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Central Coast Fine Dining?

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I may be spending 6 months on California's central coast, near Paso Robles. From what I have heard, it's sort of an ignored area between Silicon Valley and Santa Barbara. Is this true? If not, where are the hidden gems and the little foodie spots/towns/markets/whatever?

Are there any serious fine dining options in the area?

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  1. The last time we were there, we were wandering the downtown, found this restaurant - and could not get in. They were completely booked! Reading the menu, I could see why.

    http://www.artisanpasorobles.com

    Next time, I'll make reservations BEFORE I drive up there!

    1. read up on Mirabelle Inn Solvang. Cheers!

      1. Ballard Inn, Ballard - Sta Ynez Valley

        1. Ember in Arroyo Grande is a new option that is off to a great start.

          I haven't eaten at Artisan since they relocated. A few family members have and the consensus is it has gone down a notch. Still good, but not what it was.

          1 Reply
          1. Paso Robles is an increasingly popular region for wine touring, with many wineries featuring Rhone-style grapes. So that is different from what is found in the more well known regions like Napa Valley. It is in general a lot more informal than the more established regions.

            So with the wine tourists the food scene is pretty good. Downtown Paso has a town square and many spots are right in that neighborhood.

            Another poster mentioned Artisan. I am particularly fond of Bistro Laurent (prix fixe at dinner is 5 courses with wine pairings for $89, but they also have a la carte and serve lunch as well). Next time I am visiting there I want to try the resturant at Justin winery (way out on the west).

            If you search this board for Paso Robles (and other towns nearby) you will find lots of other recommendations.

            http://www.bistrolaurent.com/menu/ind...
            http://www.justinwine.com/visit_resta...

            1. Paso Robles has become a great food/wine area. In addition to places mentioned already, we loved Thomas Hill Organics the last time we were in the area - though that was not recently (unfortunately).