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Central Coast culinary adventures along Highway 101 and Highway 1

Toodie Jane, Polar Bear and I all seem to love exploring our beautiful central coast between Salinas and Santa Barbara and are slowly putting together an impressive list of road stops, road trips and destination restaurants.

It might be helpful for future Highway 101 and Highway 1 Central Coast travelers to find these spots all in one post so here goes the start of a thread that hopefully can be referenced by those who don't yet know this special part of still often untouched California.

I'll start with listing some of my favorites:

1. La Simpatia in Guadalupe for chile rellenos (Thanks to Toodie)
2. Mo's in Pismo Beach for ribs - Philthy Phil's my favorites
3. Chef Ricks in Orcutt - gotta have that Jack Daniel's pecan pie
4. Gopher Glen Apple Farm and others along See Canyon
5. Madonna Inn Copper Cafe, San Luis Obispo - for back to basics honest old time food
6. McLintocks in Pismo, sit at the bar for their Steak Pieces and Potato Skillet appetizers
7. Hotlix in Pismo for freshly made coffee-flavored salt water taffy

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  1. Nice idea, glbtrtr. I wonder if you can edit your subject line to include Hwy 1 also, for those who aren't familiar with our coastal routes? Maybe once we have a comprehensive list together we can map it, like I've seen for some themes on the SF board.

    5 Replies
    1. re: PolarBear

      No need to create a separate map. If you use the "Manage Your Links" function when you post your replies, the site software creates a map on this page.

      Chef Rick's
      4869 S Bradley Rd, Santa Maria, CA 93455

      Madonna Inn
      100 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

      La Simpatia Cafe
      827 Guadalupe St, Guadalupe, CA 93434

      McLintocks F Saloon & Dining House
      750 Mattie Road, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

      Mo's Smokehouse Bbq
      221 Pomeroy Ave, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

      Madonna Inn
      100 Madonna Rd, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

      Copper Cafe @ Madonna Inn
      100 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Thanks for the tip, Melanie, that's a great feature. Is there a procedure to follow if a particular restaurant isn't in the CH database?

        1. re: PolarBear

          Right now, only those with editing powers can add something to the database. What I would suggest is that you include the particulars for the missing place (address, phone, cuisine, etc.) in your post, then use the "report" button and write some text to ask the moderators to create a new record.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Melanie, you are a Chowhound Chween. I follow you all over California. Thanks for making this work better for us.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Mel's our gal! I used the "report' button to clarify the title ( i. e. ...along Hwys.., rather than "between"). We'll fill in the little crossway St. Rtes. as needed.

      2. My favorite country drive Santa Ynez Valley winery is Rancho Sisquoc.

        1. Full of Life Flatbread in Los Alamos... not only for pizza but for wonderful salads and an exceptional wine list that is extremely fairly priced.

          1. Panolivo, Paso Robles - Sunday brunch was excellent, with a mediterranean flair. Pastries looked pretty amazing too! Will definitely be back when in the area.

            1. Don't forget about about these two!

              Pismo Yogurt for great tasting frozen yogurt and fresh toppings.
              Splash Cafe for the best Clam Chowder bowls south of SF.

              Splash Cafe
              197 Pomeroy Ave, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

              Pismo Yogurt
              187 Pomeroy Ave, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

              1. This subject seems to be getting more attention lately, so thought I'd take a stab at the Hwy 1 portion from the Monterey Bay area, and add in the Hwy 101 from Salinas down to Paso Robles since no updates have been forthcoming.

                HIGHWAY 1 - South of Carmel to junction w/ HIGHWAY 101 in San Luis Obispo (SLO)

                Cielo at the Ventana Resort (@ 10 mi south of Carmel)
                (800) 628-6500, (831) 667-2331

                Sierra Mar at the Post Ranch Resort
                (800) 527-2200 (831) 667-2200

                BIG SUR AREA

                Redwood Grill - reported to have great bar food, special dishes with chanterelles
                Fernwood (@ 30 mi south of Carmel
                )47200 Highway 1
                (831) 667-2129

                Big Sur Bakery
                47540 Highway 1
                (831) 667-0524

                Nepenthe - best for the view and drinks, fries, maybe an app, Cafe Kevah offers less expensive fare on the lower level
                48510 Highway One
                831 667-2345

                Deetjen's Big Sur Inn
                48865 Highway 1
                (831) 667-2377

                From this point need to pack a picnic (Partington Cove, Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP, etc). It's about 60 mi and roughly two hours to Cambria depending on traffic and how often you stop.
                If desperate there are two places before San Simeon

                Lucia Lodge (in Lucia @ 30 mi north of San Simeon
                )(866) 424-4787 or (831) 667-2391

                Ragged Point Inn (@ 15 mi north of Hearst Castle)
                (805) 927-5708

                Sebastian's General Store - market with sandwiches (currently in transition)
                442 San Simeon Rd.
                (805) 927-3307
                San Simeon


                Sow's Ear - most upscale
                2248 Main St, Cambria

                Black Cat Bistro
                602 Main St, Cambria

                Wild Ginger
                2380 Main St, Cambria

                Sea Chest - cash only, no reservations, dining at bar also
                2616 Moonstone Beach Dr

                Others that some are attracted to:

                Robin's Restaurant
                4095 Burton Dr,

                Linn's Restaurant - famous for their pies
                2277 Main St,

                Main Street Grill - meats grilled outdoors in West Village
                603 Main St,

                Boni's Tacos (and more) in the Tin Village takeout only, open for lunch and on the weekend, and their mobile location at the corner of Burton and Main (summer only?)

                Indigo Moon for wine tasting and cheese
                1980 Main St

                Creekside Gardens - breakfast, ebelskivers with danish sausage
                Creekside des Noches at night
                2114 Main St (E village)

                Village Creek Inn - breakfast

                Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill - best for view and drinks, spicy shrimp and scallop app

                Note: There is no food available in the 23 mi stretch on Hwy 46 from Hwy 1 to Paso Robles (Hwy 101)

                CAYUCOS (@ 13 mi north of Cambria)

                Hoppe's - good wine list
                78 N. Ocean Avenue

                Ruddell’s Smokehouse - fish tacos outside near the pier
                101 D Street
                (805) 995-5028

                Want to try but have yet to find open...

                Cass House Inn and Restaurant
                5-9pm Thursday thru Monday
                22 N. Ocean Ave.
                (805) 995-3669

                MORRO BAY

                Bayside Cafe in the state park
                10 State Park Rd,
                (805) 772-1465

                Main just N of Taco Temple

                Taco Temple
                2680 N. Main

                Shawn's on Main
                912 Main Street

                Tognazzini's Dockside Restaurant & Mkt
                1245 Embarcadero Blvd
                805 772-8100

                Windows on the Water
                699 Embarcadero,
                805 772-1059

                Giovanni's Fish Market & Galley
                1001 Front St.

                Papa Julio's Mexican Food,
                430 Morro Bay Blvd,

                Fred’s Grill - formerly Margie's Diner -chili-cheese omelet
                1698 Main St.
                (805) 771-9811

                LOS OSOS and BAYWOOD PARK (@ 3 mi south of Hwy 1 on S. Bay Blvd jus out of Morro Bay


                Noi's Little Thai Takeout
                1288 2nd Street
                Los Osos, CA 93402-1110
                (805) 528-664

                Lotus - Thai
                2060 9th St, R on LOV Rd, 2nd blk near Chinese rest.
                Los Osos

                Sylvester's (burgers)
                1099 Santa Ynez
                Los Osos

                2062 10th
                Los Osos

                Copa de Oro - breakfast
                (805) 528-8000
                690 Santa Maria Ave
                Baywood Park

                and just before entering southbound 101 in SLO

                Bon Temps Creole Cafe
                1000 Olive St,
                (805) 544-2100
                San Luis Obispo

                HWY 101 - SOUTH OF SALINAS to PASO ROBLES
                (original thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/672077



                Taqueria Hidalgo
                23477 Grant, Chualar


                Restaurante El Oaxaqueno - black mole tamales
                31 3rd
                (831) 675-2387

                Playa AZUL Restaurant
                12 7th
                (831) 675-3060

                El Rinconcito
                16 4th

                Burger Queen – best burgers in Salinas valley?
                800 Johnson Canyon Road (5th street exit then turn left. next to Exxon
                )(831) 675-2754

                La Plaza Bakery – tortas


                Cuatro Hemanos Restaurant (better than one in King City or Paso Robles?)
                137 Soledad St

                Casa de Teresa Restaurant
                185 Kidder

                La Fuente
                101 Oak

                La Plaza Bakery – tortas


                Taqueria Las Fuentes – al pastor on spit, lengua, cabeza
                331 El Camino Real
                (831) 674-5509

                La Plaza Bakery - tortas

                El Molcajete Restaurant - BURNED, status unkown
                570 Walnut Ave
                (831) 674-5000

                KING CITY:

                El Lugarcito Restaurant - shrimp tostadas, whole fried fish, green salsa, shrimp tostada with lime-cilantro dressing, whole fried fish (avoid tacos exc. for carne asada)
                128 Broadway

                taqueria that is just across Broadway from EL, large crowds

                Mercado La Mexicana - small grocery store , chicharrones guisados and cachete. The cachete was beef cheek meat, and unlike the stewed versions the crusty edges on the fine dice seemed like it was roasted or cooked by dry heat. The flavor was much more intense and beef-y. The chicharrones were stewed in a VERY spicy chili sauce
                327 Broadway

                La Poteranca – carnitas, al pastor, sopes
                201 Broadway St
                (831) 385-7500

                Cuatro Hermanos – chile verde, ceviche
                101 Bassett

                SAN MIGUEL:

                Little taqueria next door to 10th St. Vineyard Cafe

                4 Replies
                1. re: PolarBear

                  I used to stop at La Fuente in Soledad and was charmed by the colorful and family atmosphere of the place but the food was never compelling enough to keep me coming back. What did you order that earns it a spot on this list? Thanks.

                  1. re: glbtrtr

                    This was a reco from another hound, is still on my to try list. Sadly, no other details.

                    1. re: PolarBear

                      Great post. I am using it next week. Thanks!

                  2. re: PolarBear


                    CAYUCOS is about 13 miles SOUTH of Cambria, not north... sorry 'bout that.