Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > California >
May 18, 2011 08:00 PM

Pismo for first timers- please give us your recommendations!

Hubby and I and fur kids are heading down to Pismo for an early Memorial day weekend in hopes of avoiding the crowds ( May 25-27). It will our first time there. I checked old threads for dining recs but most of them are outdated by several years. Any suggestions for casual dining? So far it looks like Splash Cafe for chowder, Cracked Crab for buckets and Giuseppe's express for pizza and salads (can't find a menu for their express locations, I am assuming the pizza and salads on their regular menu can be ordered at their express location as well). We are also thinking about heading over to Jocko's in Nipomo for a good steak. Have we missed anything? We are not looking for fancy....just good!

Cracked Crab
751 Price St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Drive over to San Luis Obispo on Thursday night for the farmers' market. You and the kids will enjoy it. There are lots of food vendorsplus music, entertainment etc. The recs for Splash Cafe Cracked Crab and Guiseppe's are still valid. Lots of people love the Honeymoon Cafe for breakfast. The Avila Valley Barn is a short drive from Pismo and is always a fun place to visit--produce, bakery items, ice cream, and an assortment of animals.

    Avila Valley Barn
    560 Avila Beach Dr, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

    Cracked Crab
    751 Price St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

    1. Make sure you call ahead and make a reservation at Jocko's otherwise you'll be waiting an hour and a half. Love their Spencer steaks or grilled lamb chops.
      Don't know if the Pier Pounder is still there at the Pismo Pier. I knew of someone who got their name up on the wall for finishing their Pier Pounder challenge. A pound of burger, a pound of fries and all the sides that go with it!

      1. We love the Philthy Phil ribs at Mo's BBQ on the main downtown street. Then going down to HotLix afterwards for some coffee flavor salt water taffy or other great homemade candies they have there- the pecan rolls are especially tempting after Mo's succulent ribs.

        Other menu items on Mo's don't get the same rave reviews from us as their Philthy Phil choice of ribs, but we think the ribs and that sauce are so great we make any excuse whatsoever to make another road trip up there just to get some more. Mo's is a block up from the Splash Cafe which always has lines around the block, so it those lines seem too daunting for the wait, do think about Mo's instead if you are in the mood for casual and funky BBQ.

        We found Jocko's to be a volume restaurant and not necessarily a good restaurant. A better "steak" tip is to sit at the great big open bar at McLintock's in Pismo area (Shell Beach) and order their potato skillet and steak pieces appetizers and you will be very well-fed indeed, just not with a knife and fork. Plus you will get in a lot faster than waiting to sit down.

        1. Thanks for all the tips. I would LOVE to go to the SLO farmers market but I understand they don't allow Fur kids so probably won't make it this trip. Bummer! Any good outdoor dining??

          1. I have to add Ventana Grill. I was wary going there on a friend's recommendation since it seemed like one of the usual ocean view locations with mediocre food. But after having been there twice now for lunch and one happy hour, this has become our new Pismo Beach/South County favorite. The space is sleek with stunning panoramic views, but still casual.

            The menu has a Latin twist. We've enjoyed the Mahi Mahi sandwich, poblano steamed clams, the burger with a bit of chorizo mixed in and cotija cheese on top, and a nice ceviche.


            Definitely go to Jocko's, nothing fancy, but a great Spencer steak cooked on their red oak grill. I love to get Spumoni ice cream (if they have it that night) for dessert. Even with a reservation, you'll have to wait for your table, but make it fun by going into the bar and getting a beer while you wait.

            Ventana Grill
            2575 Price St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

            3 Replies
            1. re: PattyOh

              "make it fun by going into the bar and getting a beer while you wait"
              --which they count on by over booking heavily.

              just so you know

              McKlintock's in the village of Arroyo Grande on Bridge St. also serves good steaks at dinner, and the venue is so much nicer than Jocko's dingy room.

              1. re: toodie jane

                Hmm, to each his or her own. IMO, the steaks are better at Jocko's. The place is old and nothing to look at, but it is clean.

                1. re: toodie jane

                  Been to McKlintock's a long long time ago with the kids when they were little. Nice settings along the coast but didn't care for their extra dry buffalo burger I ordered. The kids loved the table server who poured their drinks like a Turkish tea waiter. Very courteous service is what I remember. Food not that all memorable though. Jocko's is still my favorite steak house even though the decor is not all that fancy. Still meaning to try the Hitching Post one day for their steaks.

                  Hitching Post
                  3325 Point Sal Rd, Casmalia, CA 93429