Jocko's Steak House, Nipomo
125 North Thompson Avenue
Tel: (805) 929-3565
Recommended by Glenn Anderson of Western Pulp, who says, "Jocko’s is one of those independent restaurants that has become famous from word-of-mouth advertising. [It's] the best tasting steak you have ever had cooked over an open-pit barbeque. From the outside, Jocko’s doesn’t look like much and the same goes for the inside. But when you look at the number of pickup trucks in the parking lot and cowboy hats inside, you know the locals are well aware of how good the food is. Jocko’s specialty is a Spencer steak and I recommend the petite serving because most folks won’t be able to finish it. You’ll want to make reservations unless you have time to sit and wait."
*Mo’s Smokehouse BBQ, Pismo Beach/San Luis Obispo
221 Pomeroy Street/1005 Monterey Street
Almost as good as Central Texan, with several styles of ribs. Just off the pier in Pismo, so it’s convenient to the Sandcastle Inn.
La Super Rica Taqueria, Santa Barbara
622 North Milpas Avenue
Recommended by Jeff Gibson, Ball Horticultural Company: "BEST tacos in the world! Just pop off 101 on Milpas Avenue, head up the street and you're there. Not fancy, but oh my gosh, good!"
Cracked Crab, Pismo Beach
751 Price Street
Recommended by Melissa Main, John Henry: "Buy a bucket of seafood—your choice of crab, slipper lobsters, etc.—along with potatoes and corn-on-the-cob. They put a large sheet of paper on your table, dress you in a plastic bib and dump the bucket on the table. You then proceed to eat with your hands!"
Éclair Bakery, Arroyo Grande
117 East Branch Street
"They have the best cinnamon rolls, lemon bars and chocolate croissants!" says Melissa Main, John Henry.