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Feb 11, 2008 10:01 PM

Pismo Beach restaurants?

Hello there!
I'm going to be at Shell Beach (which I understand is pretty much Pismo Beach) at the end of this month. Does anybody know any great places to eat?
Thanks so much for your time and any tips you might have.
Have a great week!

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  1. Among a variety of choices, I suggest Giuseppe's on Price St.
    The Cracked Crab for seafood, Thai Talay for tasty Thai, Splash Cafe for Clam Chowder,
    on Shell Beach Rd. see Lido at the Dolphin Bay Resort, Marisol at the Cliff's, and
    the sinful Old West Cinnamon Rolls on Dolliver.

    1. Here are my low-brow (non-fine dining)suggestions:

      Guiseppi's (downtown Pismo Beach) also has a pizza joint across the street from the main restaurant, very good thin crust, and housemade gelato for dessert.

      In Shell, in the Spyglass Center, there is a De Palo & Sons liquor store/Italian deli which has an excellent wine and booze selection, plus a deli case and grocery full of Italian savories (i.e.:house-made fresh mozzarella) for takeout, along with all the fixings for a picnic. Fresh baked sweet treats as well. Take a picnic down to the end-of-the-street pocket park and watch the surfers ride the swells from cliffside.

      Nearby (5 minutes north) Avila Beach is a quiet town in a protected, sunny cove with many new cafes and restaurants since rebuilding in the late 90's. Try Custom House for B-L-D. Mr Rick's Bar next door is good for nightlife. Beautiful walking beach and lots of benches on the seaside promenade for enjoing a cuppa or sandwich. The pier at the far west end of the cove has a seafood takeout cafe (Pete's) with a dynamite view of the entire coast south to Pt Sal. Fat Cat's Cafe at the foot of the pier has good clam chowder and Huevos Rancheros.

      On the road out to Avila Beach is Avila Barn, a produce stand which has some killer berry pies and other baked goods all year.

      You could also park in the nearby designated lot and walk the Bob Jones Trail towards Avila Beach along the beautiful riparian corridor of Avila Valley, ending up at The Marketplace Cafe at San Luis Bay Club. Good handcrafted sandwiches, soups, salads, coffees, etc. Eat on the patio or inside by the fireplace. I've had several good sandwiches and soups there.

      Just about 10 minutes south of SB on Highway 101 is the village of Arroyo Grande. Doc Bernstein's Lab makes great super-premium ice creams and has on original old-fashioned soda fountain. 'Doc's Java' flavor delivers a real jolt. The village of AG is an easy two-block stroll filled with cafes(Village Grill does a great hamburger)a coffee house, a bakery, a custom butcher with fabulous sausages, and the ubiquitous antique shops, along with a couple of 'interesting' local dive bars, Bill's Place and Ralph & Dwayne's.

      There is a new branch of Yanagi Sushi in the Oak Park (Long's and Ross) Shopping center at Oak Park Blvd and 101 in south (inland)Pismo Beach. They seem heavy on the glamour rolls and mayo sauces, but the service is attentive. Same owners also have a sushi/teppan restaurant on the hill above 101 directly across from the Starbuck's in Pismo Coast Plaza. Flashy and can be loud, but good food and service, and a view from Pismo to the Avila lighthouse.

      Great morning bagels and schmear at Broadway Bagels right next door to Starbuck's.

      A tiny, cute cafe for b'fast or lunch is just over the hill behind Starbuck's in Grover Beach: Ellie's on Grand Ave, across the street from Kragen's Automotive. Soups, sandwiches, cakes, cookies. pastries all made by Ellie. Two tiny tables inside or some larger patio tables outside.

      I hope you have enough time to look around past the Shell-Pismo corridor. All these places are within 10-12 driving minutes of Shell Beach and worth investigating. Have fun, and please report back on your observations. It's nice to have a different point of view.

      Forgot to ask if you want to do any winetasting--you're going to be in the middle of wine country. There are some tasting rooms in the Avila area, and Lund's in the village of AG, as well as De Palo's, will be stocking the best. A few dozen winery-based tasting rooms are within 10 minutes in the Edna valley area of San Luis Obispo.

      This link describes many of the chow finds you'll hear about in this thread:

      1. Unlike the other posters I would steer clear of Guiseppi's. I just ate there last week while in town on biz. It was the choice of my dining partner/buyer. My chicken w/ pesto was very greasy and overly rich. Chicken doesn't need to be buttered beyond recognition to make up for the fact it is chicken. Just because it isn't an impressive piece of beef or melt in your mouth scallops doesn't mean it should be served in a pool of oil. I was ill a better part of the next day. I was underwhelmed and over charged. Then my dining partner told me the story of the last time she was there. She had taken in a bottle of wine to have with her dinner and share with her friends. The waiter was curious and asked her if he could pour himself a little to try. Then the bartender came over and asked if he could pour himself a little to try. After being the generous person she is and allowing them all to taste a bit of her 1998 J. Lohr Cabernet, the restaurant charged her a corkage fee!!! When she asked and told the manager how generous she was with the staff, he said, "Sorry, we have a corkage" and still charged her. I can't belive she went back and actually took business colleagues. I won't dine there again. The food just wasn't good enough to deal with poor etiquette.

        I will tell you to go down the street for breakfast to the Honeymoon Cafe. The breakfast Burrito is to die for and it must be paired with a fabulously spicy, steaming cup of SLO Chai Latte!! Dine on the lovely patio and soak up the clean beach air! Enjoy!

        1. I live in Shell Beach and here are my recommendations! Two Blocks From the Beach has great wine options, a bruchetta sampling plate (for which they are famous) and their prime rib is some of the best around. Prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is kind of "hometown" in the middle of what can be considered "tacky beach town Pismo". Splash Cafe chowder is really thick. I prefer thin so that does not make my list. But those who like thick seem to love it.

          Longboards has the BEST tri tip sandwhich, burgers and grilled chicken sandwhiches...and we have not found a better malt. Doesn't look like much - that is for sure. 1090 Price St.

          Thai Talay Restaurant - - has delicate, beautifully presented Thai food.

          Steamers is owned by McClintocks. The view is amazing. I recommend eating at the bar and ordering things like steamed clams. Their wine list is horrible.

          I find Lido - at Dolphin Bay Inn, Shell Beach Rd., overrated. I've eaten there at least 4 times and have yet to be wowed. But they do have a great wine list. When they first opened they gave a great - less than great. But it is where I found Brucher wines from Santa Barbara County so I'll be forever greatful.

          Giuseppe's in Pismo Beach is a place I like to go. They have a chicken dish which is great and their pizza is flat crust. The atomosphere is fun and be sure to look up at the tin ceiling! They also own a take out place across the street, a taco place down the street and a really unfortunate Guiseppe's in San Luis Obispo which does not compare to the one in Pismo.

          On Shell Beach Road, the Seaside Cafe has homemade english muffins, great breakfast sandwhiches and really good coffee. Stuffed french toast...amazing. Usually a line on weekends but worth the wait.

          Alex's BBQ has great steaks and ribs. Not much atmosphere. But good food. Also on Shell Beach Road.

          If you have the time and inclination to go south to Old Orcutt, you will find the best restaurant in the area...hands down. The Wine Cottage Bistro. You can read my post about it at Absolutely amazing. About a 20 minute drive.

          Have fun. Its a great little place.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Kitchen Trove

            I second Two Blocks from the Beach.

            We ate there last year and loved it.

            1. re: Kitchen Trove

              I like Rosa's in Pismo for Italian. I've been a little disappointed with Giuseppe's myself lately, although Palazzo Giuseppe downtown SLO is still consistently good. I also have enjoyed the cute little crepe place Mon Ami on Pomeroy for lunch. It's a nice break from the usual clam chowder at Splash.

              1. re: paso_gurl_100

                so glad to know what street the new crepe place is on...we love Crepes and have been unable to find it (but have read about it). Also Rosa's has an amazing flash fried spinach.

              2. re: Kitchen Trove

                The owner of 2 Blocks....was on the local radio today describing some of his dishes: "Lamb Chop Pops dipped in Ranch dressing, Clam Chowder in a bread bowl with melted cheese and macadamia nuts on top." I kid you not. This made me feel queasy! Sound a bit too "adventurous" for me. Like he walked through the pantry and walkin blindfolded and grabbed ingredients.

                1. re: toodie jane

                  I'm sad to report that we stopped by TBFTB for lunch on Monday to find a written note in the window thanking all their loyal customers, Aparently, hasta la vista.

              3. We just returned from a weekend in Pismo/SLO and was happy to have seen this post before leaving - thanks for the great tips. There is also another post "Breakfast in Pismo" that was helpful. We ended up at Fat Cats in Avila Beach, and the Best in the West Cinnamon Roll spot for breakfasts. Both were terrific. Can't beat the view at Fat Cats, and the staff is a hoot. Pretty yummy omlettes, too. We ate at Firestones in SLO for dinner, as well as Woodstock's Pizza. Really enjoyed Firestones - lively atmosphere and inexpensive, tasty barbecue. Did not care for Woodstock's pizza at all. Lastly, went to Natural Cafe in SLO for lunch. I had the special of a roasted turkey pita - it was very good. This was a holiday weekend and all the restaurants were very busy, and they all handled the crowds extremely well.