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need a good & cheap lunch rec off the 101 around SLO/morro bay area

hello everyone, ill be heading up the coast from LA tomorrow and am in need of a good lunch place. i was thinking taco temple in morro bay, but would like to try something different. nothing too crazy, just nice, fresh and simple. i'm thinking SLO must have a ton of great places to eat since it's a college town, but something closer to the water would be stellar as well. thanks in advance!

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  1. 1/2 hour south of SLO is Santa Maria and in 5 min west off 101, you are in "Taqueria Central" along West Main in the blocks between Broadway and Blosser.

    I'd rec Carniceria Su Mesa at Blosser and Main (southwest corner) or kitty corner, El Toro Deli. Both have authentic Mexican foods to go. Ample, good and cheap.

    Another option in Santa Maria is to exit northbound at Betteravia, go east about 1 1/2 miles (3-4 minutes, no stoplights) to LONCHERA TICHITA, parked roadside just east of Rosemary Rd. Great lengua and other tacos, tortas and quesadillas and burritos. Sweet lady, too.

    Sorry, no ocean views.

    7 Replies
    1. re: toodie jane

      thanks TD, but i failed to mention i'm not really into mex for this trip since i'm coming from LA and as you well know, we have plenty of great mexican. ive been doing some research tho, and think i may stop in pismo beach or SLO. happy chowing!

      1. re: unocal

        In Pismo stop at Splash Cafe for the best clam chowder on the planet! Warning you, rich, very rich!

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        Splash Cafe
        Pismo Beach, CA, USA, Pismo Beach, CA

        1. re: Jesdamala

          I also really like Splash Cafe for the clam chowder and the Costco's in my area have it for sale now. I looked at the nutrition information and wowza! One serving is in the 600 calorie range, and I don't think I am eating their idea of a serving! I think the first ingredient is cream. However, it is probably the best clam chowder I have ever had. Now I am making myself very hungry and will probably have to go to Costco today and have clam chowder for lunch.

          1. re: glazebrookgirl

            As I have not found it at my Costco's in LA area, and I get up there so infrequently, I would not hesitate to splurge! I also love their clams and a nice salad! The clam chowder just may be worth a heart attack...well, kidding...I think I am going to place a mail order! Everybody who loves clam chowder should have a mouthful of this once in a while!

            I would be curious to see the Costco package, as it should list the ingredients, which Splash Cafe has long held secret...however...I would not even attempt to recreate it. Some things are perfection!

            1. re: Jesdamala

              I stopped yesterday at Costco to pick up some clam chowder from Splash and gasp!, the Costco by my house did not have it! Since I am pretty determined, I am going to check out some other Costcos in the area and report back. I would be happy to list the ingredients once I find them.

              1. re: glazebrookgirl

                Success! Found some at another Costco, here is the ingredient list:
                Cream, Clam Chowder (Potatoes, Clams, Water, Margarine, Pollock Fish, Modified Food Startch, Celery, Onion, Garlic, Spice, Enriched Flour, Salt, Yeast Extract, Natural and Artifical Flavors, Parsley, Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate), Milk, Clams (Clams, Clam Juice, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Calcium Disodium EDTA.

                And it is only 500 calories per serving with a serving being 1 cup. It has 43g of total fat, with 25g of saturated fat which is 125% of your RDA. It does have 35% of your RDA of Vitamin A, though!

                The ingredient list is pretty wild, the first ingredient is cream and the second ingredient is clam chowder? Huh? So the cream isn't in the clam chowder? And they use margarine?! Hmmm, maybe some things you really don't want to know!

                1. re: glazebrookgirl

                  I am just going to take it in when I can, order online or get luck at a Costco in LA. I will gladly soak up the calories and hope my heart holds up! It is without a doubt the BEST clam chowder on the planet!
                  Thanks for the ingredients, but more than ingredients it is how to replicate it, and I don't think it is possible. It is truly a treat! Thanks again! Pollack fish?????????????????????????

        1. re: toodie jane

          Although not by the water, there is Cabo Wabo (??) for fish tacos and a Thai place (I want to say Thairiffic but I don't think that's right) both on Foothill. Foothill runs right by Cal Poly. There's also an Indian place but I haven't tried it.

          If you are more in the mood for European pastries and Peets coffee there is Odyssey Cafe - but it's on Broad Street in an industrial part of town - near Staples.

          1. re: tavmark

            Hey tavmark, I think you are thinking of Cabo San Luis on Foothill. I especially enjoy their avocado soup on the side of one of their delicous tacos.

            Hubby and I enjoyed Thairiffic, but we do like Thai Palace a little bit better. There is also a tiny, tiny Thai place in Los Osos called Noi's Little Thai Takeout which I haven't been to, but that gets absolutely great reviews here and other places. It doesn't look right over the water, but it is across the street from the water and right next to a beautiful park.

            There is a little spot right near the marina in Morro Bay called Bayside Cafe. When I posted a request earlier in the year someone highly recommended it and you really couldn't be closer to the water. I am posting the link with the info: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/384622

            Hope this is helpful!

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            Cabo San Luis
            981 E Foothill Blvd, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

            Thai Palace
            1015 Court St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

            Noi's Little Thai Takeout
            1288 2nd St, Los Osos, CA 93402

            Bayside Cafe
            10 State Park Rd, Morro Bay, CA 93442

            1. re: glazebrookgirl

              I do rec the Bayside. Nice people, and good food. Quiet bayside location away from the touristy Embarcadero F&C shops.

              Cabo San Luis is pretty unpredictable--high turnover of student help a probable reason. I've had some gaggingly-dry tacos there. But around the corner on Santa Rosa, past the gas station on the corner, is a taqueria run by a Mexican family (Cabo is run by a surferdude) which has better quality (tacos at least) than Cabo. Youcan eat outside on a small patio or at a counter. Last meal I had there was served on unusual slumped glass plates! Great salsa and condiments available on request.

              For Thai, also try Lotus Thai in Los Osos and Thai Boat in Morro Bay.

              The Lil' Hut next to the Tiki Hut on the Embarcadero does decent hamburgers and great F&C. Really nice side salad of baby greens.

              1. re: toodie jane

                Lotus Thai in Los Osos

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                Lotus Thai Cuisine
                2060 9th St Ste A, Los Osos, CA 93402

              2. re: glazebrookgirl

                Thai Palace is good but the place I'm thinking of may be Royal Thai? There is more than one location I think. This one is down Foothill from Cabo San Luis. Turn right into the Savemart or Vons center. It is in the corner and has a nice little patio on the side.

                Thairiffic is off of S. Higueroa (near the Caltrans building) I think. (I can picture the road in my head just not sure if I have the street name right.)

                1. re: tavmark

                  Opps, that's a left off of Foothill.

                  1. re: tavmark

                    You're right that is Royal Thai in the shopping center off of Foothill. I think the other one is in Atascadero?

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                    Royal Thai
                    777 E Foothill Blvd, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

            2. re: Sarah

              "&amp" looks like formatting code for an ampersand (&). For some reason, it displayed some code along with the ampersand symbol. Done by a computer, not a human.

            3. A favorite place of mine is Splash Cafe there is one in SLO and Pismo they have the best clam chowder and toasted bread bowls ever!!

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              Splash Cafe
              197 Pomeroy Ave, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

              1. thanks for all your input everyone! i had a fantastic time, and there is so much good eating to be had up north i just love it so. anyway, i ended up at splash cafe, since i had never been to pismo beach and the line at la superica was way too long and i really wanted to make good time. when we arrived in PB, it was pretty hopping (i forget that people mostly travel during the summer), but thankfully the line at splash wasn't too long. i ordered the grilled ahi sandwich that was on the specials board for the sake of being good, but i saw the sign for their award winning chowder and saw people eating it, so i got back on line and ordered a cup of it! it was really good, not too thin or thick, but it tasted even better after it had been sitting in the car for a few hours, ummmm! some nice bread would have been perfect for dunking, but it was good on its own, w/ the perfect amount of saltiness. i like the casual atmosphere in that place, and would like to return during the off season when it's quieter. the ahi was decent as well, but give me chowdah any time!