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Cambria & environs

My husband and I are taking off for Cambria for the weekend for a much needed R&R, mostly rest! We've spent a little time there....had meals at Robins, Sea Chest, the Thai restaurant downtown, had coffee at the cute coffee place on Main St (?) at the north end of town....but are looking for interesting, local and comfy food this time. We want this trip to be relaxing, casual, regenerative. Driving to neighboring burroughs is a possibility, but close to our B&B would be best. My husband is prone to biscuits and gravy, while I care most about local, fresh, healthy food. He would prefer the best chicken pot pie, whereas I would appreciate a well-composed and dressed salad with a fresh piece of seafood. Any suggestions where we both might be satisfied? Ambience...simple, nurturing, and relaxing. It's mostly about getting away from our Santa Cruz rat race....something to take us away..... As always, I appreciate Chowhounders' thoughts.....

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  1. Try Black Cat Bistro & the Sow's Ear in town. If you don't mind driving to Paso, we loved Artisan, although there wasn't any pot pie there. I think Linn's has reopened a cafe in town, they had a pot pie, I believe. The restaurant at Cambria Pines Lodge is quite good, also.

    1. Cambria Pines Lodge

      Hamlet at Moonstone Gardens

      Sow's Ear

      Wild Ginger

      1 Reply
      1. re: santabarbarian

        Nice to see you are suggesting the Cambria Pines Lodge. For so long it was getting such horrible press, we erased it from our list.
        We like Hamlet for lunch on a sunny day. Love to sit in the back yard/patio area. They have good hamburgers and brisket.
        The Sow's Ear is our favorite. They have a site so you can check their menu. Ask to sit in the front area (room) when you make your res., more atmospheric, I think.

      2. Yes, the Sea Chest is always a "must have" when we visit Cambria but sounds like you've been there-done that. Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill has great Fish Tacos, Salads and yummy chowder! Linn's in town should be rebuilt now after the fire...but if not, try their little cafe around the corner. Creekside cafe is always tasty - just a humble little restaurant with consistent, good food.

        1. Pines Lodge is excellent and Creekside cafe is great for breakfast. Manta Rey in San Simeon is very very good (much better than Sea Chest). We were disappointed during our last visit to Sow's Ear, but they do have excellent lobster pot pie and also serve chicken and dumplings and chicken fried steak for your husband. There should be some items there you will enjoy. Seriously...stop by Boni's Tacos (a little family owned taco truck) that is there on weekends near the B of A. Don't miss it...the Carne Asada tacos are awesome.

          1. Interestingly, there might be only three restaurants in town that have an ocean view. Mentioned from memory (and north to south) The Hamlet, Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill, and Sea Chest.
            Enjoy your visit.

            1. Back from our Cambria adventure. Chose to take 101 south and save the Big Sur drive for today. Stopped off at Jalisco's in Salinas for an authentic carnitas burrito for my husband and a very satisfying and fresh shrimp cocktail for me. We got lucky. Dinner on Friday was at Wild Ginger...my appetizer of salmon wonton was light and understated. Husband's pork egg rolls were meaty and plentiful. Large portions there. The fig garnish was especially enjoyed by me. My entree was a seared scallop dish with pomegranate sauce. Was tasty, though the accompaniment of corn salad was less than tasty but the fingerlings potatoes were. My husband had the shrimp in coconut lime sauce....the sauce was terrific though the shrimp way over cooked. Breakfast was at the Redwood Grill...they accomodated my special order of green onions in my scrambled eggs with a side of tortillas and salsa. Saturday we headed for Morro Bay to try Giannoni's (Gianani's?, I'm not sure of the name) but got side-tracked at the Taco Temple. Fabulous calamari served taco style....with cheese, fresh cabbages & carrot with a cilantro sauce with a chipotle aioli on the side..truly tasty for me. My husband was less impressed with his chicken tacquitos and a white fish taco. He was dismally disappointed. But he's a traditionalist and likes his tacquitos just so....Did I say my meal was great? However, the prices there were pretty amazing. Halibut was the special fish of the day and they had a halibut burrito for $30!!! Amazing. We made it to the fry-place on the wharf in Morro Bay (Giavani's) and had a taste of their clam chowder...a disappointment. Personally, I was glad to have been way-laid at the Taco Temple! Dinner on Saturday was at Robin's....we had wanted to go to Sea Chest but were too tired to drive! We sampled the appetizer menu....grilled pear salad with pomegranate dressing, crab cakes, salmon bisque, and chicken skewers. The star was he salmon bisque...excellent. Breakfast this morning was at the Creekside...kind of adjacent to thee Redwood Grill. It was very satisfying....excellent veggie scramble for me (with my requisite tortillas and salsa on the side) and husband got his biscuits and gravy. Aah. he was happy.
              We grabbed a frozen chicken pot pie for him from Linn's and headed home. For dinner, we had a well built home-made Caesar salad and he had his chicken pie. And tomorrow, I for one, fast.
              Fun eating on the south central coast.

              1. Sounds great! Thanks for the update! One neat thing about the Creekside (my parents go to Cambria almost every year...so they chat with a lot of the locals) is that it was owned by someone and one of the waiters bought it from them and runs it now. My parents think it has gotten even better than it already was! So good for him!

                1 Reply
                1. re: LisaSD

                  That's nice to know about the Creekside. We got the feeling that the folks serving were somehow really invested in the place. The service was great and the ambience very warm and friendly. It was nicely crowded for a Sunday morning with both what seemed locals and what were obviously tourists (us!).

                2. Black Cat Bistro! The owner Deborah is also the Chef and makes some fantastic food. I am always a fan of Robins and her menu changes seasonally so it may be different from when you last visited.

                  1. We have been going to Cambria for 17 years - Most consistent is ROBINS - ask for table 7. Recently went to SOWS EAR again - excellent. For Fish you cannot beat the Sea Chest (Closed in winter - great peppermints at the door). Another 2 great classy restaurants - HOPPES in Cayucos and BISTRO LAURENT in Paso Robles. Great drive from Cambria to Paso. My wife is a caterer and a very picky diner - the above are her choices. Bon Appeptit!