Explore California's Other Wine Country, Paso Robles
Regardless of your zip code, you've undoubtedly been made aware of — and possibly explored firsthand — the food and wine mecca in Northern California, Sonoma and Napa Valley. Though this area deserves the praise for progressive farm-to-table food, rich Cabernet and buttery Chardonnay, the Central Coast offers equally memorable places to eat and drink. It also happens to be a perfect road trip from Los Angeles, with fantastic wineries, tasting rooms, and restaurants from Santa Barbara to Los Alamos and beyond.
On the northern point of this stretch, Paso Robles is quickly becoming a hotspot for wine aficionados, and along with some great bottles of Rhone and Bordeaux-style blends, there are rustic-chic accommodations, brilliant restaurants with seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients, and some epic landscapes to take in. Because there's so much to do in Paso, we're making you a list of some places to put on your radar for a seriously standout visit, including everything from where to get your morning cup of coffee to a one-stop-shop for all your day drinking — er, we mean wine and booze tasting — desires.
Inn Paradiso: With vintage-touched decor, cozy fireplaces, organic breakfast dishes, and in-room coffee stations with locally roasted beans — all situated on an incredibly scenic property just minutes away from the heart of the town — this four-room (three suits and a loft) boutique inn is everything you'd want in a quintessential Paso getaway. 975 Mojave Lane, innparadiso.com
Vineyard Dome House: If you love the sound of Inn Paradiso, but are traveling with a crew, consider renting this geodesic dome home, which shares the same owners. Decked out with mid-century furniture and located smack dab in the center of Paso Robles wine country, this four-bedroom house is the place to have a cozy, private vacation experience. innparadiso.com
Thomas Hill Organics: This modern bistro's menu is full of seasonal, locally-inspired dishes like a whole roasted branzino stuffed with speck and spicy olive tapenade for dinner or braised short rib benedict for brunch. 1313 Park St, thomashillorganics.com
Papi's: Nothing better than a hole in the wall with amazing, affordable fare. That's exactly what to expect from this neighborhood Mexican spot with a thorough menu full of authentic classic dishes like chile relleno, flautas, and steak ranchero. 840 13th St, #C, papisinpaso.com
Kreuzberg Coffee Company: You'll find the area's best espresso and coffee beans here, so it's a great place to kick off your morning with a latte and a pretty darn good breakfast burrito. And the dim interior with lots of dark wood and a handsome, contemporary mural gives an especially cozy feel. 725 13th St.
Negranti Creamery: At the moment, this is the only spot in Paso's "Tin City" — a complex filled with tasting rooms for wine, cider, and spirits — to eat (though we're told two restaurants are on the way). Not that we're complaining about being forced to eat ice cream; the creamery offers a rotation of flavors made naturally with local sheep or cow's milk. The salted brown sugar is a house favorite. 2889 Limetone Way, negranticreamery.com
L'Aventure: Wine snobs with a preference for French varietals will be happily surprised with the bottles you can sample at this incredibly gorgeous winery, and that's largely due to its owner and winemaker, Stephan Asseo, who hails from the country. The grounds here, located at the end of a private drive, are pretty spectacular, but you'll mostly be raving about the deliciously dry rosé and hearty Estate Cuvee. 2815 Live Oak Rd, aventurewine.com
Tablas Creek: For organic, biodynamic wines, head to this casual tasting room and sample Rhone varietals, like a stone fruit-forward Viognier or a spicy, leathery Cotes de Tablas blend. 9339 Adelaida Rd, tablascreek.com
Levo: Located in the aforementioned Tin City, Levo is a young, fun, and funky wine label and the tasting room is always full of life (and dogs). Winemaker Bret Urness is responsible for the cool artwork that graces the walls and the labels of his bottles, and favorite wines from here include a peppery, fruity Grenanche and a rich. floral Petite Sirah. 2975 Limestone Way,
Deovlet: In the mood for bubbles? Don't miss a stop by this tasting room, which is one of the few local wineries to grab a great bottle of sparking wine — in this case, an extra dry brut that's a fan favorite. 3750 CA-46, deovletwines.com
RE:FIND Distillery: Though you probably associate wine with the beverage du jour in Paso, there are also a handful of great distilleries churning out some, er, harder stuff. At their tasting room you can sample their naturally gluten-free and unfiltered vodka and gin, plus some liquor and flavored boozes. 2725 Adelaida Rd, refinddistillery.com
Di Raimondos: If you're headed to an especially scenic winery (L'Aventure or Daou are ideal) swing by this European style cheese and charcuterie shop for some picnic essentials, like salty, creamy Saint Agur blue cheese or gouda-style goat cheese Midnight Moon, membrillo, cured meats, flatbreads, and anything else you need for the ultimate wine-sipping snack. 822 13th St.
Mt. Olive Farm: Not only can you take a stroll on the organic farm's property to catch a glimpse of some bunnies, chickens, goats, and llamas, but you can stock up on healthful snacks in the market inside, or better yet, order one of their stellar freshly-made salads or sandwiches. 3445 Adelaida Rd, mtolivefarm.com
Bijou: If you get time to do a little shopping, there are a few cute gift shops in downtown Paso Robles, including this gem, which carries organic baby clothes, playful home decor items, and boho California clothing and accessories. 815 12th St, @bijoupaso