The 9 Best Restaurants in Paso Robles

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Far away from the cosmopolitan centers, Paso Robles is a foodie wonderland in the eastern mid-section of California’s farming country. With the quality of Paso Robles’ restaurants, you may believe you somehow stumbled into Los Angeles or San Francisco, not San Luis Obispo County. Yet all the eateries celebrate their location—seafood, meat, and produce are all fresh and local.

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Restaurants /

Il Cortile Ristorante

Il Cortile specializes in upscale yet contemporary Italian cuisine in a cozy, quiet setting, with a menu that focuses on the particular bounty of the current season. The pasta is handmade by the chefs and most of the seafood is locally caught, providing a touch of Italian fine-dining in the middle of Paso Robles. The outside courtyard is fine for people watching, but still shielded from stiff evening breezes.

Insider Tip

The winter is truffle season, and Il Cortile doesn’t skimp on the delicious fungi on dishes like the truffle risotto.

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Restaurants /

Robert’s Restaurant & Wine Bar

Walking into the dining room at Robert’s Restaurant & Wine Bar is like a taking a step into a plush and warmly decorated fine dining establishment of the early 1960s, but the New American cuisine streaming out of the kitchen is anything but stodgy. Classics like New York Sirloin Steak are textbook examples of culinary expertise, but the menu isn’t afraid to experiment with dishes like cider-brined pork chops. Paso Robles may not have as many upscale eateries as Manhattan, but Robert’s Restaurant & Wine Bar showcases that Californian chefs can easily compete with their East Coast counterparts.

Insider Tip

Explore the wine list with your server, as many wines grown in the region are available by the glass.

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Restaurants /

Thomas Hill Organics

Thomas Hill Organics focuses on all things local, whether it’s organically grown lettuce from Paso Robles farms, or grass-fed lamb. The dining area is refined but keeps an aura of California-casual, with a focus on sustainably-grown food and friendly service. Featuring a menu that rotates weekly, the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner everyday, but also serves brunch on Sundays.

Insider Tip

The patio is dog-friendly, so feel free to bring along your pet.

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Restaurants /

Buona Tavola - Paso Robles

A welcoming, candle-lit bistro, Buona Tavola serves up rustic Northern Italian fare at easy-to-digest prices. Pastas and sausages are handmade, and the hefty plates will ensure that no one goes home hungry. Many dishes, including the gnocchi, fettuccine, and tortellini, are available for less than $20 a plate.

Insider Tip

Yes, the entrees may be rich, but you’ll want to save room for desserts like the crema di vaniglia, a vanilla cream custard topped with caramel and chocolate sauces.

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Restaurants /

Artisan

True to its simply-stated moniker, Artisan creates culinary masterpieces with the local tastes of Paso Robles wines, meats, seafood, and produce serving as paints and canvas. A dinner at Artisan is a fitting end to a trip around the surrounding wine country—after spending a day sipping Paso Robles’ best wines, you can gobble down dishes crafted with them. Even humble meals like pizza are elevated with ingredients including fennel pollen, chicken diavola, and calabrian chili.

Insider Tip

Artisan’s farm-to-fork ethos permeates the cocktail selection as well: try the root beer negroni made with small-batch gin and a “root tea” liquor, created with sassafras, birch bark, and other wild herbs.

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Restaurants /

Estrella

Estrella describes its menu as “modern Latin cuisine,” a label meaning that the kitchen can mashup inspirations from Mexico, Argentina, the Caribbean, and elsewhere in Central and South America to create beautifully plated dishes with plenty of spice. Sitting on the patio overlooking Paso Robles’ central square, you might, for a moment, believe you’re eating at the Plaza de Armas of countless Latin American capitals. Spanish-style tapas are available for lunch and include small portions of ceviche and enchiladas, while the dinner menu offers duck confit tamales and Jamaican seafood curry.

Insider Tip

The décor may skew toward Latin America, but the New York Strip Steak with a house-made espresso rub should not be passed over.

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Restaurants /

La Cosecha Bar & Restaurant

Count on La Cosecha Bar & Restaurant for its inventive cocktail menu, or its unfussy take on Spanish and Latin American staples. Since the kitchen is open later than many of the surrounding dining options, the patio offers some great evening bites, drinks, and views of the charming downtown area of Paso Robles. If you don’t need a giant meal, small bites like the octopus salad or Honduran-style empanadas are fantastic paired with cocktails.

Insider Tip

Pizza may not seem a logical choice for a Latin American restaurant, but it will all make sense after you try La Cosecha Bar & Restaurant’s stone-fired pies topped with lamb sausage or braised fennel.

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Restaurants /

Fish Gaucho

Fish Gaucho pulls its inspiration from the West and the South: i.e. the Pacific Ocean and Mexico. The restaurant’s takes on fish tacos or nachos are pulled straight from Baja California, but with an upscale twist fitting the meticulously decorated dining room. Although Paso Robles is known for its wine, Fish Gaucho has a tequila selection that rivals any restaurant south of the border.

Insider Tip

Fish Gaucho offers a happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and everyday from 9 p.m. to close, when the bar’s noteworthy selection of house-crafted margaritas are all $3 off.

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Restaurants /

Bistro Laurent

While many eateries around downtown Paso Robles find inspiration in Italy, Spain, or Latin America, the muses of Bistro Laurent are the French cafes found on any corner in Paris. The lunch menu shines especially bright with classics like steak frites, croque monsieur, and mussels gratin, and simple desserts like berries and crème fraiche are refreshing, unpretentious, and inexpensive.

Insider Tip

The dinner menu is perfect for the indecisive; the chef chooses all the courses, as well as the indulgent and international wine pairings.

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