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Jul 12, 2006 09:06 PM

Big Sur Area - Round Up

Cielo - how formal does one have to dress? We're camping close by but I'm thinking of having one nice dinner out with out beans and rice.

Nepenthe - do you need recommendations? is it a zoo? tourist zoo?

Where is the best spot to have a evening/dinner picnic?

Other updates or thoughts on the Big Sur area?


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  1. Like most of California, it's casual and comfortable. I doubt Nepenthe takes any reservations but don't let that stop you. It is a zoo. Parking is really rough (but if you're camping in the area perhaps you could hike up there). It's full of tourists. And it's still a MUST! The food is good (no small feat if you consider the logistics of keeping supplied up there!) and features wonderful locale cheeses. The view from the upper patio is fantastic and there will be lots to see and enjoy while you wait for a table. The gift shop is great fun and you might find something wonderful as a reminder. I, personally, still have a keychain version of a Zolo toy that I picked up on a run between LA and Vancouver, BC. ; >

    I don't know other Big Sur restaurants but if you want special food, you might want to drive down to Carmel. Actually, you should go to Carmel if you're that close anyway. The beach is memorable and the town is adorable.

    Gas up on either end! Gas prices up there must be *horrendous*! They were 18 months ago before we hit the most extortionist-per-barrel-costs.

    Wish I knew something about camping up there. I don't. Most importantly, have a great time. It's a magnificent spot on the planet.

    1. Cielo is far better than Nepenthe foodwise IMO. Don't miss the Big Sur Bakery, maybe even for dinner!

      1. Nepenthe is basically hamburgers and fries. If you want a real good meal Cielo is the place. Several times at lunch I've been rewarded by seeing a California Condor sail by just outside the window. You may also want to consider the restaurant at the Ventana Inn. It's also good and easier to get a reservation at than Cielo. I like the Ventana much better than Nepenthe for lunch. I've never considered Nepenthe for dinner.

        A little further north (about 10 miles) you might consider Rocky Point Restaurant near the Rocky Point Bridge. It has a very simple menu, steaks, chops, swordfish, and salmon all grilled, and served with the biggest baked potatoes I've ever seen. The views are very good and they light up the cliff at night.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jaweino

          Cielo is the restaurant at the Ventana Inn. Rocky Point is really only worth going to during the day for the view. Food is ok. I would stick to a margarita and their crab cocktail with a side of the sourcream french fries. Then go to Cielo for dinner!

        2. All great feedback thanks!

          My plan was to check out the Bakery too... Nice tip about the gas prices. I'm actually renting a hybrid in L.A.

          Less money on gas, more money on food.

          1. Sorry, my mistake on confusing the names of Cielo Vista del Mar or whatever Post Ranch calls their restaurant. I've seen the condors from Post Ranch, not Cielo. The staff has told me that's it's a fairly common sighting.