Driving from SF to San Diego. Looking for places to stop and eat on or near Route 1. Ideally, somewhere with a good atmosphere a good sea view -- food and venue can be very rustic/basic, but the kitchen will preferably use good local produce / seafood. Read about Nepenthe. Anyone have any other ideas? Thanks. F
The best ocean view in all of California is at the Post Ranch Inn's restaurant in Big Sur. I grew up a block from the ocean and this is one of the top two ocean views I've ever seen. The food at Post Ranch Inn is excellent and expensive. If you want a view that is almost equal, go to Ventana, which is just across the road. Ideally, hit both.
In Santa Barbara is El Encanto, overlooking the city and the ocean, might call first, seem to hear something about remodeling, but may be just the cabins and not the restaurant. Also in SB a new place went in where Citronelle used to be (sorry, can't recall the name), great view but don't know about the food. The Biltmore which is nearby might be worth checking out.
About 15 mi south of Santa Barbara is Mussel Shoals, on the bottom floor of the motel is a little restaurant with a patio that puts you at beach level with only a little patch of lawn separating you from the ocean. Our last lunch there consisted of a pretty good cioppino and a rock shrimp and scallop spinach salad w/creamy lemon basil dressing that was excellent.
6602 W. PCH (Pacific Coast Hwy)
In Laguna Beach there is Savoury, Splashes, and Las Brisas. These are covered on the LA Board, should you decide to post there you might want to also ask about or just do a search on:
Geoffrey's (good food) or The Sunset or Moonshadows in Malibu
Cafe Pacific at Trump National Golf Club in Palos Verde - public sunset walking trails
Cafe del Rey at Marina del Rey - asian fusion, fireplace bar
Bel-Air Bay Club
Le Quai in Newport
Haven't eaten there but Fisherman's Restaurant in San Clemente is a great view spot.
In LaJolla, George's at the Cove, the Marine Room (dinner only?), try Brockton Villa for breakfast.
In San Diego, Peohe's has a great view looking back at the skyline from Coronado. And iirc, Bertrand's at Mr. A's has a penthouse 360 degree view (SD hounds please correct me if I'm wrong here).
Have a great trip, and be sure and report back on how it went.
PolarBear - some updates for you:
El Encanto Hotel in Santa Barbara is totally closed for renovations. Go on up the road beyond the El Encanto Hotel to Franceschi Park for the city's most spectacular views, this is secret Santa Barbara, but no place to eat unless you pack a great picnic lunch from one of SB's delis along the way. It is worth it.
The new proprietor at the old Citronelle spot is "Fresco's at the Beach, in the Santa Barbara Inn found at the corner of Cabrillo Blvd and Milpas Streets along the beach front.
Sorry to hear that, it's been several years since I was there for breakfast. Back in that time frame there was a place downstairs in a complex that you entered off the northern portion of the main downtown drag that sat above the street that runs along the shoreline and had a nice view of the cove. Recall the food being decent and pretty good apps and cocktails, haven't the foggiest of what the name is/was.