For a Gourmet Meal and Top Notch Buffet in Yosemite National Park, Head to The Ahwahnee Hotel

Over the weekend, Chris and I were finally able to cross a big item off of our California Bucket List by camping at Yosemite National Park.  The views were stunning, the hikes were beautiful, although the campsites were too crowded for my taste.  Tourists aside, it was definitely worth the trip.  We gazed up at climbers on El Capitan, chased several waterfalls, and climbed halfway up to Half Dome.  And after all of that, we even got brunch.

Sore from our long hike up to Nevada Falls on the Mist Trail the day before, we decided to do some easy day hikes on Sunday to round out our experience.  Chris mentioned that he had seed a documentary about the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite, and he wanted to check it out.  A park ranger confirmed that anyone is welcome to visit the hotel and explore its classic architecture, and so off we went!  Upon arrival, we couldn’t help but notice all of the delicious smells coming out of the dining room, so we put our names on the list for brunch while we continued exploring the first floor.

When our table was ready, we were walked through the expansive dining hall that looked like a combination of Hogwarts meets log cabin, and seated in the back little nook surrounded by floor to ceiling windows looking out at the expansive cliffs surrounding Yosemite Valley.  We ordered off of the a la cart menu (mostly because it was cheaper, but also because it had Eggs Benedict), although I have to say that everything on the buffet side looked and smelled amazing.  When our food arrived, we were immediately wowed with the spread, and the food itself was delicious.  My Eggs Benedict was decadent yet light (there was a lot of real butter in there, and I loved it).  Chris’s breakfast spread came with toasts served with butter and many different jams, sausage (which were so good that I stole one for myself), scrambled eggs, and potatoes.  I may have to make a recipe someday where I recreate these potatoes, they were that good.  Lightly roasted, very salty, and mixed in with caramelized onions – these potatoes were everything I would want a breakfast potato to be.  Maybe it was because we were hungry and excited to eat a hot meal, but we both walked away feeling like this was one of the best brunches that we’ve had in a while.

We showed up wearing very casual hiking clothes, and although I felt extremely underdressed, most people were dressed similarly.  The brunch itself was a little on the pricey end (about $25 for each of us), but that was still cheaper than the buffet option (which would have run us $56 a person).  That said, we felt that the quality of the food was well worth the price.  I would definitely recommend coming a little early to put your name in for reservations, then explore the hotel while you wait (we got there around 11:15 and were seated to eat a little before noon).  The meal came complete with live piano music (including the Harry Potter theme – very on brand), which made the experience feel extra special.  The dining room is also open for lunch and dinner service (all for various prices), and there is a bar area that also serves food on the other side of the hotel. 

All this to say that Sunday Brunch at the Ahwahnee was a fun and delicious time, and totally worth a stop on any Yosemite itinerary.  For more details and specific information to plan your trip, please click the link here to access their website. Happy brunching, friends!

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