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Going up PCH to SF -- any good eats?

  • b

I'm traveling Sunday from LA to SF on the PCH. Any suggestions for great eats along the way?

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  1. m
    More of everything

    well, just standard fare food slightly overpriced, but if its a beautiful day, go to Nepenthe in Big Sur for the view.

    You might also want to check the general California board for lots of great recommendations on Hwy 1 places. If you're willing to detour over to Santa Maria, you can find some great barbeque places as well.

    1. Trust me - this is a must :

      Deetjen's Big Sur Inn, on PCH (East side of the highway, a rustic Inn that is a wonderful place to spend the night or the weekend) has the best restaurant in the area. Like the Inn itself, the restaurant is also rustic, but beautiful and romantic as well -- and has wonderful food. The previous post is correct about Nepenthe : the view is amazing, but the food is just passable. If you want excellent food and a lovely atmosphere, go to Deetjen's. You may want to make a reservation just to be sure, it is small and very popular.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Tom P

        Deetjen's - I love that place! Haven't been there in years. Rustic? Actually kind of funky Grateful Deadhead vibe.

      2. Never tried Deetjuns, but certainly will on my next trip. I like Ventana Inn in Big Sur for lunch, on the patio - a very peaceful and pastoral setting. My favorite is the grilled veggie and goat cheese sandwich. Views of the moutains and ocean. Ventana is on the mountain side, while Nepenthe is perched over the ocean, with sweeping views of the coastline. Food at Nepenthe is way over-hyped, and overpriced for what it is (about $12 for a greasy, drippy burger).

        There are many unique places along your route. Check the California board for Santa Barbara, SLO, Carmel, and Monterey recs.

        1. I was given a hot tip about a where you can find a good clam chowder in the Monterey Bay area. Halfway between Monterey and Santa Cruz in Moss Landing is a fish market called Phil's Fish Market.

          I had a chance to visit it in early January. It's located in a remote area surrounded by industrial and marine research buildings (make sure you go to the market and not the smaller snack shack at a seperate location). But inside, it was surprising just how many people were there.

          They have a good deal for mussels 2lb for $13, but since we just had lunch we settled for a bowl of New England Clam Chowder. The rich soup was creamy and very satisfying.

          The seafood market is decidely expensive.

          Link: http://www.philsfishmarket.com/philsm...

          1. It's been a while, and it's kind of a novelty, but in Shell Beach (or might be Pismo Beach), check out McClintock's. The food was pretty good, but they have Turkey Balls on the menu, yes, actual turkey testicles. Actually, they taste pretty good, it's been 6 or 7 years since we've been up there, but someting worth trying if not just for the novelty.

            1. deetjens is definetly great... the chateaubriand with chantrele mushrooms by peter (the chef) is insanely good.. but the real winner of that area (i grew up there) is the post ranch inn... oposite ventana... please say hello to tod (chef)

              1. North of Santa Cruz, in the small town of davenport, there is a small place overlooking the Pacific Ocean called the Whale City Bakery. They bake their own great breads; Great croissants and coffee. The real find is in the small restaurant they have. Great fish n chips and calamari. Burgers are good too. Everything is fresh and made to order. Varied beer selection served by the pint. Some good food, a cold beer, sitting on the patio overlooking the ocean with the sun beating down.....cant be beat.

                Link: http://www.swanton.com/whalecity.html

                1. If you like clam chowder, don't miss Splash Cafe in Pismo Beach. The best. See thread below.

                  Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Sonia

                    I just tested the link and it doesn't seem to be working. It was a 1/8/02 post.

                    1. re: Sonia
                      Key Lime Guy

                      Splash Cafe is stellar for clam chowder.

                      Also, about three doors east is a great BBQ joint. Sorry I forget the name, but it's easy to spot. Two guys took a road trip through the South and collected all of the best recipes and techniques. If I remember correctly, you can get ribs "Memphis Style" or "Kansas City Style." The food is great and the decor is charming because it docuents their trip. The strongest garlic french fries imaginable!

                      1. re: Key Lime Guy
                        Key Lime Guy

                        Upon further review, it's called Mo's Smokehouse BBQ, and it sounds like there is another branch in SLO.

                        Link: http://www.pismobeachca.net/winter29_...

                      2. re: Sonia

                        After posting this message I got a hankering for some of that delicious clam chowder. I went on their web site and placed an order for 3 quarts of it at $8.99 per quart. Once I clicked the "place order" button, it said someone will call to confirm the order. I got a call the next day from a nice lady who informed me that the next day air shipping is $26.50 for the 3 quarts! I promptly canceled my order. It's good but not worth nearly $20/quart. I'm sure there are economies of scale when it comes to shipping. Maybe if you order 5 gallons the shipping will be more reasonable and won't double the cost of the chowder.

                        1. re: Sonia
                          Key Lime Guy

                          I have bought it "in person" frozen for that same price ($8.99/qt), and it was great the next day. Still, nothing like being there.

                          It's great chowder but probably not worth the prices you describe...

                      3. easy answer: yes.

                        Seriously, there are those who will go on and on here about Super-rica in Santa Barbara, so try it andsee if you agree.
                        In Morro Bay, there are plenty of places to explore along the water on the Embarcadero, and the Morro Bay Inn in the park is decent and a nice place to have a drink.
                        There are a few links on the California page on Santa Maria BBQ and places in Pismo Beach.

                        One place I really like (and also found a few links on the San Francisco page) is Duarte's tavern in Pescadero. They have great pies and a wonderful cream of artichoke soup. Pescadero is just off the coast road just north of Santa Cruz. And I'm a bit surprized that they have a www link.

                        Also, you might consider getting off PCH/hwy 1 in Santa Barbara and taking the San Marcos pass going through Santa Ynez and Los Olivos. There's supposed to be a great restaurant in Los Olivos, but I can't remember the name just now. Let us know how the trip goes.

                        Link: http://www.duartestavern.com

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jerome

                          Actually, I think the Los Olivos place was the Ballard Inn and quite a few people recommend one of the branches of the Hitching Post (Buellton) for Santa Maria Tri-tip BBQ.