San Luis Obispo County provides a culinary tour-de-force for foodies and aficionados alike with a passionate and creative culinary culture where award-winning chefs align themselves with local farms to produce seasonal ingredient-driven menus. After a day of wine-tasting head to one of these fantastic restaurants for some romantic wining and dining.
© Luna Red
Located in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo, Luna Red is an artistic and lively restaurant with a late-night music scene that offers guests a unique dining experience. Overlooking the Mission Plaza with beautiful views of the historic Mission de Tolosa and San Luis Creek, the popular dining destination has a cozy and comfortable dining room and a vibrant outdoor patio and serves a globally-inspired menu of market-driven fare, craft cocktails, and an award-winning wine list. The restaurant transforms into Luna Noche, a late-night concept with a rotating selection of DJs, dancing, and spirited atmosphere every Friday and Saturday night. Luna Red is open for lunch and dinner daily.
1023 Chorro Street, San Luis Obispo CA 93401, Phone: 805-540-5243
2.Alex Madonna's Gold Rush Steak House
© Alex Madonna's Gold Rush Steak House
Located in the Madonna Inn, Alex Madonna's Gold Rush Steak House is an award-winning chophouse with elegant interiors and a warm and intimate ambiance. Renowned by tourists and locals alike for its outstanding cuisine, the restaurant features spectacular pink and gold décor, cozy red leather seating, elaborate wood carvings, and hand-painted murals to create a charming, old-world experience. A seasonally-inspired menu boasts sizzling oak-pit-barbecued steak, organic chicken, fresh seafood, and vegetarian entrées, all of which is accompanied by decadent world-famous desserts, a superb wine list, and nightly entertainment and dancing. The Silver Bar Cocktail Lounge serves classic and inventive cocktails. Alex Madonna's Gold Rush Steak House is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, daily.
100 Madonna Rd, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405, Phone: 805-543-3000
© Buona Tavola
Located to the historic Fremont Theatre, Buona Tavola is a charming restaurant with a beautiful garden area and an entrancing back patio with twinkling lights that is an ideal spot for dinner with your significant other. The inviting eatery has an intimate vibe, and Chef-Owner Antonio Varia serves a creative menu of northern Italian-inspired cuisine with dishes of fresh seafood, prime beef and veal, homemade pasta and sauces, locally sourced salads, herbs and vegetables, and inspirational desserts. The delicious food is paired with a variety of libations, including wines from around the world, craft beers and brews, high-end spirits and classic cocktails. Buona Tavola is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday and dinner only on the weekends.
1037 Monterey Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, Phone: 805-545-8000
© Cafe Roma
Cafe Roma is a long-standing white-tablecloth Italian restaurant in San Luis Obispo’s Historic Railroad Square that has been serving traditional Italian cuisine and fine wines since 1980. Owned and operated by the Rizzo Family who captured the heart of both locals and visitors over 40 years ago, the charming restaurant exudes an old-world feel and serves a menu of Italian favorites prepared with old family recipes and ingredients sourced from local farmers, fishermen, ranchers, and vintners. The restaurant features an inviting dining room, an elegant cocktail bar, and a scenic shaded covered patio for alfresco dining. The food is accompanied by an extensive wine list with wines from Italian wineries and small vineyards on the Central Coast and Italy, along with classic cocktails and craft beers. Cafe Roma is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday and dinner only on Saturdays.
1020 Railroad Ave, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, Phone: 805-541-6800
Ciopinot is a second-generation family-owned restaurant that specializes in fresh seafood, American Waygu steaks, and oysters from a raw bar. Named after the Cioppino and white Pinot wines that pair perfectly with fresh oysters from the raw bar, Ciopinot is renowned for serving the freshest seafood, catch-of-the-day fish and shucked oysters on the half shell, along with prime Waygu steaks, salads, and vegetarian options. The wine list focuses on white and red Pinots from around the world, which can be enjoyed by the glass, half bottle, or full bottle. Ciopinot is open for dinner only, seven nights a week.
1051 Nipomo St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, Phone: 805-547-1111
6.Gardens of Avila
© Gardens of Avila
Situated in a beautiful garden setting in the Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa in the Avila Valley, the Gardens Restaurant of Avila is a favorite spot for locals and travelers that serves award-winning contemporary coastal cuisine inspired by the surrounding local wine country. The restaurant features an intimate indoor dining space with a handcrafted mahogany bar and a cozy natural stone fireplace, and an outdoor terrace with a relaxed vibe. The eatery serves an inventive menu of farm-to-table fare such as local seafood, prime meats and produces harvested in the restaurant’s one-acre organic Chef’s Garden and the food is paired with wines from the surrounding wine country. Gardens of Avila Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Monday through Saturday and lunch and dinner on Sunday.
1215 Avila Beach Dr, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405, Phone: 805-595-7365
7.Gennaro's Grill & Garden
© Gennaro's Grill & Garden
Set in a beautifully restored Old Victorian building which dates back to 1904, Gennaro’s Grill & Garden is a charming eatery that specializes in Northern Italian cuisine and wines from the Central Coast, Napa Valley, and Sonoma. Owned and operated by renowned restaurateur, Gennaro, who has won the prestigious Automobile Club’s Four Diamond Award for several years, the restaurant offers the ultimate Italian dining experience with a menu of classic Northern Italian dishes that includes fresh seafood, prime meats and chicken, housemade pasta and sauces, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, and inspired desserts. A full bar serves wines from around the world, craft beers and brews, high-end spirits and classic cocktails, and the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday and dinner only on the weekends.
450 Marsh St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, Phone: 805-782-9999
8.Giuseppe’s Cucina Rustica
© Giuseppe’s Cucina Rustica
Giuseppe’s Cucina Rustica is a traditional Italian restaurant that has been serving authentic cuisine from Italy's Pugliese region for over 30 years. Owned and operated by Giuseppe DiFronzo, the family-friendly restaurant focuses on a farm-to-fork philosophy and uses only the highest quality of fresh locally sourced ingredients from surrounding farmers and producers. Giuseppe also runs his farm, DiFronzo Farms, which produces the heirloom varietal vegetables, salads and fruits from figs and olives to Meyer lemons, Hachiya persimmons, and San Marzano tomatoes. The farm also produces five grape varietals that produce Giuseppe's own DiFronzo Vineyards brand wines, which are served in the restaurant. Giuseppe’s Cucina Rustica is open for lunch and dinner daily.
849 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, Phone: 805-541-9922
© Granada Bistro
Granada Bistro is a charming French-inspired bistro that gives diners a glimpse into California’s Spanish colonial past with classic French bistro fare and an extensive wine program and classically-focused cocktails. The beautifully renovated space features an industrial-chic design with exposed brick walls, cozy, cushioned velvet chairs and soft lighting, and an inviting outdoor patio with fire pits. Taking culinary cues from timeless French cuisine and using seasonal, farm-to-table ingredients, the menu features dishes such as carrot risotto with green garlic, burgers with bacon-onion jam on a brioche bun, and small sharing plates of charcuterie and cheeses. An eclectic wine list includes Spanish and French selections and a range of the Central Coast’s finest vintages. Granada Bistro is open for lunch and dinner, daily.
1126 Morro Street, San Luis Obispo CA 93401, Phone: 805-544-9100
10.Koberl At Blue
© Koberl At Blue
Located in the historic circa-1894 J.P. Andrews building on Monterey Street, Koberl at Blue is a charming, brick-walled bistro that offers a classic wine country-style menu of New American market-driven fare prepared with fresh, seasonal and local ingredients. Located in the heart of Southern California’s wine country, the bistro is a classy, comfortable spot with distinctive brick walls, rich wood accents, crisp white linens, and an expansive wooden bar. The inventive menu features farm-to-fork fare such as Sicilian flatbread, buffalo and butternut squash empanadas, tempura fried oysters, beef filet carpaccio, and chucka soba noodles served with asparagus. The food is accompanied by a well-thought-out wine list with local labels, bottled and draught beers, creative martinis, and classic cocktails. Koberl at Blue is open for dinner, nightly.
998 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, Phone: 805-783-1135
La Locanda is a snug Italian restaurant with an intimate dining space and an open kitchen that offers an authentic dining experience that encourages guests to enjoy the experience of authentic Italian cooking in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Located on Garden Street, La Locanda, which means ‘inn’ in Italian, occupies a high-ceilinged space with casual décor, ten white tableclothed tables, and soft lighting. Seasonally-inspired menus feature traditional Northern Italian fare with a few classic French dishes and several daily specials prepared by Chef and Owner Signor Luciano Bardinelli with classics like eggplant lasagna and lasagna Bolognese, housemade gnocchetti and fettuccine with ragu di Carne. The food is accompanied by a curated wine list with a good selection of local and Italian wines by the bottle and by the glass. La Locanda is open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Sunday.
1137 Garden St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, Phone: 805-548-1750
12.Mama's Meatball Italian Restaurant
© Mama's Meatball Italian Restaurant
Mama's Meatball Italian Restaurant is a cozy, family-run eatery that serves traditional Italian dishes, including handmade pasta and wood-fired pizzas, along with prime meat dishes and decadent desserts. Mama's Meatball, which also offers catering services, uses the finest and freshest locally grown ingredients to create seasonal menus of traditional Italian favorites like lasagna, spaghetti Bolognese, and fresh seafood platters. The restaurant offers dine-in, takeout, and delivery services, and caters for private dining with tailor-made menus, and the delicious food is paired with a variety of libations, including wines from around the world, craft beers and brews, high-end spirits and classic cocktails. Mama's Meatball Italian Restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Sunday.
570 Higuera St #130, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, Phone: 805-544-0861
13.Novo Restaurant & Lounge
© Novo Restaurant & Lounge
Novo Restaurant & Lounge is an award-winning restaurant on the banks of the San Luis Obispo Creek that offers a unique, romantic dining experience. Overlooking San Luis Obispo’s creek and Mission Plaza, the elegant restaurant has a cozy and intimate dining space and an outdoor balcony with twinkling lights and serves a seasonal menu of impeccable Asian-fusion fare with a California spin. Executive Chef Ben Richardson uses regionally sourced, wholesome, and fresh ingredients from the local Farmer’s Markets and the food is paired with a varied cocktail list and a wine list featuring Californian and global labels from the full-service bar. Novo Restaurant & Lounge is open for lunch and dinner, daily.
726 Higuera St, San Luis Obispo CA 93401, Phone: 805-543-3986
14.Goshi - Japanese Restaurant
© Goshi - Japanese Restaurant
Located in the heart of San Luis Obispo downtown, Goshi is a bustling restaurant with a simple décor that specializes in serving Japanese fusion and Asian cuisine. The stylishly appointed restaurant serves an extensive menu of Japanese cuisine prepared by professional chefs and presented with flair, including handmade sushi, sashimi, California rolls, tempura, tofu, fried rice, and noodles. Signature dishes include Fresh Water Eel, Teriyaki Salmon, Beef Tongue, and Baked Green Mussels. The bar serves a range of libations from Japanese beer to hot and cold sake, and handcrafted cocktails made with sake. Goshi Japanese Restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday and dinner only on Sundays.
570 Higuera St #155, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, Phone: 805-543-8942
14 Best Romantic Restaurants in San Luis Obispo
- Luna Red, Photo: Luna Red
- Alex Madonna's Gold Rush Steak House, Photo: Alex Madonna's Gold Rush Steak House
- Buona Tavola, Photo: Buona Tavola
- Cafe Roma, Photo: Cafe Roma
- Ciopinot, Photo: Ciopinot
- Gardens of Avila, Photo: Gardens of Avila
- Gennaro's Grill & Garden, Photo: Gennaro's Grill & Garden
- Giuseppe’s Cucina Rustica, Photo: Giuseppe’s Cucina Rustica
- Granada Bistro, Photo: Granada Bistro
- Koberl At Blue, Photo: Koberl At Blue
- La Locanda, Photo: WavebreakmediaMicro/stock.adobe.com
- Mama's Meatball Italian Restaurant, Photo: Mama's Meatball Italian Restaurant
- Novo Restaurant & Lounge, Photo: Novo Restaurant & Lounge
- Goshi - Japanese Restaurant, Photo: Goshi - Japanese Restaurant
- Cover Photo: loki_ast/stock.adobe.com