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Great food in Paso Robles

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P.J.Nolen Jan 7, 2005 02:35 PM

Where do we start? From good ol' American fare to the exotic of Basque & Thai, Paso Robles has it all. From F.McLintocks to Kelly's to Bistro Laurent, I have tried them all. Want any information on the food or the area around Paso Robles, email me at: bobandpati@msn.com and I will do my best. I love the area and get around more than most- I am a land surveyor and cover most of the county with my work schedule. So, I have the scoop on other locals from Los Osos to Ragged Point and point in between!

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  1. The Chowhound Team RE: P.J.Nolen Jan 7, 2005 03:25 PM

    Hi-

    While we appreciate your knowledge and willingness to share chow tips from various locales throughout California, we really must ask that you do not solicit queries via email. The success of this community is the fact that we post our tips on the discussion forums, where everyone reading along benefits from the information and has an opportunity to contribute to the discussion.

    We look forward to reading your tips on where to find the delicious stuff throughout California.

    Thanks.

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      kim c RE: P.J.Nolen Jan 8, 2005 12:50 PM

      We really enjoyed Buona Tavola in Paso, any opinions on the restuarant at the Justin Vineyards? ***kim**

      1 Reply
      1. re: kim c
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        P.J. Nolen RE: kim c Jan 11, 2005 03:00 PM

        No- I haven't had the pleasure. But, given their attention to detail they give to their wines, I would place a good size bet that it is worth the drive out there to try their food. Those people are a class act all around. Good luck!

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        SLOLindsay RE: P.J.Nolen Jan 8, 2005 01:27 PM

        Paso is as yet unchartered territory for me, as my job takes me mainly to Morro Bay and Los Osos from my home base in SLO (where I have tried just about everything, save Ristorante Bienvenuti and 1865 Restaurant).
        I posted awhile back that I was excited to go north to try restaurants. That's been slow going, with my non-foodguy husband not quite so excited as I am. However, I am interested in your opinions on a few north county restaurants.
        What do you think of Villa Creek? I have seen some really mixed reviews on this place. Worth a trip? The patio looks nice.
        Have you been to Berry Hill Bistro? Paris? Matthew's at the airport? Feelings on these? I have been told Paris should be at the top of my list of dinner places to try.
        I had a great lunch at Panolivo. I'd love to try it for breakfast sometime if we ever get up there that early in the day.
        An acquaintance got poor service at Dining with Andre, where he used to be a regular, and has ceased to go there. Opinions? I haven't tried it yet.
        And lastly, have you heard anything about "Twelve Fifteen," which I'm constantly seeing advertised in the New Times and which (I'm guessing) is headed by the same team behind Blue and b.wich'd?
        Thank you for your chowhoundly help!
        Lindsay

        12 Replies
        1. re: SLOLindsay
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          PolarBear RE: SLOLindsay Jan 8, 2005 01:41 PM

          We've had several great lunches at Paris just off the town square and really want to try dinner there. Please report back if you go.

          Here's a wonderful little place we found thanks to CH:

          RESTAURANT 4 HERMANOS
          709 6TH ST
          (805) 238-3915

          1. re: SLOLindsay
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            SGB RE: SLOLindsay Jan 8, 2005 06:39 PM

            The best dinner I've had in Paso was at Bistro Laurent. I think Paris is no longer serving lunch. It used to be open for lunch and I went there a couple of times then and enjoyed it. Did you know they're opening a Panolivo in SLO. It's going to be on Monterey near the Fremont Theatre.
            I had one lunch at Dining With Andre and it was pretty good but I did find the service slow and somewhat indifferent. Berryhill Bistro is just fair IMO. Like you, I've heard varying reports on Villa Creek.
            For a casual, quick meal I like Odyssey Cafe next to Bistro Laurent.
            The new place is being opened by the owners of Blue. It looks attractive but didn't appear to be opened yet the last time I was up there.

            1. re: SLOLindsay
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              Mariko RE: SLOLindsay Jan 8, 2005 08:36 PM

              Paris is no longer open for lunch, but it's definitely worth going for dinner!

              I have been to Matthew's for dinner once, and it was really enjoyable. It's a tiny little dining room, but they have an extensive menu, about 5 options per category (chicken, beef, vegetarian, duck, lamb, etc.). At first I was wary, since it seemed they were spreading themselves kind of thin with so many choices, but everything was great. I was a big risk taker, too, opting for the butternut squash ravioli (gasp, a vegetarian entree in Paso Robles!).

              Berry Hill Bistro--decent sandwiches for lunch. It's good but not earth shattering.

              Villa Creek--never tried it! I have heard it's good, but the "scene" at the outdoor bar is so gross that I don't want to go near the place.

              I walked past 1215 this morning hoping to catch a glimpse of a menu, but they have NOTHING posted on the windows. The windows are kind of tinted. Seems a bit dark and too cool for school. Nobody I've talked to has tried it yet. Would love to hear a report!

              1. re: SLOLindsay
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                P.J. Nolen RE: SLOLindsay Jan 11, 2005 01:07 PM

                Villa Creek- excellent food, nice service, high-end unique local wines. Little pricey, but worth it.
                Berry Hill Bistro-More like San Francisco than France. Very nice selection. Have had 2 nice meals there with good service.
                Paris-Good, good, good.
                Matthews-I like Matthew, but his food, like his servers, is hit-or-miss. He has great intentions and I hope he only gets better. I have had 4 great meals and 3 bad ones.
                Dining with Andre-the secret here is to act like you just don't care. Bring a book, because this is not fast food. Take time to enjoy the meal. I have had numerous good meals here.
                1215-Missing something special since chef Fabrizio left. However, give them a chance. They do try to please. Service can be annoying, but keep a smile on your face and it works.
                Kelly's- Outstanding food-excellent service, great local wines. Always had a great meal here. Just disappointed once, and Kelly made up for it! Best Sunday buffet in the North county.
                Best Tacos in Town-Hacienda El Paso at 542 Spring St. I speak no spanish, but these folks manage to get me the best carne asada tacos in town! Phoenix has nothing on these folks.
                Don't forget Busi's, Odyssey World Cafe, or the Paso Robles Inn!

                1. re: P.J. Nolen
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                  PolarBear RE: P.J. Nolen Jan 11, 2005 08:16 PM

                  Thanks for the list P.J., several of these I've never heard of. Any signature dishes or must try items at Berry Hill, Matthews, Dining with Andre, 1215 or Kelly's?

                  1. re: PolarBear
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                    P.J. Nolen RE: PolarBear Jan 14, 2005 02:54 PM

                    This is the place for tri-tip, even though Santa Maria lays claim to it. Thanks to some special ranches nearby, Paso Robles has some of the best beef on the west coast. Even our hamburgers are to die for! Most restaurants try to get free-range game since it is also grown locally. The seafood is always fresh, of course.
                    First time diners to Paso Robles I take to Panolivo for anything on the menu that is the special of the day. For lunch on the road, I go to DelRaimondos on 13th Street next to the Wine Attic. You can get bread, wonderful cheeses, imported pepperonis, and We Olive (next door) has all kinds of olive spreads & tapanades.
                    The Wine Attic offers hard-to-find local dry-farmed red wines (try Pianetta Vineyards, you won't be sorry!)
                    Villa Creek-great Sonoran-mexican cooking. Their pork dishes are excellent. Try the spicy shrimp appetizer in red wine sauce. Matthews- I have lamb in a cherry-reduction sauce and the quail. Delicious! My husband has had the pistacho-crusted halibut everytime and still loves it. Dining with Andre is more of a breakfast & lunch on the go. I go by and get their wonderful pastries or sandwiches for a day out tasting. The dining area is very small, but the food makes up for it. Berry Hill is great for a light lunch. My favorite is the BLAT (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, & Tomato)sandwich. Kelly's is 'art on a plate', and I have had my last 5 anniversary meals with her I like her food so much. She changes the menu everyday, so it is hard to tell you what to pick, BUT I would highly recommend her Sunday Morning Buffet. Very well-known in Paso Robles to the locals. 1215 is known locally as Alloro Italian Restaurante, with great food, good wine and poor service. Things might have changed for them , and they improved the service. I hope this helped you have a great meal here in the North County.

                    1. re: P.J. Nolen
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                      PolarBear RE: P.J. Nolen Jan 14, 2005 03:10 PM

                      Great Information! Thanks a million P.J.

                      1. re: P.J. Nolen
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                        Paul Carmine RE: P.J. Nolen Feb 7, 2005 12:52 PM

                        Just wanted to clarify one thing about 1215.... It is NOT Alloro Italian Restaurant anymore. It's a new place called 1215 and it's terrific. They have American/California cuisine with a European twist. I had an amazing duck confit recently. And a delicious chocolate mousse. It's almost worth going just for the wine list. Lots of Paso area wines! And really good prices on all the wines. (Unlike the old Alloro, the service at 1215 is first rate.)

                    2. re: P.J. Nolen
                      toodie jane RE: P.J. Nolen Nov 19, 2007 07:13 AM

                      There are also two great taquerias on the east side of town (take 13th St east across the Salinas River) Travel about 4 miles to an aging strip mall, about a block past the golf course, on the left. The real deal here. Fantastic carnitas, lengua, cabeza, liquados, cerveza, etc. Aunties in the kitchen, which IMO makes a big difference. Complete with Mexican disco on the jukebox.

                      1. re: toodie jane
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                        BeachGrub RE: toodie jane Nov 19, 2007 09:43 AM

                        That sounds like Tenexpa. Just there yesterday and it is great. Get the Al Pastor and Lengua tacos.

                        A good new to me place that I have been hitting lately is Sabor de Michocan (or something close) on 12th near Spring. A nice little place that does really good regional food with excellent handmade corn tortillas.

                        1. re: BeachGrub
                          toodie jane RE: BeachGrub Nov 21, 2007 12:44 PM

                          I haven't been to PR for qbout a month--now I have two new places to check out--thank you! I don't recall seeing Hacienda El Paso (near Hacienda Motel?) but I love a good sleuthing.

                          1. re: BeachGrub
                            Joseph RE: BeachGrub Dec 28, 2007 01:41 AM

                            Thank you for recommending the place on 12th, west of Spring. It's actually called "Lo Mejor de Michoacan", and it was a great meal on a long drive south. I'll write a review later. We loved the salsas, the hand-made corn tortillas and the excellent carnitas.

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                      shannon RE: P.J.Nolen Jan 9, 2005 04:32 PM

                      Any info on Thai in Paso would be appreciated. I will be there this week on business and would LOVE a good Thai meal!

                      thanks!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: shannon
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                        Mariko RE: shannon Jan 9, 2005 05:48 PM

                        There's only one Thai restaurant in Paso Robles. It's called Basil and is across the street from the park on 11th Street. I have had lunch there a couple of times and enjoyed it. It's owned by the same people who own Thai Palace in San Luis Obispo (if that means anything to you ... ).

                        1. re: shannon
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                          P.J. Nolen RE: shannon Jan 11, 2005 12:41 PM

                          Basil Thai on 11th & Pine is very tasty indeed. It is (sigh) the only thai place in town. Good luck & good eating!

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                          mdscott RE: P.J.Nolen Nov 18, 2007 06:08 AM

                          We are visiting Paso Robles for a week. Do you have a recomendation for a place to get tritip?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mdscott
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                            BeachGrub RE: mdscott Nov 19, 2007 09:41 AM

                            I haven't found a great source of tri tip yet but here are some leads.

                            For a quick Q. There is a new BBQ place right near the corner of Spring and 1st street called SLO County BBQ or something like that. The tri-tip is good (cut a little thick to my taste) and the sides are pretty nice.

                            You can definitely get quite a meal at AJ Spurs in Templeton. Make sure you are hungry. You get a big cast iron pot of soup, salad, beans, and large portions.

                            There are also several places in town that do outdoor grilling on the weekends though I haven't tried them yet. One is at a liquor store around 5th and Spring (I forget the name). Also there is a donut shop right on the edge of Templeton on Main street (near 101) that does BBQ most days.

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                            shellie RE: P.J.Nolen Nov 18, 2007 02:54 PM

                            HI guys -
                            Two months ago my husband and I toured wineries in this area and asked for restaurant recommendations from some staff in the tasting rooms. We went to two GREAT recommendations that I haven't seen mentioned here yet: 1) Artisan in downtown Paso Robles. Great, fresh, gourmet food with a very upscale decor. We enjoyed our special dinner very much. 2) McPhee's Grill in old town Templeton (not far off the freeway at all). We LOVED this place! We would have never found it had the folks at EOS not heartily recommended it. It looks like an old-fashioned general store from the outside - and the interior has a quaint country feeling to it. But the food and preparations are first-class all the way. Kind of comfort food with a gourmet twist. Fun, cozy, and delish! We would recommend either one to all of you guys.
                            Also - for tri-tip sandwiches I would recommend Firestone Grill in SLO - not far from Paso Robles and SLO's cute downtown is worth a visit anyway. Go on thursday night for the fun weekly Farmer's Market as well. Cal Poly students and alum are known for being big tri-tip fans.

                            This is a great area to explore - looks quaint and uncrowded but lots of great wineries and gourmet food. Oh! and we had lunch at the Justin winery on the patio - it was good food. Light and pleasant but the service was a little snooty there.

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