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Sep 7, 2005 11:00 PM

Good Restaurants in Pismo?

  • r

Me and my SO will be staying in Pismo soon (at the Pismo LightHouse Suites) for a few days well deserved rest.

So I was wondering if anyone knows any good restaurants in the area? It can be seafood, italian, mexican, indian, anything. Thanks in advance.

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  1. b
    Bruce in SLO

    Check out Giuseppe's for great italian,
    DePalo's deli for take out,
    Cracked Crab for seafood,
    Del's has very good pizza,
    Gardens of Avila at Sycamore Mineral Springs is wonderful for Cal-fusion
    and be sure to check out the Cinnamon Rolls in downtown Pismo.


    6 Replies
    1. re: Bruce in SLO

      completely concur on Giuseppe's and Di Paolo's.

      Also in Oceano there's the Rusty Pig, which makes burgers, ribs, chicken, all grilled over red oak.

      Best burger for MILES around and it's a funky little spot to boot.

      1. re: NAspy

        Giuseppe's is my current favorite Italian in the county (though Buona Tavola in SLO is up there). Definitely give it a try.

        For clam chowder in a bread bowl, hit up Splash Café. I also like Yanagi Sushi (you can see it from the freeway), which has yummy sauces and teppanyaki grilling.

        I also like the Village Grill in downtown Arroyo Grande, if you go into town check it out for inexpensive but yummy burgers, chicken and fries.

        1. re: SLOLindsay

          Lindsay, concur with your rec's. I haven't been, but hubby went with friends to Yanagi's and he said BECAUSE of the teppan tables, the din in the place made coverstion almost impossible; thought the food was good. This was at about 5:45 pm. on a weekday. H-m-m-m. Must try it!
          I love Village grill, too for their Ortega sourdough chicken burgers and fries.

          Have you tried the Rusty Pig? who knew?

          also, any SLO hounds gone to the new Italian rest. on Higuera? Kathy Marks-Hardesty made it sound big-city best in her New Times review.

          1. re: SLOLindsay

            If you want good chowder, go to steamers, or pismo fish and chips. Splash is a total tourist attraction, and in my families opinion, extremely over rated. It's all just hype. Try different places chowder and see what one you like the best.
            Mo's bbq has the best bbq in town.

            1. re: Melissa

              I must agree. Splash clam chowder is like almost every other clam chowder I had. Its just bland with little bits of clam.

        2. re: Bruce in SLO
          Shari in Palm Springs

          I have to mightily disagree with the choice of Guiseppe's...tasted like Ragu sauce, only not as good!
          Loved the Gardens of Avila for lunch; haven't had dinner there.
          Don't expect too much from Pismo dining...agree about the steakhouse--too touristy, and terrible food!

        3. not Fine Dining, but
          Try Philly's on Grand Ave at 4th street in Grover Beach. Philly cheese and bbq ribs & chicken as eat-in casual or take-out. Would not recccomend Alex's in Shell for bbq though it's an area institution. McClintock's Steakhouse in Shell is way too touristy (sorry) and crowded. If you want to try their steaks, go to the smaller dining room in village of Arroyo Grande, on Bridge Street. Their breakfasts are great.

          Some of the smaller beach towns to the south of Pismo along Hiway 1- Grover and Oceano, and Guadalupe,--have funky little taquerias and of course the Far Western Tavern (rib-eye)in Guadalupe. Excellent sushi and Japanese food in Santa Maria (20 minutes south) in the Stowell Center at Atari Ya. Good food, very attentive sushi chefs.

          Pete's Pierside on the far pier in Avila has great mariscos and outdoor patio for (very) casual dining. I love their fish&chips with red pototao chips!

          Have a good time!

          1 Reply
          1. re: toodie jane

            Update: Philly's is gone.

            There is a new Thai place in Grover Beach at Grand and 5th street. Getting some good buzz though I haven't gone yet. Northwest corner.

            The Lido at The Inn at Shelter Cove on Shell Beach Rd (next to The Cliffs) is reportedly the best in beach area fine dining now. They do small plates and many special dinners. Chef is Evan Treadwell.

            Good French food and a large wine selection is available in SLO (ess-ell-oh) at Et Viola just off 101 at the Los Osos Valley Rd exit, in the Bear Valley center. Chef Jose Dahan is enlaring his dining room this July.

          2. Del's on Shell Beach Road (great pizza's and calzones and the rolls they give you with dinner are to die for - food doesn't come extremely fast so don't go if you are in a hurry... they don't make it until you order) - should be within walking distance of your hotel; to the north. Splash is good for typical chowder - the Jetty in Santa Maria or Lompoc has the best in my opinion. SeaVenture (Pismo) used to have abalone chowder which is delicious is they still serve it. There is a little breakfast place next to Alex's on Shell Beach Road - the names escapes me though.

            Are you sticking to Pismo only? Oceano, Avila & Arroyo Grande all have some great places too. There is a Mama's Meatballs open in Oceano now. Yamato (sushi) in Grover Beach is a fun place in a strip mall/plaza, nothing fancy. I agree with toodie jane about the steakhouses... & going to the smaller FMC in AG if you do go. Chacho's (mexican) in Oceano is my favorite. If you go be nice to the ladies working in the tiny kitchen! =)

            1. The Sturdy Wench and I just returned from the Cracked Crab in Pismo, 751 Price Rd.

              One word review: Outstanding!

              More words: This casual, no reservations, crab-focused eatery is lively, packed with happy diners, outgoing and friendly staff, serving unpretentious seafood, mainly crab. (Currently the oysters are from Washington State.) The focus is on fresh, fresh, fresh ingredients and the payoff is in the amazing taste.

              We waited at the bar since we were facing a 30-50 minute lead time for a table. This was also where the servers' order entry computer was located, so we chatted with several servers, all of whom were very outgoing. One waitress in particular, Rhonda, made us feel warmly welcomed and talked with us between order entries and served us our wine and appetizer.

              The Sturdy Wench ordered the Crab Melt, I ordered the Crab Enchiladas. (I wanted to keep it light since we'd also ordered 6 oysters on the half shell, the poblano crab appetizer, and two glasses of wine.


              The oysters were plump, seawater fresh, creamy, rich, voluptuous. Stick a diaphanous nightie on them and you'd have the bivalve equivalent of Sophia Loren. They were accompanied by lemon wedges and a small ramekin of homemade cocktail sauce which was nicely piquant and fresh tasting. A+

              The poblano crab was a nice sized lump of crab meat stuffed into a steamed then seared poblano pepper, dusted with jack cheese and served with two corn tortillas and chopped tomatoes and shredded lettuce. A.

              My wife loved the crab melt, saying "The flavors were well integrated, it was perfectly size--not too much or too little. The french bread was nicely chewy. Very satisfying. I would definitely eat it again!" A+.

              My seafood enchiladas were delicious. Two medium-sized white corn tortillas stuffed with crab and shrimp. I was a little disappointed there was so little poblano pepper in them. (I ordered the Cholula cream sauce on the side, fresh steamed veg instead of basmati rice, and no cheese.) The enchiladas came witha large mound of fresh, tasty pico de gallo. I had kept the coccktail sauce from the oysters and mixed it into the Cholula cream sauce, and the resulting amalgam was lively on both a pepper taste and horseradish taste with fascinating aromatics. It was excellent on both the enchiladas and the veg. A.

              The only improvement I would suggest would be replacing the bland factory tortillas with homemade tortillas.

              We had a wonderful time there and since we're in Pismo for the next four days, we'll be back, now and every time we come to Pismo!

              1. ...and the hits just keep on comin'

                Brunch today was the Sunday champagne brunch at Pelican Point Between the two Best Westerns on Price St.

                I forgot to ask the price before we sat down, and there was no mention of it anywhere, so the $33 per person price sandbagged me. WTH? I had it in the back of my mind we'd be paying around $19-25. Nope! Grumblegrumblegrumble...

                Anyway, my poor foresight aside, the brunch was pretty. Our waiter, Arturo, was excellent. Smooth, with a ready smile, clearly practiced, easy-going, confident yet never intrusive, he was a waiter's waiter, perfect for this more upscale place. I wish I had a restaurant so I could hire him.

                The food was good, beyond most Sunday buffets, although nothing made me want to jump up and run around the room. The presentation was well done, food was displayed attractively, at different heights, lots of color from veg garnishes. The buffet had several salads, french toast, scrambled eggs and cheese, sliced fresh smoked salmon with capers and chopped onion and tomatoes, salmon poached in a saffron sauce, chowder, beef teriyaki, sausage, eggs Benedict, bacon, cold shrimp and crab legs, carved beef tenderloin, a waffle station and an egg station.

                The cold king crab legs were cut cleanly along their length--bless the prep guy!--so digging the meat out was eas. The egg benedict was suffering from being held, it really needed to be made a la minute. The Brie en croute was forgettable. The sausage link was good but tasted like every other breakfast sausage with that nasty herbal, medicinal taste. However, the bacon was wonderful! Thick, smoked, nicely seasoned, crispy/chewy, it made me yearn for many more than my one piece, but alas, such was not meant to be. The smoked salmon was nicely chilled and fresh with no fishy aroma. The clm chowder was excellent: Creamy, thick, large chunks of potato, lots of bacon crumbles and clams. I had my three spoonfuls and regrettfully stopped. B+

                We didn't feel the need to eat until 5:00 or so, and based on rec's here we tried Giuseppe's on 851 Price St. Service was good: professional, civil, and the waitress visibly warmed up to us as we talked.

                Instead of the olive oil and balsamic vinegar bread dip, the junior waiter added the oil and vinegar to a small dish of ground Parmesan cheese, creating a slurry. This was novel and delicious. A.

                We started with the Funghi Ripieni, mushrooms stuffed with cheese & herbs, with four cheese sauce. These were 4 medium button mushrooms served as described. My only complaint was 4 mushrooms seemed too few for the price. The taste was bland and nothing in the dish stood out, but nothiing was bad. Overall just not a remarkable dish. C.

                We ordered the minestrone soup as well. We were expecting the typical tomato-based veg soup you and we have all seen a million times, but something quite different arived. The soup was light brown, a chicken base, and the veg were in larger dice, giving a nice rustic look and taste and mouth-feel. The soup itself was good, if bland, and benefitted from several stiff grinds of the pepper mill and a dash of salt. B.

                The Sturdy Wench ordered a special, halibut cheeks over lemon pepper cous-cous and topped with a wilted greems salad. Now this was worth the drive! The fish was sweet, perfectly cooked, with a light crisspy coaating on one side. I loved the cous-cous, which were quite peppery, but she didn't care for them. A-.

                I had the braciole with orechiette pasta. The flank steak was fork tender and delicious, full of meaty, savory flavor. The pasta was thick and nicely cooked, and the dark red sauce carried a punch of warm pepper, aromatics and wine. A previous poster said their sauce was akin to jarred Ragu--if so, it's Ragu I would buy by the case. A.

                Overall, not a bad place. Certainly better than Olive Garden or any of the zillion faceless trattorias out there. Perhaps not my first choice for Italian food unless nothing better presented itself. Before we leave, I want to try Rosa's, I'll report back if we do.