The great architectural wonder of the Ahwahnee Hotel is best appreciated at lunch, when the light and views of the mountains are seen through the expansive wall of windows. The vintage 1927 interior architecture log construction can be seen in natural light. For this reason, those with some financial means are obligated to dine here at least once as the Ahwahnee provides the experience of upscale dining in a hunting lodge like environment. For lunch, the menu typically includes sandwiches, soups, salads, and desserts of medium level originality and flare, but with fancy Italian and French vernacular written into the menu. The seasoning is on the bland side, perhaps because the chef doesn't want to offend many international travelers and senior citizens who frequently dine there. The wine list is very good--mostly California wines-- but the prices are about 25% higher than similar restaurants outside Yosemite might charge. When we were there, the espresso machine was broken, so only ordinary coffee was being served. This restaurant is a unique concession that must be very profitable, but were it located in San Francisco, culinary critics would ridicule it out of business. The wait service in contrast is professionally outstanding and exceedingly friendly to its patrons. The waiter and bus staff will be happy to take a group photo for you, but don't expect great results. Reservations are recommended, but often one can go there, get the reservation, enjoy the grounds for 15 or 20 minutes, and then enter the dining room. Sometimes, the restaurant is closed to the public for some private dining event.
While waiting to be allowed into our room we decided to have lunch in the main dining room. The size of the room is impressive with a very high ceiling and large windows. Our waitress was very friendly and accomodating.
Favorite Dish: Each table is provided with a small loaf of bread, actually two small loaves. One seemed to be sour dough and the other was an herb bread. Both were very good. We ordered a fruit plate and a cheeseburger. We also had a very nice chocolate cake for desert. The portions were very large and we were glad that we decided to divide the meal between the two of us.
I went here with my fiance before a cold night in Curry Village, and it was wonderful. We probably spent more on dinner than we spent on our accomodations, but it was worth it. There was a long wait, understandably, as this is the best restaurant in Yosemite. While we waited, we browsed the park gift shop in the same plaza; I bought a very useful sweatshirt for $12. Service was good and the location was wonderful. Will definitely come here again!
Favorite Dish: I had Rainbow Trout Almondine, which was a lovely fish covered in a rich almond sauce and almonds. For dessert, we shared a maple creme brulee. One of the finest dining experiences of our lives.
Like us you may not be able to afford staying in the Ahwahnee, but at least its restaurant may be in your price range. Everything we saw looks great. This restaurant is one of the top places to dine for both its food and surroundings. It's no wonder, as you sit in this immense hall with its beautiful 34-foot high ceiling and its vaunted sugar pine trestles nestled above granite pillars, that this will be a memorable experience. It's really gorgeous.
The staff were very friendly. We enjoyed our experience immensely.
Although casual clothing is acceptable for breakfast and lunch, semi-formal attire is required for dinner.
Favorite Dish: My wife, Tomoko, had a big seafood salad.
I had the Turkey sandwich. It was good, but a little salty. I haven’t eaten much salt nor American food for years (as I live in Japan) so one of the first things I noticed was how salty everything tastes back home.
I'd heard for many years about the high quality of dining at the Ahwahnee, and brought along a dress and nice shoes, in case we decided to dine here for my birthday dinner. And yes, I was glad to have brought along a nice dress!
The gorgeous, grand dining room is special, just in its ambiance and golden glow. The staff are very attentive, polite and friendly. Word is, many of the staff are climbers and outdoorsmen that work at the Ahwahnee so they can live in Yosemite.
The food is all delicious and creative and wonderfully prepared, with a wide selection of meat, poultry, seafood and vegetarian dishes.
Favorite Dish: The crispy prawn appetizer was absolutely delicious. And Mark's filet mignon was so good I thought he was going to lick the plate -- seriously! And that from a guy with the tiniest appetite I've ever known in a guy...
The feeling of The Ahwahnee dining room at dinner is completely different from that of lunchtime. The room is lit by candlelight and there is a much more elegant feeling. The presence of a pianist is a nice added touch (especially if you like show and/or movie tunes). Most of the tables were set for large groups, 5 or more persons. Those table were set in the center of the room. Tables for two were along the outer sides of the room near the windows.
Favorite Dish: Our two appetizers were probably the most satisfying parts of our meals. We selected "Crispy Sesame Prawns" (shrimp in a miso and sweet chili sauce and "Eggplant Parmesan"(eggplant, spinach, tomato, and cheese in an eggroll type crust)
Kaoru had salmon and I had the special of the day which was a combination of duck and venison. We ended by splitting a strawberry shortcake.
The Awhawhnee serves three meals each day in the most gorgeous setting. The enormous windows provide the perfect backdrop to a delicious meal.
The service is always impeccable. The wait staff is professional and friendly, with lots of good tips about Yosemite. We even met the piano player who is also the Yosemite postmaster!
Menu is pricey.
Favorite Dish: Lunch - several vegetarian dishes (e.g., a portobello mushroom sandwich), salads. The menu has many meat items, too.
Dinner - Menu is heavy on meat, fish, game and fowl entrees. The Persnickity Teens scarfed down these entrees in no time. Too light on the vegetarian dishes - only one to choose from, which was a pasta primavera - ok.
Dessert - Favorite was the Ahwahnee S'Mores!
Wine list - Excellent. Lots of good California wines, along with European wines.
The Ahwahnee's Sunday brunch provides the most delicious and varied spread of food. There is something for everyone -- fruits, pastries, salads, cheese, omelets, shellfish, trout, salmon, prime rib, scrumptious desserts. The shellfish stand comes complete with ice sculpture. Not for Yosemite visitors on a diet!
What better place to feast than in such a beautiful setting! The brunch is served in the Ahwahnee's famous dining room -- with its floor to ceiling windows providing an unparalleled view of the Yosemite canyon walls.
The Persnickety Teens love this brunch because they can eat all they want and whatever they want.
Favorite Dish: Vegetarian (not too much vegan) - an outstanding assortment of cheese - this is what brought me back over and over. Salad bar, grilled veggies, some fruits (could have been more). The cold salads weren't clearly marked vegetarian or non-vegetarian, so I didn't try any of those (other than the greens, which were obvious).
Non-vegetarian - the carnivorous Persnickity Teens gorged themselves on the shellfish, prime rib, poached salmon and trout almondine.
The Ahwahnee Dining room serves many different types of gourmet dishes in the cavernous dining room. Even if you don't eat here, at least peak in the doorway. The ceiling towers 34 feet overhead as chandeliers hang down over tables. Floor-to-ceiling windows give diners wonder views of the surrounding valley! Reservations are highly recommended if not required for dinner. Sunday bruch is extremely popular. Casual attire is acceptable for breakfast and lunch but dinner requires jackets for males 12 and up.
Great food, great ambience...but expensive ! But if you can afford to stay there, you can afford to eat there !
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