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San Diego hound seeks Idyllwild recs

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Anything good and chowish out that way? We'll be there Sunday noon through Monday noon.

Lunch and dinner recs appreciated!

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  1. I once climbed Mt. San Jacinto, and afterwards being famished, headed to Mozart Haus. While not an INCREDIBLE (my bar is pretty high --exchange student in berlin for year) german restaurant, it has a nice atmosphere, decent wurst and IS probably the best Idyllwild has to offer.

    26345 Hwy 243, Idyllwild, CA

    1. The Gastronome in the heart of the village is an enduring stalwart... modern continental fare.. full bar, lovely patio. They do serve lunch and perhaps, brunch. Dinner nightly. Probably the 'nicest' joint in town, though not formal at all.

      3 Replies
      1. re: OCBites

        We went to Gastrognome last year and were underwhelmed. My crabcakes were about 90% cake and 10% crab--no exaggeration. Flat-out mediocre, way overpriced fare.

        However, on a subsequent visit to town, we went to a community deep-pit BBQ put on by the local fire dept, or Rotary or something (I believe it was at the community center). They have permanent pits, and do this several times a year. It was some of the most tender and tastiest deep-pit beef we've ever had. I think they cook it for something like 14 hours.

        1. re: Steve Green

          Hey Steve,

          Unfortunately, we got lunch on our way into town, and missed the deep pit BBQ. I was kicking myself repeatedly over this. It smelled incredible.

          We wound up going to Gastrognome. It was better than I expected for such a tourist-trap town, though nothing special by any standard. I had a good Caesar salad though, and my steak was pretty decent.

          Not much of a chowish destination, it seems.

          1. re: Josh

            i just came back from idyllwild... bring your own food! we went to the gastrognome. it was quite gross and the prices were way too high for the frozen fish, the canned beans, and frozen bread... just feel the need to warn others. if you rent a place with a kitchenette, bring a cooler stocked with whatever you want to cook. the grocery store there was undesirable as well.

      2. There are several very good restaurants in Idyllwild! Usually I count the G'nome among them -- we just ate dinner there on 12/30 and it was very good. Their specialty is seafood. Maybe they had an off night.

        Same folks own the Creek House dinner-only place on the other end of town -- a former Charthouse that's changed little (in menu or decor) since the 1970s. They've got a great salad bar and tend to have better meat dishes.

        Hands down, IMHO, the best food in town is at Cafe Aroma -- any meal from breakfast to dinner. It's tough to get an indoor table in winter, tho -- call early for reservations. Very creative fare that's always changing, and free entertainment most nights. It's where you'll run into most of the town's artists and hipsters.

        Best Mexican food: Arriba's

        Best Breakfast: Bread Basket

        Honestly, the only bad meal I've had up there was at the Goodtimes Pub -- atomic fried fish and chips. Also, the Chinese restaurant is average, at best. I'd avoid those two.