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Pismo Beach restaurants?

c
Chow Now Brown Cow Feb 11, 2008 10:01 PM

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!
Victoria

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  1. b
    Bruce in SLO Feb 12, 2008 08:01 AM

    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. toodie jane Feb 14, 2008 11:10 AM

      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:

      http://www.avilatrolley.org/History%2...

      1. m
        Minimang Feb 16, 2008 09:44 AM

        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. Kitchen Trove Feb 18, 2008 12:16 PM

          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 - www.thaitalay.com - 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 pour...now - 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 http://www.kitchentrove.blogspot.com Absolutely amazing. About a 20 minute drive.

          Have fun. Its a great little place.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Kitchen Trove
            Enorah Feb 18, 2008 01:15 PM

            I second Two Blocks from the Beach.

            We ate there last year and loved it.

            1. re: Kitchen Trove
              paso_gurl_100 Feb 20, 2008 05:19 PM

              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
                Kitchen Trove Feb 22, 2008 08:12 PM

                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
                toodie jane Mar 3, 2008 09:23 PM

                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
                  PolarBear Nov 25, 2008 05:42 PM

                  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. nancyhudson Feb 24, 2008 10:52 AM

                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.

                1. c
                  Chow Now Brown Cow Mar 17, 2008 06:38 PM

                  Thank you all for all the great tips! I was late running out the door so I just had a chance to print these and grab them them to take on the road before we left. I didn't have a chance to post then but I wanted to thank you all now for taking the time to respond. We had a great time and ate some great food thanks to all of you!
                  Victoria

                  1. PolarBear Mar 19, 2008 05:03 PM

                    El Pizmo Taco, one of the new kids in town, is in the former digs of Guiseppe's takeout (south of the restaurant, same side of Price). First noticed them a couple of weeks ago, specifically the tamales "special" on the sandwich board out front. Walking in the place smells like they're still making pizza, but it's bread baking. Turns out they bake all of the loaves for Guiseppe's and I believe one or two other local places.

                    LadyPB and I went in yesterday to do a taco sampling. Ended up splitting a Mahi Mahi, Ahi Tuna, and a Camarones (3.73 ea), as well as the Steak Asada (2.80). Fairly generous portions of fish, nicely spiced cabbage mixture on top, but the fish didn't really shine through. We both preferred the Ahi and LPB thought the Mahi may have been sitting around too long. The camarones was very good, perfectly cooked shrimp. We got a red and a green salsa to start with, both were in huge trays in the deli case, and I was told they were made in house, as are the corn tortillas. The red had a sweetness to it and reminded me of those out of a jar that I can't stand. The verde on the other hand was very thick and much better but still not enough kick to it. I asked if they had a bottle of hot sauce and the friendly hombre behind the counter went over to a different condiment table and dished out a little liquid fire for me that brought everything up to the proper lever. We also loved the asada, make with skirt steak, superb flavor with a little smokiness to it. We'll definitely go back for the camarones and asada, and probably to give the tamales a try as well. Really nice folks running the place.

                    There's another new Mexican place on the corner of Dolliver and Main (iirc, the one that leads to the pier) called Mexicali Rose. I popped in to get a menu that turned out to be loaded with options, which usually sends up a red flag with me, but the vibe wasn't happening and since our visit to the area would only allow one stop, we opted for El Pizmo Taco. Maybe a local hound will take one for the team and report back.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: PolarBear
                      c
                      compucook Aug 1, 2008 09:49 AM

                      We'll be there on Sunday through Weds. Are these recs still good or does anywhere else need to be on this list?
                      We're staying at the Avila Village Inn. It looks nice and was in the right price range. It's our anniversary and we're empty nesters who like good food and nice atmosphere (if possible.)

                      1. re: compucook
                        nancyhudson Aug 1, 2008 09:36 PM

                        I still stand by my original post and would like to add that we've since tried longboards and ditto the great burgers and shakes; guiseppes - we did the smaller version across the street for a really tasty slice of pizza and salad; and custom house in avila which was nice atmosphere and easy to walk to, but my fish and chips were mediocre.

                      2. re: PolarBear
                        PolarBear Nov 25, 2008 05:45 PM

                        Cruised in this past Monday hoping for some tacos only to find the place locked up with a sign saying "close for the season".

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