The charming village of Cambria, located on California’s magnificent Central Coast halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, is an often-overlooked jewel for travelers travelling to Big Sur. This coastal beach town, nestled amid towering pines and the glistening seas of the Pacific, is the ideal spot to stay, play, and eat. And the Cambria restaurant scene will delight any gourmet tourist!
With its easily accessible center full with shops, antiques, local art & crafts, wine tasting, and a whole lot of history, the lovely coastal community is a return to simpler times.
There are no chain stores or fast-food restaurants here, and the residents want to keep it that way. Here is a spot where life synchronizes with the tranquil rhythms of the sea, where pines meet the sea, adventure meets leisure, and taste meets joy.
Cambria boasts an amazing gastronomy culture for a small town. The scenic city is brimming with small bistros where local farms, ranches, fresh seafood, and great epicurean chefs build gourmet experiences.
A diverse range of restaurants. From casual to excellent restaurants, comfort meals to innovative California specialties, everything is available here. All the more reason to adore this slice of Coastal California heaven.
Visiting other places in California? Check out our other tasty guides:
- 11 Must-Try Tustin Restaurants
- 8 Best Fort Bragg, CA Restaurants
- The 7 Best Oceanside, CA Restaurants & 12 Best Things To Do In Oceanside, CA
- The 21 Best Restaurants in Costa Mesa
- 11 Must-Try Vallejo Restaurants
- 15 Must-Try Sanibel Island Restaurants
- 9 Must-Try Pier 39 Restaurant
- 7 Must-Try Ventura Restaurants & 10 Most Exciting Things To Do In Ventura CA
- 8 Must-Try Paso Robles Restaurants & 10 Fun Things To Do In Paso Robles CA
- 10 Best Berkeley Restaurants
- 10 Must-Try Petaluma Restaurants
- 7 Must-Try Restaurants In Dublin CA
- 7 Must-Try Oxnard Restaurants & 10 Fun Things To Do In Oxnard CA
- 6 Best Downtown Disney Restaurants
- 10 Amazing Things To Do In Temecula CA
- 10 Amazing Things To Do In Carmel
- 15 Best Elk Grove Restaurants
- 14 Best Things To Do In Carlsbad, California
- 7 Best North Beach San Francisco Italian Restaurants
- 11 Must-Try Sebastopol Restaurant & 5 Best Things To Do In Sebastopol
- 11 Awesome Things To Do In Livermore
- 18 Amazing Things To Do In Mendocino
- 16 Fun Things To Do In Lake Tahoe, CA
- 1 Cambria, California’s 7 Best Restaurants
- 2 Which of these Cambria eateries do you want to try the most? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!
Cambria, California’s 7 Best Restaurants
Burton Drive (805) 927-50074095
If there is one restaurant in Cambria that should not be missed, it is Robins Restaurant.
The restaurant’s vast garden setting, rustic corners, and warm fireplace create the tone for an outstanding dining experience in a historic 1935 adobe home in downtown Cambria.
Both lunch and supper are offered here, we suggest going during the evening hour, when the glittering lights and gentle candlelight create a wonderful and enchanting romantic environment in one of Cambria’s greatest fine dining restaurants.
Our delicious evening began with a shared Autumn Salad of baby beets, dried figs, goat cheese, spicy pepitas, and roasted butternut squash.
The tastes and textures blended well. The Crispy Skuna Bay Fish (perfectly crisped) and Grass-Fed New York Steak (tender and delicious) for our evening entrée were both wonderful and cooked to perfection.
Make space for one of Robin’s handmade sweets, but it’s difficult to pick since they’re all delicious.
When our waitress mentioned that the quantities were rather big, we opted to split a piece of carrot cake. We almost wish we hadn’t shared it since it was so delicious.
We give it an A+ for service. Several of the employees have worked with Robins for many years and are very knowledgable, kind, and professional.
Main Street (805) 927-03712227
Linns Restaurant and Bakery should be visited by every tourist to Cambria.
The Cambrian institution began as a family farm fruit shop and has evolved into a famous hillside cafe that is constantly filled for breakfast, lunch, or supper, and for good cause. The menu emphasizes modern American cuisine made with fresh local ingredients, many of which are farmed on their own farm.
Linn’s broad menu of country comfort favorites such as Beef Stroganoff, Meatloaf, Chicken Pot Pie, and fresh handmade soups draws a crowd.
We’ve dined here for breakfast and lunch, and every single entree was delicious, with amounts large enough to split.
Several of the omelet options and eggs benedict are among our favorites for breakfast.
The grass-fed, Char-Broiled Heart Ranch Burger, a pound patty with smoked Gouda, garlic aioli, and all the toppings on a ciabatta bun, is a must-order for lunch.
The perfect companion was a serving of vanilla-infused sweet potato fries with a chardonnay-lemon pepper aioli dipping sauce.
Desserts are extremely wonderful at this location.
The Olallieberry Pie, a blackberry-raspberry hybrid cultivated on Linns farm, is our absolute favorite. Request it warmed, with a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream on top! There is no finer pie on the West Coast, guaranteed.
Diners may depart with their favorite cake, pie, or cookie delicacies, as well as a vast assortment of handmade fruit preserves, several types of butter, jellies, fruit sauces, decorative things, and more.
If you’re searching for Cambria eateries, don’t overlook this one.
Restaurant Madelines and Wine Cellar
(805) 927-4175788 Main St.
Madelines, nestled in the center of scenic Cambria and open for lunch and supper, is recognized for excellent, handcrafted French-inspired meals. The lovely restaurant is ideal for a ladies’ night out, date night, or simply a casual drop-in, however reservations are strongly advised.
Small appetizers, entrees, and desserts are on the menu. The menu isn’t huge, but it’s decadently delicious.
The Diver Scallops, cooked to perfection and served over mushroom duxelles with lemon beurr blanc sauce, were one of my faves here.
My husband swooned over his Croque Monsieur, a sandwich of grilled ham, Gruyere cheese, and bchamel sauce served with a side of Madeline salad, which had local greens, red onions, roasted beets, Granny Smith apple, goat cheese, and hazelnuts and was finished with an apple cider vinaigrette. To be honest, it’s the greatest we’ve ever eaten.
The wine list, like any good French restaurant, is comprehensive, and the service is very helpful in pairing the ideal red or white to each entree. Madelines wine store features a large selection of wine for people who wish to take some home with them.
Madelines is one of the greatest Cambria restaurants to visit if you want to get a full sense of the continent.
Black Cat Restaurant
(805) 927-1600Main Street
Black Cat Cafe, a stylish, adorable little establishment in the middle of town with just 45 seats and serving supper exclusively, is a quaint bistro with lighted tables, white linens, and a magnificent fireplace.
Despite it has a more formal and sophisticated tone, it is nevertheless casual and unpretentious.
Since seasonal meals are highlighted here, the menu varies based on the availability of local food and organically farmed, sustainable menu items.
With good cause, the restaurant has earned the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for the last nine years. Entrees are served on white china at Black Cat, while wine is presented in Austrian crystal Riedel stemware.
Menu offerings include inventive appetizers and salads, as well as fish, seafood, pork, and poultry.
While I am a genuine seafood lover on every level and usually choose a fish entree, a local Friend advised the lamb and duck breast, and both were delicious.
The delicate Braised Lamb Shank was served over pearl couscous with currants, cinnamon, and greens. The tastes were fantastic.
My husband loves duck, and the Maple Leaf Duck Breast with cherry duck and young bok choy served over a mushroom red wine barley risotto was delicious.
Kitchen Tucked Away
(805) 395-70292164 Center St.
Hidden Kitchen, a 100% gluten-free café serving all-organic and sustainably sourced local food, was founded by two best friends. They came into a modest kitchen concealed behind pastel blue shutters one day after walking down an alleyway into an overgrown courtyard. The rest, as they say, is history.
Hidden Kitchen is a popular and joyous gathering spot behind Slabtown Mercantile that locals like, and tourists are lucky enough to discover (thankfully another insider tidbit from one of the residents here).
The modest eatery’s motto is “Planet care, people care, and fair sharing,” and it is all about community. Hidden Kitchen has a basic menu that is rich in taste and nutritious food. Bioregional blue corn waffles, savory nibbles, seasonal smoothies, coffee, and tea are among their immunity-boosting delicacies.
My favorite dish here is the Morro Melt, which is made with organic turkey, melted Havarti cheese, caramelized onions, avocado, an unique house sauce, and microgreens. It’s the ideal combo when paired with a refreshing summer peach tea.
Oceanpoint Ranch’s Canteen
Moonstone Beach Road (805) 927-46487200 Moonstone Beach Drive
Oceanpoint Ranch, nestled along the breathtaking beaches of Moonstone Beach, is a 1950s rustic yet sophisticated ranch-inspired property that has been wonderfully refurbished.
The Canteen Restaurant inside the inn delivers scrumptious home-style supper classics as well as delicious made-to-order breakfasts.
It’s also a great spot to make your own picnic food baskets for a fantastic Picnic by the Sea. Visitors who are not staying at the ranch are welcome to come into the camp-like environment for food and picnic meals.
Breakfast was a light and refreshing way to start the day, with one of my favorite Greek meals, creamy Greek yogurt with fresh berries and handmade granola topped with orange blossom honey.
Their smoked Steelhead fish bagel with chive cream cheese, red onion, sliced tomato, and caper berries on an everything bagel was delicious.
Small appetizers, greens, and major entrees are on the evening menu.
We chose the delicate citrus-brined 1⁄2 roasted chicken topped with roasted butternut squash and bacon braised greens since we were staying at the ranch. The meal was complete with smoked Gouda mac and cheese and the must-order Jalapeo sweet cornbread.
We had a nice bottle of local Chardonnay from the adjacent Heart Ranch Vineyards on our magnificent patio room.
At dark, visitors may buy Smores packages and retire to the numerous firepits in Oceanpoint Ranch’s nearby Moonstone Corral. This Cambria restaurant is a winner for a one-of-a-kind eating experience.
Oyster Bar & Restaurant Sea Chest
210 Moonstone Beach Road (805) 927-45146
Sea Chest Oyster Bar & Restaurant has been serving fresh seafood meals in a picture-perfect location immediately across from Cambria’s stunning Moonstone Beach for over 30 years.
Reservations are not accepted at this popular cafe, which is evocative of a rustic New England coastal home. Customers should arrive early or eat on a weekday, since this restaurant is quite popular, particularly during the summer. Even an hour wait on the weekend is worth it since the meal is so delicious. But, there is no need to worry since the seafood restaurant offers a nice outside wine bar waiting area with a patio fire pit.
Seasonal fresh fish options are shown on a blackboard, but popular dishes include Oysters Rockefeller, Steamed Clams, and fresh New Zealand Mussels, House Cioppino, Local Morro Bay Oysters, and Panko Crusted Calamari Steak.
Don’t know what to order? We didn’t either, despite the fact that everything looked delicious. We chose a sampling plate of fresh oysters, Oysters Rockefeller, mussels, and steamed clams from the oyster bar and large appetizer menu. Oh, sure, it was very, very excellent!
The restaurant serves California wines, with a focus on the finest of the Central Coast, which mix nicely with these fresh marine treasures.
One cannot think well, love well, or sleep well if one has not eaten properly, as English writer Virginia Woolf famously stated. Eating in Cambria eateries gave an excellent dining experience.