Eatery - Cafe Aroma (CA)

Café Aroma on Urbanspoon

54750 N Circle Dr, Idyllwild, CA 92549
Pricing - $$/$$$ | Dining - Casual, Dressy Casual | Cuisine - Italian

On our last night in Idyllwild, we ate at Cafe Aroma which had plenty of rave reviews on Yelp and from the residents there. We had actually dropped by the night before but were told that they were booked for the next 2-3 hours. Popular, popular. So having learned our lesson, we arrived after making reservations and were seated promptly on the wooden patio outside at a quaint seat. It was still pretty busy there when we sat down at 5:30 for our early dinner. Service was quick, and the specials sounded delightful.


We ended up choosing one of the specials, the Soup of the Day ($6) which was a cream of asparagus with oyster mushrooms. Before that came out, we were given an assorted selection of sliced bread with a generous bowl of olive oil and raw garlic. I enjoyed the olive bread immensely. Then the soup came out with some creme fraiche and freshly ground pepper (ground by the server himself). It was very smooth and delicious. The mushrooms were great in themselves but a bit too large for the spoon/mouthful. Well done on the soup!

My order was for their double Portabello ravioli ($18) which had Portabello mushrooms sliced on the outside and stuffed inside the ravioli. Freshly shredded Parmesan was added on top of the basil-topped, natural sauced dish by the server. I really enjoyed the abundance of mushrooms in the dish, and the texture of the ravioli pasta which was perfectly al dente. The cheese helped sustain the savoriness of the mushrooms by continuing the lingering umami mouthfeel. 

Duc's order was for their shrimp jalapeno pesto fettuccine ($22). That's a mouthful to say and was always a mouthful to have. With a creamy cilantro-jalapeno pesto, the dish had quite the spicy but fresh kick. As with the ravioli, the pasta was done very well. I thoroughly enjoyed the large shrimp with the dish too and the inclusion of fresh tomato. Even though we typically let each other just taste each other's plates, I kept stealing his. It was fabulous.

We ended the night with their after-dinner drink called the cafe aroma (from what I remember). It had Kahlua, Bailey's, coffee, and whipped cream - I was totally not expecting it to be a hot drink though. It came out in a glass with spoons and straws so I immediately thought it was a cold drink. One sip from the tunnel of pain (my straw) slightly burnt my tongue. The drink ended up being way too heavy on the Kahlua for either of our tastes so we kind of worked on it very, very slowly.


The meal ended up being quite pricey for our liking BUT what saved us from completely writing off the experience as not worth the money (despite good food) was the live entertainment they had there, which they apparently have nearly every night. It was very relaxing to listen to the talented tones of the band who were not only playing well but also entertaining well by calling out diners and asking for song requests. Set amongst the trees, Cafe Aroma is a fun place to be on an early evening, especially for some lighthearted music and good company. What a great way to end our trip!