Where To Eat In Morro Bay: DiStasio's On The Bay

Run Don't Walk to DiStasio's On The Bay

A marker781 Market Street, Morro Bay, CA 93442 -
781 Market Avenue, Morro Bay, CA 93442, USA
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Morro Bay Italian Restaurants

What's a good Italian restaurant in Morro Bay? Where can I get good food with an amazing view of the rock, on the water in Morro Bay? If you're looking for Italian food that also has steak and seafood in Morro Bay with some pretty solid reviews on Yelp, then allow me to introduce to you, the best Italian restaurant in Morro Bay. DiStasio's On The Bay. This is Italian comfort food at it's finest.

There is a lot to be said about DiStasio's. This is a family owned business that has been on the central coast for many years. My wife and I enjoy eating here quite frequently. Not sure if we've earned the title of "regulars" yet but if the mood for us is good Italian fare coupled with a magnificent view, perfect background music and an interior that has a rustic swank to it, then we know where we're headed. You can't screw up date night when DiStasio's is involved!

I can easily see the ghosts of Dean, Sammy and Old Blue Eyes sharing a meal here while they stop in for a bite on their way up to San Fran to poke fun at Mr Bennett... That's just my imagination at work.

DiStasio's is owned by Ken MacMillan and his son Mark. Named after Ken's mother Helen DiStassio. They have been serving up mom's recipes to the central coast for eighteen years. DiStasio's covers all the traditional Italian fair and is they also serve an amazing Braciole (top sirloin steak rolled, filled with spices and then simmered for hours in sauce) which you usually don't see on most Italian menu's.

I have two favorite entrees at DiStasio's. Their Rib Eye with mushrooms and gorgonzola and their grilled Halibut served with a light and creamy buttery/wine sauce. On our last visit I tried the Chicken Marsala and it was perfect. I also have a "thing" for the Tomato Gorgonzola soup. Have you ever had a soup so good you wanted to bathe in it? My wife can't seem to stop ordering the stuffed Rigatoni. If she can manage it though, her other favorite is Marco's Summer Chicken Delight. The stuffed rigatoni is a spinach pasta filled with feta, spinach and artichoke tossed in an alfredo sauce. Killer. We have them toss in some chicken and bon appetite! Marco's Summer Chicken Delight is a chicken breast sautéed in a white sauce with artichoke hearts, mushroom, sun dried tomato, garlic and then served over rotelli pasta. It's terrific.

Recently, I had a sit down with Ken to understand his restaurant and DiStasio's story a little better...

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How long have you been in the restaurant business?

My wife, Son and I have owned the business for 18 years, although my son has been in restaurants for about 26 years. Many family members (brothers/sister/in laws etc.) have been in the Restaurant business for over 50+ years. There are approximately 14 Italian restaurants in the extended family.

Why did you come to this location?

We were out here from Boston visiting family and travelled to San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay. We thought the area was very nice and it felt like some of the smaller quaint seaside communities on the east coast (without the snow). Looking down the road at retirement, we started to head in this direction.

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What makes your food special and unique?

We do not attempt to be all things to all people. We have a core menu of homemade traditional and customary Italian food. From that core menu we try to add new meals that enhance our menu without changing who we are. We have our Manicotti, Cannelloni, Lasagna etc., but then we developed a killer Halibut served with a creamy wine/capers/garlic sauce which is delicious, or our 14oz Rib eye steak topped with sautéed Mushroom and Gorgonzola cheese. We only add quality to our menu without detracting from our core offerings.

Who inspires your cooking?

My mother Helen (DiStasio) was certainly an inspiration. Coming from Italy she was challenged with her diverse family and limited resources. There was my father who was Scottish, 3 growing sons and a daughter who were living in “little Italy” in Boston. Her challenge was to keep that group happy all the time. We were!!

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When someone eats here, how do you want them to feel?

We try to find great employees who genuinely enjoy other people. They may not be expert servers or bussers when they start, but we train them to be great servers or bussers. The reason we look for the right people is because we cannot train them to have great personalities. We try to imagine all of our customers are like people visiting our home. Every employee is an extension of our family. Sometimes we may be overattentive, but that is how you are treated in an Italian family’s home. We have a saying at the restaurant that we really believe in. “People may forget what they had to eat, but they will never forget how they were treated”.

Your favorite menu item?

I personally like the Spinach and Cheese Tortellini Carbonara. It is a rich mixture of Cheese filled spinach pasta (little doughnut shape) sautéed in a creamy, garlic, peas and Canadian bacon sauce.

Why is this the best Italian restaurant in Morro Bay?

Because we see this as our home first and then our business. It is our family working there and when you come in you are visiting us and we take that personally. We want you to feel that you enjoyed your whole experience and not just a piece of it. Great food, Great friends ,Great employees, Great view!

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Conclusione e arrivederci

Well, there you have it folks. I always love talking with Ken. If you want to have an amazing meal where you feel like you're in a giant living room and not a restaurant then you want to make sure when you're in Morro Bay you pop into DiStasio's.

A few tips about dining there. If you can get there around sunset, be prepared for a real show. The sun going down over the rock is always breath taking and the view of Morro Rock from DiStasio's is second to none. Also, if you can, assuming the wife and I aren't already in in, take the corner table at the far end of the restaurant. Best table in the house. You get multiple angles and views of the bay and can see everything going on on the Embarcadero.

I'm not much of a drinker anymore, so I can't speak much on the wine selection, but from looking at their list you have some really fine choices to complement your dinner.

If you've been there before or decide to go, leave a comment below about your time spent there and what you had... Or if you see us in the corner table, make sure to say hello!

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Abby Campbell profile image

Abby Campbell 21 months ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Maybe one day I'll make it to Morro Bay! Thanks for sharing, David.

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