Besides taking in the scenic views at Pismo Beach, I ate, ate, and ate. Downtown Pismo Beach is small but quaint, and consists of a few main streets dotted with restaurants, wine bars, coffee shops, and occasionally some tourist traps. You definitely see an assortment of people, from surfers, to college students, to tourists like me. There were so many options, but only a few hours in the day to try them all! Below is a little guide to the places I did end up eating at.
First up, Splash Cafe. Can’t go to a beach town and skip out on the chowder, right? Only a block away from the water, Splash Cafe sits on the corner, and stands out with its signature mural-covered walls. You order at the register, and while seating is ample, it is first-come first-serve. It’s a little like a beachy diner cafe. We ordered their signature clam chowder with extra seafood topping, which has been written up in the likes of Bon Appetit and Gourmet. Of course, I couldn’t resist getting in a bread bowl.
Ohhhh yeeeah. The sourdough bread is crisp and buttery, complementing the creamy chowder perfectly. The chowder was packed with seafood, and just rich enough to not be overwhelming. The only problem we would say that there was too much seafood and not enough soup!
Next up, Firestone Grill. Set right in the heart of Cal Poly, this restaurant is popular amongst college grads and non-college grads alike. With a line that went around the corner and out the door, this hip and happenin’ spot is best known for their BBQ, especially their tri tip sandwich.
We got the tri-tip sandwich and their tri-tip salad (we were sorely in need of some vegetables). I actually thought the tri-tip was great on top of the salad, but slightly under-flavored in the sandwich. They only gave one small carton of bbq sauce, which was barely enough for half the sandwich. While the meat was tender, the flavor was slightly underwhelming, especially when sandwiched between to pieces of thick bread. However, when on top of a salad, it complemented the crisp flavor of the vegetables very well.
Of course, we couldn’t forget to get the frings. Yum.
The last place we stopped by before we headed home was Old West Cinnamon Rolls. The name was truly fitting, as it looked like something out of an old Western movie. The retro-style bakery is brimming to the top with cinnamon rolls, all with different types of toppings and garnishes. But they all had one thing in common– they were ENORMOUS.
Behind the register, you can see the bakers cutting a giant log of cinnamon rolls. It’s quite a sight to see!
Heavenly, puffy, decadent cinnamon rolls.
The insides were the BEST part. Ooey, gooey, melt-in- your mouth. They did not disappoint.
Did I miss any must-try spots? To see other places I went to in Pismo Beach, follow us on Instagram!