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Apr 30, 2009 01:49 PM

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?

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  1. Go to the Splash Cafe and order their clam chowder.

    1 Reply
    1. re: al bundy

      Where is Splash Cafe? I'll do it for lunch, but I am looking for the three best spots in the area for dinner.

    2. 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
      (805) 773-4653

      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

      3 Replies
      1. re: monku

        Three thumbs up for Jocko's, but only for dinner which is the only time they fire up the oak grill. I drive from LA to Nipomo for Jocko's steaks. And it's the only place where I've seen an actual bar fight where patrons were throwing each other out of the place. A gem.

        1. re: TomSwift

          My fav is the large steak sandwich. A one pound rib eye.

          1. re: monku

            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.

      2. 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
        (805) 773-1428

        1. 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.

          1. 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

            Buona Tavola
            1037 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

            2 Replies
            1. re: nancyhudson

              Go to Avila Beach- and go to the pier at the far west end of town- walk to the almost end and walk into Petes Pierside. Order crab enchiladas. Grab a beer. EAT AND ENJOY!

              1. re: nancyhudson

                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.