Cambria, Paso Robles and the drive up. [moved from L.A. board]
Going to Moonstone Beach for a quiet NYEve weekend getaway with the SO. Looking for restaurant recs for the drive up/back and while there, including NYEve. Also any winery suggestions for that weekend. Guessing all closed on NYday.
I've made numerous treks up to this area in recent years. The wineries will indeed probably be closed NY Day and will probably close early NY Eve.
Los Olivos has good tasting rooms for multiple wineries, if you want to pass thru there. It's a pretty drive - take Highway 154 north of Santa Barbara. Also, Brander is a winery near Los Olivos that is worth visiting. There's a great sandwich shop in "downtown" Los Olivos, and some other good decent spots, too. They're not hard to check out because the town is only about two square blocks.
Further north but closer to the 101 is the Edna Valley (east of Arroyo Grande) with its eponymous winery as well as Talley and Domaine Alfred among the best bets. (There are a lot of other wineries in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties -- I'm just listing some of my favorites.)
Restaurantwise in the Moonstone/Cambria area, I have found the Treasure Chest to have the best seafood (simply prepared, but fresh - with an oyster bar). However, the place doesn't take credit cards or reservations, so go early with a wad of cash or be prepared to wait, sometimes interminably.
The Black Cat Bistro in Cambria is trying hard to be a good, innovative restaurant. The night I ate there it was uneven, but I'd give it another try. Avoid Brambles, Mustache Pete's and Robin's. The Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill, just north of town, is a great place for a drink but the food is lacking.
The best restaurant in the general area is McPhee's, in Templeton, near Paso Robles and about a 30-minute drive from Cambria.
Some other places in the area...
For a good burger and amazing pulled pork sandwich, salads, fries and lots of beer on tap try Firestone on Higuera and Osos in San Luis.
The best sushi in SLO is Ynagi on Marsh near Johnson IMHO.
For excellent sandwiches (The Lincoln Ortega is SO good) try Lincoln Market on Lincoln and Broad St. at the Broad St. exit if you're coming from Atascadero.
For tasty food, try Taco Temple in Morro Bay. Everything I've tried, I've loved. My favorites are the Crab Cake Tacos, Asada Tacos. The desserts are consistently flavorfully delicious. A little pricey for the blah decor and ambiance, but worth it for the flavor and quantity.
If you're in Atascadero, you have to stop at Nardonne's Pizzaria (cash only). Their pizza has a thick crust but perfect sauce/crust ratio! Also in Atascadero, Thai-Riffic, terrible name, extraordinary Thai! Try the Sweet Basil Tofu, Lemon Grass Chicken, Spicy Garlic Seafood and Mango and Sticky Rice for Dessert. YUM! The Thai-Riffic in San Luis isn't as consistently good as Atascadero.
In Pismo Beach, Guisseppe's is great Italian. No ocean view, but tasty food.
In Los Osos, try Sylvester's for big, juicy hamburgers and garlic fries that are perfectly seasoned. It's a tiny hole in the wall, w/an even tinier patio.
We're frequent visitors.
En route, we usually stop in Orcutt at Chef Rick's:
Near enough to Cambria to make the drive from Moonstone Beach if you don't stop on the way, and my pick for the best choice in the Cambria area, Hoppe's Bistro in Cayucos:
Both have these have been consistently good in recent trips.
For upscale in Morro Bay, Windows on the Water:
If you take San Marcos Pass, Cold Spring Tavern can be fun (lots of bikers, good burgers, historic stagecoach stop):
Also in Cambria, Wild Ginger:
Have a great trip!
I respectfully disagree about Robin's in Cambria and recommend it highly:
Also, Linn's Fruit Bin has opened a small little place just north of it's main restaurant location (currently closed due to fire). Great baked goods and comfort food:
And for the ride up or back, the Hitching Post in Beullton is just off the 101:
No offense, but I'd avoid Linn's, too, at least for breakfast. What used to be good breakfasts there years ago went downhill and further downhill to the point where my wife and I stopped going altogether. Their baked goods are so-so.
Robin's is one of those places with no real food focus, seems to be trying mostly to please tourists with dishes from a variety of countries/styles/cuisines, none of them very successful, IMHO. But the OP can check out the menu for himself.
We went to the Buono Tavola in Paso Robles (there is another one in SLO) for dinner after a day of wine tasting, and I can honestly say it was one of the best Italian meals I've ever had. Everyone loved their dish (and I come from a family of foodies), and the service and prices were perfect.