Latin meals featuring the authentic taste and atmosphere of a South American holiday await you at Estrella Restaurant in Paso Robles. The quaint eatery is located downtown along 12th Street, directly across from the city’s park square. The food is truly vibrant with unique palate-pleasing combinations of zesty spices, vegetables, succulent meats and pretty presentations. TCT highly recommends the coconut whitefish, prepared in an aromatic chile Colorado cream sauce, heirloom tomatoes, white wine, pickled onions, carrots and jalapeño peppers. Beautifully served on a plate of polenta, bacon and chilies, this dish will have your taste buds dancing on the ceiling with delight. Pair your meal with the mellow house sangria or one of Estrella’s IPA beer offerings.
Estrella Restaurant, 815 12th Street, Paso Robles, CA, USA, +1 805 226 5406
Fish Gaucho Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar
The Fish Gaucho corner eatery and bar is a cool place to pull up a chair for lunch, happy hour and especially dinner. Located in the middle of downtown Paso Robles, the popular locals’ haunt serves hearty, tasty and truly fresh daily menu items along with house specialty cocktails. On weekends, the cozy indoor/outdoor dining can get a bit crowed, but it’s well worth the wait for a table. The meals here are top-tier terrific — favorites include the fish enchiladas, scallops, and the raw oyster platter on a half shell with jalapeño mignonette sauce. The genuinely friendly service and great food make the Fish Gaucho a lovely spot for vacationers.
Fish Gaucho, 1244 Park Street, Paso Robles, CA, USA, +1 805 239 3333
Enoteca Restaurant at La Bellasera
Decadently delicious American seafood dishes await guests at Enoteca Restaurant. Nestled inside the Tuscan-style La Bellasera Hotel, visitors are seated among beautiful décor and soft live music. The excellent server had a booming baritone voice and a big sparking smile as he described the daily menu and wine pairings. The guava-glazed baby back ribs are so tender the meat falls off the bone. The halibut with pineapple curry cream is incredibly light and delicious. The lemon grilled Certified Angus rib eye steak along with lemon sautéed shrimp is cooked to your desired perfection along side scallion mashed potatoes topped with goat cheese. The portions are large, so take home leftovers for a delicious déjà vu.
Tastes of Northern Italy come alive at the Buona Tavola restaurant in Downtown Paso Robles — located along 9th and Spring Street. What Buona Tavola lacks in space, it makes up for with charm and coziness. From the greeters to servers to kitchen cooks, everyone is friendly and eager to provide a memorable dining experience. The menu offers heaping portions of explosively delicious tastes. A lot of restaurants serve chicken dishes but not like the free-range chicken breast and wing stuffed with Asiago cheese. This chicken dish is finished in the oven with a white wine reduction that seals in flavor — wow! A popular dish among locals is the veal scaloppini with braised portobello mushrooms and roasted garlic in a veal reduction and Marsala wine sauce. Pairing the entrée with wonderful local wines completes a magnificent meal. After finishing your meal, take a fascinating tour of the farms and vineyards to see the region’s ripe ingredients at the source.
Unpretentious and relaxing, the family-owned Adelaida Cellars, just west of Paso Robles, is an excellent place to take a tour. The staff and tour guides warmly welcome visitors from the moment they set foot on the massive property. Glenn Mitton is the extremely charming chief guide whose knowledge extends across local wines and history of the land. On his tour, he explains that the microclimates of Paso Robles allow for precise production of more than two dozen wine varietals. While Adelaida is miles from the Pacific Ocean, some hillside vineyards receive the effects of the moist marine layer and light showers. Other vineyards are subject to more arid conditions and are cultivated using dry farming methods. The tour takes the scenic route of the vineyards, including stops for samplings of several wines (cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, zinfandel and Rhônes), fine cheeses and meats. The Tour, Taste and Tailgate excursion is delightful and fun — a must-do when visiting Paso Robles!
Adelaida Cellars, 5805 Adelaida Road, Paso Robles, CA, USA, +1 805 239 8990 ext 29
Lone Madrone Wines
Lone Madrone wines are featured in many California restaurants and stores. They are a tasty and popular seller in the state. The Westside location is a place to enjoy some of the best samplings available from the Lone Madrone Vineyard in Paso Robles, CA.
Lone Madrone, 5800 Adelaida Road, Paso Robles, CA, USA, +1 805 238 0845
Bristol’s Cider House
Hard apple cider is the hottest-selling beverage hitting stores and bars these days. Enjoy some of the best samplings at Bristol’s Cider House in nearby Atascadero. When it comes to hard apple cider, owners Neil and Marci Collins and Neil’s sister Jackie Meisinger are extremely passionate about making a high quality product comparable to the variety that Brits have coveted and enjoyed for generations.
Neil and Jackie are from Bristol, England and have perfected their cider technique, using locally grown apples, hops and yeast to produce a wonderfully blended and very tasty beverage. With fun and catchy pirate-themed names such as Anne Bonny, Black Bart, Blackbeard and Calico Jack, their popular hard cider mixes are made with 100 percent apple juice and have an alcohol content of up to 13 percent. Decorated with beautiful murals of the region’s history and the Collins’ family tree, Bristol Cider House is a popular place to sip cider, relax and enjoy great conversation and live music with other guests. After chatting with the owners for a few minutes, you will feel like you’re on the television show Cheers — they are fun, charming and really do want to know your name.
Bristol’s Cider House, 3220 El Camino Real, Atascadero, CA, USA, +1 805 400 5293
Wine Shine Artisan Spirits
The Wine Shine is a treasure for folks who enjoy out-of-this-world smooth but full-flavored brandy. Made from locally grown grapes, fruits and a mix of liqueurs, the distillery offers a variety of unique flavored brandies, including cinnamon, caramel and toffee or orange. Friendly interactions between one of the gregarious owners, Patrick Brooks, and guests can often be heard all the way from Highway 46. Located off the beaten path in the Tin City area of Paso Robles, this gem of a distillery is truly worth your while.
Margarita Adventure Tours & Ancient Peaks Winery
Paso Robles has become a mecca for fine wine and peaceful scenery, but beyond the world-class vino, this area of Central California offers plenty of adventure. Just south of Paso Robles along Highway 46 is the town of Santa Margarita, where the intrepid will discover Margarita Adventures among the vineyards of El Camino Real. A variety of adventures and entertaining tour guides await curious travelers. Float the day away in a kayak at the local lake and experience the region’s ecosystem; experience the vineyards up close on a walking tour; or for a literal top of the world tour of the countryside, soar along a ripping zipline. For the daring, the Pinot zipline is one of five ziplines of the tour. From 125 feet off the ground, you’ll experience extreme wine country as you glide across 1,800 feet of vineyards.
Just across the street from Margarita Adventures is the Ancient Peaks Winery, where guests can taste delicious samples. This brand is a local favorite and is featured in many of the region’s restaurants and stores.
City of Paso Robles Downtown — Concerts in the Park
Downtown Paso Robles around the park square is steeped in a folksy vibe. Cozy benches line the streets of darling shops and friendly locals greet the less familiar. During the warm summers and mild fall months, early evening concerts in the park entice the public to enjoy local talent in addition to live musical acts from across the country. For all the small town charm, the city’s social calendar is always full.
By Paul & Teresa Lowe