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  • Writer's pictureLisa O

Cambria Crushes it with a Laid-back Vibe and Tasty Cuisine

When asked about the past weekend and a trip to Cambria I was surprised how many people had heard about Hearst Castle (it's nearby) but never ventured for a visit to this charming, coastal town. I expected the usual: beautiful scenery and ocean breezes (so romantic!) but the cuisine and coffee were the things that really surprised this traveler (ok, really more of a day-tripper.)

Hearst Castle: it's a must. We took the 45 minute tour and then walked around to check out the views, art sculptures and pool. Yes, it's a bit tourist-y but fun to take in a bit of history amid the grandeur.

All that walking worked up appetites so we headed to dinner at The Black Cat. It's hard for me to convey how much I really loved this restaurant except to say we ate here both nights during our stay. The Black Cat serves "innovative fresh farm fare" which translates to almost everything on the menu is superb (the opinion of Funfeasts, of course!) Here's our menu for two nights:


  • Fried olives - enough said!

  • Pork belly with gigante beans.

  • Black bean soup (who knew black bean soup could be THAT good?)

  • Cauliflower gratin. This was definitely overkill but I couldn't resist.


  • Rib eye with black quinoia (drizzled with a ginger-scented sauce.)

  • Duck, risotto and bok choy (overall my favorite dish.)

  • Pesto pasta and prawns (this one disappeared really fast so no comment.)


  • Dessert the first night was a salted chocolate pot de creme, good but...

  • The sticky toffee pudding and caramel sauce really took the cake (no pun intended) the second night. SO rich and flavorful it was hard to keep spoons from colliding in the bowl.

For breakfast and coffee here are a few options:

  • Allocco's Bakery, next to The Black Cat, for housemade cookies and pastries with friendly service.

  • Redwood Cafe for breakfast outside on a sunny day.

  • Cambria Coffee - Main Street - serves house-roasted blends and items from the French Bakery up the street

Should you venture out to a few wineries in Paso Robles, check out Penman Springs Vineyard (loved their Syrah), Sculpterra with amazing gardens and the Red Soles Winery. Red Soles was my favorite and most laid-back in atmosphere but there are many places to stop and taste from Cambria to Paso Robles.

Finally, for places to stay, check out the Chamber of Commerce website. We ended up at San Simeon Pines which is a bit retro but easy on the budget and very clean. Plus, the location is perfect for a stroll on the boardwalk and a view of the ocean.

This was a long post but there is a lot to love about Cambria and the surrounding area. Thanks for reading!

Originally published 5/28/14

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