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SLO Train Depot Dining Options

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For those on train private excursion trips , or those exploring SLO's Historic Railroad District:

Del Monte Cafe

Cafe Roma

Sally Loo's Wholesome Cafe

Gus's Grocery

Meze Cafe

Giant Grinder

Lotus Asia's Best Grill

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Del Monte Cafe
1901 Santa Barbara Ave, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Giant Grinder Shop
1901 Broad St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Cafe Roma
1020 Railroad Ave, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Gus's Grocery
1638 Osos St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Lotus Asia's Best
1819 Osos St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Sally Loo's Wholesome Cafe
1804 Osos St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Meze Cafe
1880 Santa Barbara St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

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  1. Toodie, are you willing to rank these choices? Thanks. And do you know what bus numbers to take from the train station to get to other dining favorites like the Neon Carrot?

    8 Replies
    1. re: glbtrtr

      I'm not comfortable ranking restaurants as they all have their attributes and distractions, but I can say where I end up eating most often:

      Del Monte has the widest variety of food choices in a traditional vein; consistency and attention to detail. Nice 'lunch counter' ambiance. Great Del Burger.

      Cafe Roma is more fine dining Italian style. When we lived in town, it was one of our special occasion places. Can be noisy.

      Gus's is great for sandwich on the run. Very busy at lunch, college hangout. I like the Grinder shop--more intimate and large half size sand's I can split to take home.

      Sally Loo's is a local's coo/hip/laidback place. Good coffee, but not my kind of place.

      I've only had the bahn mi at Lotus, not so great. Music is rather loud, though the style varied. Nice patio. Very slow service for my visit, considering customer load.

      Meze a little too trendy for me. Food was good though. adventurous.

      as far as bus routes, #5 goes to the depot, #4 goes by a block away, both go downtown where most of the dining action is. That is also where the transit HUB is. #2 southbound goes right by neon Carrot, get off opposite the Social Services bldg just past Prado Rd and walk south about a block.
      http://www.slocity.org/publicworks/do...

      (I created this post for those taking an excursion train up to SLO from SB--and felt the schedule didn't allow enough time to walk downtown for food.

      )

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      Cafe Roma
      1020 Railroad Ave, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

      Del Monte Cafe
      1642 Del Monte Blvd, Seaside, CA 93955

      Meze Cafe
      1880 Santa Barbara St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

      1. re: toodie jane

        Neon Carrot UPDATE:

        since last week, The Neon Carrot has a sign on the door advising it will be closed for lunch until further notice. 'Happy Hour' continues on Fri., possibly other nights--could not read the fine print from my car...will update if I hear more news.

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        Neon Carrot
        3536 S Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

        1. re: toodie jane

          Was passing through SLO on our way up to Parkfield a few weeks ago on a Sunday and found the Neon Carrot which naturally was closed and cast about looking for a quick snack. Believe it or not, we ended up at the run-down Fosters Freeze downtown for a Nathan's hot dog and it was delicious. It is what it was- an American classic. Reminded me that Julia Child's oft-stated favorite Santa Barbara meal was the hot dog at Costco. (In Goleta)

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          Neon Carrot
          3536 S Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

          1. re: glbtrtr

            unfortunately, property sale and demolition is hanging over the head of this downtown institution.
            Coming soon, Retail and Luxe Condo's!

            1. re: toodie jane

              Foster's Freeze that is.

              1. re: toodie jane

                Hope SLO has more success with their "downtown" luxe condos - most of ours got turned into short-term vacation rentals. Lots of people were coming and going at this downtown Foster freeze, so indeed it must be a well-regarded downtown institution for many. BTW: SLO did a very nice downtown renewal and looked very appealing to poke around for dining choices.

            2. re: toodie jane

              Here's part of an email I received from the Neon Carrot folks today:
              the neon carrot will be open fridays for our awesomely powerful happy hour, for on site events of up to forty people, for take out for groups of eight or more (24 hour notice please), for catering and saturday's at farmer's market in slo-but not for breakfast or lunch. we'll probably add another stance or two in the batter's box we call the neon carrot, but for now-that's it.

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              Neon Carrot
              3536 S Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

              1. re: sgbslo

                Friday evening happy hour is no longer. NC is doing catering and attending to the 'home fires' for now. They are availble for private functions at the NC location on South Higuera.

        2. Funny, I had just signed on to review Lotus Asia's Best (http://lotusasiasbest.com/menu/) ! I'd never been to that part of town (just to the train station) ....cute, with some good looking options.

          San Luis Obispo Tribune has a Groupon-type deal-of-the-week called Dealsaver
          ( http://sanluisobispo.dealsaver.com ) that offered $10 for $20 worth at Lotus. We took ours there yesterday and were VERY pleasantly surprised.

          The restaurant is two room and a patio. The 1st room has the Mongolian Barbecue bar and open kitchen, second room is all tables. Nice patio, shaded and private. You order your food at the podium in the front and they bring it to your table.

          We started with the Shrimp Spring Rolls (3 medium rolls); there was also a choice of chicken, pork or veggie. Extremely fresh and plump accompanied by a sweet spicy peanut sauce .

          Second was the Rare Beef Pho, a large bowl of noodles topped with paper thin onion and raw beef slices that cooked in the mild broth. I added Thai basil, cilantro and mint, bean sprouts and lime. The broth could have been a bit more intense for my liking but all in all, for SLO, it was pretty darn good.

          Following the soup we split a Roasted pork Banh Mi (I don't see it on the menu here) . Chunks of well seasoned pork on a crunchy roll with herb and jalapenos....yum !

          All of this food came to just under the $20 so we added a Thai iced tea. Not too sweet and quite flavorful.

          The negatives (which are minor):
          Service was spotty---our sandwich came first, then our soup....then our spring rolls and after another 5 minutes or so, our tea. There was loud rock music playing which disturbed the serenity of the patio. (All the staff were young adults so I imagine that dictated the choice.)

          We definitely will go back. The food was terrific; it is a lovely little neighborhood find. For 3 o'clock on a Sunday afternoon, it was fairly busy ( 5 tables on the patio were taken) . The price is right and it is nice to have another Asian alternative. (BTW, Thai Elephant is opening ...may be open...next door.

          )

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          Thai Elephant Restaurant
          7320 El Camino Real, Atascadero, CA 93422

          Lotus Asia's Best
          1819 Osos St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401