Polar Bear - FYI the Black Cat in Cambria has always held the same ownership - the split was a chef who left and launched on his own. The owner/executive chef is CIA Greystone and she offers excellent menu and wines. The blip you may have heared of had more to do with her being in a serious accident, requiring recovery time. Black Cat is still my favorite (in part because of the wine list too). It is also one of the few places where you can feel comfortable going in and having dinner on your own up at the wine bar and be treated with excellent service.
During our August visit, we tried some of the recent recommendations (we've been going there for more than 20 years so have tried many places) & concluded that our favorite restaurant in Cambria is...in Cayucos, about 9 miles south of town.
Hoppe's has a nice ambience across the street from the ocean, with a view from the main room. There is a garden, as well. We've liked pretty much all the dishes we've tried in three visits. Would be romantic enough for a honeymoon. For the fanciest experience in the area, Windows on the Water in Morro Bay.
In Cambria itself, Wild Ginger (good food but tiny space, deserves a larger space & actual wineglasses, etc., but had the best food in town on our last visit). Other posters like Black Cat. Robin's was a long time favorite but we think it has slipped. Sea Chest has ocean view, the food not bad, but again...
I recommend Hoppe's in Cayucos. Easy, romantic drive down the coast, great food.
Happy marriage, Cambria has been a special spot for us for many years.
Please post back!
I'm inclined to agree with you Babette about Hoppe's, I'd drive the extra 15-20 min. anytime. One word of caution however, they have jacked up their wine prices so if that's a concern best to pick up a bottle at your favorite winery or stop by Albertson's in Morro Bay and pay the $15 corkage.
Black Cat Bistro is on our hold list, had great meals in the past but understand a split between the proprietors may have lead to its downfall. Still waiting to hear more from the locals.
I'll try and get my trip report from last week posted in the next day or so.
[Edited to add: We much prefer the garden, weather permitting, the main room is fine in inclement weather, but the garden is a blast]
I think your best bet would be the Sow's Ear in east village, it's the nicest place in the area. Do a search on this board for Cambria, there have been a number of recent discussions. There's also the Sea Chest (no reservations) and Moonstone Grill (the view here is the attraction rather than the food). Wild Ginger (more of an Asian fusion bistro and quite small) is good but sans the atmosphere it sounds like your looking for. Robins is also a favorite on this board.