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Dining in Yosemite--Any particular dishes you recommend?

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O.k. So I know that the Ahwahnee dining room is expensive and only has average food but we are splurging taking my parents to Yosemite for a few days and it seems like we really need to go there for the "event". What dishes on the menu are the best bets for dinner? Also, we will be going to the Yosemite Lodge dining room one night, which I've heard is less expensive and better. Any particular dish recommendations for that restaurant? (As former campers, dining without dirt in our food will be a treat.)

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  1. Sunday brunch at the Ahwahnee is a safer bet than dinner - better chance to enjoy the views as well. Would that work?

    1. We will be there mid-week. I've heard the brunch is nice. I'm hoping that after a long hike doing the Panorama trail any "grub" will be wonderful.

      1. Here is a link to TripAvisor's candid reviews about restuarants in Yosemite: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant...

        People seem to like the shrimp appetitzers at the Ahwahnee and there are good reports about dining there - but my experience agrees with yours - splendid setting, okay food. At least you won't be disappointed and it is just grand to smell the wonderful pine scented air in Yosemite - that is enough for the senses to take in - food is secondary.

        1. For the Ahwanhee restaurant, stay with the simple items and you'll be fine. Salads, steak, prime rib, lamb chops...sauce on the side. If you order fish, make sure you ask for medium, otherwise, it will be overcooked and dry. Splurge on the wine or order a great cognac instead of desserts. Unless your parents are food snobs, they will enjoy the experience.

          2 Replies
          1. re: PBSF

            Another option is the bar at Ahwahnee. It is not your splurge event, but is a nice alternative on another day. It was a little price but not as much as the dinners at the main restaurant, the setting in the evening was great.

            1. re: PBSF

              I agree with entirely--keep it ABSOLUTELY simple at Ahwahnee, and order meat one notch rarer than you really like it, because it will be overcooked. Don't order anything that seems at all fancy or interesting. Even then, I never had a reasonably good meal there after several years in a row of trying (work, I wasn't paying). But it is, of course, a splendidly gorgeous setting.

              Can't remember about Yosemite Village.

            2. I absolutely LOVE the monte cristo sandwich at the Ahwanhee, which is served at lunch. It's basically deep fried, topped with powdered sugar, with blackberry compote on the side. I had it once when I was 10 years old and I recently returned to the restaurant 20 years later to try it again. It was even better than I remembered it to be.

              I second the recommendation to eat at the dining room at brunch or lunch since it's your best bet to take in both the atmosphere and the scenery outside. Dinner is expensive and a little disappointing. Enjoy your visit. Yosemite is such a beautiful place.

              1. The bar at the Ahwahnee was a nice option for us, too, when I went there a few months ago with my wife and parents. We wanted a lighter meal, a less expensive meal, and a more relaxed meal, and the bar fit the bill well.

                My wife and I split an antipasti plate and I had a bowl of a yellow split pea soup that I liked very much: lots of yummy pork flavor and a texture and color that was different than your typical split pea soup. My parents also had a bowl of the soup and they split a salad (as I remember). All of us were quite pleased with our food: nothing earth-shattering but we all liked what we ate.

                We also ordered glasses of the house red wine and a glass of champagne. We tend not to expect too much from a house wine, but I recall that our expectations were exceeded by both wines.

                We sat near a window and looked out at the scenery; we watched the people coming and going in the lobby. All in all we refreshed ourselves with a good meal that was far superior to the food you find at Yosemite Village or Camp Curry but not as overblown as the food in the Ahwahnee dining room.