A year or so ago, our friend Robin had recommended Cafe Aroma Bistro up in Idyllwild on Facebook. After looking at their page and the specials they listed and the pictures they posted, I “liked” their Facebook page. I had no plans of going there any time soon, but Idyllwild is one of Colleen’s favorite towns (in fact, our first family camping trip was just outside Idyllwild, in Mt San Jacinto State Park), so I figured we’d get there eventually. But since then, they have been tantalizing me daily with their unique and tasty sounding daily specials they post on Facebook.
I finally had my chance over 4th of July weekend. We were going to Palm Springs to hike Mt. San Jacinto from the Tramway (post on Greene Adventures, our outdoors blog, here), and we decided to take the Palms-to-Pines Hwy (Hwy 74 from Hemet to Palm Desert) to get there, passing through Idyllwild along the way. We planned it so that we would hit Idyllwild at lunch time, to visit my favorite restaurant I’d never eaten at!
When you read the write-up on the front page of their website, it is clear that they take their food seriously. They also pride themselves on using locally grown and raised foods, and local breweries and wineries as well. The menu is very diverse, and it was very hard to choose. It was quite warm out on the deck, so we did rule out the soup and the hotter, heavier options. Colleen looked long and hard at the Seared Scallop Caesar Salad, but ultimately chose the “Grill and Chill”, which partners a caesar salad with a parmesan grilled cheese sandwich that features sourdough bread, cheddar cheese, thinly sliced fresh apples, and prosciutto. I chose the “Sausage and Eggs Purgatorio” off their breakfast menu, which their menu describes as “eggs poached in marinara – finish baked w/parmesan, sausage, peppers, caramelized onion.”
The food definitely lived up to the billing. They brought out a bread basket first, that had two slices each of three different breads in it, plus a bowl of garlic and olive oil for dipping. It was so good, it was gone before our meal. Colleen’s sandwich was very good, but we both loved my eggs and italian sausage in marinara. In fact, I had to order more of the olive bread just to sop up every last bit of the delicious rich sauce!
The restaurant also serves as an art gallery, featuring local artists in different rooms (including the restroom!), and also advertises itself as a social gathering place, including wi-fi! There is no question we’ll be back. Part of our time in town was spent looking for rental cabins for our next visit, and both of us had eyes on their garlic bisque for some cooler day on that patio, maybe in the Fall…
PO Box 1295
54750 North Circle Drive
Idyllwild, CA 92549
Open seven days a week.
Sunday – Thursday
7am – 9pm
Friday & Saturday
7am – 10pm
Kitchen closes between 4pm & 5pm.