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Sep 26, 2006 08:53 PM

Where to get good eats in the Avila Beach area?

We are planning a special get away to Avila Beach in about two weeks and I would love to hear about good eating places in the area. We will be moving about so don't limit it to Avila. We are celebrating a triple occasion (BD/Anniver.) so would like a "special" dinner. The rest of the meals can be just "good eats". Thanks in advance for your help.

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  1. This is much more than a meal, it's an experience and I've only eaten there once, but we had a good lunch last week at Gardens of Avila, the restaurant at the Sycamore Mineral Springs hotel, in the hills just inland from Avila Beach. The whole place is beautiful with nature, so we ate outdoors on the old stone patio. My meal of salmon with jungle curry sauce on coconut jasmine rice and a glass of local Domaine Alfred Rose of Syrah was quite good. Hubby had their big grilled Reuben that came with an especially tasty salad of greens, goat cheese and toasted walnuts. The only downside to the patio is, if there's a breeze, some pine duff blows down from the trees, but sharing the space with only two hummingbirds, we felt it was worth the trouble.

    After lunch, it's nice to stroll the grounds. If you go, don't miss their meditation garden and labyrinth on the banks of the creek. The labyrinth's not a maze, but a path that leads you to the center and back out again--a relaxing walking meditation. I don't know if it was the lunch, the wine, the labyrinth, the fumes coming off the mineral springs, or all of the above, but after all that, sitting at the edge of the creek, I felt incredibly relaxed. You might enjoy it, too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Moka

      Someone in the busness told me just this week that Sycamore owners were trying to develope a spa cuisine at GofA....grilled Ruebens don't sound like it. Can you fill us in on more menu details? It IS a lovely setting. My BP goes down 20 points just getting out of the car.

      1. re: toodie jane

        At our lunch, there wasn't a spa menu, but the website does mention a Chef's Health & Wellness menu, so it may be a dinner option or perhaps that's the menu you were hearing about? The lunch menu is pretty basic, sandwiches, salads, pasta, crab cakes and my entree was the most "exotic" of the choices, I thought. But our dishes were nicely prepared and well-presented. I also remember them having quite a large number of quality local wines, which pleased us, and our server was well-informed of the menu and the wines, very professional. Let us know if you hear any more about the spa menu.

        Gardens of Avila restaurant:

    2. I know that Pete's Pierside Cafe and Market on the working pier in Port San Luis at the far end of Avila Beach is not to be missed. Here is a recent chowhound report:

      And another:

      Pete's is defintely casual, so it would be more of a "good eats" place rather than a special date place.

      1. I ate at Gardens of Avila about a year ago and would second it. The grounds are beautiful. You are between SLO (to the north) and Pismo Beach (to the south) so you might run a check of those cities. I know there are quite a few SLO threads. Also, Paso Robles is about a 40 minute drive.

        1. there's a new destination resort next to the Cliffs in Shell Beach called Dolphin Bay. The restaurant is The Lido,

          with Evan Treadwell executive chef.

          I haven't heard much buzz; perhaps some of the local hounds or regular hound visitors have been and can chime in?

          1. when i was in college, olde port inn was very good- does anyone know if it still is? i couldn't believe how avila had changed from my college days in the early 80s!!