Chances are, if you're camping in Big Sur, most of your meals will be cooked on a small camp stove or an open fire. But if you're just passing through this beautiful region or looking for that first delicious meal in civilization after sleeping on the ground for a few night, Big Sur has a number of restaurants to whet your taste buds.
Nepenthe, an obvious and well-deserving Number 1, is Big Sur's most famous eatery. Hollywood's elite, including Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth, who owned a cabin on Nepenthe's property, used to frequent this mountainous restaurant to escape the glaring eye of fame. Nepenthe has maintained that private vibe, but now its spectacular views of a wooded valley and the ocean, and its exquisite food, draws in the crowds. Nepenthe is the epitome of subtle excellence.
Big Sur Deli takes the Number 6 spot because you don't always want to sit down to a full three-course meal while your traveling. Picking up a few sandwiches and snack food is sometimes the perfect option when traveling. Thanks to Big Sur Deli, you can pick up your meal and chose where you want to enjoy it.
Number 8, the Big Sur Roadhouse, is very off the beaten path, an edible oasis in the woods. The Roadhouse goes to great lengths to serve the most local of ingredients, supporting farmers from places nearby places like Watsonville and taking foliage and fauna right from the surrounding areas. Big Sur Roadhouse believes in serving the best of local ingredients in creative and interesting ways.
Certain eateries, like the Lucia Lodge and Redwood Lodge, are elegant eateries but nothing quite distinctive enough sets them apart to make it worth including on the list. Diners often complain of paying too much at these two, as well as The Whalewatchers Café. Big Sur doesn't have the largest number of restaurants, but sticking to this list will definitely help in picking out that perfect meal.
48510 Highway 1
Hwy. 1, 29 miles south of Carmel (5 miles south of the River Inn)
Cliff-top restaurant with sweeping ocean views...
47080 California 1
California-Latin American cuisine... read more
Home to "The Beast," an onsite smoker, and some of the heartiest eating in Big Sur... read more
(in the Ventana Inn)
Magnificent views, classic cuisine... read more