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“Needs help to realize full potential” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Madlon's

Madlon's
829 W Big Bear Blvd, Big Bear City, CA 92314
909-585-3762
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Price range: $0 - $20
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Scenic view, Families with children
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations
Palm Springs, California
Top Contributor
168 reviews 168 reviews
74 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 71 cities Reviews in 71 cities
133 helpful votes 133 helpful votes
“Needs help to realize full potential”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2013

My dining companion was excited to have found " a real French restaurant" in Big Bear City.
We hit it mid Saturday evening and it was quiet - maybe 5 or 6 tables taken.
When we entered the sole server was attending to a table but we were ignored for an appreciable time till she was free. OK, I will live with that - she can only do one thing at a time but the entry lobby was dark, unlit and I'm sure others would walk away at the lack of attention.

We got seated and my companion ordered a bottle of Beaujolais. The first two he requested from the list were not available and we eventually settled for a Fleurie which was very good. As we had eaten appetizers elsewhere we each ordered an entree. In the hiatus, during which we were served two different amuse bouche, we conversed with a couple seated nearby who spoke well of the desserts and who were appreciative regulars. The entrees we ordered were delivered and proved to be excellent - the half rack of lamb particularly so.

We had no issue with the timing -our whole experience at Madlon's was spread over 2 hours - as we hate the alternative of rushing a diner.
We ordered a trial dessert.
When I order crêpes in a French restaurant I expect them to be freshly cooked but this had come straight from the fridge with a warm sauce and chopped fruit poured over it.
It was left only partly eaten.

By this stage we were the only diners left and as my dining companion got into a discussion with the server it became clear that she and the chef (whom we thought might have put in an appearance, per French tradition) - are running the whole place on their own. In fact after we had paid she disappeared and despite our calling out a "good night" that was the last we saw of her.

My companion was much less inclined than me to see the failings. And it's a pity that they are clearly undercapitalized to the extent where they really desparately need one more person front of house. According to the server (who was very pleasant if obviously stressed) they do not read reviews.
Ah well, their choice but my prognosis for Madlon's is not good. Shame really when it could be excellent.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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69 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    39
    11
    4
    5
    10
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Coronado, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Unexpected Find in Bear City”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2013

We came here because the outside of the restaurant looked so interesting and found a treasure! A fine dining French restaurant where owner/chefs, Rob & Chelsie Orr prepare and serve your meal. They are Le Cordon Bleu trained chefs and prepare everything from scratch. I was not very hungry when we went there and just had a salad; however, it was very delicious. Will definitely go back.

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thousand Oaks, California
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Extremely slow service, amazing food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2013 via mobile

Great food, but don't come here if your in a hurry. It takes about 45 minutes. I highly reccomend S'mores pancakes or waffles.

    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Big Bear City, California
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Good Food but Breakfast Service is so-o-o-o poor!”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2013

I'm not a big breakfast fan, but I do love belgian waffles. When I saw the all-you-can-eat sign out front, I perked up. The waffles were absolutely fantastic!!! But the service is appalling!!! We've been there 3 or 4 times on a Sunday morning after church, and they don't seem to be very busy. But for some reason, you can't get waited on. Not even given a glass of water! After 10 or 15 minutes, someone may come to ask if you want coffee or a drink, but don't expect anything real quick. The food really is good, but I don't understand why they don't seem to get their act together. I've lived in Big Bear more than 20 years, and I'd like to try again, but I think I'll have to quit trying if the service stays the way it's been. It's in a darling location, and the original Madlon's was so memorable! Madlon herself really made it great! But she's not longer with us. I think the current owner is really trying, and I know Big Bear is a challenging market for restaurants. I also know that the dinner menu is relatively expensive there, but most of the dinner reviews are great. But I'm hesitant of having such poor service. It leaves a very bad taste....

  • Visited January 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“All around amazingly excellent!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2013

We have been to many other fine dining establishments and Madlon's is at the top of our list! We had the 5 course dinner special with the Brie appetizer. Great food and amazing value for fine dining. The atmosphere was cozy and romantic, but it is not a dine and dash as other reviews have stated. We were here on our honeymoon, so this was a great relaxing meal for us. We would highly recommend Madlon's for fine dining.

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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