Skadi is arguably (actually, no, it’s not, it’s absolutely) the best restaurant in Mammoth. Run by the perennially young chef Ian Algeroen, Skadi has been an institution in Mammoth since 1995—it’s the place where birthdays and anniversaries are celebrated, where proposals happen, and where long dinners linger over dessert wine and world-class pastries.
Algeroen is classically-trained in the European style—he worked as a pastry cook at the Lipizzaner and at the Blue Fox in San Francisco, at the Hotel Biberenbad in Switzerland, and honed his skills as a butcher, chocolatier, and master of many other skills across the world before settling in the sleepy town of Mammoth (he’s an ardent skier and outdoorsman).
Restaurant Skadi is named after the Norse goddess of hunting and skiing, and Skadi’s new location in a small industrial mall on Berner Street, near The Village at Mammoth, is festooned with odes to all things Scandinavian. Various antlers adorn the walls, racks of skis occupy every hallway, and reindeer skins drape over the backs of high, carved wooden benches.
Take a seat at the four-seat bar and watch the glorious dance that is Skadi’s hot line—it’s an open kitchen and there’s nothing more rewarding for foodies than to see how the food comes together.
The wine list is impeccable and Algeroen has a wine specialist on staff during every service to ensure that wine choices are tailored to the food selections if guests wish.
For starters, the torchon of foie gras with wine-poached sweet cherries spreads on brioche toasts like pure butter, and the tartar of Japanese Hamachi with sushi rice and wasabi aioli is perfection (that’s what Algeroen eats for his dinner after service is over).
The day boat scallops melt in your mouth, and the Canadian duck breast pair with a lingonberry jam and spatzli (German for “sparrow,” tiny pieces of butter-toasted pasta).
Even if you’re not a dessert lover, get it at Skadi—you won’t find anything more heavenly than the Gateau Financier with passionfruit sorbet and honey-roasted strawberries.
Sarah Rea is a freelance dirtbag-turned-journalist who has been living in the Sierra on and off for twenty years, with eight spent in Yosemite National Park and five in Mammoth Lakes. She likes dogs, rocks, good food and jumping into cold water.