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One dinner/night between LA and San Jose on the Pacific Coast Highway

In April we will have a brief three day/ 2night stay in California, following a trip to Tahiti. We'll arrive at LAX mid morning on the first day. We have two nights and then a flight home from San Fran. The second night we plan to eat at Manresa and stay in the Los Gatos area. So, for the first night, we're looking for a spot to have a fantastic meal and overnight somewhere along the coast between LA and San Jose. Thoughts?

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  1. Pismo Beach where Highway One (Pacific Coast Highway) and Highway 101 share the same road bed at the ocean's edge makes a good midway stop leaving from LAX, with some surprises in wineing, dining and lodging in this modest looking town. Some good recommendations here found by researching this forum. http://www.classiccalifornia.com

    Santa Barbara is obviously the most charming stop along the way but only a few hours out of LAX, so you may want to get closer to SJ before you start the winding roads of the upper PCH.

    1. I'm bumping this back up to see if I can get some advice. We need a restaurant and inn/hotel to stay in about half way between LA and San Fran. We were going to stay at the Cass House in Cayucos, but just learned their restaurant is not open Tues/Wed, which is when we will be in the area. Other suggestions??

      1. You could look into the Dolphin Bay in Pismo Beach. The Hotel itself is first rate. The restaurant, Lido, is also quite good. I haven't eaten there in a while as they had a Chef cahnge and I thought the previous one was better. That said, it has maintained it reputation as one of the better spots on the Central Coast.

          1. re: enbell

            Another option for Morro Bay is Windows on the Water. Last couple of times I've eaten here they have had a nice fixed price menu for $30. $45 with wine. Addtionaly, tuesday is Oyster Tuesday. Bar only for $.75 oysters. Choice of half shell, fired (actually quite good) or shooters.

            1. re: mike0989

              Second this old fashion dinner house in Morro Bay - the most delicious clam chowder too.

            2. re: enbell

              I'll second the recommendation for The Galley. We had a lovely dinner there a couple of months ago--really nice, perfectly done seafood, great service, and the view is a bonus.

              And getting slightly off-topic, anyone who loves Martinis and finds him/herself in Morro Bay should go to The Libertine, a funky-looking pub on the Embarcadero. The manager there has a fondness for craft spirits, so as of a couple of weeks ago they had Junipero (Anchor's gin) and Re:Find (a Paso Robles grape-based gin that my sweetheart really liked).

              1. re: TVHilton

                Good to know about the martinis at The Libertine. Here's my post on the beers,
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8789...

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Saw that after I had posted my comment. The beer list looked really good, but we were there for Martinis and (purely by chance) lucked into a great place for them.

            3. It is a l.o.n.g. drive up PCH all the way to San Jose. just saying

              3 Replies
              1. re: laliz

                Especially since "PCH" northbound ends somewhere around Oxnard/Ventura. North of there it's known as Hwy 1.

                1. re: laliz

                  Right. That's probably why the original poster is planning to break up the drive with an overnight in between.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Exactly. Not a terrible drive from Morro Bay (or environs) to Manresa for dinner, and then from there to Los Gatos. Certainly doable with stops at, say, Julia Pfeiffer Burns or Andrew Molera or Limekiln (but I veer off-topic...).