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6 Must-Try San Simeon California Restaurants

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San Simeon is a small, picturesque community located on California’s central coast along famous Highway 1. The town sits about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, making it a great destination for a weekend getaway.

San Simeon is best known for its natural beauty, historical significance, and world-renowned Hearst Castle, the opulent ranchland estate of media mogul William Randolph Hearst.

The area boasts a fascinating elephant seal rookery just north of San Simeon while its beaches and parks offer magnificent rugged coastal views, hiking trails, and opportunities for picnicking and wildlife observation, especially whale watching.

For a small town, however, San Simeon offers some great dining options, including seafood restaurants, casual eateries, and venues featuring a myriad of local cuisine. Here are some of my family’s favorite San Simeon California restaurants when we visit this stunningly picturesque Central coastal gem.

Table of Contents

  1. Cavalier Coastal Kitchen
  2. Manta Rey Restaurant
  3. The Ragged Point Restaurant
  4. San Simeon Beach Bar & Grill
  5. Sebastian’s General Store
  6. El Chorlito Mexican Eatery

The 6 Best San Simeon California Restaurants

Cavalier Coastal Kitchen

Address: 9435 Hearst Drive, San Simeon, CA 93452
Phone: +1 (805) 927-3276
Cavalier Coastal Kitchen on Google Maps

Cavalier Coastal Kitchen is the signature restaurant of Cavalier Oceanfront Resort. Guests or visitors can enjoy all-day ocean-view dining along with amazing entrees created by chefs Jaime Macias and Fernando Cuevas.

We had the opportunity to dine here for both breakfast and lunch as we stayed at the resort during our coastal getaway. While having a restaurant on-site is convenient, it’s not necessarily why we dined here. The food and service are outstanding, and the restaurant offers beautiful ocean vistas.

You’ll find a definite Mexican influence on the breakfast menu with items such as huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, and a breakfast burrito, but other options include a variety of omelets, Bailey’s French Toast (my hubby’s favorite), a Texas toast with Bailey’s custard, cereal crust, and strawberries with an added side of bacon.

I’m not a big breakfast eater, so I’m always happy when a lighter choice such as a Yogurt Parfait is on the menu. The Greek vanilla yogurt, granola, and fresh berries made this the ideal way to start the day.

The lunch and dinner menus are thoughtfully planned, but I highly recommend the Fish and Chips, fresh-dipped cod with tartar sauce and coleslaw. Fresh, not over-battered, and succulent, this is a go-to here.

Burger fans will love the selection here, but what makes these burgers amazing is the premium quality of the Hearst Ranch beef.

Manta Rey Restaurant

Address: 9240 Castillo Drive, San Simeon, CA 93452
Phone: +1 (805) 924-1032
Manta Rey Restaurant on Google Maps

This delightful dinner seafood and steak restaurant offers stunning views of the coastline and evening sunsets from its large porthole windows. Owned by the De Alba family, you’re sure to see the family in the restaurant ensuring its customers are well-taken care of.

We were impressed with the appetizer and main menu selections here and the number of available options. As a California resident and seafood lover, restaurants like Manta Rey are a joy. They let the quality of the fresh ingredients speak for themselves. And if you’re looking for classic Pacific seafood, this is where you’ll find calamari strips, sand dabs, cioppino, sea bass, and many other treasures from the sea.

I selected Linguini with Clams for my entrée, accompanied by a dinner salad. The dish included a full pound of clams in a light cream sauce with fresh tomatoes and basil over linguini pasta topped with parmesan cheese. I literally could have licked the plate clean if it was publicly acceptable!

Other favorites included the Cioppino, filled with shrimp, mussels, and cod simmered in a tomato broth and served with garlic bread for dipping. The portabella mushroom stuffed ravioli was another standout topped with a fire-roasted creamy tomato sauce. But if you’re a meat lover, Manta Rey has you covered with its steak and chicken options.

The Ragged Point Restaurant

Address: 19019 Highway 1, San Simeon/Ragged Point, CA 93452
Phone: +1 (805) 584-6374
The Ragged Point Restaurant on Google Maps

The iconic breathtaking views alone make this restaurant a winner.

Located at the Ragged Point Inn and Resort at the southern start of the picturesque Big Sur Coast, the all-glassed gourmet restaurant perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean with an outdoor dining deck provides the ideal backdrop for an amazing breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Truly one of the most stunning restaurants in San Simeon.

We joined friends for lunch, and what a memorable visit it was. The sun was shining, the skies were a bluebird color, and the setting was magnificent. We shared a lovely bottle of Hearst Ranch Chardonnay while perusing the menu. If you choose to bring your wine, the corkage fee here is only $10.

We were all over the board with our menu selections, and I can vouch that every one of us loved our choice.

My Miso-Glazed Salmon was grilled to perfection accompanied by a flavor explosion of roasted beets, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, pickled onions, pumpkin seeds, and sliced avocado with fresh shaved Brussels sprouts and kale, topped with a lemon-cayenne vinaigrette.

My friend selected the Chicken Pappardelle Diablo, a grilled chicken breast, pappardelle pasta, cherry tomatoes, green peas, roasted corn, and chipotle cream sauce, with diced onion, cilantro, and cotija cheese. She asked if we wanted a taste, and honestly, this will likely be my choice the next time I dine here. It was that good. Other impressive entrees included the Jerk Chicken sandwich and the Grilled Snake River Farms Kobe ribeye skewers with a spicy dipping sauce.

With outdoor firepits and lighting, I can’t imagine how beautiful this place is during dinner hour. But rest assured, I plan to find out at some point.

Reservations are highly recommended since this is a very popular place and location.

San Simeon Beach Bar & Grill

Address: 9520 Castillo Drive, San Simeon, CA, 93452
Phone: +1 (805) 927-4604
San Simeon Beach Bar & Grill on Google Maps

There’s not a bad seat in this restaurant, offering views from every table.

Located at the San Simeon Lodge, this casual, laid-back eatery offers a variety of appetizers, main entrees, and desserts. The restaurant is also known for its seafood, premium steaks, and diverse wine selection. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., you can enjoy happy hour drinks in the bar before your meal.

San Simeon Beach Bar & Grill is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. We dined here for breakfast before heading back to Southern California after our delightful visit to this region. The menu offers everything from eggs, omelets, breakfast specials, and griddle dishes.

My husband thoroughly enjoyed his breakfast burrito with eggs, bacon, sausage, avocado, hash browns, cheese, salsa, and sour cream.

It was a hearty serving and plenty to share. Every once in a while, I enjoy a Denver Omelet, and this one did not disappoint. With bell peppers, onion, tomatoes, and ham topped with cheddar cheese, it was an ideal flavorful breakfast choice.

Sebastian’s General Store

Address: 442 SLO San Simeon Road, San Simeon, CA 93452
Phone: +1 (805) 721-2300
Sebastian’s General Store on Google Maps

No matter how many times we’ve eaten at this amazing lunch spot, we have been pleased as punch. The restaurant deli and seaside foods are located at Sebastian’s General Store, established in 1882 and open daily from 11 am to 5 pm.

The historic building is situated on the grounds of Hearst Ranch Winery, offering front row ocean vistas. In the late 1800s, the little bay village included a stage depot, telegraph line, and the Bay View Hotel that hosted Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Calvin Coolidge, and Cary Grant among its guests. A historic schoolhouse and buildings still remain on the property.

Our group was seated on the outdoor patio and opted for a wine tasting along with our lunch entrees that included sandwiches, salads, and side selections.

Favorites included a Kimchi Pork Sandwich, 16-hour slow-roasted tender pulled pork topped with a Korean barbeque sauce, napa cabbage kimchi, and a sweet-pickled vegetable medley, along with a fascinating take on Seasonal Burrata with plums, berries, a balsamic reduction, fresh herbs, arugula, and toasted pistachios on toasted ciabatta bread.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Shrimp sandwich loaded with grilled Mexican white shrimp seasoned with Old Bay, red onion, celery, chives, a local Cayucos hot sauce, and lettuce toasted on a New England roll.

El Chorlito Mexican Eatery

Address: 9155 Hearst Drive, San Simeon, CA 93452
Phone: +1 (805) 927-3872
El Chorlito Mexican Eatery on Google Maps

Sometimes you get a hankering for something different than seafood when you’re in a coastal town or just want a light bite. That’s where El Chorlito comes in.

Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating. Ask to be seated in the exterior garden area surrounded by succulents, plants, trees, and a stunning view of the ocean.

Reviews here have been mixed in the past, but I can only go by my own experience, which was good. The restaurant features New Mexico-style cooking, and a local friend recommended some entrees. I started with a house-made Sangria which was fruity and flavorful, and my husband ordered a cold Pacifico beer, these accompanied by chips and salsa.

My crunchy a la carte tacos included one fish and one shredded beef, but you can ask for soft tacos instead.

Both my husband and I are big fans of Chile Rellenos, and El Chorlito’s was delightful, but just know that if you order the meal with the rice and beans, it is a large serving and you’ll either want to share or you’ll need a take-home box.

Indian film producer and fashion designer Gauri Khan once said, “Dining should be a delightful and beautiful experience.” Guaranteed, if you come to San Simeon, you’ll not only get Hearst Castle but also some great food with a plethora of awe-inspiring views.

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