What better way to spend your Central Coast wine country experience than to pair your tastings with delicious food from SLO’s top culinary teams. Here are some of must-visit restaurants that do an exemplary job of pairing your favorite type of meal with the perfect Central Coast wine:
This SLO restaurant and bakery is a favorite of visitors and locals alike with its world-class farm-to-table cuisine and fresh desserts. If you enjoy the farmer’s market, then you can opt for traditional dishes like biscuits and gravy or turkey pot pies. However, Apple Farm also offers specialty entrees integrating locally-sourced meats and seafood that pair well with Apple Farm’s signature Hot Apple Dumpling for dessert.
To celebrate the charm of being in Central Coast wine country, Apple Farm also hosts a Winery of the Month program with a local boutique wine featured with your meal. If it doesn’t fancy your palate, the restaurant will also waive the corkage fee for any SLO wine that you want to bring in.
Apple Farm is open daily from 7am-9pm for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For more information, visit applefarm.com.
Avila Wine & Roasting Company
Set right in the oceanfront town of Avila Beach, this wine tasting bar and shop is steps away from the sea and specializes in small-batch production. Taste whites, reds, and dessert wines in a relaxed, educational environment or enjoy an Epicurean coffee produced by a local roaster. While exploring Avila Beach and maybe dipping your toes in the sand, stop by Avila Wine & Roasting to grab a quick drink. For more information, visit avilawinecompany.com.
Foremost Wine Company
Located right in the heart of Downtown SLO, the Foremost Wine Company totally embraces the farm-to-table mentality with its locally-sourced and handmade fare. This American-style restaurant was founded by a group of passionate farmers, winemakers, and those who enjoy both and share a common goal of distributing incredible wine and sustainable food to the masses.
Named in Wine Business’ Top 100 Wine Restaurants in the U.S., the Foremost Wine Company is comprised of the Wine Bar & Lounge, the restaurant, and the unique Burrata Bar serving charcuterie and a variety of fresh cheeses.
Its dinner menu includes delectable items such as Crispy Potato Tacos and Baby Artichoke Fritti appetizers followed by entrees like Duck Leg Sugo and Pappardelle; “Little Neck” Clams and House Lamb Chorizo; and Smoked Creamy Indian Spiced Spinach. The wine list includes reds, whites and bubbles for whatever suits your palate from “exotic, expressive, aromatic” flavors to “round, creamy, complex” ones delivered from local wineries such as the Chardonnay from SLO’s Sinor-LaValle, Bassi Vineyard and a Petite Sirah Blend from Tooth & Nail in Paso Robles.
Although Foremost regularly switches up its Sunday Brunch menu, its egg dishes originating from Looloo Farms include Poached Eggs on Crispy Naan, the Croque Madame, and the Brunch Game Strong and Egg with spiced chicken sausage, potatoes, and grilled apples. Match your dish with a special hair of the dog Sunday Brunch cocktail and you’ll be sure to end your weekend off right.
Foremost also teams up with Central Coast Brewing Company every once in a while to offer a special Saturday Beer Brunch.
Open Tuesday-Saturday from 5pm to 9ish (and open for brunch on Sundays from 10am-2pm), Foremost Wine Company is a must-visit on your SLO wine/culinary experience. For more information, visit foremostslo.com.
Giuseppe’s Cucina Italiana
Located in Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo, Giuseppe’s features colorful trattoria décor that complements its classic Italian cuisine. One can find osso buco, pizzas baked in a wood-burning stove, hearty pastas, and more. Its wine list of 325 selections prepared by sommelier Shane McGraw has made Giuseppe’s one of Wine Spectator’s best restaurants of San Luis obispo.
Open for lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-3pm and dinner Sun-Thurs 4:30pm-10ish, you want to get there early because Giuseppe’s only has 86 seats and it doesn’t accept reservations. For more information, visit www.giuseppesrestaurant.com.
Koberl At Blue
This cozy restaurant located in downtown SLO’s historic JP Andrews building at the corner of Monterey and Osos features wine country cuisine to pair with Central Coast-produced wines. Its menu has been constructed with SLO’s wines in mind and much of its fruits and vegetables comes from local growers.
Along with vegetarian and kids menus, Koberl At Blue’s reasonably-priced entrees include seared ahi, herb roasted halibut, sautéed duck breast, veal liver, Colorado rack of lamb, and New York strip steaks. Its 10-page wine list has over a hundred options with dozens of varietals sourced from Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles, and other distinguished wine regions from around the world. For more information, visit epkoberl.com.
Niner Wine Estates
Since opening its restaurant doors in 2014, Niner displays utmost transparency in its ingredient sourcing. Partnering with local farmers, artisans, and butchers, Niner’s fare can be enjoyed in the open kitchen design or back patio overlooking Heart Hill Vineyard. Although the lunch menu is subject to change, the current menu features Chicken Ballotine which pairs well with Niner’s 2013 Grenache, Sweet Thai Roasted Quail, and Pappardelle.
Named one of the ‘Best Winery Restaurants in America’ by Food and Wine Magazine in 2017, Niner is open for lunch Thurs-Sun from 12pm-3pm. Reservations are recommended. Ninerwine.com/Restaurant
Offering worldwide flavors, Creekside ambiance, and a downstairs wine cellar to boot, this San Luis Obispo Higuera Street restaurant serves hand-selected drinks and fresh, local food products in an unparalleled atmosphere.
Novo specialty items on its lunch menu include Chile Verde, Thai green chicken curry, and chow novo. For dinner, Novo serves everything from curry and noodle dishes to diver scallops and 14 oz. prime ribeye steak. Top your dinner off with a blood orange cheesecake, vanilla bean crème brulee, or a local “sheep’s milk” ice cream trio with a suggested wine pairing.
Novo has received the Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Wine List Award of Excellence for the last 6 years in a row and was named one of the 100 Best Wine Restaurants in America in 2014 by Wine Enthusiast. Its 14-page comprehensive wine list includes any type of varietal you are looking for from any wine region. From Edna Valley’s LXV’s “Heart Note” Rose to Germany Rieslings, you will find the perfect wine to complement your meal.
Hosting a Happy Hour from 3-6pm Mon-Thurs, Novo offers $5 well drinks, craft on draft, and house wine along with $6 calamari, spring rolls, samosas, chicken satay, and salmon bisque.
Novo is open Monday-Saturday from 11am on for lunch and dinner and offers a Sunday Brunch from 10am-2pm. For more information, visit Novorestaurant.com.
Stephen Ross Wine Cellars
Hosting a special winemaker event at different locations at least once a month, Ross Winemaker Stephen Dooley will often pair up with a local chef to serve delicious dishes and complementary varietals. Recently hosting a Stephen Ross Winemaker Dinner by Claud Beltran of Claud & Co. Bacchus’ Kitchen in Pasadena, items on the menu included Hamachi on smoked diced pineapple salad paired with a 2014 Chardonnay from Edna Valley followed by a Chanterelle Mushroom and Spring Pea Col-au-Vent enjoyed with another Edna Valley varietal, the 2014 Pinot Noir.
Upcoming events include the annual barrel adopter dinner, a Bien Nacido Vertical Lunch where guests can taste through the decades in the Stephen Ross wine cellar, and more. For more information on special Stephen Ross food events, visit http://www.stephenrosswine.com/events.
The Gourmet Deli at Old Edna
(next to Sextant Wines) – A variety of authentic tastes come together from the deli’s culinary experts at the Gourmet Deli. As part of Sextant Wines, the deli offers a mish-mash of options ranging from small plates perfect to pair with Sextant wines to homemade seasonal specials, desserts, and salads.
On chilly days, feel free to cozy up next to the fireplace with a Sextant Seven Layer Bar and the 2014 Night Watch (its proprietary blend). But no matter what the season, there is a full menu available year-round with items like Paninis, charcuterie platters, salads, tasty treats fresh from the oven, and box lunches that you can take out to the vineyard. For more information, visit http://www.sextantwines.com/Visit-Us/The-Gourmet-Deli.
Located at 4910 Edna Road in SLO, the Tolosa tasting room offers guests remarkable Chardonnays and Pinot Noir grown right here in Edna Valley. To keep things interesting, Tolosa hosts monthly events that may range from music and wine on the patio to fashion events to exclusive winemaker dinners.
Guests can reserve tickets to upcoming food and wine events including the June Moon Dinner in the Vineyard, Pinot and Pizza, a Progressive Winemaker Dinner, Pinot and Pork, Pinot and Paella, or the Wine and Cheese Experience at http://www.tolosawinery.com/events/.
San Luis Obispo’s Wolff Vineyards offers traditional Central Coast vintages including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Rhone blends as well as a Syrah and Teroldego. Every Friday throughout the summer, guests at Wolff Vineyards can enjoy Sunset in the Garden where you can sit back and relax, sip some wine, and listen to some live music while watching the sun go down and taste food from local wine vendors. No reservations are needed, but you can check out wolffvineyards.com for more info.