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Feb 8, 2012 01:27 AM

Planning road trip from LA to San Francisco, places to fine dine ?


My first post.....coming from Australia, have about a week in early April for road trip from LA to San Franciso, looking for suggestions for unique and/or high end dining along the way. hope to get in to French Laundry after getting to SF.

After San Francisco head to NYC, hoping to experience Per Se, Daniel & Jan Georges.

Any advice greatfully received.


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  1. We made a similar trip last April... LA up to SF with stops along the way. It wasn't my first time doing this, but having my Californian brother along sure helped with the meals. Try to stay in Cambria near the Hearst Castle... beautiful, small inns right at the water. We had a fantastic meal at The Black Cat in town - do book ahead as it's small and very popular.

    For a fun lunch, there's a place called Anderson's Pea Soup (or something similar). It was a bit north of Santa Barbara and had what I'd call Real American diner food. I loved it as I now live in the UK.

    We ate at the French Laundry.. fine meal. In Oakland, there's a fantastic organic restaurant called Gather. The dishes were highly inventive, tasty and you can take a nice tour of the Berkeley campus before or after. We also at a few dinners in Monterey.. nothing out of the ordinary. Fandango is nice, probably better choices in Carmel where we had a good, French lunch that was very authentic.


    1. Depends upon which LA-SF route you want to take and how long you will take making this drive and where you would like to stop along the way. The choices are quite wonderful any way you choose. . If you go Highway 101 it will be about 7 hours. If you take the winding coast hugging Highway 1, it will take much longer. If you take the bleak but awesome in its own way Highway 5 route, it will be much shorter.

      The best level dining in Santa Barbara will be Julienne for dinner or Gianfranco's in Carpinteria. However, you can easily spend several days wining and dining in the Santa Barbara area alone. Or you can just make a pit stop at La Superica Taqureia for their #15 specials off Highway 101 at Milpas Street in Santa Barbara Or stop at the Ballard Inn and Restaurant for a remarkable dinner and quaint small town.

      Or the Mirabelle Inn and restaurant in Solvang. Or Root 246 at the Hotel Corque also in Solvang. The Madonna Inn outside San Luis Obispo on Highway 101 will be like no other roadside lodging and restaurant you will find elsewhere.

      The later the winter the more likely the hills will become emerald green and a perfect reason to take the Far Out Wineries route from Paso Robles off Highway 101 to the ocean and then continue up Highway 1. Food is not great but the massive barking sea lions on the San Luis Bay pier are worth this short sojourn for at least some fish and chips off Highway 101 on your way up north.

      1. How fun..
        Open is a great way to book at the French Laundry with 60 days to the exact date of your reservation at midnight, we got in that was lunch, which we preferred.

        Sierra Mar at the stunning Post Ranch Inn is lovely in Big Sur.
        San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito to stay and dine at Stonehouse.
        Madonna Inn for lunch on the way to Santa Barbara...what a riot of place.

        1. Along the 101 in Paso Robles, is Artisan. One of the best restaurants you'll find on a road trip between LA and San Francisco, though you can find similar quality restaurants IN Los Angeles or San Francisco. Paso Robles is starting to become a winery destination so in addition to Artisan there's also: Thomas Hill Organics (more casual - excellent brunch/lunch spot), and for dinner Il Cortile.