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Best eats and Bars in San Luis Obispo / Central Coast

Hi Chowhounders,
We're getting married next month in Nipomo and most of our guests will be staying in San Luis Obispo...with a few sprinkled down the coast from Pismo to Arroyo Grande. We're going up this weekend for our final planning trip and want to try a few new restaurants (mainly in SLO) that we can hopefully recommend to our guests. We've done a lot of the usual places in the coastal area...Steamers, Del's Pizzeria, Madonna Steakhouse, and in-town we've been to the Breakfast Buzz and Louise's Place.

What do you guys think is the best of the area? The must-eats? We'd really hate for our friends and family to miss out on a really great food experience. Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

ALSO, we're looking for a bar in San Luis Obispo to hit up after the wedding - it ends at 10 :( - where everyone can meet up and continue the party. Looking for something that isn't packed with Cal Poly kids. Ideas?

Thanks in advance guys!

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  1. In SLO I think Big Sky is a good choice for casual dining. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. For more upscale dining my favorite is The Park (located just outside of downtown near the Amtrack station) with Koberl at Blue being my second favorite. In the casual, reasonably priced range I like Mama's Meatball in the Creamery Building for Italian fare. Firestone Grill is good for burgers, tri-tip sandwiches and the like.
    I'd suggest Native for the bar. We used their "bottle service" where we bought a bottle at around $200 and had an area reserved for our group and our own server. It worked out great and was worth the money for our group. You can call ahead and have them make the arrangements for you.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sgbslo

      concur exactly as to Park and Koberl at Blue

      1. re: sgbslo

        Second to Big Sky, for breakfast at any rate.

      2. SLO is fetchingly, lovingly, gloriously void of students till late August when Cuesta students start back. Then the Poly kids come back to town in early-mid September.

        In SLO--try Bon Temps Creole Cafe on Olive street near the SB 101 on-ramp from Santa Rosa St. Great breakfast in a laid-back atmosphere with blues on the jukebox.

        Jocko's in Nipomo for lunch (only) great burgers, corned beef, steak sands. Service can be slow.

        Thai Talay in Pismo. Auntie in the kitchen and nice stylish decor. Good wine list.

        Good sandwiches at Giant Grinders on Broad St near High Street. Good sand's and sides. Nice folks.

        Firestone has a nice grill and outdoor seating, smack downtown SLO (ESS-EL-OH, not slow).

        Broadway Bagels in Arroyo Grande on Grand Ave near Rite Aid/The Girl's rest, and in the Pismo Coast Plaza off 101 in PB (Scolari's center) Great bagels, coffee drinks, sandwiches.

        For sushi, try Atari Ya in Santa Maria (closer to Nipomo than SLO) at the Stowell Center back row near Goodwill. Awesome sushi and excellent service. Broadway/Battles nearest cross street.

        Steaming bean on Shell Beach RD, downtown SB. Good coffee drinks.

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        Bon Temps Creole Cafe
        1000 Olive St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

        Firestone Grill
        1001 Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

        Koberl At Blue
        998 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

        Big Sky Cafe
        1121 Broad St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

        Jocko's Steak House
        Old Hwy 101, Nipomo, CA 93444

        Thai Talay Restaurant
        601 Price St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

        Mama's Meatball - Fine Italian Restaurant & Catering
        570 Higuera St Ste 130, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

        Giant Grinder Shop
        1901 Broad St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

        Steaming Bean
        1651 Shell Beach Rd, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

        1 Reply
        1. re: toodie jane

          I'll second Bon Temps Creole Cafe - we stopped there last year on the way to Santa Barbara/San Diego. Totally enjoyed our lunches. No oyster po' boys but the fish version was excellent - crispy fish, tasty dressing, good sweet potato fries - I was a happy girl! Thanks Toodie Jane: I think it was your reco that made me want to stop there!

        2. We also love The Park for a more expensive meal. Thai Talay is one of our favorites and we bring everyone there. We also like Yanagi Sushi or the nearby Sushi WOW, same menu as Yanagi, both in Pismo. Excellent service. Lots of variety. The lobster roll is our favorite. We have been to Atari Ya, but like Yanagi better.
          We had a really nice meal at Gardens of Avila last year.
          Old West Cinnamon Rolls in Pismo are also a great.
          Best Wishes to you.

          1. Another great mid-range restaurant is Novo on Higuera. There's a great back patio by the creek. For sushi I prefer Tsurugi but the other suggestions are fine as well. I also second Bon Temps (for unhealthy and super-delicious creole food) and Big Sky (local ingredients and really tasty for all meals).

            Bars are tough in San Luis. Native is on the fancier side. And Blue has a bar with a great wine selection. For a regular bar Black Sheep is not a bad option.

            1. I would highly recommend Jocko's in Nipomo for dinner (they do not fire up the oak grill until the afternoon). Everyone I have taken there has raved about the quality and quantity of their meal as well as reasonable prices. IMHO it is simply the best steakhouse in CA and their pork and lamb chops are also delicious. They also have a good wine list.

              For good chowder try Splash in Pismo (yeah I know people will say it's not as good as before). For good eclectic Mexican food try the Taco Temple in Pismo Beach - great fish tacos and carnitas.