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With a population of just over 44,000, San Luis Obispo is the largest city in the region and home to California Polytechnic State University. Like many old college towns, it offers historic buildings, shady trees and an eclectic assemblage of shops, from funky record outlets and bookstores to upscale clothing stores and antiques shops. By small-town standards, the nightlife is thriving.

In fact, San Luis Obispo and the surrounding area, including Pismo Beach, is home to numerous wine-savvy restaurants: hip downtown restaurant Koberl at Blue, Marisol at the Cliffs, which features California-Latin fusion and two Italian kitchens, Buona Tavola and Giuseppe's Restaurant. All hold Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence.

Please note that owners, chefs, menu items, prices and other details can often change. We recommend that you call ahead before you go.

Giuseppe's Cucina Italiana
891 Price St.
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
Telephone (805) 773-2870
Web site
Corkage $15
Open Lunch, Mon-Fri, 11:30-3; Dinner, Sun-Thu, 4:30-10, Fri-Sat, 4:30-11
Cost Entrées $15 to $25

Here’s a rarity in Pismo Beach: a restaurant that appeals to locals and visitors alike. It has colorful trattoria decor, a sunny, airy atmosphere and a large menu of classic southern Italian cuisine—hearty pastas, pizzas from a wood-burning oven, osso buco and braciole—all of it well-prepared. Sommelier Shane McGraw has compiled one of the area’s top wine lists; with 325 selections, it includes a strong showing from Italy. Reservations aren’t taken, and with 86 seats in the dining room, a line often forms outside.

Windows on the Water
699 Embarcadero
Morro Bay, CA 93442
Telephone (805) 772-0677
Web site
Corkage $10
Open Dinner, Sun-Thu, 5-8:30, Fri-Sat, 5-9:30
Cost Entrées $19 to $35

The name says it all: This is all about the view of the harbor and Morro Rock. The interior is rather generic and slightly cavernous, with expansive rooms and exposed rafters. The menu is for straight-shooting seafood and meat fans, delivering no surprises but plenty of satisfaction. Service here is better than at most of the area’s restaurants, and the 200-selection wine list has a fine offering of Central Coast wines and a few collectibles from Napa Valley, France and beyond.

For other Wine Spectator restaurant award winners in the San Luis Obispo area, including Koberl at Blue, Buona Tavola and Marisol at the Cliffs, see the Restaurant Search.


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