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“On a Beautiful Road to Nowhere This Is Somewhere Great” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Cafe Aroma

Cafe Aroma
54750 North Circle Dr, P.O. Box 1295, Idyllwild, CA 92549
+1 951-659-5212
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Ranked #1 of 31 Restaurants in Idyllwild
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: Italian, American, Fusion
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Restaurant details
Good for: Entertaining clients, Romantic, Special occasions, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Dessert, Lunch, Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations, Takeout
Description: TripAdvisor's #1 Rated Restaurant in Idyllwild for 2014 Working in tandem with amazing culinary talent, some of which have gone on to The Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, NY and Le Cordon Bleu, the Aroma kitchen team uses classic recipes infused with unique, original ingredients, to create beautiful dishes with French, Nuevo Latino, Asian and SoCal influences. Cafe Aroma proudly supports our local farmers, wineries and brewers and features fresh, organic, and sustainable products, along with vegetarian and gluten free options. A unique bistro-gallery experience, featuring some of Idyllwild's most well-known and accomplished artists, featured in two-month, rotating exhibits. Idyllwild's hippest and funkiest dining establishment, Cafe Aroma is the hot spot on "The Hill." Enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner, along with great snacks and desserts and an assortment of bottled micro-brews and local, artisan wines, indoors or out, on our free Wi-Fi enabled patio deck, the inspiration of Cafe Aroma's "accidental owner" for the last 12 years, Hubert Halkin. Hubert's list of deeds is long, including being an Idyllwild resident for many years, Professor Emeritus and Department Chair of Mathematics at UCSD, a mean bridge player, and all around groovy Frenchman. Not to mention...You won't believe what he can demonstrate table-side with a straw and your Osso Bucco bone! Music is one of the cafe's cornerstones, and features an amazing array of talented musicians, known locally, regionally and nationally. It's no wonder that, among musicians, Cafe Aroma's outdoor stage is known as the Madison Square Garden of Idyllwild! The community of Idyllwild is an eclectic collection of souls, comprised of entrepreneurs, artists of every flavor, hipsters and church-goers, authors and meditators, some really cool, old school jazz cats, and a few belly dancers and ballerinas. Cafe Aroma is the gathering place for everyone, the place to "see and be seen" and features the most dog-friendly patio around. Restaurant, Art Gallery, Social Club and a Home Away From Home...If your home was this cool!
Cathedral City, CA
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
“On a Beautiful Road to Nowhere This Is Somewhere Great”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

The beauty of San Bernardino National Forest and Mt. San Jacinto State Park is reward enough in itself, but for a very special extra treat take Rt. 243 off of Rt. 74 and stop at Cafe Aroma in Idyllwild for breakfast, lunch or dinner. From outside it's as inviting as any rustic lodge you've ever seen, but the real point of stopping is the food. Local, imaginative and artistically presented, the two menus ("DAY" for breakfast and lunch until 4:00 pm, and "NIGHT" for dinner from noon to 8:00 pm) are extensive and varied. And the prices are modest considering that everything had to be hauled more than 6,000 feet straight up from the valley. How about a full-fledged Pesto Benedict for $10? Or a Bagel Works for $6? Or 26 choices for lunch from a $5 garlic bisque to a $16 Rigatoni Funghi or Ravioli Olio? We've been there twice with friends and family and have tried six of the lunch items, with multiple hits on the Salmon Salad Renate and the Kappy's Salmon BLT. There's nothing on the menu that I wouldn't order with enthusiastic anticipation. Add a nice wine list and a stellar (and slightly exotic) local and international beer selection at $4-$9 a bottle and you'll be wishing you drove Rt. 243 a lot more often. I know I do. And don't think the prices are the main attraction - IT'S THE FOOD! Why else would I come out to find my car bracketed by a brand-new Bentley Continental GT and an Aston-Martin Vantage?

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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346 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Best Dinner Experience in Idyllwild!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013 via mobile

If you have been reading my reviews you know my hubby is Italian. He describes this place as being Italian with a modern twist. Extremely delicious ingredients with just a small touch all their own. Extremely great service, intimate and cozy with great live music. This is our second year visiting this restaurant during our annual trips and have never been disappointed. A must for your trip!

    • 4 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.
Washington, Dc
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
53 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Worth the Drive!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013 via mobile

We drove up to Idyllwild on the long, steep switchback road up from Palm Desert just to get to Aroma for an early dinner so that we could then scoot back down the mountain road before it got completely dark. Great little cafe with an impressive menu featuring local foods and wines and warm, friendly service. We loved this place! Sat outside on one of the tables on the front deck while a band from Canada was playing inside. We ordered two appetizers to share...sauteed wild mushrooms and polenta pie, both generous proportions and absolutely delicious. Also each had a glass of wine and that was really all we needed for a light early meal. Very relaxed and casual, but also truly good food. We came just to test out the cafe...and for the stunning drive up to Idyllwild...but next time we'll plan to stay longer and go to Aroma regularly, including to take a stab at what looks like a terrific breakfast menu!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Delicious food, Good service and Great Setting”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

One of my Yoga instructors recommended Café Aroma to me. After a picturesque drive up to Idyllwild from Palm Springs we arrived at Café Aroma. We asked for and were seated at an outside table on their deck. It is dog friendly, too.

My wife had the polenta pie and I had the Aroma omelet. We were first served freshly baked artisan breads with garlic olive oil.

Both the polenta pie and Aroma omelet were well made, fresh and tasty.

I recommend taking the drive up to Idyllwild and dining at Café Aroma. It is well worth the trip.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 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.
LaQuinta CA
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“old-shoe comfort with a good portion of comfort food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2013

the place to go in Idyllwild. Cozy on a cold day with the cozy fireplace. We've only been there for lunch, and it's always good. Loved the garlic soup the first time, not so much the second. Our sandwiches were large and delis. The atmosphere is so rustic and old-shoe comfortable, it's the only place we go for lunch when day-tripping to Idyllwild.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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