Click the links below to read the Yelp review. You can also reach the restaurant's website via a link on each Yelp review page.
+ EMBER (American-New, highly rated by Sunset Magazine) (Voted Best South County Restaurant: Ember puts on quite a show with its open kitchen, wood-fired oven, brick-and-mortar fireplace with a Tuscan grill, and spit-roaster. "We serve Italian-inspired California cuisine and aim to create the idea environment to experience Central Coast food and wine," said owner and chef Brian Collins. Monthly menu changes reflect seasonal local produce. Signature dishes include Cayucos abalone, grilled rib-eye steak, homemade pastas, house-baked rustic sourdough, and fresh focaccia. The chocolate ice cream cake with sea salt caramel sauce topped with a toasted marshmallow is heavenly. - Ariel Waterman, New Times)
Arroyo Grande (Old Town)
+ GINA'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT (Italian, Pizza) Low-key, delicious & nearby - D&J
+ ALPHY'S BROILER (American-Traditional, Coffee & Tea, Sandwiches)
+ COMFORT MARKET (Comfort Food, Specialty Food, Sandwiches)
+ ROOSTER CREEK TAVERN (American) Nearby, a little noisier, with TV screens - D&J
+ JOCKO'S STEAK HOUSE (Voted Best South County Restaurant, Runner Up)
+ VENTANA GRILL (Voted Best South Coast Restaurant, Best Weekend Brunch & Best Drink With a View: Menu features agave bone-in rib-eye steak and crab-encrusted filet mignon, plus a lunch menu with a Latin flair. American-New, Latin American; beautiful view for a sunset dinner. For happy hour, try El Jefe: fresh homemade margarita mix and housemade jalapeno-infused tequila, muddled with cilantro and jalapeno. - Ariel Waterman, New Times)
+ GIUSEPPE'S (Voted Best Italian Food)
+ THE OYSTER LOFT Recommended by past workshop participants, has scenic view (Second Floor Fabulous! We finally have a first rate seafood place in San Luis Obispo county! A group of us enjoyed the fruits of the sea last week at this elegant restaurant above Pismo Pier. Be sure to go upstairs to the second floor, the downstairs is more of a casual seafood bar, which was mobbed and worth going back for a second look. - Yelp Reviewer)
+ SEAVENTURE Recommended by past workshop participants, has scenic view
+ CALIFORNIA FRESH (in Pismo Beach, good salad bar & deli with prepared sandwiches)
+ DEL'S PIZZERIA (Pizza, Italian; casual, referred by a local)
+ GARDENS OF AVILA (RESTAURANT) (American-New, restaurant at the Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort)
+ GARDENS OF AVILA (THE LOUNGE BAR) (referred by workshop participant)
+ CUSTOM HOUSE (Voted Best South Coast Restaurant, Runner Up) Just across the street from the ocean.
SAN LUIS OBISPO
+ LA ESQUINA TAQUERIA (David and Jordan recommend)
The Mexican restaurant you’ve been waiting for in Downtown San Luis Obispo! Flavorful, fine Mexican cuisine featuring a perfect twist on all the classics. Specializing in infused tequilas, in-house margaritas, authentic yet unique Mexican cuisine served with exceptional service in a beautiful ambiance. Welcome to La Esquina Taqueria in the Creamery Marketplace of San Luis Obispo!
+ NITE CREAMERY (New Boutique Ice Cream Shop)
After dinner at La Esquina Taqueria (above) or Ciopinot Seafood Grille (below), explore the Creamery Marketplace and this intriguing ice cream shop. The name comes from “nite” which is short for nitrogen. From the website: When liquid nitrogen comes in contact with our ice cream base, that’s when the magic happens. Clouds of vaporized nitrogen form around the bowl and boom! your ice cream is made. Ice cream magically appears after. Science is sweet!
+ CIOPINOT SEAFOOD GRILLE (Voted Best SLO Restaurant and Best Restaurant. Period.: "It's the quintessential restaurant for SLO - it brings traditional, consistent food and service; offers entrees from both sea and land (try their American Wagyu steak); and it's right next to one of downtown's few surviving parking lots" - New Times
+ NOVO RESTAURANT & LOUNGE (Voted Best SLO Restaurant, Runner Up) It has a lovely setting, abutting the creek that runs through downtown SLO. It's right in the midst of the town on Higuera Street.
+ BIG SKY CAFE (Voted Best Vegetarian Fare: Big Sky Cafe started serving modern food - including locally sourced ingredients and vegetarian options - before it was cool. Now, just a bit more than 20 years after opening their doors, they're still going strong. [Big Sky's] philosophy looks at a vegetarian dish as something that is not just absent of meat, but instead an entire create of its own, where the whole is greater than the sum of it sparts. Try the beet Reuben or the Vietnamese vermicelli bowl with roasted portobello mush rooms. - Jono, New Times) They serve meat dishes as well. We've neve been disappointed. Just off of Higuera in downtown SLO. - D&J
+ THE NATURAL CAFE (Voted Best Vegetarian Fare, Runner Up) On Higuera in Downtown SLO.
+ TAQUERIA SANTA CRUZ EXPRESS (Voted Best Mesican Food: Everything's made from scratch, including the wide variety of colorfully delicious salsa - try the pink salsa, I dare you. If you're looking to change it up from the usual burrito or tacos, go for a torta or the signature carne en su jugo soup - Jono, New Times)
+ THAI BOAT (Voted Best Thai Food)
+ PETRA (Voted Best Mediterranean Food)
+ WOODSTOCK'S PIZZA (Voted Best Pizza)
+ PLUTO'S (Voted Best Salad)
+ GOSHI JAPANESE RESTAURANT (Voted Best Japanese Food)
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