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“A True Food Experience in Central California!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of McPhee's Grill

McPhee's Grill
416 S Main St, Templeton, CA 93465-5302
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Ranked #2 of 23 Restaurants in Templeton
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $25 - $100
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Entertaining clients, Families with children, Doing business, Local cuisine, Large groups, Special occasions
Dining options: Lunch, Dessert, Breakfast, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: 4th Street
Santa Clarita, California
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
159 helpful votes 159 helpful votes
“A True Food Experience in Central California!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2007

While driving through the Paso Robles wine country, we were deciding where to eat. We met the winemaker at Zin Alley (highly recommended) who is very passionate about his wine. We knew he could provide a great recommendation for dinner. Without thinking, he said “McPhee’s.” When I asked how the food was he had one word, “bulletproof.”

Mcphee’s is located on the one-street town of Templeton, about a mile off of the 101 on the east side. Adding to the small town charm where it is located is the large mill of some sort that is across the street from McPhee’s. This is a working facility and I was cautioned about parking near it and getting dust and debris on my car.

FOOD: The menu was a great mix of typical continental fare but with some great unique twists. For appetizers, we had tempura shrimp. The shrimp was not so much a true tempura but did have an excellent coating on it. It was in a great spicy peanut sauce and served with asian slaw topped with ginger. We also had the seared ahi nachos which were incredible as well. They were topped with a wasabi cream sauce and green caviar. There are pictures of both appetizers that I have posted.

For dinner we both had bone-in filet mignon. It is rare to see this cut with a bone still attached. Again, it was excellent all around. The steaks are cooked over Oak.

For desert, we had an ice cream dish, forget the specifics but it was topped with a pistachio wafer. I had the pecan bar that was accompanied by chocolate ginger ice cream. All ice creams are made in house, a definite sign of the restaurants dedication to quality. I have posted pictures of both deserts.

WINE: Being in/near Paso Robles and in wine country, the restaurant has an extensive selection of wines, many of them local. They also have a great list of local desert wines, I would recommend trying the Zin Alley port, or the Nerelli After Hours which is made by the son of the Zin Alley owner.

SERVICE: The service could not be beat. We were attended to very well. The server had a great knowledge of the food, including specifics on where it all came from. I threw her for a loop when I asked some specific questions about the wine, but she was able to get the answer in no time.

OVERALL: Having traveled up and down the state for some time now, there are not too many stand out places to eat. They are there, you just have to find them. McPhee’s is not only a place that I would return to, it is a place that I would plan my trip around just to ensure I would be eating there. I am eager to return and sample some of the other items on their menu.

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206 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Austin, Texas
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Great Food, great ambiance, great service!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2007

We stopped here while on a recent trip to the area wineries and decided to try McPhee's on the recommendation of a wonderful bed and breakfast hostess we met in Paso Robles. We were not disappointed, and in fact, we were pretty darn impressed. From the moment we walked in the door and were seated in a large comfortable booth near the bar by our very friendly hostess, we knew we'd made the right choice on lunch location. As one other reviewer mentioned, you can tell this place is a favorite with locals (and why wouldn't it be?!), but even as "outsiders", we were instantly made to feel right at home. Fresh bread was brought to our table by a waitress who was both friendly and knowledgeable, and never once rushed us through lunch - even bringing us refilled glasses of iced tea and allowing us to sit a bit before returning to the road. The food here is top notch: one of us ordered the pulled pork sandwich and the other the kobe beef burger - then halfway through the meal we switched plates so the other person could try the other's meal. Both were really tasty and we agreed we'd have a really hard time making a choice between the two. The fries were nice and crisp, just the way we like them. They were piled so high on each plate that we wondered if it was possible to get anymore on the dish without them toppling. We were absolutely stuffed and regretted not leaving room for dessert, as the ones we saw delivered to tables around us looked very tempting. The waitress clued us in that next time we should order one entree (she indicated they do "splits" for no extra charge) and leave room for their yummy desserts! We agreed that we would love to come here for dinner on a return trip. The decor is sort of understated french country - very comfortable and not at all kitschy. We liked the way the restaurant is sort of broken up into different areas so the noise level is kept down and you don't feel like you're eating in a big box. We asked the waitress and hostess about the owner, Ian McPhee, and were told the story of how this particular restaurant came to be in, of all places, Templeton California. Sounds like the guy is not only a culinary artist, but a business visionary, as this is certainly an up and coming tourist region with dozens of new wineries added every year. We were told to check out the photo on the wall in the hallway of McPhee with Julia Child. I think Julia Child would definitely approve of Ian McPhee's wonderful restaurant in Templeton! We sure did! We'll definitely be back one of these days to enjoy more of Ian McPhee's cuisine!

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Renton, WA
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“Fabulous lunch on the road”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2007

On a recent road trip my wife and I stopped in at McPhee's while wine tasting in the Paso Robles area. It was recommended in the Frommer's book and we were not disappointed.

Since it was over 100 degrees outside we started with the Firestone Blond Ale to wash the dust away, and accompanied that with the amazing duck quesadilla. This came topped with an avacado salsa and fresh tomato and onion, truly delicious.

We then split the Kobe beef and white cheddar cheeseburger, and asked our server to add bacon and avacado. What a great combination of flavors, it was done perfectly and was one of the best tasting burgers I have ever had.

Our server was attentive and helpful, but laid back at the same time. We were seated in the back room of the restaurant which is very tastefully decorated and comfortable, and the prices were reasonable considering the fabulous fare. I would recommend this place to anyone who comes to wine country and will make a point of coming back when I return to the area.

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Tampa, Florida
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“Pretty Average.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2007

Ambience as well as menu are pretty average for this steak place just outside Paso Robles in nearby Templeton.

For appetizer we had duck quesadilla, and I tried the tortilla soup - both of which were rather uninspired and forgettable. The steak came - cooked properly, fortunately - but covered in some kind of creamy cheese, maybe gorgonzola. Mashed potatoes were again uninspired.

Service was spotty. Our waitress seemed to forget about us and never came back to take a dessert order. So we skipped it and paid our bill and left.

All in all, it wasn't the worst place I've ever been - but in Paso Robles there are so many places that are so much better for a similar price, that I'd be hard-pressed to recommend this restaurant.

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Laguna Beach
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2006

Absolutely one of the finest restaurants on the central coast. Ian McPhee is a hands-on operator who has put together an excellent menu and a nice friendly atmosphere. The steaks and other fare are cooked on an oak grill which flavors the food perfectly. The wines are all from local vintners and are well chosen. Excellent wait staff and large booths make for a very pleasant evening. We make the pilgrimage to McPhee's everytime we are in the area. You will ot be dissappointed. This is a wonderful place to have an excellent meal. I recommend the top sirloin, the best I've had. AAAAA++++ all the time. Hats off to Ian, congrats.

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