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Duarte's Tavern

Just heard a piece on this place on NPR this morning and it sounds great! My question is, is there anything to do in the Pescadero area? It's a pretty long drive just for lunch. I'd like to stick around and see the sights, and maybe go back for dinner. =D Afterall, it looks like they have a variety of fresh seafood, and if the artichoke soup and pie is all it's cracked up to be I wouldn't mind a second helping at all.

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  1. Phipps Ranch is worth a visit, they grow some great heirloom beans. See their "Visit Us" page for a list of other things to do in the area that are off topic for this board.

    Some of Duarte's food is good:


    Duarte's Tavern
    202 Stage Rd, Pescadero, CA 94060

    Phipps Country Store & Farm
    79 North St, Pescadero, CA

    1. Just be forewarned that there is often a wait. I went down to Pescadero to go musseling for my birthday this year and the wait was so long (45 minutes), we had to go somewhere else or miss the tide.

      3 Replies
      1. re: adrienne156

        Tip: if the wait is long, get a togo order of crab sandwich and head out for the dunes.

        Tip to OP: if you're coming from SF, check out eats around half moon bay as well.

        1. re: bbulkow

          They make good sandwiches across the street from Duarte's at Arcangeli Grocery. Get a loaf of the artichoke/garlic bread too!

          1. re: baron45

            Is that the grocery with the wood-fired oven? Friends and I stopped there instead of Duarte's, had a couple of beautifully charred pizzas w/ a couple of surprisingly nice and affordable bottles of wine from wineries that the grocery had some sort of stake in. Unfortunately, they were drunk out of paper coffee cups as the grocery didn't have any stemware, but it helped in the transport to the dunes and fit the day rather well.

      2. There's Harley's Goat Farm, which does a tour of the whole deal, goats, milking, cheese making, tasting and sales. Kid friendly, yuppie friendly, low effort. Make a reservation. It's like 3 minutes away from Durate's.

        Also Pie Ranch about 10 minutes away and Anno Nuevo state reserve.

        Harley Farms
        205 North St, Pescadero, CA

        Pie Ranch
        2080 Cabrillo Highway, Pescadero, CA

        2 Replies
          1. re: wolfe

            You could go down the coast a bit and explore Coastanoa or the lighthouse that is pretty close (Pigeon Point? Pillar Point? one of those)...or there are a plethora of great beaches close by, as noted above.

            1. re: Munching Mark

              Pigeon Point Lighthouse. http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=533 Tours Friday-Sunday. There are also tours of Pescadero Marsh. http://sanmateocoastnha.org/pages/mar...

              Foodwise, there are some U-pick berry places, including Phipps and Swanton Berry Farm, and U-pick apples at Swanton Ranch Cal Poly ( http://www.chow.com/places/36352 ) in season. The guided walk season at Ano Nuevo ends 3/31, but the park is open to explore on your own and there are many elephant seals thoughout the spring and early summer.

          2. if you go - don't just get the plain ole artichoke soup - it's good but what is better IMO is the 1/2 and 1/2 (which the locals order) that is 1/2 cream of artichoke and 1/2 cream of green chile - they really make the soup shine!

            The wait isn't so long during the week and if you are a little early or late to meal times. Also, you can put down your name and take a stroll down the rest of the block and check out some of the stores or the huge garden they have behind the restaurant.

            1. Yeah Phipps farm has you-pick berries, but nothing seems to be in season until the next 2 months. You can call ahead and ask though.

              A bit further down is Constanoa for camping, hiking, massage/spa (this bit I've tried and is very nice).

              They've eliminated the up close and personal guided walks for Sealabration, but you can still head down to Ano Nuevo State Park to some extent down towards the beach, for some great views (elephant seal mating season has passed, usually around January). It's a bit further south.

              1. Pescadero is one of my favorite day trip desintations. The cream of green chili soup with their warm sourdough bread is my favorite. The pies are also very good. There are lots of other, low-key activities in and around Pescadero. There is a very nice beach with active tide pools. Also, as someone else recommended, Harley Farms is a fabulous stop - you get to see goats (and they have babies right now) and sample their cheese. There is also some fun window shopping in Pescadero. My favorite is "Made in Pescadero."

                1. Perhaps they've had them all along, but I noticed the local PW Market in Castro Valley had frozen olliberry pie a few weeks ago, along with a few other items I can't remember, in their freezer case. The items were in a plain white box with a sticker that said, "Duarte's Tavern."

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: cvhound

                    Buy the excellent olallieberry filling and make your own pie. Duarte's crust is tasteless crap.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      That's true. And the pie is way overpriced.

                      The Mexican market/gas station across the street from Duarte's is pretty good, if you're still hungry. Good tacos and salsa bar.

                      You could make a small detour to the San Gregorio General Store, too.

                  2. Honestly the drive is so pretty that it's a great activity on it's own, especially on a nice day. I'll second what takuhead about the 1/2 and 1/2 soup, definitely the way to go and a very common order. The artichoke soup by itself is great but can get a little bland halfway through the bowl.

                    1. Here's my Duarte's review:

                      Duarte's is the kind of place people return to every year as part of their family tradition when they visit the Pumpkin Coast at Halloween. It's got decent chow and the town of Pescadero to explore.

                      Despite calling ahead we had a 10-15 wait for a table at 2:30 p.m.. (If you're going here during pumpkin season definitely call ahead.) Service was good, floors were creaky which is what you'd expect for a 1894 tavern. Tables were almost uncomfortably low though.

                      The bread was some of the best I'd ever had. It arrived too hot to touch and was the most perfect sourdough. They bring their breads in from San Francisco and reheat them in the Duarte's oven.

                      I got the famous cream of artichoke and green chili soups mixed together. I was underwhelmed at least at first since the top is all cream of artichoke soup which is fairly bland. It definitely got better when I got to the green chili soup at the bottom of the bowl. I recommend only ordering the green chili.

                      My husband was unhappy with his overcooked burger. He requested it cooked medium but the quarter pound patty was so thin that request didn't matter. It was $5.50 but came with nothing. He ordered the extra $4 fries and onion rings. It's weird that the side cost almost the same as the burger. The fries and onion rings were fine but nothing special.

                      We finished our meal with a $6.50 slice of the famous olallieberry pie. I liked the taste of the olallieberries (like a tart blackberry) but the pie itself was definitely too sweet.

                      Speaking of prices, the menu here has a lot of range. There's a $5.50 burger and there's a $30 fish entree.

                      I was torn about the rating to give Duarte's.

                      5 stars - bread
                      3 stars - soup
                      3 stars - fries & onion rings
                      4 stars - pie
                      = 4 stars overall

                      My husband
                      5 stars - bread
                      2 stars - burger (thin overcooked 1/4 pound patty)
                      3 stars - fries/onion rings
                      3 stars - pie
                      =3 stars overall

                      If you go here definitely check out the bizarreness that is The Old Rock Guy behind the restaurant.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: katya

                        The trick with the half-and-half soup is to mix the two.

                        I would not order anything fried there again.

                        1. re: katya

                          Unfortunately the Old Rock Guy passed away this winter.

                          I remember being underwhelmed by the burger as well. I used to order the pork chops, which were okay. Now I'd only order fresh local fish (they do a nice job with petrale).

                          1. re: katya

                            I found the food at Duarte's to be alarmingly overpriced generally, and the only dish of note (i.e. better than mediocre) was that green chili soup, which I did think was quite tasty. Did NOT like the artichoke soup (served so thick, at least when we had it, that it scarcely qualified as a soup at all).

                            We went on our way back from Ano Nuevo, and I think it's fine as a place to grab a bite when you're out for the day in the area. But I definitely wouldn't drive out of my way to eat there and don't feel particularly eager to go back.

                            1. re: abstractpoet

                              We liked some of the food well enough at lunch that we happily went back for dinner the next day. Maybe prices have gone up? Wasn't cheap but didn't seem like a ripoff.

                              I liked the cream of artichoke and cream of green chile soups, cold artichoke hearts, cracked crab, and cioppino (in their version, basically cracked crab with extras).

                              The tripe's really bland. I wouldn't order it again. Fried smelts and fried calamari were just okay, wouldn't order anything fried there again.

                              The olallieberry filling is excellent. Crust is flavorless (Crisco and bleached flour).

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                It may have been an issue of what we ordered. I remember having some kind of fish and chips type thing, and my wife had another entree. We each had a bowl of soup and a soda, and we shared a slice of pie (which I liked fine, but didn't find particularly memorable). I think the bill came out to well over $60 after tax and tip. That just seemed really exorbitant for what seemed to me to be gussied up diner fare, especially since at least a couple of the dishes were duds. I expect to pay $60 for lunch at Wood Tavern...not for this.

                                I think if we went again, we'd definitely dispense with the entrees altogether, and just stick with soup and pie.

                          2. Whenever I order fish at Duarte's, I specify "sauteed". They do it nicely with bits of garlic and veg. If you don't specify, you usually get it fried.

                            1. This thread reminds me of why I love Chowhound. No one is going to give an easy pass to a restaurant just because it has a reputation as being good or "classic" and you don't see a lot of "my food was yummy" kind of descriptions either. I will say however I do think Duarte's is a special place but you gotta stick to the fresh seafood and the mixed soup.

                              4 Replies
                                1. re: wolfe

                                  Yeah, it seems so stupid of me to not have mixed it! :)

                                2. re: virtualguthrie

                                  Well, my food's been yummy at Duarte's, but I usually get the same thing each time: the chile soup, the abalone sandwich, and a pie based on the season. The ollalieberry pie is available year-round, but I like it much better with the fresh berries than the frozen. Their fresh seasonal vegetables can be really great too. While the "no great restaurants, just great dishes" line is not 100% true, that sure holds true at Duarte's.


                                  1. re: mdg

                                    I'll have to give that abalone sandwich a try if we go again. And you're right that the ollalieberries weren't in season when we had the pie, so that's probably worth another shot too.

                                3. IMO, Pescadero is more worth the drive than Duarte's. The food is fine at Duarte's though not amazing. I don't like the pie. I don't like the crust. I think Fat Apple's in Berkeley and El Cerrito does a far superior ollieberry pie.

                                  However, Duarte's is worth a stop for the funky atmosphere. I hear the cioppino is good. One of these days I'll catch the Friday Portuguese dish. Everyone has mentioned all the good food spots ... the bean place, the goat cheese shop, etc.

                                  If you are ever there during Easter week, the little Catholic church in town is interesting. At noon on Good Friday, the cpmgregatopm walks through the streets up to the cemetary. They haul a full-sized wooden cross up a rather steep hill. On the year I attended, there were lots of lillies in full bloom ... lillies of the field so to speak. . The Easter vigil takes place on Saturday night with a big fire. It is in Spanish and you are encouraged to bring noise makers and two presents to exchange with others. My long ago report

                                  1. whatever you do, make reservations, especially on weekends. butano state park and ano nuevo state parks are closeby and there are miles of beautiful beaches with great tidepooling and the pescadero marsh is an amazing place to watch birds. as a local, i tend to order the same things over and over again -- garden salad, french dip with fries well done, whatever beer is on tap, and the ollieberry pie. be sure to check out the garden behind the restaurant; both grocery stores; the taqueria/gas station; and the retail outlets -- the antique story, lunasea, made in pescadero, and the thrift store that benefits our local children's organization. both churches -- on stage road and north street -- are amazingly beautiful.

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: kerrylobel

                                      one last thing -- others have mentioned it in their posts, but i think it bears repeating. harley goat farm is an amazing place and the tastes of the cheeses and raviolis are worthy of all their world medals.

                                      1. re: kerrylobel

                                        Kerry, can you tell me what the name of the store was that I visited? The left side was a general store and the right side had a counter at the back to order food, a bunch of tables and booths, and a large wood-fired oven.

                                        1. re: adrienne156

                                          Sounds like:

                                          San Gregorio General Store
                                          7615 Stage Rd, San Gregorio, CA

                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                            Nope. The place with the wood fired oven is in the town of Pescadero and is called the Pescadero County Store.

                                            1. re: Shane Greenwood

                                              I tried adding this to the Chowhound's places, but it won't give me the link. Here are the pics of the place. It's at 251 Stage Rd, in Pescadero.

                                              1. re: Shane Greenwood

                                                Ah, I recognized it from the picture. It was formerly known as Muzzi's Market:

                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler


                                                  Pescadero Country Store
                                                  251 Stage Rd, Pescadero, CA

                                              2. re: Shane Greenwood

                                                Oh, oven. I was thinking of San Gregorio General Store's potbellied stove. It's also worth checking out.