Category: Restaurants

Ocean Grill Avila Beach

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Avila Beach has always been a family favorite. While Pismo is the obvious choice for visitors, Avila stays a bit more quiet and feels a bit more like a small town. It also has the best weather on the Central Coast, often remaining sunny and warm when fog is still hovering over the other beaches.…

Giuseppe’s Cucina

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  Giuseppe’s Cucina in Pismo Beach began as a Cal Poly Senior Project hatched by Giuseppe (Joe) DiFronzo. He took what was a simple assignment and turned it into a bustling restaurant with customers gladly lining up to wait an hour or more for dinner and everyone hosting their corporate and family events in his…

THOMAS HILLS ORGANICS

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It just so happens that right behind our Paso Robles office sits a gem of a restaurant – opened in 2009 by an inspired local organic farm owner, Thomas Hill Organics has become a staple of the North San Luis Obispo County restaurant scene. A restaurant with a passion for farm-to-table that was established long…

NARDONNE’S LA FAMIGLIA PIZZERIA

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Having lived in Los Osos since 2000, I’ve seen many changes. One of my favorite additions is Nardonne’s La Famiglia Pizzeria.  Located nearly a block from the back bay, Nardonne’s offers amazing food and great beer. Nardonne’s offers seating indoors and on their patio. They also have a bonus kiddo-distraction — an arcade room for…

Arroyo Grande Meat Company

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The quaint Village of Arroyo Grande is well-known for the many little businesses that dot Branch Street and its off-shoots. There is one business in particular that my family holds near and dear to our hearts — the Arroyo Grande Meat Company owned by Henry & Julie Gonzalez.  We frequent this business many times throughout…

Flour House in San Luis Obispo

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Stroll the streets of San Luis Obispo and you’ll have so many options it is almost hard to choose! Enjoy historic architecture, shop in the wide variety of boutiques, visit the art galleries or the Mission and just in downtown you can easily fill a day of activities!  And when you’ve built up an appetite…

FrutiLand El Casa del Sabor – The best flavors from Mexico City.

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Having lived here my entire life, I can tell you that driving down Grand Avenue with one of my long-time friends can be a walk down memory lane. And sometimes old memories die hard. That place was such-in-such and that was an empty lot, etc. etc. We tend to refer to businesses by names they…

Zorro’s Café & Cantina

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This restaurant has been featured before – but has changed so much in five years it deserves a second look. This is our favorite family weekend spot. The place where we kick off the weekend with a yum-o fresh meal to get us ready for a paddle, a bike ride or a day at the…

Stone Soup Music Festival & Street Faire

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Grover Beach is a happening little beach town all year long but come August of every year, it is a rockin’ town with their fantastic Stone Soup Music Festival & Street Faire.  The dates this year are Saturday, August 27th from 10am-9:30pm and Sunday, August 28th from 11am-5pm.  Some streets are blocked off near Ramona…

Happy to welcome “Hapy” to Pismo Beach

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For the past several months I had heard whispers here and there about a new restaurant coming to Pismo Beach. It was to fill the void next to Orchard Supply, left there when a spa retailer moved on to another location. Now I’ll admit that a strip mall restaurant isn’t usually something to get super…

Some Spice in the Village! Villa Cantina.

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In our family there is and has always been a quest to find what qualifies as “good Mexican food” for my mother. She can eat Mexican food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She will try hole-in-the-wall Tacquerias and taco bars in the rear of grocery stores. She has even been known to purchase and eat…

Oyster Loft

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Downtown Pismo’s newest restaurant is a “must-visit”!  Upstairs from Wooly’s at 101 Pomeroy, this upscale venue overlooks the Pismo Pier and sweeping coastline views from Vandenberg to Avila.  The setting and ambiance of the Oyster Loft is beautiful with low lighting and gorgeous décor. We have visited twice since opening and were wowed each time.…

Mersea’s on the Pier in Avila

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Avila Beach has a brand new restaurant that is a must try on your next visit. Mersea’s of Avila is in the same family of restaurants as Dorn’s of Morro Bay and Duckies Chowder House of Cayucos.  The restaurant is at the end of Harford Pier on Avila Beach Drive.  You can soak in the…

Taste of Pismo, a Premier Wine & Culinary Event

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Pismo Beach holds their annual Taste of Pismo on Saturday April 23rd, 2016 from 12pm to 4pm. This Premier Wine & Culinary Event, celebrates Central Coast wines, artisan brews, and regional cuisine  Perched on the cliffs overlooking the majestic Pacific Ocean at Dinosaur Caves Park, guests will enjoy premium beverages from local wineries and micro breweries as well as the sumptuous samplings…

Mason Bar, a most welcome addition to the Village of Arroyo Grande.

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Located at the corner of Mason Street and Grand avenue, Mason Bar is a most welcome addition to the quaint village of Arroyo Grande. Local owners Bill and Meygan Hales (who also own Rooster Creek and Shell Beach Brewhouse) have created a fabulous gastro pub that could be best described as country chic and has…

Shell Beach Brewhouse — open to all with a local vibe!

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Have you ever noticed that when you meet someone who has lived in an area for most of their life, they tend to refer to businesses, areas, restaurants and so forth by how they used to be known. Sometimes those names stick — as in Dinosaur Caves Park — I am not sure if there…

Spoon Trade – An American Eatry

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Grover Beach and fine dining are not typically mentioned in the same sentence – in fact in our history on the Central Coast those words have never been paired. We are happy to report that Grover’s culinary history has been upgraded with a new eatery. Owners Jacob and Brook Town, and Patrick Bergseid have made…

Surfside Donuts

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Maple Bacon, Strawberry Clam Shell, Dirt Surf, Salted Caramel, Spiced Chai, Cap’n Crunch with Crunch Berries. What on earth am I talking about? Why fresh-made daily gourmet donuts of course — and in downtown Pismo Beach no less! The Strawberry Clam Shell donut made with fresh local O’kui strawberries. Cap’n Crunch is of course topped…

Fish Gaucho? Yes Please!

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We live where others vacation — so I admit we are a bit spoiled. You have to have a good reason to venture North over the Cuesta Grade and into the hotter reaches of our County (away from the Ocean), In recent years however the reasons have been stacking up. North County isn’t just about…

Comfort Market

Comfort Market int he Village of Arroyo Grande

Updated April 15th, 2015 – When Gather was forced to close due to failed landlord negotiations the Village lost a favorite. What we got in return was a better, bolder, bigger version with many new features. Armed with many researched ideas owner/chef Kari Ziegler wanted a bistro with a gourmet market and wine bar as…

Big Sur River Inn

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I hesitate to write this post because once I do, our secret getaway … my happy place … will be revealed. However I want it to remain successful and keep providing us with our getaway so it is with that in mind that I share the Big Sur River Inn. Just a couple hours up…

Comfort Market

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Six months old and still growing! Tonight will be the inaugural cooking class at Comfort Market — soon to be a regular event as this evening’s first run sold out days before. Tonight owner/chef Kari Ziegler, previously of the much-missed Gather Wine Bar, will share her insider secrets from behind the kitchen door in creating…

The Central Coast Critic – Kathy Marcks Hardesty

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With over thirty years in the food business, Kathy Marcks Hardesty provides great information about our local Food & Wine businesses here on the Central Coast. She loves writing about great food and wine, entertaining your senses and placing you on the edge of your seat as you look forward to trying the next great new restaurant…

Comfort Market

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The Village of Arroyo Grande has grown up a bit in recent years — adding some new faces to the usual dining choices. While we love the stand-by’s of the Village Grill, McKlintocks Saloon and Alphy’s Broiler, new-comer Rooster Creek has become rooted in our regulars. Of course Jack loves Klondikes … pizza, video games and…

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Gnocchi. Ricotta Gnocchi. Ricotta Gnocchi atop a bed of gently sautéed Bloomsdale spinach. Gnocchi in a brown butter sauce. Gnocchi with a dusting of artichoke fritti. This is a glorious dish and I hope it remains as a revolving item on the menu at Ember. But you never know what inspired new dishes might arrive…

Central Coast Culinary

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Years ago I was invited to a friend’s birthday party that was being held at Debbie Duggan’s Central Coast Culinary. I had met Debbie on a few occasions working at KSBY as she was our local “celebrity chef”. She would rise ridiculously early to inspire us with a fantastic (and fast) dish on the morning show.…

Cool Cat Cafe – A Multi-State, Multi-Location Experience

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How often is it that you can walk out of your office door in Pismo Beach and say “I feel like having the best burger on Maui” and not twenty minutes later be taking a huge yummy bite? Well it can be as often as every day if you are in San Luis Obispo and…

The Boardroom

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First you have to love the name … doesn’t it sound official?! Great for that lunchtime “business” meeting. You can just tell your boss you’ll be in “The Board Room.” Before he figures out that you don’t have one you’ll be gone! This great little brew pub and eatery is right in the heart of…

Best Ice Cream in San Luis obispo County – Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab

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When you’ve lived in one place pretty much your entire life you know the history of all things and how they’ve evolved — both good and bad. The nice thing about the quaint Village of Arroyo Grande is that while things have changed, they’ve mostly stayed the same. And that is true of one of…

Marisol at The Cliffs Resort

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Those of us that have the awesome gift of living where most other people only get to visit on vacation know that we frequently take it for granted. Months can go by without a visit to the beach or stopping to really enjoy a sunset. But when we want to be a tourist in our…

Avila Beach Hawaiian-Style

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The theme this Summer has been “Stay-cation” for our little Central Coast Family. Since we are lucky enough to live where many people vacation we are playing backyard tourists and enjoying all that the Central Coast has to offer within 20 minutes of our doorstep. One of our absolute favorite day-off activities is to pack…

The Galley Seafood Grill & Bar

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We found ourselves playing tourist in our own backyard a few weekends ago and decided to try a few new things. While we waited for our standup paddling reservation at Central Coast Standup Paddling we found ourselves with time to kill on the boardwalk in Morro Bay. So we did as we do and looked up restaurants we…

Pete’s Pierside Cafe and Fish Market

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Being locals,  it can be hard to surprise us. On the other hand we also find ourselves falling victim to routine, returning to the same ol’ haunts over and over again. So it was through an effort to help our son learn to navigate traffic on his bicycle better that we were pleased to discover…

Rooster Creek Tavern

Rooster Creek Tavern in Arroyo Grande

I have to admit that while I scrolled through some of the reviews for Rooster Creek, I found myself nodding my head in agreement… some were spot-on. I will say that the service left much to be desired in the beginning, however they seemed to have listened to the feedback and have made adjustments —…

The Taste of Pismo Beach 2013

My memory may be fading (I am turning 40 this year after all) but of the many Taste of Pismo events my hubby and I have attended I think this year was unequivocally the best. Maybe it was the great “Farm Fest” Farm to Fork event that ushered in the Taste the Friday night before.…

Sister Kitchen Thai Food in Grover Beach

There aren’t many restaurants that take a break during the holidays and go on holiday themselves… and there aren’t many restaurants that when they do take a break make my grown husband cry. It was so bad I even drove by during their break once to make sure they hadn’t returned early. This is what…

Ventana Grill in Pismo Beach

Being the Past President of the Rotary Club of Pismo Beach/Five Cities that has met for a decade in the beautiful banquet room downstairs at the now Ventana Grill, our little group of 60+ members had the unusual opportunity to watch the current management go through an extensive remodel of what had become a slightly…

The Lido Restaurant in Shell Beach

Well I have never written a review of the Lido at Dolphin Bay because it had all of the makings of a fantastic restaurant … without the food, in my opinion. Partly because it was trying to be a little too “metropolitan” for the area, and partly because it ignored what is going on all…

Woodstone Marketplace in Avila Beach

Woodstone Marketplace has become our regular pit-stop as we chase our speed-demon four year old son down the Bob Jones Trail — either on foot, bicycles or scooter. It is like an oasis when we come up from under the bridge that gives us safe passage to the other side of San Luis Bay Drive…

Mo’s Smokehouse BBQ in Pismo Beach

Mo’s is one of those “hang-out” type places, decorated with old photos and rusting signs, and of course an amazing variety of pigs out of various materials, in various sizes. It is a no-nonsense rib joint, with a few other notable items on the menu. My husband loves the Philthy Phil’s Ribs and the Sampler…

Doughboy’s Pizzeria in Grover Beach

Growing up on the Central Coast, we’ve had our share of Pizza Places come and go … but in the past few years there hadn’t really been one that stood out from the crowd. Then one night when Gather Wine Bar was just getting started — maybe even during her “Soft Opening” — Kari ordered…

Sea Venture Resort in Pismo Beach

I have to admit that I am a fan … just like the four stars says. Right on the beach, this is a fantastic little boutique hotel that we often use for “Staycations” to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Birthdays and Anniversaries. From the moment you pull into the covered parking, you feel appreciated and well taken…

Chinese Food in Arroyo Grande

I’m a Central Coast Native and small business owner… so there are very few restaurants in our area that I haven’t visited. However the owners at Golden Moon and their fantastic Chinese offerings are what keep me returning! Jack and his wife remember us by our phone number — even if it’s been months since…

Best Sandwiches in Grover Beach

If you don’t know what “show us your stacked” means, then you obviously haven’t sampled the scrumptious handcrafted sandwiches at this South County gem. I heard the rumors a few years ago that the “best” sandwiches were at Stacked. When I finally made it in, I fell in love! I have a tendency to always…

Great Breakfast in Pismo Beach

Nestled in the heart of Shell Beach, right on Shell Beach Road, you might drive by any day of the week and see a line on the sidewalk for this popular cafe. Originally just open for breakfast and lunch, they now serve dinner … which is always a great place to find yourself on a…

Great Sushi in Pismo Beach

As a busy family we frequently have to rely on take-out when the day becomes a little bit too hectic. Luckily, we have Yanagi just a few blocks from home and office. They are awesome when it comes to speedy and fresh take-out — everything from the true, quality Sashimi that my husband and son…

Great Food Arroyo Grande – Alphy’s Broiler

Two words: Oriental Salad. It’s heavenly. But just in case you think I am giving five stars based on a salad, don’t worry! They have a special Prime Rib Sandwich that makes my husband’s mouth water just mentioning it! And let’s not forget their Salmon Salad. Or how about their extra fresh, extra yummy Salmon…

Fin’s Seafood Resaurant in Pismo Beach

In Grover Beach, what folks must keep in mind when heading to Fin’s is that it’s a family restaurant with a seafood focus — It’s on the sand, folks, at the entrance to the beach at the bottom of Grand Ave. So, if you don’t like seafood or families, I would choose another restaurant! That…

Rosa’s Italian Restaurant

Rosa’s is one of our “go-to” restaurants. For date night, for business lunches, for their fun and fabulous annual (JUNE) fundraiser, the “Martini Shakedown” — we are at Rosa’s once a month on average. They have always had a fantastic menu, constantly updated by chef Doug MacMillan. My favorites are the Arugula Salad, Pasta California,…

Best Steak in The Village of Arroyo Grande – McClintock’s Saloon

This is one of our favorite go-to restaurants with friendly staff and casual dining atmosphere. We go when we are bored with cooking and share an entree with additional side salads — the meals are more than large enough for doing this. Our son loves the “Rope and Ride” atmosphere and my husband like to…