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The Steinbeck House / Best Cellar Gift Shop

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Address: 132 Central Ave., Salinas, CA 93901
Phone Number: 18314242735
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11:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Closed now
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Tue - Sat 11:30 pm - 2:00 pm

This Queen Anne style Victorian was the birthplace and boyhood home of...

This Queen Anne style Victorian was the birthplace and boyhood home of author John Steinbeck. Built in Salinas in 1897, the Steinbeck family moved into the house in 1900. The Valley Guild was formed by eight enthusiastic women who shared a common interest in gourmet cooking and wanted to showcase Salinas Valley produce. The volunteers of Valley Guild purchased and renovated the house. It was opened to the public as a restaurant on February 27, 1974 -the 72nd anniversary of John Steinbeck's birth. The house is operated by volunteers with a minimum of paid staff, and recently celebrated the 40th Anniversary. The Best Cellar is in the original basement of the Steinbeck House. The Best Cellar is a delightful gift shop featuring unique gift items as well as vintage and new Steinbeck books. Original furniture from the Steinbeck family is on display including the headboard of the bed in which John Steinbeck was born.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 45 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 28
  • 14
    Very good
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
Eat lunch here, like your granny cooked!

We were blown away! Expectations were very low...instead we had a delicious meal, served by the volunteer ladies. Confetti soup, beef stroganoff and pumpkin roll for dessert. Even... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed 2 days ago
Kelly F
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45 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
19 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

We were blown away! Expectations were very low...instead we had a delicious meal, served by the volunteer ladies. Confetti soup, beef stroganoff and pumpkin roll for dessert. Even better, all the recipes were printed in a cook book that was on display. Complemented our Steinbeck Center visit beautifully and really brought it home to our teens. Highly recommend!

Thank Kelly F
Fremont, California
Level Contributor
3,252 reviews
2,108 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,873 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We visited the gift shop at the Steinbeck House. They also have a delightful restaurant. The historic Victorian style home was the childhood home of author John Steinbeck. The house is on the national register of historic places.

Thank mini
Oxnard, California
Level Contributor
53 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

He house was lived in by John Steinbeck and is run by docents. The gift shop is great, especially at Christmas. The menu changes monthly, with usually two options available. Reservations are highly advised as tour buses come through. And especially during the holidays. Check their website for the menu beforehand. A girlfriend and I made it a holiday tradition... More 

Thank jtdanza
Salinas, California, United States
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2015

From the charmingly dressed hostesses who warmly greet you and show you to your table, the Steinbeck House is a favorite of mine for both clients and out of town visitors. Whether my guest wants a hearty entree or a delicious salad reflecting the best lush Salinas Valley produce, the Steinbeck House never disappoints. Their prices are fair, the service... More 

Thank Brigid M
Santa Barbara, California
Level Contributor
53 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2015

The House wasn't open to the public when we visited but we were able to walk around the outside and take photos. Next time we visit, we'll definitely plan to have lunch there !

Thank WineGoddess6
Monterey, California
Level Contributor
38 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2015

Although a different entre for lunch each day, they have always been excellent. Service by period outfitted wait staff has consistently been superior. They can also fill you in on the houses history.

1 Thank TennisPlayerEd
Los Gatos, California
Level Contributor
98 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2015

The family house of John Steinbeck was closed the day we visited the National Steinbeck Center a couple of blocks away. Although we didn't get to see the inside or have lunch at the highly recommended tea room there, it was still a very worthwhile visit because we took the time to walk all around the grounds and examine the... More 

1 Thank VWriter
Larkspur, California
Level Contributor
50 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2015

Once a month on Sunday they have a special tour on the original home of John Steinbeck. The docent was great and was very knowledgeable. The gift shop employees were great as well. Tuesday thru Saturday they have lunch and the profits go to support the upkeep of the house. They all did a great job.

1 Thank TimSamsTravelUSA
Eagle River, Alaska
Level Contributor
331 reviews
148 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2015

The tea (and the full luncheon that comes with it; scones, quiche, a variety of tea sandwiches, and numerous desserts) was fabuluous. We asked for a tour of the house after we finished our tea, and our request was granted. I stood in the room where John Steinbeck was born!

3 Thank AKcabingirlA
Level Contributor
121 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2015

This is a restaurant. We thought we would learn about the place where JS was born and raised. not! We were allowed to see the sitting room. We were not allowed upstairs we did not want to bother the diners do we just glanced into the eating areas. I repeat. THIS IS A RESTAURANT, NOT AN ATTRACTION.

1 Thank TandemCyclist

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