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“Best food in town, great atmosphere”
Review of Cafe Aroma

Cafe Aroma
Ranked #5 of 42 Restaurants in Idyllwild
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: American, Italian, Fusion
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Local cuisine, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast, 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!
Reviewed April 25, 2013

Great food, nice setting, it would have been perfect if the weather had been warmer and we could have sat outside.

Thank beachbumAlberta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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310 - 314 of 486 reviews

Reviewed April 22, 2013

The quality and class of a big city restaurant in a little town. We arrived at 4pm after a long hike, and just missed the kitchen closing for pre-dinner prep. We were made so welcome by the attentive and intelligent staff ( all of them) that we waited an hour until the dinner time at 5. We were not disappointed. We were treated as friends the whole time we waited and we enjoyed being part of their family. They have an excellent menu with a variety of daily specials and a wide range of quality choices. We chose the Osso Buco, the linguine with clams and the pork loin special. Our waiter Chris was so familiar with all of the choices and especially the wines, that we will miss him when we go anywhere else.
A gem of a dining experience.

1  Thank Ownerwilliam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 20, 2013

If you love garlic, this is the place to enjoy GREAT bread with garlic and oil dip - simple and good - as long as you and your company both eat it! The simple food items are the best.

Thank jeri f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2013

They need to improve their service -- it took about 15 minutes for our order to be taken. You would think that when I kept looking around for wait staff and the menus were still sitting on our table, at least someone would come by and say "I'll tell your server you're ready to order" or something. However, even after I received eye contact and a smile, no one came over. It actually took waving the menus in the air to get our server to come by. But after that, the service was good and the food excellent. My wife had the salmon and I had the osso bucco, which was fork-tender. Also, be aware of their policy to let you have a table for a maximum of 1hr30min -- this is what I was told when I phoned for a reservation.

1  Thank The_Toner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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?

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank blueskiff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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