Bear Valley Lodge. The fancy Creekside Dining Room offers nightly specials prepared by Parisian chef Lionel LeMorvan. Afterward, lounge in front of the four-story stone fireplace. $$$; dinner daily, reservations recommended. www.bearvalleylodge.com or 209/753-2327.
Sorensen's Resort. Tables made of polished tree trunks fill Sorensen's Country Café. Try the good-as-grandma's beef burgundy stew. $$$; breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, dinner reservations recommended. www.sorensensresort.com or 800/423-9949.
Kirkwood Mountain Resort. Former rooming house and saloon has offered hearty meals since 1864. Now the Kirkwood Inn serves plate-size pancakes for breakfast and barbecued ribs for dinner. $$$; breakfast Sat-Sun, lunch and dinner daily. www.kirkwood.com or 209/258-6000.
Tamarack Lodge & Resort. In the Lakefront Restaurant at this rustic 1924 lodge, sample French-born chef Frederic Pierrel's fresh seafood and wild game. $$$$; dinner daily, reservations recommended. www.tamaracklodge.com or 760/934-2442.
Rainbow Lodge. A 16-mile, mostly downhill ski takes you to the lodge's Engadine Room (call for snow levels; 530/426-3871); or drive in from I-80. $$$; breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. www.rainbowlodge.net or 530/426-3661. ― HARRIOT MANLEY