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Nov 18, 2013 05:30 PM


We will be in PR for several days and need ideas on restaurants for lunch and dinner. Looking for California cuisine, Mexican, Peruvian, BBQ etc. Wine list is not important as we'll bring our own.

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  1. I wonder if Paso is big enough to have a Peruvian restaurant...
    A friend of mine lives there says that there is one very good Japanese restaurant, FWIW...

    10 Replies
    1. re: Tripeler

      Definitely no Peruvian in PR, or anywhere on the Central Coast that I'm aware of.

      My top picks in Paso are Artisan, Buona Tavola and Bistro Laurent. Also love Estrella, though it's been a while since I've been, since I moved to Santa Maria.

      Is there even any good 'que in Paso? I can't think of any.

      1. re: DarkRose

        Gosh, there MUST be good BBQ... I'll ask my friend who lives there.

        1. re: Tripeler

          If there is, it's underground. Just did a quick web search and came up with 3 places: Big Bubba's Bad BBQ (which is just that, BAD), RB Smokin' BBQ, which was decent but not great and is now closed at any rate (moved to A-town, I think), and Cool Hand Luke's, which HAS some que, but is mostly steaks. That's it, surprisingly.

          ETA: There's a few random pits that get set up on weekends along Spring St., but I can't vouch for their quality or regularity.

          1. re: Tripeler

            Drive down to Morro Bay to Mo's BBQ - and order their Philty Phil Ribs with all the fixings. Our favorite destination restaurant in this area.

          2. re: DarkRose

            Surprisingly, there is not a lot of decent BBQ in SLO County. There are a few in South County that I'll go to, but that's it. (Mo's, Old SLO BBQ). Most that advertise under that heading are really just grilling steaks, and these are hit and miss.

            1. re: mike0989

              Pismo Beach is in SLO County, is it not? Mo's BBQ is our favorite go to place with any excuse we can find to make the drive.

              We enjoyed Firestone Walker in Buellton a lot, so I suspect their mothership in Paso is just as good. If not even better.

              1. re: glbtrtr

                I mentioned Mo's. The other one that get's mentioned a lot is Rib Line. I haven't personaly tried it yet so I can't vouch for it.

                1. re: mike0989

                  Typing faster than my reading. Mea culpa.

              2. re: mike0989

                there's a BBQ place on the AG Mesa, on Highway 1 at Halcyon. It used to be a small "bbq" and burger place, but has changed hands in the last year or so and does decent BBQ smoked and grilled meats. Oak Pit BBQ Co does beef ribs and tri tip and chicken over open oak coals, and pork in a smoker.

                I've had samples, not a full meal, but the pulled pork was excellent and came un-sauced. Been meaning to go back but the location is off my beaten path. I stand reminded.

                It's about 10 minutes from Halcyon Rd exit on 101 north or south. Just follow Halcyon Rd to Highway 1, turn left and follow 1 up the side of the Mesa, and Oak Pit BBQ Co is on your right just before the signal at Halcyon and 1. Alternately you can approach from the south on Highway 1 from Guadalupe, or from the east on Los Berros Rd, just turn left onto Valley Rd from LBR and turn left onto 1 at the foot of the Mesa; follow up to the restaurant. Glbtrtr would be interested in what you thought of this place. (mostly takeout but small very casual dining area.) in case you're wondering La Simp looks the same--no progress.

                1. re: toodie jane

                  toodie, did you see the post(s) I did about your toffee?

          3. Firestone Walker Brewery is good for a casual meal. Joe's Diner is also excellent for breakfast.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Coribdx

              the beer at Firestone Walker is tremendous, particularly the limited edition anniversary bottlings.

            2. I've had a couple of good lunches at Thomas Hill Organic. The only item to mention is if you like fries with your sandwich\burger you're SOL. They serve a quinoa salad as a side. Otherwise, they are quite good.

              1. The only ethnic diversity Paso Robles has is the sizable Mexican population. The best spots are on the east side of town past the golf course, funky little spots with lots of flavor.

                For good seafood, just a few minutes south on the freeway, in Templeton's Trader Joe's shopping center, Pier 46 has good values on very fresh seafood meals. Wine & beer, but very simple patio seating. Fast and fresh, at a good price.

                2 Replies
                1. re: toodie jane

                  Yeah, Pier 46 has a darn good ciopino

                  1. re: toodie jane

                    I just had Taqueria Jalisco, which is right next to the gringo-Tex-Mex SeƱor Sancho's (avoid like the plague--well, maybe not, as it's been 15 years since I've been there, and I don't remember a lot about it), and I can definitely recommend it. Word is the al pastor is incredible, though I ordered the alambre de carne and it was excellent. Definitely a hole-in-the-wall place.

                    I do have a soft spot for Papi's downtown, though. Maybe it's just the fact that I've been eating there since I was knee-high and it's probably the definition of comfort food for me, but at least some people seem to think it's pretty good, since it was featured in Sunset Magazine and gets pretty good reviews on the various review sites.

                  2. Just wanted to get in on this thread to share a few of the greats that I've come across.

                    Thomas Hill Organics has been a reliably fresh dinner spot on both visits and Firestone Walker made for an excellent lunch stop and break from wine. Joe's Place was awesome for a hearty, filling pre-wine crawl breakfast. The brand new Fish Gaucho is also worth mentioning. It's a touch pricey, but the fresh Mexican food and killer tequila and mescal cocktails are actually great.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MWinston

                      I can second all of these recommendations.

                      I went to THO for dinner and had the roast chicken. OMG. That is a Michelin 3-star "worth a journey"-type meal. It was so good I went back for lunch just because I wanted to try their burger, which was also excellent.

                      Firestone Walker is kinda sorta typical brewhouse pub food, but it's well-executed and of course there's tons of great beer available on-tap.

                      Joe's has become a local institution in the few years it's been open. I used to eat at Joe's dad's restaurant, Lolo's (in the same location as Joe's is now), as a little kid. Lolo's was honestly pretty bland and basic Mexican food, but I kinda miss it now just for the nostalgia factor (it would be my definition of comfort food instead of Papi's if it were still around). Ted and Esper Ontiveros's son Joe has really done a great job upping the ante with just good, solid, very well executed breakfast and sandwich items. (For the locals, a little fun side read here:


                      Fish Gaucho was an unexpected surprise. Great fresh Cal-Mex cuisine and a top-notch tequila selection.

                      I also did dinner at Artisan (a very good hangar steak), lunch at Panolivo (wild mushroom risotto was excellent), dinner at Estrella (a very good take on a chile relleno), and lunch at La Casa De Amayah (very decent Cal-Mex at a price point a bit lower than Fish Gaucho).

                      For something completely different and ethic, Basil has excellent, excellent Thai.

                      Still on my list after perusing dozens of CH threads are Villa Creek, Robert's, Buona Tavola, Il Cortile, and Chico's.

                      Also, my personal favorite burger on earth is Good Ol' Burger over on 24th St. I can't determine if it really is objectively an insanely delicious burger or if it's 50% childhood nostalgia welling up in my taste buds, but for a good western char-grilled burger, I think it simply can't be beat. Ask for a side of the Pepper Plant salsa to put on the burger--that really makes the whole package, IMHO.