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The Best Places to Eat in San Luis Obispo, California

Updated on June 23, 2011

San Luis Obispo, CA Restaurants

San Luis Obispo is a great small town on the Central Coast of California. It is located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles off of the 101. It's a great place to visit for a few days or just stop and have a bite to eat on your travels. While the wine in this area is exceptional, the food is also very good. The ambiance of the downtown with the Mission San Luis Obispo and the San Luis Creek, make it a great place for a lazy stroll after a meal. Small mom and pop shops line the streets of Higuera and Monterey and offer a great shopping experience. Below are my very favorite places to eat in and around San Luis Obispo.

Top Breakfast Places

  1. Big Sky - This is a great breakfast place, but they also serve great lunches and dinners. It's off of Higuera St. on Broad. If you're up for a big meal, try the New Mexican Pazole.
  2. Del Monte Cafe - The Del Monte Cafe is a great down-home cafe. No bells and whistles, but great food. The only downside is it's off the beaten path a bit a few blocks from Higuera (the main drag of SLO)
  3. F. McLintocks Saloon - Located in the thick of SLO on Higuera St., McLintocks is a typical saloon. I prefer the lighter fare of Big Sky, but many locals love McLintocks.
  4. Madonna Inn - Madonna Inn is known around the country for its pink gaudiness. It's located right off the freeway on the south end of San Luis Obispo. If you're around during Christmas, the Inn goes all out in their decorations. There is a cafe and a full steak house. I prefer the cafe.

A
Big Sky Cafe:
1121 Broad St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, USA

get directions

B
Del Monte Cafe:
1901 Santa Barbara Ave, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, USA

get directions

C
F. McLintocks Saloon:
686 Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, USA

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D
Madonna Inn:
100 Madonna Rd, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405, USA

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Best Lunch Restaurants in San Luis Obispo, CA

  1. Novo- Novo is a creekside restaurant with great food. Definitely ask to sit outside, even if it's nighttime (they have heat lanterns). The San Luis Creek is a beautiful setting and Novo is right across from the Mission on Higuera St.
  2. Firestone Grill - If you're okay with a loud atmosphere, Firestone is great. Sports will be playing on the many televisions, but the steak sandwich and burgers are great.
  3. SLO Brew - If you're looking for a great local brewery, SLO Brew is it. Good food and a relaxed atmosphere, it's one of my favorite spots in SLO.

A
Novo Restaurant & Lounge:
726 Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, USA

get directions

B
Firestone Grill:
1001 Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, USA

get directions

C
SLO Brew:
1119 Garden St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, USA

get directions

Best Dinner Restaurants in San Luis Obispo, CA

  1. Novo - If you can't make it for lunch, Novo's dinners are fantastic as well. Again, ask to be sat outside.
  2. Buona Tavola - If you're looking for great italian food, Buona Tavola is one of my favorites. It's small, quaint and has excellent food.
  3. Ciopinot - Ciopinot is a great new restaurant in SLO. The fish is supposed to be the best in town. It's pricey, but worth it for a nice nights out.
  4. Koberl at Blue - Blue is a great place for drinks and dinner. If you can't make it for diner, it's a great place for a before or after dinner drink.
  5. Guiseppi's - Guiseppi's is another great Italian restaurant in SLO. Located right off of Higuera, it's a great location and wonderful food.

A
Novo Restaurant and Bar:
726 Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, USA

get directions

B
Buona Tavola:
1037 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93408, USA

get directions

C
Ciopinot:
1051 Nipomo St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, USA

get directions

D
Koberl at Blue:
998 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, USA

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E
Guiseppi's:
1010 Court St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, USA

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Best Restaurants outside of San Luis Obispo

  1. Custom House - a great restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner on the beach front in Avila Beach (about 10 minutes south of San Luis Obispo)
  2. Jocko's - this is the best steak house around. It is not fancy and do not expect great service, but the meat is the best you will ever have. It is located in Nipomo, Ca.
  3. Chacho's - if you are looking for a hole in the wall mexican restaurant, this is your place. Food is mainly takeout, there are two or three small tables if you want to eat there, but the homemade tortillas and mexican food is the best in the county. In fact, it's the best mexican food I have had in the states. It is located in Oceano, CA.
  4. Rosa's Italian Restaurant - this is a great Italian restaurant right off of the freeway in Pismo Beach.

Best restaurants outside of San Luis Obispo

A
491 Price St Pismo Beach, CA 93449:
491 Price St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA

get directions

B
Chacho's Mexican Restaurant:
1911 Cienaga St, Oceano, CA 93445, USA

get directions

C
Jacko's Steak House:
125 N Thompson Ave, Nipomo, CA 93444, USA

get directions

D
Custom House:
404 Front St, Avila Beach, CA 93424, USA

get directions

E
Rosa's Ristorante Italiano:
491 Price St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, USA

get directions

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