The Apple Farm Restaurant: How About Them Apples?
The Apple Farm restaurant is one of many great restaurants in SLO. However, this one should not be missed. Take note on the week ends this place is a zoo so get there early.
There is a gift shop and a coffee station set up in the waiting area which helps the wait go by quickly, sometimes too quickly, (those who like to shop will understand what I mean).
The Apple Farm restaurant has a delicious bakery as well.
Open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays
Favorite Dish: Apple Farm Salad: A bed of mixed greens with candied nuts, mandrin orange slices and apples with a vinagrette dressing that is simply not to be missed. My husband likes the chicken pot pie.
And for dessert: Apple Dumplings.
- Food and Dining
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
Grappolos: Expensive Italian
Oh yes, at Grappolos you will get the standard great Italian food, albeit at high cost. If you know anyone in the waiting-business, take him/her with you on mondays and get 50% off. Last monday I was there, the four of us paid about $50 for main course, wine and 1 dessert (nope, not cheap just full ;).
The best thing about this place, however, is the great jazz-band that plays in the pub at 9-11.30pm on thursdays. Felix Meneau, the pianist, makes my head spin. And Im not even particularly into jazz!
Firestone Grill: A Must Eat
Firestone's is one of the most popular places to eat in San Luis Obispo. On any given evening the line stretches out the door. There are several dishes to choose from including chicken strips, fries, drinks (there is a bar there also), tri-tip sandwiches, salads, and hamburgers. It does tend to get a little pricey, but is worth it. This isn't the restaurant you'll want to attend for a nice, quiet dinner as there are big screen TV's in the bar area, and lots of noise. There is indoor seating as well as outdoor.
Favorite Dish: Firestone's is famous for many dishes, but my personal favorite are their chicken strips. They are very tasty and cost $5.50 which gives you a large enough portion to share. The fries are also delectable, due to their spicy seasoning. The fries come as a "side of fries" or a "basket of fries." These are LARGE portions. Unless you have a lumberjack joining you for dinner, I would recommend the side. This usually is enough for a party of 3 or 4.
- Food and Dining
- Family Travel
Warning for 'Cabo San Luis'
I used to love Cabo San Luis, because of its nice, seemingly clean atmosphere and allright (fast but not junk) food. They serve typical American Mexican food, like burritos, nachos, tacos, enchiladas and quesadillas for rather cheap, and it tastes pretty good too. However, the last time I was there (and I mean last!!) I got a big chunk of chicken in my guacamole.... with my vegan nachos... Well, I can understand that things happen, but the staff was just plain rude when I politely told then what happened. Whenever I crave mexican, I head to Carls Junior and the Green Burrio instead; the food is not to bad at all and its a lot cheaper.
Cabo San Luis: My favorite restaurant of all time
The food is unique and always tastes fresh and delicious! I was so lucky to have lived in SLO for several years and able to eat here often. Now that I live out of state, I find myself craving Cabo on a regular basis. There is nothing like it.
Favorite Dish: My favorite is the fish tacos... so tasty. With a tie for first is the Cabo Avo Soup, because it's really great on a cool night. And there is a spicy chicken salad that's excellent, too.
- School Holidays
- Family Travel
The Apple Farm: Worth the wait
Although my dad had told me the ONLY restaurant in San Luis Obisbo was The Madonna Inn (probably WAS when he went to school there in the 1950s) Kat and I managed to find at least one more restaurant, the Apple Farm. We visited on a Sunday afternoon and had about a 40 minute wait, I imagine Sunday is their busiest day. The service was friendly and prompt.
While waiting for your name to be called you can walk around the rest of the building, looking at all the gift and food items for sale or walk over to the gourmet food shop at the Millhouse. I was so stuffed after lunch that I managed to successfully make it past the home made cookies for sale!
The Apple Farm is also a hotel and a spa but this was just a lunch stop for us on our way to Cambria/Hearst Castle.
Favorite Dish: The lunch menu is largely sandwiches, both hot and cold, soups, burgers and salads. On Sunday at lunch you can also order from the dinner menu which had meat, chicken and fish dishes. I had a pulled pork sandwich slathered in BBQ sauce with a side of seasoned fries that was very good, Kat enjoyed her turkey patty melt and we wisely split a delicious apple brown betty that came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The hot apple dumpling is their dessert specialty and it looked pretty tasty too.
Bon Temps Creole Cafe: "laissez les bon temps rouler!"
Featuring New Orleans-style cuisine, Bon Temps caters to a more Southern taste than most restaurants around here—bbq not included. I’ve pretty much worked my way through the dinner menu and most of it is satisfying. Dishes include Crawfish Etoufée, Alligator Etoufée, Filet Medallions in a Wine Sauce (I think), Gumbo, Blackened Pork Loin, Frogs Legs (which I have not tried), [Cat]Fish and Chips and many more. There is a meatless gumbo, if you are vegetarian or just don't feel like eating meat. If it's not gumbo, it's a vegetarian something. There are also salads and a really good and filling muffaletta sandwich. The sandwich is huge.
There is also a specials board right when you walk in the door. I’d say I’ve had pretty good luck ordering off of it. I remember one special, the Grilled Mahi-Mahi in a Creole Mustard Sauce and Collard Greens. Mmm! So good. I wish they would bring it back.
Every entrée comes with the most fabulous cornbread I have ever had. It arrives in a mini cast-iron pan straight from the oven. And the honey butter that comes with it makes it even better. Mmm, I always want to smother the bread with the butter—it’s so good.
It is also open for breakfast and lunch. I’ve never been for breakfast, but I believe it’s a cheap place to get some steak and eggs. Lunch menu features most of the dinner options.
The atmosphere is very casual. Wait staff is helpful but doesn’t drape all over you either. I think I’ve only seen three waitresses in the years I’ve been going there and they’re all nice… in their own way.
Most people who have come with me to Bon Temps love it. My sister however, when visiting my town once, left rather unsatisfied because she felt that she had just eaten “ten pounds of fried oiliness.” Dieters, beware! I responded by telling her she should have ordered something else instead of fried oysters and catfish and chips! I think it's okay to indulge once in a while anyway!
There is a little souvenir area that sells hot sauces, alligator jerky, and Bon Temps t-Shirts.
Fiala's Outdoor Café: A Hidden Gem!!!!
Was on a bike ride and came across this little cafe. After I was done, I picked up my friends and we headed over here and ate the most amazing French toast! I LOVE THIS PLACE!!! The people are nice and the atmosphere just is so relaxing! It's a must see if you want to go to a place that's off the map for the main Sunday brunchers!!!!
Favorite Dish: The French Toastman
- Road Trip
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
BON TEMPS CREOLE CAFE: JAMBALAYA, CRAWFISH PIE AND FILE GUMBO
Capturing the essence of Mardi Gras, Bon Temps Creole Cafe has all the foods of Cajun country. Not that much to look at, sort of a roadside cafe feel, but there is everything from red beans and rice to gumbo ya ya. Bon Temps serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, opening at 7 am till 9 pm closing.
The ambiance is casual and friendly and helpful staff to make sure you are happy. Mardi Gras beads are scattered about and the colors of Mardi Gras shine on the glitter streamers on the walls. The night that my wife and I were there, a father and son duo gave us some good times songs and great guitar picking to liven things up.
Favorite Dish: I ordered the seafood gumbo and it was s-p-i-c-y. Lots of seafood portions in the dish but I would have preferred a thicker gumbo. My wife had the shrimp & andouille pasta jambalaya which she said was great. I was able to sample this dish and it should have been my choice. Yummy. All in all, if you are looking for that New Orleans taste, go to Bon Temps.
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
- Road Trip
Shin's Sushi Bar: casual sushi
Shin’s was opened in 2004 by the same people who own Yamato in Grover Beach. In addition to traditional nigiri and sashimi and cut rolls, Shin’s offers specialty rolls too. My favorites are the Crunch Roll (tempura shrimp, avocado, eel sauce) and the Yellowrin (spicy yellowtail topped with more yellowtail and avocado). It’s not the absolute best or most original sushi in the world, but for the price, Shin’s quality is very good. If one of your companions doesn’t like sushi or fish, let them know there are other Japanese foods (e.g. udon, oyako-don, tonkatsu) on the menu, though most patrons do order sushi.
The atmosphere is very casual and the dining area is often populated with college students and families alike. If it is your birthday, they will play this funky mostly unintelligible birthday song over the sound system, give you a free mochi (with a candle in it) and take a Polaroid of you. Your friends can then write on the photo and the staff will later hang it up on the wall alongside all the other past birthday people.
Nights and weekends sometimes get packed. If it is, just go in and one of the staff will come over and put your name on the list. The longest I’ve ever waited was 30 minutes. Even on busy nights, service is rather fast and, for the most part, friendly. Wait staff is comprised mostly of college students.
You can call in a to-go order, too, and go picnic somewhere else or eat in the comfort of your hotel room.
Favorite Dish: Every time I go, I usually get
- 1 yellowtail cut roll,
- 1 nigiri of some kind (usually eel),
- 1 specialty roll from the menu (such as the Crunch or Yellowrin),
- 1 something from the specials board behind the sushi bar
I think I order a lot compared to other people. What can I say? I am a glutton. I also like to take some home with me for a midnight snack. If I also get sake, I usually end up paying around $30, so I'd say you can get a filling meal here for less than $20.
Yanagi Sushi: fancier sushi
Walking in, your senses are already being appealed to. The restaurant is clean and aesthetically decorated in shades of red, black and brown. Staff is not overly friendly, but welcoming in that subdued "Please, do come in" kind of way.
The sushi tastes sooooo fresh. The sushi chef I had (Jonathon, I think his name was) was very honest when I asked for recommendations. He informed me which of the fish in stock was most fresh. And no, he did not tell me that the expensive stuff was the fresh stuff! Hee hee. He created dishes as I requested and we were not charged an exorbitant amount on the bill.
I'm not a huge fan of the house specialty rolls, though. They look very good--color, texture, shapes of all kinds. I, however, think that they all tasted the same. The extra stuff (sauce, wrappers) overpowered the fresh taste of the fish too much and all I could really taste was sauce-drenched rice.
From now on at Yanagi, I will stick to regular sushi and sashimi (and sake, of course). The quality of the fish and its preparation voids the need for fancy frills like asparagus and rice wrapper.
The crowd starts to come in around 8pm. Go a little earlier for excellent customer service.
Favorite Dish: The tuna tataki was divine and typing this right now is making me salivate. So fresh and perfectly prepared. I don't think it was on the menu. If it was, I didn't notice. The chef made it for me after I talked about my tastes. I'm sure you can just ask them for it and they will happily prepare it for you. Or, tell them your personal tastes and have them craft something for you!
Splash Cafe: Fresh and Fun
Recently joining its sibling restaurant in Pismo Beach, the San Luis Obispo Splash Cafe is a great place to grab a casual bite to eat for an affordable price. The food is fresh and very inexpensive. The menu ranges from pizza to seafood to salads. There is also a bakery. Visit the website for an entire menu. It is often crowded - pretty fast to order, but trouble finding a place to sit.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Copper Café & Pastry Shop: Madonna Inn - You Have to Stop By!
This Restaurant is so overly done and very tacky. But it is well worth a stop.
They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I can't remember what we ate but I do remember that the fare was okay and the dishes were so pretty. All different colors and much like a theme restaurant. Stop by the Bakery for a delicious pastry for the road!
There is a gift shop, “My Favorite Things” Boutique with unique and outrageous items! We spent some time looking at everything and trying on funny glasses and hats..Fun for all ages!
Firestone Grill: A Good Bar & Grill in Downtown SLO
The food here is mostly BBQ: Tri-tip sandwich, ribs, 1/2 chicken, hamburgers, BBQ pork sandwich, tri tip salad, cajun sausage sandwich, fish tacos, grilled chicken sandwich, etc... I believe there is also a chicken salad or a taco salad or something. I hear this is very good too, but I always stick to the BBQ food. The restaurant has patio seating outdoors, tables directly inside, and a bar area with multiple televisions and satellite TV for all the sports you could possible want. It is usually noisy inside, and there is often a line out the door, but don't let this scare you off. The line usually moves quickly, but I would recommend having somebody in your party snag a table as soon as one becomes available, because they go quickly.
Favorite Dish: The Tri-Tip sandwich is my favorite meal here. I would also recommend sharing a basket of fries with the rest of your party. The fries are thin and have a very tasty seasoning on them. The burgers are good too (especially the ABC burger - Avocado, Bacon, and Cheese), and I also like the Cajun Sausage Sandwich. I would probably order the Tri-Tip sandwich all the time, but the price went up. It's still my favorite though.
- Budget Travel
- Study Abroad
- Road Trip
Firestone Grill: burgers and tritip and fries, oh my!
Everyone goes to Firestones: college students, visitors, locals, parents and their kids. If you're visiting with kids, this is one restaurant they are certain to like. They offer stuff like burgers, seasoned fries (get a basket and share with others), tri-tip sandwiches, chicken fingers, hot dogs, pork sandwiches, salads, 1/2 chicken meals, onion rings, etc. The food is very juicy, not dry. I can't stand dry burgers.
When you walk in, the menu is located on the big wall to your right. You can't miss it. The place is very casual. And if there's a sports game on, there's a good chance that it will be very crowded. Take advantage of the day if it's nice and eat outside in the front. If the weather is blah, then be like all of us and wait like a hawk around other diners but not too obviously until they vacate a table. Snag it before anyone else does.
You have two choices when you order food. Either pay for your food at the cashier that's on your left when you enter the building and then wait to pick it up at the area to the right of the grill when they call your number, or else find a table in the bar area in the back right where the TV screens are--you seat yourself--and a server will eventually come over to take your order. I think there's a big menu on a wall over in that area, too, but I'm not positive. Service can be rather slow if the place is full. Order a beer to kill time. Beers can be quite cheap, especially if it's happy hour, but I can't remember what time that is.
Favorite Dish: Whenever I go, it's a toss-up between an ABC Burger (which has avocado, bacon, and I think jack cheese) and a tri-tip sandwich. (I actually ordered both recently when I was about to leave on a road trip!) I always order a basket of fries, or rather, get someone else with me to order a basket of fries and then mooch off of them! Make sure to ask the guy who gives you your food for ranch for the fries, and ask for extra barbecue sauce for your tri-tip sandwich. I like to take a few bites without the extra sauce, just to enjoy the meaty taste, and then I pour the sauce on and enjoy the rest of it like that.
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