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Jun 4, 2007 10:40 AM

Good eats around Yosemite

I'm traveling into and around Yosemite next week. Any recommendations for good eats? Any price and style. Know of Erna's Elderberry House and the Ahwahnee. From Yosemite going to Mono Lake then back above Yosemite and down into Gold Country. Real flexible, so "finds" anywhere in the general area would be really appreciated. Thanks! Dan.

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  1. Lee Vining..Chowhound favorite...The Tioga Gas Mart. The Whoa Nellie Deli. Really....easily the ebst place in lee Vining. Do a seach for it here and it will give you some more insight....

    And the Awanhee, IMO, is only worth it for Sunday brunch. Not dress code and great buffet...

    1 Reply
    1. Into Gold Country via which route, and into/through what communities?

      3 Replies
      1. re: ricepad

        Just back from Gold Country - no spectacular food anywhere, just get food to eat and don't expect much. There were very few restaurant on the southern part of Highway 49 below Jamestown -almost all are practically ghost towns and settlements on this part. You need a good guide book and a lot of imagination when visiting the southern part - it has its distinct charms and gives you more the feeling of the austerity of the experience than the more developed northern part of the route.

        Rizzo's (or something like that on Main Street) had an interesting menu in Jamestown but went to the Willows instead for steak - good meat, silly but filling side dishes - you will get fed there and that is about all, and enjoy the scene. Stay away from NewMoon in Nevada City and Villa Venezia in Grass Valley. Bummer. Bad. And $$$$ too.

        Check out the Culinary Department at gorgeous Columbia College and see if they offer a public dining room experience when the college is in session, near the Ghost Town of Columbia.

        Mokeleme Hill looked the more upscale of any of the smaller historic towns and more off the main tourist path - did not explore restaurants here but would love to get some feedback about this town. A trip into Fiddletown (no restaurants) is well worth the detour and then loop back down the Shenedoah Wine country road going back into Placerville. Ione has a nicely restored old hotel with okay food at Twisted Fork - again nice to get away from the tourist crowd for awhile on the Gold Country Route.

        If you like trains, the museums in both Jamestown and Sacramento Old town are wonderful - especially the main one in Sacramento - they have an old dining car with each table displaying the special china an silver service the old train lines used - very nostalgic and the romance of US trains was beautifully preserved there.

        1. re: glbtrtr

          Hey glbtrtr, what was your experience at New Moon in NC? We've had some decent chow there in the past, wondering if there's been a downhill shift?

        2. re: ricepad

          From Yosemite, through Lee Vining, maybe down to Mammoth Lakes but not sure, back home by way of Bridgeport, then west to maybe Jackson, Sonora, Plymouth...have a free day, so who knows. Totally flexible, but want to stay in the mountains.

        3. I just love Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining. Here's my post from last year:

          There are quite a few more posts, too...a fan favorite!

          2 Replies
          1. re: nancyhudson

            Here's some info I posted earlier - not savvy enough to link to it, but I can cut & paste!

            Azzo's (Not Rizzo's as above) is our new favorite in Jamestown, it's on the main street. Nice selection on the menu, and a great bar. The Willow is popular with the locals, great beef. Definitely try Comacho's in Sonora (on Washington St, in the historic Sonora Inn building), they make their own tortillas and serve up the best burritos in the Lode. Woods Creek Cafe in Jamestown (on Hwy 108 next to the infamous Rawhide Saloon) has fabulous breakfasts and lunches (cash or checks only). We always enjoy Back Street Bar and Grill for great brick-oven pizzas (on Stewart Street in Sonora, one block off Washington St). For dining on Sonora Pass (most beautiful road in Tuolumne County!) the Sunday prime rib dinner at Kennedy Meadows Pack Station is always fun and good (located one mile off 108, a few miles west of Sonora Pass). We like the rack of lamb at Bridgeport Inn, too.

            Columbia College's restaurant is located in the historic part of Columbia, not on the campus. This is some info on it: "The Gold Rush town of Columbia truly was a gem in its Gold Rush heyday and it's a gem of a place to visit today. The state of California authentically restored the town in 1945. It did such a good job Main Street has served as a backdrop for many Hollywood productions, including "High Noon." And "Little House on the Prairie." Visitors can enjoy roaming the streets, taking in the historic buildings, some of which have been turned into quaint shops. A "must-see" is the exquisite City Hotel, a quaint bed and breakfast inn.

            The real surprise is that the hotel contains a "three star" restaurant, featuring gourmet dining, an expansive wine cellar and a saloon. Even more surprising is who's cooking the meals-students from Columbia Community College's Hospitality Management Program. Under the expert guidance of chef Alec Abt, the students turn out top-flight, multi-course dinners Tuesday through Sunday and brunch on Sunday. The hotel also hosts a number of themed dinners, including a Victorian Christmas feast. For more information on the City Hotel call (800) 532-1479 or log onto To learn more about the town of Columbia State Park call (209) 532-0150" We haven't eaten there in years, but it was good.

            1. re: kmr

              For those of you who might dig back to this link, the Columbia City Hotel has been taken over by a company called Forever Resorts and has no relationship with with the Culinary program at Columbia College. That ended prior to this previous post and I actually had a very disappointing meal with several of my biggest clients in May of 2007. I do enjoy the What Cheer Saloon and Ben the bartender but at this point cannot recommend the restaurant.

          2. Thank you to all who replied with sage advice. We're leaving on Saturday, and thanks to you, will have an even better trip! Will report on our journey next week. Dan.

            3 Replies
            1. re: danieldawson

              We like the restaurant at the Teneyah Lodge, right before Yosemite, in Fish Kill. Owned by same company that owns the Ahwahnee. Food is good!

              1. for winter travelers, keep in mind this was posted and replied to in summer. Lee Vining would not be accessible from the west side in winter as Tioga Pass is closed till May or June.