13 Best and Must-Try Restaurants in Big Sur, CA
Located in Monterey County, Big Sur is famous for featuring stunning mountains, beaches, towering redwoods, cliffs, and a rugged coastline.
Therefore, it has become the best place for tourists and outdoor walkers who want to immerse themselves in the spectacular landscape of the California coast.
Big Sur restaurants offer various dining options to suit every taste and budget. Whether it is an unforgettable romantic dinner for two, a family-friendly location, a cabin, or a cozy cafe for a quick snack, an option is available to suit every preference.
This article will examine the most exceptional restaurants in Big Sur and what sets them apart. From fresh local to Italian, and Latin American food, we highlight the top dining spots you won’t miss.
Take a moment to unwind and prepare to dine in one of California’s most breathtaking places!
Restaurants in Big Sur
Big Sur Roadhouse
Situated in the heart of Big Sur, the Big Sur Roadhouse is a charming restaurant that serves delicious Californian cuisine.
They use fresh, local ingredients for every item. The menu changes with the seasons. It’s an ideal spot to enjoy a morning meal, a mid-morning snack, or even a romantic outing.
The establishment’s atmosphere is warm and distinctive, owing to the expertly designed “homegrown modernism” style by San Francisco designer Steve Justrich.
Also, the restaurant’s outdoor space is stunning and enhances its appeal. If you are in the area, you should check out the Big Sur Roadhouse – a hidden gem!
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Sierra Mar is one of the most famous and attractive restaurants in Big Sur, located within the luxurious Post Ranch Inn.
The restaurant’s contemporary building gives an unparalleled view of the Pacific Ocean. Its design features natural elegance, with reclaimed wood and slate floors.
Floor-to-ceiling windows provide an incomparable view of the surroundings, giving diners the feeling of floating above the ocean.
Sierra Mar offers a unique, seasonal dining experience that changes every day and inspiration by the harvest of their dynamic Chefs Garden. There is also a vegan menu for those who prefer plant-based options.
Accompanied by the restaurant’s award-winning 3200 wine list, guests can enjoy a shared culinary experience.
With exceptional cuisine and impeccable service, Sierra Mar is ideal for anyone searching for a luxurious dining experience in Big Sur.
This cute restaurant within the Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn is renowned for its mouth-watering, classic American comfort dishes in a romantic and rustic ambiance.
As soon as you step into Deetjen’s, you’ll be captivated by its eclectic and whimsical decor. A delightful mix of vintage artworks and quirky memorabilia adorn the walls, while the mismatched furniture and vibrant tablecloths create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.
Deetjen’s has a long history. Today, in one of their four intimate candlelit rooms, you can relish delectable homemade meals five days a week (closed on Wednesdays / Thursdays).
Their fluffy buttermilk pancakes, eggs benedict, and breakfast burritos, have achieved the restaurant’s esteemed “best breakfast place” award in Monterey County.
Their dinner menu features simple and hearty cuisine prepared with a heartwarming touch. Deetjen’s cellar provides an exquisite selection of wine and beer to complement your dining experience perfectly.
In summary, Deetjen’s is an enchanting and delightful dining experience that will make your heart flutter!
Nepenthe is in the most enchanting location on the Big Sur Coastline, boasting a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean. This alone makes a visit to this restaurant an absolute must.
The restaurant is spacious and offers both indoor and outdoor seating arrangements. Even if you opt for outdoor seating, you need not worry about getting cold, as they have heaters to keep you cozy while you wait for your table.
While the food may be a bit pricey, it is worth every penny spent. If you have yet to taste their famous Ambrosia burger (served with a tossed green salad), try it at least once. The price is fair and well worth the experience.
Nepenthe is a magical place you must visit at least once to witness the epic views and soak in the serene ambiance. They are open daily for full-service dining!
Big Sur Bakery
This American rustic restaurant’s creative and flavorful pastries and bakery have made it a beloved destination for locals and tourists.
Their pastry chef prepares every item that is always fresh and flavorful. Especially the baked goods options are significantly broad, so it’s hard to choose between them.
Try some main menu items: Mocha cookie, vegetable frittata cup, maple bacon bow, ham & cheese croissant, scone, cinnamon rolls, chocolate croissant, and many more.
Big Sur Bakery is also a great spot to catch up with friends over coffee. Alternatively, if you prefer a cozy indoor and outdoor ambiance, the lodge-like atmosphere of Big Sur Bakery will make you feel right at home.
Big Sur Taphouse
Big Sur Taphouse is a laid-back venue with various indoor and outdoor seating options, including a patio outback nestled against a mountain with plenty of shade and space for groups.
This locally owned and operated pub/restaurant is conveniently situated adjacent to the Big Sur Deli, both under the same ownership.
Catch your favorite sports events on big-screen televisions while enjoying excellent food and great drinks. Explore the wide selection of local brews and wines from Monterey County.
They especially offer daily specials like Taco Tuesday, Burger Day, Pizza Day, Fishy Friday, and Slider Saturday (check out the full BBQ plate). Visit Big Sur Taphouse for pub food, refreshing drinks, and a great hangout!
Coast Big Sur
Coast Big Sur is an iconic cafe and restaurant, and you a must-stop if you’re driving down Highway 1!
They serve a delightful range of picnic-style dishes perfect for a quick bite or leisure. Coffee lovers will be in heaven with their impressive coffee menu featuring various roasts and brewing methods. The beer and wine selections also highlight local Central Coast wineries and breweries.
The cafe’s rustic yet contemporary building is made of redwood slabs, providing a unique and visually striking experience. You can enjoy the stunning ocean views while enjoying your meals on the rooftop terrace.
The upstairs is spectacular, with plenty of natural light flooding in from the large round windows and skylights. Downstairs, the ordering area is welcoming, and friendly staff is always ready to assist. Be sure to check out their art shop, which includes a range of locally-made artisan items!
Big Sur Smokehouse
Nestled at the entrance of Alila Ventana Big Sur, behold the magnificent Big Sur Smokehouse – an irresistible stop for both resort guests and the public alike.
This Big Sur restaurant is impossible to miss with its eye-catching red contemporary exterior. Discover an equally stunning interior with modern farmhouse-chic vibes and clean lines inside.
The outside area has picnic tables and benches for gathering. This laid-back atmosphere is also a big attraction for hikers and dog lovers.
Whether you’re in the mood for breakfast or lunch, they’ve got you covered. The real star of the menu is the barbecue. The meat platters are a feast for the eyes, bursting with vibrant hues of pickles, preserved pink onions, and irresistible Hawaiian rolls.
You can also enjoy freshly brewed coffee, wine, homemade donuts, and burgers. Join an unforgettable dining experience at Big Sur Smokehouse.
The Sur House
The Sur House is a magical place in Alila Ventana Big Sur, an exclusive property in Monterey County, California.
The view from the Sur House is breathtaking as you overlook the Pacific Ocean, where forests, mountains, and sea converge.
Recently, The Sur House underwent renovations to offer a more spacious seating plan with fewer tables, creating a more exclusive dining experience for Ventana night visitors during breakfast and dinner.
The restaurant’s menu is inspired by the Big Sur region, showcasing its seasonal bounty via modern American cuisine.
Their culinary team uses fresh ingredients from their expansive organic garden to create baked oysters, chicken sandwiches, beef ribeye, rockfish, avocado toast, carrot cake, and crab salad.
Upgraded choices, such as alcoholic drinks, are available for separate purchases. Find this hidden place at Big Suer for your taste for adventure by discovering your own!
Big Sur River Inn Restaurant
Recharge your soul at the restaurant and full-service bar at the Big Sur River Inn. Their extensive menu includes different options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
With the lovely backdrop of the Big Sur River in California, they provide a delicious meal spread with organic eggs, fluffy buttermilk pancakes, burgers, pasta, house omelets, and more, served with your choice of juice or coffee.
Their beef is customized to your liking and piled high with all your favorite toppings and condiments. The restaurant’s full bar is perfect for relaxing with your loved ones over refreshing cocktails.
What sets them apart from other restaurants in Big Sur is their century-old tradition of using locally sourced ingredients and their exceptional service and warm hospitality.
Immerse yourself in the traditional Big Sur style at Fernwood Tavern, a beloved local watering hole crafted with redwood timbers. You’ll find this Big Sur restaurant inside Fernwood Resort.
Fernwood Tavern isn’t just a place for drinks – it’s also one of the lunch and dinner places in Big Sur. They offer a delectable array of dishes and pizzas that perfectly complement their high-quality beer and mixed drinks.
Settle comfortably into a couch and enjoy the latest sports match on the large-screen television. Enjoy live entertainment, typically available on Saturday nights.
Plus, Fernwood Tavern hosts spring and fall music events in the campground, making it a prime destination for music lovers. Look at their Calendar of Events to find which performers are scheduled to play during your visit.
Take advantage of the peaceful back deck and indulge in a leisurely lunch or unwind under the shade of the towering redwood trees.
Ripplewood Resort Cafe
Ripplewood Resort is a charming and rustic property with 17 cabins, a well-stocked grocery store, a convenient gas station, and a delightful cafe.
They serve American and authentic Mexican cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and brunch. You can savor your meal in the indoor dining area or outside on the sunny garden patio.
The cafe on the property has an impressive range of reasonably priced items and every item with generous portion sizes. You must try the chorizo and eggs on the menu.
The cafe supplies free WIFI access, making it an ideal spot for a casual business meeting or catching up with friends.
Several restaurants and taverns within a mile’s distance supply excellent dining options as the eatery doesn’t offer dinner. In conclusion, if you want a relaxing stay and delicious meals in Big Sur, Ripplewood Resort Cafe is an excellent choice.
You can find Cafe Kevah on an outdoor terrace below Nepenthe. Enjoy the gorgeous Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean overlook at Cafe Kevah.
Reservations are not accepted, and visitors can enjoy the lush terraced gardens filled with honeysuckle, bougainvillea, and jasmine.
The cafe uses fresh ingredients that they carefully prepare and offers gourmet coffees and homemade baked goods.
Those who must remember to bring a good book need not worry, as the Phoenix Shop is only a few feet away and offers an incredible selection of books, cards, journals, and more.
Cafe Kevah is the perfect place for a remarkable dining experience amidst natural surroundings.
Note: Since all the information in this article is based on the date of publication, for some reason (health, economic, social), these businesses may be temporarily or permanently closed or moved to another location.