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Jan 31, 2007 10:17 AM

Trip up the coast-Looking for suggestions

I am from Tennessee and on Feb.13 my girlfriend meets me in San Diego at a work conference. We are vacationing until the 19th when we fly out of San Francisco. Basically I have to get to San Fran from San Diego in 6 days. I want to do the drive up the PCH to San Fran. I am looking for good food and lodging suggestions. I have done the drive once before along PCH from LA to SF but didn't stop along the way. Here is the itinerary that i have in my head. Feel free to add, subtract, or shoot it down entirely. Restaraunt options are a must. Something nice for Valentine's Day.

13-San Diego
14-Santa Barabara
15-Big Sur/Carmel/Monterey
16-18-San Fran


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  1. Hi, for San Francisco Bay Area specific recommendations, please post a query on the S.F. board. Santa Barbara north through the Monterey Area are covered on this board.

    1. I think your itenerary looks good!

      Hoppe's Bistro in Cayucos is good. It's about 2 hours North of Santa Barbara, closer to San Luis Obispo. Good wine list, good food, nice ambiance. Upscale but not too fancy.

      In SF I like Foreign Cinema if you want a unique, fun, romantic vibe. For the best food experience in SF, I would recommend posting a more specific question on the SF Bay board. Include price range, food preferences and those types of things as there is so much to choose from.

      Eat a lot of Mexican food.

      1. The Cliff House Hotel and Shoals Restaurant is a bit of a sleeper for a romantic stop on 101 between Santa Barbara and Ventura, right on the ocean - you feel you are a world apart yet you are right there on the freeway:

        The rooms are tired and the building is old - keep that in mind, but the setting and the restaurant make it a special place for consideration if you want to stay close to the highway. Apparently the breakfast buffet is good and the views from Room 24 are spectacular.

        Staying in Santa Barbara is expensive so maybe stopping outside of town and then going in for meals in Santa Barbara the next day could work.?

        Hard question to answer: what is your budget and what are your interests? -easy access restuarants - time enough to explore and figure out the hidden charms of Santa Barbara or quick and convenient but still special.

        2 Replies
        1. re: glbtrtr

          Sycamore Mineral Springs in Avila (near Shell beach and the Cliff House) is also a cool place to stay and they have a good restaurant, Gardens of Avila, on the premises.

          1. re: Bcakes

            Second this rec. for Sycamore Mineral Springs. Stayed there and loved it!! I think each room has its own hot springs tub, and they also have tubs on the premises for you to enjoy. Wonderful place. Did not try the restaurant at the hotel, but I've heard great things about it. Definitely a wonderful hotel!!

        2. I am not particularly on a budget but 6 nighjts of tasting menus would break me. Lodging between $125 to $200 a night and meals in the $100-$150 range for two with wine. Might like a suggestion for one really good splurge dinner. Maybe a tasting menu if it's really worth it.

          1. If you need to stop for lunch between SB and Big Sur you could do worse than Noi's Little Thai Takeout in Baywood Park (nr Morro Bay). Stayed at the Backbay Inn back in December and had the best food there. Little means Little, there are two tables inside and that's it but there is plenty of outdoor seating. Call them to make sure they are open: 805-528-6647

            1 Reply
            1. re: jweg

              Second the detour into Baywood Park - I am always surprised when I revisit this charming, low-key place. Glad to hear about the restaurant recommendation as that is always the hit and miss part of this sojourn. This is a California Surprise destination in my book.