Distilling; Wrap photo courtesy of Stellar Brew; Khao Soi photo courtesy of Noodle-ly; dining room photo courtesy of Skadi; and table of food photo courtesy of Warming Hut