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Paso Robles help please

Next week, we are traveling to Paso Robles on a continued eating week. First night we are dining at Il Cortile. Second night is where I need guidance. Doesn't have to be "upscale", just good food in a nice atmosphere. Thanks in advance for you input.

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  1. My wife and I have always enjoyed dinner at Bistro Laurent. They do a prix fixe menu with a pairing of local vintages.

    We have also had dinner at Villa Creek, which is just across the street at the square.

    1 Reply
    1. re: araknd

      I know of both of these and certainly both worth trying. Guess I was looking for something I am not aware of.

    2. if you're looking for an informal, inexpensive lunch, tacqueria/calif-mex, Papi's is very reliable. above average salsa bar.

      1 Reply
      1. re: moto

        Actually, we are looking for dinners. We are covered otherwise...Thanks!

      2. We had a nice lunch at The Artisan across from the park just last week. Kind of a smart casual shabby chic industrial touch to the decor - creative menu items, nicely done.

        Paso has come a long way, baby. (First memory of dining in Paso was Jasper's! in the converted old chuch -that was high style Paso back then before the vines.)

        1 Reply
        1. Artisan is quite good and open for diner. The chef is a two James Beard Award nominee. You might also look at Thomas Hill Organic. Don't let the name fool you, it's not some health food restaurant. It has more to do with how they are sourcing their ingrediants.

          1. I second Bistro Laurent and Thomas Hill. I absolutely refuse t endorse in any way shape or form Artisan given the horrendous experience I had there last time.

            8 Replies
            1. re: tavmark

              I love the hounds. Always helpful. I think it's between Laurent and Hill......

              1. re: tavmark

                Sorry to hear about the bad time you had at Artisan. Just last week our lunch experience was friendly, personable, professional and spot on.

                1. re: glbtrtr

                  Second Artisan. My favorite in Paso Robles.

                  1. re: jblee

                    We thoroughly enjoyed lunch at Artisan today. Here's a pic of my crispy shrimp flatbread sandwich:

                2. re: tavmark

                  Artisan was so-so to OK the first time I was there, and really good the last time (for lunch). I wish you'd expound on your bad experience: was it food or service?

                  I also second Bistro Laurent.

                  1. re: tardigrade

                    i went to artisan last week for the first time based on the chowhound recommendations. it was a total 'meh.'

                    1. re: sam1

                      Best not to measure it against SF or LA standards. This is Paso Robles.

                      1. re: glbtrtr

                        We used to love Artisan until last year, where we had a terrible experience. It started with the hostess, the seating (in the bar even after a long advanced reservation) to the service and finally the food. A big letdown after their big move.

                        I don't measure against city standards; Kobayashi was recognized by the James Beard Society. He no longer lives up to that standard!

                3. I also like Il Cortile, though, like you, would be interested in some other choices, especially a more casual option, to switch off to. We have tried Bistro Laurent a couple of times, both for lunch and dinner. The first time, lunch was good, so we went back and did not enjoy it as much, either for another lunch or for dinner.Especially for dinner, we were not thrilled with the quality of the food. Only one of the appetizers that we ordered was worth eating. Main courses, especially the sauces, were mediocre at best. Have not tried Artisan, but it seems to get a lot of good reviews here.

                  1. Thomas Hill Organics gets good mentions

                    1. Came down from SF for a bike ride....

                      First point about Paso Robles. All the restaurants of any note are right at one corner (12th and Pine). Bistro Laurent and Artisan are on two of the corners, Cocella and Estrella are up 12th, Villa Creek is on the other corner. On a weekend, it seems their kitchens close down at 10pm, which means you can walk in at 9:50, and the bar goes later, so you don't feel weird.

                      We ended up at Villa Creek, catty-corner to Artisan. I thought the menu was interesting, and the food was good, but nothing I'd go out of my way for. I had a slow roasted pork shoulder cooked more in tenderloin-fashion (roasted with rosemary). They did have a nice "wine flight" offering, which I appreciated.

                      It was relaxed and exactly what the doctor ordered after a long drive, but given the reviews here, I'd consider somewhere else.