Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > California >
Jun 13, 2007 09:54 AM

Santa Maria restaurants

We're planning a family get together of nine people next month. We're looking for a nice place to have dinner in Santa Maria. A couple of the people are not too adventurous. A "California" restaurant that offers a variety of choices would be good. Italian would be fine. I've heard that Santa Maria is known for barbecue, which also would be OK if the restaurant is nice. Be good if we could find an upscale restaurant but it doesn't have to be fancy. Am I looking for too much in Santa Maria?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The best restaurant would be Chef Ricks in Orcutt. Small place, pricey but the menu has plenty for everyone.
    If you're looking for a BBQ place I would try the Hitching Post in Casmalia (well renowned) not cheap but goof food (steaks/chicken/Fish). Casmalia is right next to S.M.

    In Santa Maria,there's a lot of chain restaurants (Marie Callenders,Dennys, etc.) if no one is feeling adventurous. Many Mexican restaurants also, some good, some just OK.

    Outside of that its slim pickings...

    1 Reply
    1. re: kaki3152

      If you decide on the Hitching Post in Casmalia be sure to call ahead for hours first. If you're looking for a nice place to eat in a nice area then keep driving. This area is a dump-literally. The town continually has hazard waste and contamination issues. SM has many other nearby restaurants located in the Five Cities area. Try Pismo Beach --not a far drive at all.

    2. "Am I looking for too much in Santa Maria?"

      Yes, probably.
      The recco for Chef Rick's is probably your best bet- the non adventurous in your group could surely find a chicken or salad dish to suit their needs. And it is a "nice" restaurant.

      For Santa Maria bbq you could go to the already mentioned Hitching Post, though it's not in Santa Maria proper. Neither are the next two, but they're close enough: Jocko's, in Nipomo, or Far Western Tavern, in Guadalupe.
      Be forewarned that none of the last three are upscale, by any stretch of the imagination - think Elk's Lodge circa 1965 and you'll know what you're in for. But the steaks are really good.

      There's also a place in Orcutt called the Wine Cottage Bistro, that would probably fit your requirements of "upscale," "nice," and "California," though I haven't eaten there personally.
      The chef there now was formerly at the Wine Cask Los Olivos - it might be worth a try.

      1. this place has been on my chowdar for a couple of years, yet I haven't managed to make it in!

        3rd Coast Cafe
        Town Center Mall West
        Santa Maria, Ca

        It caught my eye again, as a local newspaper wine column item. A winemaker's dinner is coming up this month featuring McKeon-Phillips winery.

        1. The only choice in the Santa Maria area would be the Wine Cottage Bistro in Old Orcutt. Not only is it charming but the food and service is the best in the area. If you are looking for something special it is the place to go.

          1. We just discovered 3rd Coast Cafe, which now shares the top of our list with Chef Rick's. Our entrees were the chateaubriand and the crab cakes. Having swapped generous samples of each others' entrees, we found them both to be superb in taste and quality, and aesthetically pleasing in presentation. A tad pricey, but who cares. The service was excellent -- attentive, but not overbearing.