Idyllwild Food Guide: 10 Must-Eat Restaurants & Street Food Stalls in Idyllwild

April 14, 2018 Mollie Coke

A small town in the heart of the San Jacinto Mountains, Idyllwild is the perfect escape from Southern California traffic and the bustle of modern life. The big draw is San Jacinto National Park, where you can explore more than 50 trails. Rent bikes in town for a leisurely ride on a flat trail, or if you prefer, choose more rugged terrain. Rock climbers can scale Tahquitz rock. For those less experienced, sign up for rock-climbing school or try bouldering on the smaller rocks. A hike through many of the forest trails will take you by mountain streams and lead you to peaks with views of the Coachella Valley below and, on clearer days, the Salton Sea hundreds of miles away. Idyllwild is small enough that wherever you stay, you’ll be close to nature. Head to town to browse local shops and restaurants.
Things to do in Idyllwild

1. Cafe Aroma

54750 North Circle Dr, Idyllwild, CA 92549 Takeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Private Dining, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Free Wifi American, Fusion, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night SGD 13 - SGD 39 +1 951-659-5212
Excellent
61%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
3%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 498 reviews

Cafe Aroma

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 By Christie V - Villa Park, California

Popped in for a cup of coffee and found a delightful, cozy place to have a little break. Delicious items and beverages.

2. Idyllwild Bake Shop & Brew

54200 North Circle Drive, Idyllwild, CA 92549 Takeout, Seating, Street Parking, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Digital Payments, Accepts Discover, Wheelchair Accessible, Accepts Credit Cards American, Cafe Lunch, Breakfast SGD 5 - SGD 26 +1 951-659-4145
Excellent
72%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 52 reviews

Idyllwild Bake Shop & Brew

We are a small family/Veteran owned and operated local business. Were open early and have a delicious spread of savory and sweet options available including a limited amount of gluten free, and vegetarian choices. We also offer custom cakes for any occasion. Simply call, email, or message us on our Facebook page to setup a consultation so we can ensure you are getting exactly what you're looking for. Along with our delicious baked goods, we offer a selection of grilled sandwiches, fruit cups, coffee, and espresso. We can also be found on the free "Leapset" smart phone application where you can find our full menu, prices, and pay for an order to minimize your wait time. Come on up the mountain or down the road and give us a try.

Reviewed By Carl D

I got an off the menu breakfast sandwich here, which was hefty and delicious, and I also picked up some of their day olds, which were also great three days later. Wish I could have stayed in Idyllwild a little longer so i could have sampled more of their wares!

3. The Town Baker

54385 North Circle Dr, Suite 154, Idyllwild, CA 92549 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Free Off-Street Parking, Wheelchair Accessible, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Accepts Discover, Accepts Credit Cards American, Cafe, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch SGD 8 - SGD 16 +1 951-659-8606
Excellent
71%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 62 reviews

The Town Baker

Reviewed By SDPeterson - La Quinta, California

I've been there twice and both times have been excellent. Don't let the cute front fool you, there is plenty of room on beautiful days to sit on the rear patio where you feel like your a million miles away. Each time I had the omelets and both times they were fantastic. Bottomless assortment of coffee and the baked goods looked delicious, although I didn't get a chance to try them. Be sure to look for it as it is tucked away near the corner of Cedar and North Circle, there is plenty of parking!

4. Mile High Cafe

26600 Hwy 243, Idyllwild, CA 92549 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Free Wifi American, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch SGD 5 - SGD 30 +1 951-659-2008
Excellent
57%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 171 reviews

Mile High Cafe

Reviewed By LondonUnveiled - London, United Kingdom

(if you find this review helpful, please click "liked" below... it helps me know people read these).

We recently visited Idyllwild on a Saturday to enjoy the nature park walks and downtown shops... Having looked on TripAdvisor for a good breakfast spot, we chose "The Mile High Cafe", just south of the main downtown area. With plenty of indoor tables, a counter bar, and an outdoor patio (seemed to be pet friendly), there is plenty of choice. We sat in the main room and were pleasantly surprised with the wood burning stove and also a humidifier.. both nice touches to make the environment more comfortable and welcoming. Then within a few minutes of arriving a very talented female pianist started playing recognizable tunes (piano only, no singing) which was really nice (we tipped $5 when leaving as we felt it really added to the enjoyment).

Service was prompt and courteous. We ordered the French Toast Tray (french toast, eggs and bacon) ($12.95) and the Two Tray (pancakes, eggs and bacon). ($10.95) and coffee ($3.50 each, with refills). We were very pleased with all the food - it was fresh and well prepared. Syrup was served in a glass 'maple syrup' style container - not sure if it was real maple but classier than a generic plastic squeeze bottle. Water was provided in a large glass bottle (about the size of a wine bottle, with a closing clasp top) so you could refill yourself as needed - another nice touch.

All in all, a great experience and would certainly return here for breakfast if in the area. I assume that the effort to bring a touch of class and effort to breakfast would continue to other meals too.

5. Higher Grounds

54245 N Circle Dr, Idyllwild, CA 92549 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Wheelchair Accessible American, Cafe Breakfast +1 951-659-1379
Excellent
50%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
16%
Poor
4%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 62 reviews

Higher Grounds

Reviewed By Nick32215 - Claremont, California

A great location in the center of town. The staff are welcoming and excited to tell you about their coffees and brews. It was a welcome spot to take a break during the day with excellent, strong but not overpowering coffees. Maybe they could think more about the layout inside - there are a couple of really nice stuffed chairs to sit in, but not really enough for more than a couple of people at a time.

6. El Buen Cacao

54200 North Circle Drive, Suite D1, Idyllwild, CA 92549 Takeout, Seating, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Outdoor Seating, Accepts Credit Cards American, Contemporary, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Drinks SGD 4 - SGD 13 +1 760-333-7690
Excellent
91%
Good
9%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 32 reviews

El Buen Cacao

We are a bean-to-bar chocolate shop located at the end of The Village Lane in the center of Idyllwild.

Reviewed By Crt1943 - Rio Vista, California

We were super impressed when my husband who is a vegan asked for a vegan Mexican Hot chocolate and was asked if he wanted it with a variety of different plant based milks. They recommended oat milk and the hot chocolate was the creamiest, sliced just right, chocolate we ever had. The outside area was quaint and inviting. One star down for the teensy Weensy bit of apricot covered with chocolate I ordered for $1. It was almost less than one bite. Gone so fast - but I think it was just the right amount of dark chocolate on a tiny piece of apricot. Had it been regular size I would give this place a five for their chocolate.

7. Higher grounds

Main road, Idyllwild, CA Outdoor Seating, Seating, Takeout Cafe, American Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Excellent
33%
Good
58%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 21 reviews

Higher grounds

Reviewed By Janet F - Highlands Ranch, Colorado

We drove up to this charming little mountain town while visiting Palm Springs. It reminded us of Colorado. Just adorable. We were pleased to find this sweet, little coffee shop with its nice deck.
The service was good, and coffee was too. The views from the deck are really nice-just a cool, laid back vibe.

8. Ferro

25840 Cedar Street, Idyllwild, CA 92549 Takeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Street Parking, Free Off-Street Parking, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Accepts Discover, Accepts Credit Cards Pizza, Italian, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options, Vegetarian Friendly Lunch, Dinner SGD 13 - SGD 72 +1 951-659-0700
Excellent
72%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 124 reviews

Ferro

FERRO offers a modern Italian menu featuring fresh pasta, Neopolitan-style pizza cooked to order in the outdoor pizza oven, thick steaks, fresh seafood, and housemade desserts. With a full bar, a great selection of both Italian and New World wines, and rotating tap beer choices, there is something for everybody! Enjoy live music under the pines almost every night in the expansive concert area or quieter al fresco dining on the front deck. In the winter, cozy up to the beautiful fireplace in the elegant lounge/bar

Reviewed By Iambic - Portland, Oregon

Ferro is an upscale-ish place with an interesting mix of Italian and American dishes. We enjoyed ourselves, but didn't experience anything special. Good service. Nice ambiance.

Caesar salad = OK. Pasta (prima) = Good, but smaller portion than a main dish. Steak = Good. Wine prices were surprisingly high.

9. Gastrognome

54381 Ridgeview Dr, Idyllwild, CA 92549 Takeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Private Dining, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar American, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night SGD 13 - SGD 52 +1 951-659-5055
Excellent
57%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
4%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 487 reviews

Gastrognome

Reviewed By xctraveler1

We walked in off the street for lunch with a party of 5 and were surprised to be seated immediately, inside. This was on Saturday of Presidents Weekend. My expectations were high based on the reviews and we were not disappointed. Service was pleasant and timely so we never felt rushed nor did we feel like the wait was too long. we all had salads, three with salmon, one vegetarian and a steak special. Dressing was oil and vinegar brought in cruets. Two of us had soup. I heard no comment on the Onion Soup and maybe the only ding was the chicken in the very tasty avocado soup (special) was not tasty and it had been heated too long. Soup would have been wonderful without the chicken.

54282 N Circle Dr, Idyllwild, CA 92549 +1 951-659-2010
Excellent
60%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
0%
Terrible
10%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 10 reviews

Reviewed By Everellie - Atlanta, Georgia

Kids loved their old-fashioned ice cream bars. I tried the dipped frozen cheesecake. Very good but SUPER rich. But what doesn't taste good when dipped in chocolate and chocolate chips. This was a great local stop. A little bizarre on the service end--one of the workers kept telling people to keep the door closed because the a/c was on. . . which left patrons outside with a door slammed in their face. Not the best service ever. I think it's more important that the huge line-up outside knows that they're invited in. This is a quaint place, though, and a great local feature to Idyllwild.

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