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Lido and Gardens of Avila - Pismo area

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Thought I'd put out this request previously, but unable to find it.

Looking for a nice dinner for a party of 10, I called G of A to fax a menu to me, and inquired about the current chef, all the gal could tell me was his name is Andy. We'd had some very good meals there several years ago but downhill reports began after they lost their chef. More recently the reports got better after Evan Treadwell took over, but now find that he's at Lido in the Dolphin Inn.

Would love to hear of any recent experiences at Lido. A good friend in Arroyo Grande ate at the Italian place in the area (name escapes me) when Chef Treadwell was there some time back, and was not impressed. I'm thinking of going with Lido rather than rolling the dice at G of A, had to nix Chef Rick's since it's just a little too far after an afternoon of wine tasting.

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  1. Hey PB, is eating in Pismo Beach/Avila Beach a must?

    1 Reply
    1. re: glazebrookgirl

      Well, it's a marathon Pinot tasting from 2-5 PM in Shell Beach and we will have a couple of DDs, just thinking it would be a little more sensible. The last time we went to Hoppe's, but a number of folks in our group were staying in Cambria, this time everyone is pretty close to the event. Any and all ideas welcome of course from a true hound such as yourself.

    2. Hmmm...I completely understand the need to stay near Shell Beach. However, there seems to be a lot of inconsistency in the Shell Beach/Avila Beach/Pismo Beach area. Lido is fairly new and I haven't been, although it seems to be a better choice than Gardens of Avila, which has suffered a lot with chef change-ups. I was wondering where Treadwell was before Lido, since I thought he had been at G of A right up until he left and went to Lido. Anyway, I would be more willing to go with Lido with an open mind than chance an unknown chef at a struggling G of A.

      I think San Luis probably has more choices and a little better food, but sometimes it is just too far after wine tasting. Have fun wine tasting! (I am so jealous!)

      1. How about Park in SLO near the train station? I am sure they could accomidate a party that size, and if the tasting is at Shell Beach, the Lido is pretty much right next door and there may be lots of people from the tasting going there. I was not too impressed with G of A when we were last there, but it was during Christmastime and it can be hard to reliably access a restaurant during that season.

        1. Thanks for the reminder about Park, I've been wanting to try them for a while now. I figured that the local spots would get flooded so I made a 5:30 reso at Lido last week, thinking I could pick the hounds' brains and still have time to cancel with plenty of notice if something else comes up.

          1. If you can get the reservations, the Park is terrific, but they may want a standard menu between the group. Call to see ASAP.

            1. don't know if it's the kind of place/meal you're looking for, but we've had two very nice dinners at a Thai restaurant in downtown PB, where Bon Temps used to be. Corner of Hinds and Price.

              Decor is well done in an tasteful, comfortable way. It's a small room and a small kitchen (Auntie cooks) but maybe they could accomodate your party. Worth an inquiry if it suits you. Nice wine list.

              http://www.thaitalay.com/index.html#S...

              1 Reply
              1. re: toodie jane

                I have to say that I had a really dismal meal there within the last few months. My sister had enjoyed it previously but was so bummed out she does not want to return either. I suppose we ordered badly. We were steered away from our choice of Thai BBQ Chicken to the (boneless) grilled chicken with sweet Thai sauce, which was bland and awful. We thought maybe because we had a child along they thought it might be better. Also the garlic sauce pork was disliked, but I can't remember what was wrong with it.

              2. That would be Thai Talay in what used to be Bon Temps Pismo Beach location. I picked up some Tom Ka Gai (SP?) aka Chicken coconut soup there on Wednesday and it was pretty good. I've eaten there a number of times and I have never had a problem with the food.
                Still, the food is nothing special for a Thai restaurand. I've had better Thai food at other places on the Central Coast.It's also a little pricier, but that could be due to the location.

                1. I'd go with Lido. We ate lunch there in January and both the setting and the food were teriffic. The munu features two prices for each item--regular size and smaller, tasting size portions. I expected it to be much more expensive than it turned out to be. We didn't have wine at lunch (that day) so I can't comment on that aspect, but the bar area is very attractive. Service was a bit slow but professional and helpful.

                  1. I went to Lido for dinner at the beginning of this month on a Monday night and I thought that it was fantastic. The service was outstanding, and even though the room was about half full I'd like to think that they're like that usually. We had the triple foie gras "creme brulees" one in apple/pear, one with star anise, and one with persimmon. It was amazing. we also had their Santa Maria style pulled pork empanadas, and I though I realize that there's probably better places in the area for BBQ, these were good too, but didn't stand out too much.

                    For entrees we had the venison and a braised rabbit with papardelle. Both were perfectly seasoned and delicious. For dessert the huckleberry bread pudding with mascarpone gelato was perfect.

                    The night before we had Gardens of Avila, and it couldn't compare at all. Lido all the way.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: ysb

                      'santa maria style pulled pork'--???? was it listed like that on the menu?

                      1. re: ysb

                        Thanks for reporting back, ysb. Exactly the kind of information the hounds crave.

                        Cheers,

                        Dave

                        1. re: ysb

                          Our group LOVES Lido. We found that the small size on some of the items was plenty large enough, ask the server.

                          Funny that we wound up ordering a NZ Sauvignon Blanc instead of a Central Coast wine, but it was cheap ($20) and pretty good (Matua), we were a bit cash strapped.

                        2. Haven't been to Lido yet, but here's my report on GoA:

                          It's in the Sycamore Mineral Hot Springs Resort in AB on AB Drive. It's set into the hillside, so oak trees drooping with spanish moss are thickly scattered throughout, providing loads of shade and a nice "woodsy" feeling and a crunchy walk. Architecture is Spanish Colonial/Mission with an amusing touch of California beach house as seen in the blue stairs leading to rooms.

                          Inside the main hall and restaurant, the decor is richly waxed dark wood--lots of it, and off white plaster walls lending their airiness. Tables are covered with white linens and chairs are armless heavy wood kitchen chairs which perfectly match the decor. Wood columns dot the small dining room which seats about 15-20 4 top tables and three booths. There is also a Garden Room overlooking the rear patio and and several tables for outdoor seating there.

                          Service was excellent. Marco was our waiter and Robert our table aide. They were friendly and professional. I told Marco I was on a salt restricted diet so no salt on the meat, please, and he was happy to oblige.

                          Both the SW and I ordered the flights of wine, three each, red for her and white for me. The flights were $10 each aand featured generous pours.

                          WHITE: (I'm relying on my notes and the wine info provided.)
                          Martin Codax - Albarino 2006. Smooth, well-integrated; short, crisp finish, good notes of citrus, pear and peach.

                          Bonterra - Chardonnay 2005. Initially strong nose of barnyard, decanting for 20 minutes smoothed it out nicely. Smooth oak. Apple and citrus. Light but not a lightweight. An easy drinker perfect for nicer casual dining.

                          Koehler - Rieseling 2006. I loved the nose on this: lemon, grapefruit, some floral. Bright, crisp, very smooth but not simplisitic--interesting. The nose dissipates after 20-30 minutes of decanting. Nicely sweet, never cloying.

                          RED: (I'm relying mostly on the Wench's notes here)

                          Brucher - Merlot 2006. Robust, amazing in combo w/ caper berry, better after a few moments of decanting. Good fruit.

                          Carmel Road - Pinot Noir 2005. Concentrated cherry, earthy fruit, rose hints and roasted almonds. Smooth tannins, "LUSH!!!"

                          J. Lohr - Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. Excellent with mushrooms, aromas of cherry, blueberry, violets and vanilla. Flavors are lusciously full, balanced w/ firm tannins, but never overpowering.

                          Current chef is David McWilliam. The menu was two pages, one of starters and one of entrees. The Sturdy Wench ordered the Ceasar Salad, which was a nicely large salad without overwhelming the plate. The salad came dressed and with a caper berry and croutons mixed in. The salad was a bit bland for my palate (my taste is for sharp flavors) but the SW enjoyed it, saying it was well-balanced and subtle.

                          I ordered the special, a 14-oz ribeye, medium rare, with broccolini and a Dijon mustard peppercorn sauce and topped with what I think were oyster and chanterelle mushrooms. (I'm still learning my fungus.) The veg was well cooked crisp-tender. The steak (organic), was excellent. Strong beefy flavor with a great smoky taste from the sear. The sauce and mushrooms were outstanding--I came close to licking the plate.

                          The Sturdy Wench ordered the mushroom ravioli--the sauce powerfully rich, velvety and smooth, the pasta tasting fresh and the filling gorgeously earthy.

                          For dessert, she ordered the Southern Peach Cobbler a la mode abd I the tres leches cake. Our desserts were the only disappointment of the meal: mine had a bitter, almost gin-like after-taste, and Marco comped it and I asked for fresh fruit instead, so I got a glass of black- and raspberries and blueberries, which made a nice ending for me. The SW's cobbler used tasteless peaches, such that she said if she didn't know it was peach, "I'd be hard pressed to identify it as such." The crust and the ice cream were good, tho. Perhaps the pastry chef just had an off night.

                          URL: http://www.sycamoresprings.com/summer...

                          Prices range from $8-15 for starter and from $25-40 for entree. Desserts are $7-10. Wine by the glass prices were reasonable. In fact, the Bayalena Sauv Blanc was $2 less here than at our favorite place, Pelican Point Inn.

                          We were happy with our meal here in this gorgeous restaurant with excellent wine, entrees, service, and plan on returning.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: KenWritez

                            Thanks for the great report, Ken. Good to hear they're turning things around, will have to give them another shot next time we're in the area.

                            1. re: KenWritez

                              >>> Pelican Point Inn<<<

                              Ken, where is this place?

                              Thanks for the great GofA review.

                              1. re: Gail

                                It's in Pismo Beach, on Price St, between the two Best Westerns.

                                http://www.shorecliff.com/pismo_beach...

                                I should say, "It used to be our favorite." (GoA now has that spot.) It's gone through several chefs/managers and it's suffered a bit in food quality as a result. Our dinner Monday night featured a *very* over-dressed salad, an excellent top sirloin, and a bland black sea bass. So, I'll give it 3 1/2 stars out of 5.

                                What rescues it from a lesser rating is the decor, which is subtle and nicely dark without being cave-like; the service, which has always been excellent, and the wonderful view--the restaurant sits on a promontory so you have about a 200 degree ocean view.

                                Last year the cioppino was outstanding, but we didn't try it this year.

                              2. re: KenWritez

                                that's a shame about the peach cobbler. just across the road at Avila Barn, there are fresh ripe juicy peaches galore! have been enjoying them for several weeks now. I would think the chef would make use of such a fresh source.