Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > California >
Apr 16, 2011 03:20 AM

Sonoma->Santa Barbara

My BF and I are taking 11 days to visit CA. While we are very familiar with Sonoma, can anyone make some breakfast, lunch and dinner recommendations for Carmel/Carmel BTS, Cambria, Paso Robles and Santa Barbara?

Thanks in advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Keep in mind that Hwy. 1 from Carmel to Cambria is closed. Check for updates before you head south. A favorite in Pacific Grove is First Awakenings. Wonderful breakfast selections.

    First Awakenings
    125 Ocean View Blvd, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

    6 Replies
    1. re: Bruce in SLO

      Good to know. We'll be in Sonoma Thurs, May 19th- Sun: then Carmel Mon, May 23-24; Cambria Wed., May 25; Paso Thurs, May 26-27; and Santa Barbara Sat., May 28- Mon, the 30th.

      Thanks for the recommendation and advice!

      1. re: FoodieInFlorida

        We recently had a wonderful meal at PortaBella in Carmel. Bouchee, Casanova, Grasing's, Pacific's Edge and Anton & Michel are all very good there. In Paso Robles, I would definitely go with Artisan. In Cambria, Sow's Ear Cafe and Black Cat Bistro are two of our favorites. Have fun! :)

        Black Cat Bistro
        1602 Main St, Cambria, CA 93428

        Anton & Michel Restaurant
        Mission Carmel CA, Mission Carmel, CA

        Mission and Sixth, Carmel, CA 93921

        Sow's Ear
        2248 Main St, Cambria, CA 93428

        Pacific's Edge Restaurant
        120 Highlands Drive, Carmel, CA 93923

        1. re: syrahgirl

          In Paso, I gotta agree with Artisan, but gourmet friends who were just there mentioned a new Italian place that they said was equally outstanding, but I don't remember the name (sorry).

          In the Carmel area, I usually suggest a dinner in neighboring Pacific Grove at Passionfish, which features an excellent wine list (and the wines are sold at retail prices, not restaurant prices) and a menu that focuses on sustainable seafood preps. Most people have good experiences there though it is not super fancy.

          701 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

          1. re: Ed Dibble

            That would be Il Cortile, we had a great meal there last year.

        2. re: FoodieInFlorida

          Santa Barbara: a search of this forum for Santa Barbara will turn up many of the same recommendations so that will be a good place t o start and see what might look appealing. The city has a large array of choices and settings so much of what you will probably want depends on where you will be staying and what activities you have planned to do while you are here.

          Today is hot and breezy and a great time to be outdoors: Breakfast at Anderson's Danish Cafe on State Street on the sidewalk tables is a people watching treat. Continental breakfast at either Renaud's location should not be missed either because of the excellence of their french baked goods. Jade is a local treat for dinner, but Julienne's is top of its class in this town for true foodie dining. Wine Cask is back in contention for our top second tier along with Downeys, buchon and Olio et Limone. Suffer through their attitude and you can still get an exceptional burger at Hungry Cat. Haul out the checkbook and satisfy your sushi fantasies at Arigato. Poke a bit into americanized Vietnamese at Saigon In and Out. Thai shows its face well at Fan and the new place on DeLaVina. Milpas Street has a variety of Mexican spots besides La Superica as well. And even the venerable El Paseo spanish courtyard restaurant is getting better reviews now with the new chef, though I have not been there myself.

          Lunch at Ca Dario for just the antipasto plate and dessert is my all time favorite, but maybe only after La Superica for their #15 taco special. Or, wait I also adore the Super Nachos with marinated pork and a horchata at Supercucas on the Westside, but wait again, I also like Stella Mares, or Petit Valentin, or Brummi's, or Sushi Teri, or the Modena sandwich at Via Maestra 42 ........... and so it goes. Heck, I even like the Swedish pancakes at our local IHOP with the glorious huge fig tree growing up right in the middle of it. Recently found the after 3pm happy hour specials at the Boathouse right on the beach at Hendry's are worthy for a late lunch or early dinner, but I wouldn't go there for their regular dinners or lunches, but when the price drops so much for happy hour so do my expectations.

          So the best thing is to print out all the recurring favorites in this town posted here and pull it out when you find yourself in one or other part of this town, because there are so many good and good enough choices here. But try not to miss Julienne. Few to zero restaurants are bad and all of them have at least one or two things that are good enough.

          The only one I suggest avoiding totally is Enterprise Fish Company, but even that has its very loyal fans and a good bar buzz that keeps it going regardless of its really poorly prepared food. That is Santa Barbara for you.

          Plus going to GiannFranco's in Carpinteria or Cold Springs Tavern up San Marco Pass are worth consideration as well even though they are a bit out of town. And we have not even touched recommendations in the more chichi Montecito - though none immediately come to mind - Tre Lune is good, but others less so.

          1. re: glbtrtr

            Glb, this is a great list for Santa Barbara. We go to Carpinteria quite often, but haven't tried a lot of the places you mentioned. You should start a new thread with just a Santa Barbara title, so more people could see this :o)

            This you see the review of Julienne in the LA Times yesterday? We will be going tomorrow, I can't wait to try the house made charcuterie!

      2. Paso: Artisan, Il Cortile or Thomas Hill Organics are all good choices for dinner. If you're going wine tasting I'd suggest you visit Cass Winery and have lunch there--beautiful place, good wines and good food.
        Cambria: Robins is good for lunch or dinner. Black Cat is very nice for dinner. The Sea Chest is a casual no reservations place across from the beach that can be good if you're just lookng for an old fashiioned seafood experience.

        Black Cat Bistro
        1602 Main St, Cambria, CA 93428

        Cass Winery
        7350 Linne Rd, Paso Robles, CA

        Thomas Hill Organics
        1305 Park St, Paso Robles, CA