Pismo Beach / San Luis Obispo - what's best?
We will be spending three days in the Pismo/SLO area exploring the various wineries in this region. We are looking for the three best restaurants for dinner. Prefer American, French or Italian food...probably not Asian (we get great Asian at home!). Where would you eat?
Years ago I ate at Giuseppe's in Pismo and it was pretty good. I see there's also one in SLO.
World famous clam chowder at Splash Cafe. It's on Pommeroy about a block from the beach. So famous they ship it frozen all over and even sell at the Costco's in the Central Coast.
197 Pomeroy Ave
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
Best Santa Maria style BBQ is at Jocko's about 10 minutes away from Pismo in Nipomo. BBQ pit is open after 4pm. Get there early or call for a reservation...gets busy.
Jocko's Steak House
Old Hwy 101, Nipomo, CA 93444
I tend to go for those big ole pork chops but it's all good and plentiful. Go there hungry, OP. You'll be stuffed and still have enough leftovers for two or three more meals.
And I agree with the idea of either going early or making a reservation (but you might still have to wait). If that's the case, the bar will make your wait so much more interesting. It's the real deal.
Not for dinner.
For coffee and the best cinnamon rolls "Old West Cinnamon Rolls" in downtown Pismo Beach.
Old West Cinnamon Rolls
861 Dolliver St
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
In Avila Beach (near Pismo), try McPhee's Grill. This is the second location of McPhee's that recently opened at the Avila Golf Resort. It has an almost identical, and equally terrific, menu as the original location in Templeton.
In SLO, Buona Tavola for excellent house made pasta dishes and The Park near the Amtrak train station for wine country cuisine. Both have very nice wine lists as well.
IMO, Splash Cafe is overrated - their clam chowder is so thick, your spoon stands up in it - I don't care for it at all. Honestly, Splash Cafe and Giuseppe's are both pretty casual and from the OP, I'm guessing maybe not what they're looking for, they said "best" restaurants. I agree with Buona Tavola, I've had great meals there. My daughter recently at at Novo in SLO and gave it high marks, altho I haven't eaten there myself.
Novo Restaurant & Lounge
726 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
1037 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
I understand your concern about thick clam chowder. Some places add enough thickening to it so that, as you say, a spoon stands up in it and gives it a pasty taste. Which is not to say that all thick chowders are bad.
We did a taste test in Pismo of several restaurants' clam chowders and Splash was the winner.
To the OP, nh is correct that Splash is pretty casual. In fact, it's a dive. If you are looking for fancy/gourmet it's not your place. If you are looking for good food in a casual, chaotic, crowded, loud atmosphere, then it is your place.
Well, now that we've scared off the tourists, we can resume our bowl of clam chowder.
And then there's Sylvester's in Los Osos for great burgers. :)
Good food is where you find it, and it's often not fancy. Or expensive.
That's the Chowhound motto.