Written by K. Hart at
Tropicali entrance
poke bowl
Hawaiian bowl
Tropicali interior


Expect a Hawaiian aloha experience when visiting Tropicali in Big Bear!

This unique eatery presents a remarkable blend of flavors and cultures, which we'll explain shortly. First, let's meet the owners and creative visionaries, Michael Sterling Eaton and Sanoe Lake Eaton. 

The couple's background is as diverse as the restaurant's offerings. Michael, a surf filmmaker and photographer, and Sanoe, a professional surfer and model from Hawaii, bring a rich tapestry of experiences from their lives centered around water and action sports. 

Their journeys have taken them from San Diego to Kauai for an immersive experience of various cultures and cuisines.

This globally-influenced perspective is evident in the conception of Tropicali. The Eatons describe Tropicali as a "make-believe island" where the South Pacific meets the Sea of Cortez and mingles with Caribbean influences. This forms the "Tropicali trinity" of flavor, culture, and aloha, a fusion that transports guests to a tropical paradise, offering a taste of diverse and vibrant cultures through every bite​​​​.


Stepping into Tropicali is akin to being on a tropical island vacation. The interior captures the spirit of the South Pacific, the Sea of Cortez, and the Caribbean. The decor invites diners into a world far from the traditional atmosphere of Big Bear. The tropical vacation vibe fosters an exceptional and unforgettable dining experience​​​​.

The ambiance blends fun and relaxation, filled with the melodies of Hawaiian music and the soothing sound of a waterfall. The tropical decor creates a casual yet inviting space with fun and creatively designed chairs. Such attention to detail is appealing, making Tropicali ideal for families and food enthusiasts. 

This quaint, intimate setting radiates a great vibe, making it a memorable spot for Big Bear diners seeking a unique culinary experience​​​​​​.

Tropicali: Menu & Drinks 

One of the standout dishes at Tropicali is its array of Poke Bowls, which have garnered exceptional reviews and high ratings. These bowls are a staple in Hawaiian cuisine and are a harmony of flavors and textures.  

The Cabo Bowl and Kraken Bowl are particularly noteworthy, known for their unique blend of ingredients and flavors​​​​​​. Another must-try item is the Tikijuana bowl, praised for its perfectly smoked chicken and unique blend of deliciousness. 

A notable drink is the Trench Town, a silky and refreshing cold brew that complements the food perfectly. This beverage is just as unique as the restaurant's ambiance, offering a refreshing twist to your dining experience​​. 

For those craving sweetness with their meal, look into the chicken and waffle and Belgian waffle options. With so many choices, there's something there for everyone. 

When you're ready for a taste of South Pacific paradise without getting jetlag or needing a passport, head to Tropicali in Big Bear. 

Local Tips

  • Visit Tropicali early to beat the rush. 
  • If you prefer dining outdoors, Tropicali offers this option and is a great way to enjoy the scenic beauty of Big Bear while savoring your meal​​.
  • Check out their cold brews and smoothies for refreshing beverages!
  • Order a poke bowl or smoothie to enjoy in the comfort of your Casago rental!


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