I was a little worried when I decided to spend Christmas in Yosemite Valley because food is such a huge part of my travel adventures and Yosemite did not seem like the trendy food mecca that I am used to. But, I did end up finding two bucket list worthy Yosemite restaurants that fed my taste buds.
When I mentioned my dining dilemma to my friends, I heard the same thing at least a dozen times, “you have to eat at the Awahnee Hotel“. Not one person recommended dining at the Evergreen Lodge. And I’m not sure why.
I walked into the restaurant at the Awahnee Hotel and immediately understood what the hype was about. It was grand. And had large windows for watching the snowflakes fall. Now that’s ambiance.
The menu was grand too. Not too large, but pricey. Since it was lunch we settled on the $17 burger. It was not laced in 24 karat gold or layered in black truffles. At least it had fries.
The burger was good, not almost-twenty-bucks good, but good nonetheless. What was great was watching the snow showers from our front row table. Eating here should be on your bucket list simply for the ambiance.
All of our other meals were had at the Evergreen Lodge, including a delicious prix fixe Christmas dinner.
This restaurant wasn’t grand at all, actually the it was quite quaint. Nothing fancy, but the food.
Though all the dishes at this restaurant were tasty, there were a few standouts. First, the grilled wild boar, perfectly cooked to medium rare. Though boar is in the pig family, it tasted more like beef (or duck) than pork.
It was a must to order the Petaluma Farms Half Chicken since that is my hometown in California and we are informally known as the chicken capital of the world.
This dish was roasted chicken breast and confit leg over black truffle risotto with sauteed haricot verts, toasted pecans, citrus zest and brandy with an herb pan jus. Sound good? It was.
Lastly, in order to satisfy my hunger for weird food, we ordered the Open Face Elk Sliders with applewood smoked bacon and port reduction.
I had only had elk one other time, in the form of a jerky at at San Francisco’s Fancy Food Show and this was much different. And juicier.
The flavor of the mini elk burger was that of a slightly gamey Angus meat.
Both of these Yosemite restaurants should be on your bucket list for entirely different reasons. Go to the Awahnee for the breathtaking ambiance and then head over to the Evergreen Lodge for tasty and unique dishes.
Have you ever eaten elk or wild boar? Which of these two Yosemite Restaurants would you rather dine at?