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Big Sur Bakery - Any reviews or opinions?

Mari Jun 23, 2010 09:05 AM

I am planning a day trip to Monterey for the weekend of July 4th and am looking for reviews of the Big Sur Bakery. A search resulted in no reviews. I'm driving from SF and I am wondering if it's worth a special detour for brunch. Are the baked goods outstanding? It looks like reservations are accepted and I'm afraid they might already be booked. I'll call later today.

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Big Sur Bakery
47540 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920

  1. Melanie Wong Aug 5, 2013 07:16 PM

    On thursday, Mom and I headed to Big Sur Bakery in a loaner car that begged for some winding road action. Between Carmel and Big Sur there was only one stop where Hwy 1 was one-lane and subject to traffic controls.

    The menu changes frequently here, and on this weekday, was limited to sandwiches, salads and soup. No burger. Mom and I split the pork loin, gruyere and butter lettuce sandwich on house-baked wood oven bread and the Wuyi mountain amber oolong tea.

    The cold sandwich was ok. The bread itself was very flavorful with a wonderfully chewy crumb, but the crust was damp and tough rather than crisp.

    I also bought some pastries to go. The fig morning bar was ill-conceived and not good. The mocha cookie was the star once more. We also liked the chewy snickerdoodle studded with berries.

     
     
     
     
     
    1. Melanie Wong Aug 24, 2011 09:09 PM

      I had a chance to stop by on Monday on the way back from Cambria. It was a busy time and I couldn't pull up close enough for my mom to come inside. She was weary from the drive on Hwy 1 and didn't want to stop any way. But later after she tasted the Citrus Morning Bun, she said, "That's a good bakery, I understand why you had to stop." She also really liked the mocha cookie. The other items --- nectarine strudel, strawberry tart, peanut butter cookie --- were fine too but not as high impact.

      1. k
        karoshi Aug 24, 2011 05:20 PM

        For someone staying in Big Sur, the bakery is a valuable feature of the area. However, I wouldn't make a special trek from Monterey to eat there.

        We come to Big Sur once a year from the Bay Area to hang out, enjoy nature and relax. Years ago, we "discovered" the Big Sur Bakery and became enamored of their excellent espresso drinks, especially when their main barrista is at the helm (I really should ask his name....spiky disheveled black hair with beard). I'm pretty compulsive when there is a good espresso on hand, and make of point of getting some at the bakery every morning we're in town. Even if the rest of my family is asleep. :)

        The Big Sur Bakery Almond Croissants were legendary and often sold out early. However, I'm sad to report the recipe has changed this year and aren't very good anymore (they're more like a Bear Claw with barely any almond paste. And the outside has a sugary glaze, like a donut, but with almond slivers). Sigh. Sure do miss the old flakey croissant of almond goodness!

        Their Pain au Chocolat is the "classic" style and pretty good.

        The fritatta is heavy on the potatoes. However, the quiche can be quite light with a decent crust (fillings vary).

        I'm never around on weekends, so I can't comment on their brunch.

        For our one dinner there, the food was decent enough but the service was glacial. We visit this area enough to not expect fast service (the hippie vibe is strong), but the wait between ordering and receiving our food was brutal. Having a hungry 3 year old us didn't help, so maybe our view is skewed. We should dinner another try now that he's 6 years old.

        And for cactus/succulent fans, their garden is impressive. Especially some of the larger agave and huge cluster of Oreocerus Senilis (old man cactus). They gotta be decades old!

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        Big Sur Bakery
        47540 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920

        1. scubadoo97 Jun 20, 2011 12:10 AM

          We arrived yesterday between lunch and dinner so no food. Big disappointment but did have a latte which was made very well by the barista and went back with a half a loaf of sourdough bread that was delicious. The menu was simple but looked amazing. They seem to do things well.

          1. Melanie Wong Jun 15, 2011 08:49 PM

            I made it to Big Sur Bakery myself during a lunch break from the Big Sur Food & Wine Festival in November. I had a burger and a fresh-squeezed red grapefruit juice.
            http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

            The juicy burger was exactly medium-rare as ordered and had still had some nice charring. The toasted, light-textured bun was so good with it. Pricey, but a very good burger. I'd heard my server tell the other party sharing the communal table inside with me that the beef was local. When I asked who the beef source was, the server went into the kitchen and came back with the answer, Meyer. As far as I know Meyer is not a local source. Looking at the menu now, Painted Hills in Oregon is shown as the beef source. A little disappointing that the bakery isn't using local beef, as Monterey County is cattle country, but perhaps no one delivers to this stretch of Hwy 1.

            I also got some pastries to take back to my hosts in Carmel Valley. Pickings were a bit slim after lunch and I can't remember what I tried, but we were happy with them.

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            Big Sur Bakery
            47540 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920

            1. Mari Jul 6, 2010 12:12 PM

              Thanks again to all of you for your input. We made it to the Big Sur Bakery on Saturday from San Francisco. It was terribly foggy as we were driving into Big Sur but it cleared up and we sat outside for brunch. I had the breakfast pizza which was huge. It was topped with 3 eggs that are baked into the crust, cheese (not sure what kind of cheese but I don't think it was mozzarella) and bacon. The bacon was thick and delicious. The pizza was good and the crust seemed to have a generous amount of olive oil in it.
              My husband had a beautiful omelette with avocado, bacon and cheese served with a side salad and a slice of toasted brioche. I also had the most delicious strawberry ginger lemonade that I will try to replicate at home. It had just the slightest hint of ginger.
              The sweet breakfast items sounded really good (pancakes made in a cast iron skillet and french toast with local berries) but I was saving room for pastries after. I thought the brunch was quite pricey though. The food plus one glass of orange juice, one glass of lemonade and one coffee came out to $48.50 before tip.
              At noon we headed over to the bakery and purchased a mocha cookie, an apricot strudel and a morning bun. The pastries were delicious, particularly the apricot strudel. I wouldn't call it a strudel though since the pastry was not as flakey as a typical German strudel. The morning bun was also good 3 hours later. It had a slight hint of lemon and/or orange zest and it was nothing like the morning buns at Tartine which I find too rich.
              Overall it was a nice detour but I don't know that I would go out of my way to visit again unless I'm close by. Unfortunately, I didn't make it to the Post Ranch since we needed to head back north.

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              Big Sur Bakery
              47540 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920

              1. Beach Chick Jun 23, 2010 01:21 PM

                We stopped in several years ago to the Big Sur Bakery and so glad we did..
                It was excellent!
                We had lunch first at Sierra Mar at the stunning Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur.

                www.postranchinn.com

                6 Replies
                1. re: Beach Chick
                  Mari Jun 23, 2010 02:12 PM

                  Thank you! I had no idea about Sierra Mar. Was the food good? I guess I can run a search too. I wouldn't mind stopping there for a drink.

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                  Sierra Mar Restaurant
                  Highway 1, Big Sur, CA

                  1. re: Mari
                    Beach Chick Jun 23, 2010 02:15 PM

                    we went for lunch and sat outside on the patio and it was exquisite...food, drink and just being in one of the most prettiest places on earth.
                    I would suggest having lunch at Sierra Mar and then stopping at Big Sur Bakery for baked goodies..either way, you can't lose.
                    Make sure you make reservations with Sierra Mar for the 4th of July weekend and report back!

                    1. re: Beach Chick
                      Mari Jun 23, 2010 02:19 PM

                      Thanks. I think what we will do is have brunch at the Big Sur Bakery and then hit Sierra Mar for an afternoon snack. The Bakery has been in my radar for a few years now. I will definitely report back.

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                      Big Sur Bakery
                      47540 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920

                      Sierra Mar Restaurant
                      Highway 1, Big Sur, CA

                      1. re: Mari
                        Beach Chick Jun 23, 2010 02:32 PM

                        good call..they have a wonderful cheese plate...since its a high end hotel, they have times that non-guests are allowed to dine, and it's a very popular place, so make sure you have a reservation...especially for the 4th weekend.
                        Have fun!

                        1. re: Beach Chick
                          h
                          HoosierFoodie Jun 24, 2010 07:17 AM

                          Big Sur Bakery is a fun place with good food. Sierra Mar is fantastic and high end. I recommend both.

                          -----
                          Big Sur Bakery
                          47540 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920

                          Sierra Mar Restaurant
                          Highway 1, Big Sur, CA

                        2. re: Mari
                          Alice Q Jun 25, 2010 04:13 PM

                          You will love it - it's in the Zuni/Chez Panisse vein - rustic, simple but top quality cooking. Not sure about brunch, but they have great baked goods (duh) so don't think you can go wrong. ;) Nepenthe is also a great place to stop for a drink and a little easier than Sierra Mar.

                          -----
                          Sierra Mar Restaurant
                          Highway 1, Big Sur, CA

                  2. Mari Jun 23, 2010 11:31 AM

                    Reservations are not accepted for their weekend brunch. Recommendations are still welcome. Thanks!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Mari
                      Melanie Wong Jun 23, 2010 01:12 PM

                      Mari, here's the search result for Big Sur Bakery. Some are from years past but seem to be consistently positive.
                      http://search.chow.com/search?query=%...

                      Note that a "day trip" from San Francisco to Big Sur involves a four-hour drive each way, and longer in holiday traffic.

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                      Big Sur Bakery
                      47540 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920

                      1. re: Melanie Wong
                        Mari Jun 23, 2010 04:23 PM

                        Thanks. Originally, I wanted to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and I decided to tack on the Big Sur Bakery which is only 26 miles further south from the aquarium according to an on-line map. Unfortunately, my food adventures outside of the Bay Area always make me too ambitious.

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                        Big Sur Bakery
                        47540 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920

                        1. re: Mari
                          Melanie Wong Jun 23, 2010 04:48 PM

                          The reason I noted the driving time is that your post made me think that I might like to take a ride over to the bakery when I'm in the area midweek. Then I googled for the driving time and had to think a little longer about heading over from Salinas faced with a near 2-hour drive. BUT, I checked again, and I see that I didn't notice that google defaulted to the wrong endpoint in Big Sur. You can take an hour off that driving estimate, to the Bakery is 3 hours in each direction from SF. If I get there before you do, Mari, I'll post here.

                          1. re: Mari
                            a
                            Andre11 Jun 24, 2010 10:50 PM

                            You will enjoy the Big Sur Bakery, But it's about an hours drive from the aquarium.
                            I would go to the aquarium, then go to Hula's just about 3or 4 blocks away, and then take the long beautiful drive to Big Sur Bakery.
                            Stick with that and you'll be a happy camper or your monry back.

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                            Big Sur Bakery
                            47540 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920

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