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Jul 12, 2008 10:30 AM

Thanksgiving Dinner - Central Coast?

We're trying to organize a family meet-up with some from SF and some from LA. We thought we'd meet somewhere probably below Big Sur and above Santa Barbara, spend a few days, and have a Thanksgiving dinner somewhere.

Does anyone have any ideas of a restaurant or hotel or resort that could accommodate maybe 15 people for dinner on Thanksgiving in that general area?


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  1. Based on your geographic request somewhere in the San Luis Obispo area would be your spot. Dolphin Bay Resort in Shell Beach is very nice and has a good restaurant, The Lido. It's one of the more upscale properties in the area. Next door to Dolphin Bay is the Cliffs Resort which is also nice but a little less expensive. The restaurant there, Marisol is good. The Inn at Morro Bay is also a nice place and next to a state park and bird sanctuary. The setting is nice. If you want something a little more "folksy" you might look into the Apple Farm Inn in San Luis Obispo.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sgbslo

      Apple Farm's T-day dinner is huge and books early. Very traditional style: roast turkey, cornbread, dressing, house-made gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans (?) sweet potatoes, pie and coffee, tea or soda. Usually runs about $30. If you want to sit 15 together, you need to ask for the Harvest room. You'll get tables. It's quieter than the main dining room; the gazebo is all booths. The place will be all dec'd for the 'Holidays' but still plenty of Fall deco's abound.

      About the only places serving Tday dinner are the resorts and chains. The town and coast areas are otherwise all rolled up for the day. The next day (Friday)is holiday shopping extravaganza day. Everything is open!

    2. Sycamore Mineral Springs (Avila Beach) might be a good choice, too. Lovely setting, nice rooms w/private tubs, (fresh or mineral) and good restaurant. The restaurant is small but when last there they set up in the bar area for a large party. I'm guessing there is a banquet room hiding somewhere, as I imagine they host many weddings.
      Innat Morro Bay is a good suggestion, too.

      4 Replies
      1. re: sbgirl

        Well, I'll vouch for the Santa Ynez Valley as a great place to spend Thanksgiving.

        Great Family adventure at the Alisal in Solvang- a huge dude ranch place with tennis, horse back riding and a new spa. Awesome on site restaurant, plus multiple other resort offerings (coffee shop to fine dining). Close to the town of Solvang and very beautiful- though expensive.

        In Solvang- the Royal Skandinavian Inn, most likely to have a thanksgiving meal- they have a new affiliation with Bradley Ogden- so it might turn out some really good food. Medium to low price range, and affiliated with the Chumash Casino- free shuttles if that is your thing.

        Ballard Inn- they have a outstanding restaurant- and bikes so you can all tool around the apple farms, small towns and minature horses located close by.

        In Los Olivos, there is the Fess Parker Inn, which will probably have an outstanding meal - as well as another restaurant in towm, Matteis- they always put on a spread.

        All in all, we usually have some great weather that time of year, lots of wine tasting, beaches close by (20 minutes), 35 minutes to Santa Barbara. The Pepper Treee Art show is in November, Prelude bike ride, Vaquero Show (western history) and lots more.

        1. re: JalamaMama

          Did the Royal Skandinavian get sold? I thought King Ventures owned it.... Also, does Matteis do a buffet?

          1. re: paso_gurl_100

            The Chumash bought the RSI over a year ago, and are in the middle of a upgrade of the property- while remaining open. The RSI Pub has a yum looking menu- with some great deals- I am not sure if they still have the free Friday night wine tastings....but the food makes it look enticing. The Chumash have also bought the old Buellton Federicos- north of the Marriot- and use it as employee training and offices etc.

            Matteis does not do a buffet, but instead a thanksgiving menu that is pretty much prix fix- the reguler menu is unavailable- but perhaps in the bar area they still have their menu- but I don't know that for sure. It is reasonabley priced- I'd love to do it, but our family makes a huge deal out of getting together for the holidays- and no restaurant would do......darn it.

        2. re: sbgirl

          The Gardens of Avila has a private room upstairs and can handle about 40 people. We had a wonderful, private party and the chef prepared a special meal to our order for the entire group.

        3. You might try the Santa Maria Inn as this has a great Thanks giving Buffet for around $20-25 per person. I took my mom there for Thanksgiving a couple of years ago and we both agreed it was spectacular.

          1. Well, here's a big shocker- I'm gonna recommend Paso Robles! The PR Inn usually does a nice buffet. It's been a few years since we have done it, but they have a new chef who has gotten a lot good press lately. There is also the Courtyard by Marriott which has a great restaurant, and is brand new. I've been there for drinks and it's gorgeous. Friday is a pretty big day for wineries, or you could even head out to the coast for the day. I would recommend booking early if you decide to go anywhere in San Luis Obispo county, there seems to be a lot of people in town over the holidays. OH, I also second the recs for Apple Farm if you're more about the food than the decor. We have done Thanksgiving there a few times and have even ended up with leftovers.