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The Steinbeck House / Best Cellar Gift Shop

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Address: 132 Central Ave., Salinas, CA 93901
Phone Number:
+1 831-424-2735
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

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    Very good
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Birthplace of John Steinbeck

Wonderful place for lunch in a beautiful Victorian home, the place where John Steinbeck was born and raised. The home is now operated by The Valley Guild--a group of volunteers... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 5 weeks ago
Salinas, California
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58 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 56: English reviews
Salinas, California
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 weeks ago

Wonderful place for lunch in a beautiful Victorian home, the place where John Steinbeck was born and raised. The home is now operated by The Valley Guild--a group of volunteers. The chef is exceptional and the service (by volunteers) warm and friendly. The gift shop is unique and fun. A Salinas treasure.

Thank budhall2016
Greenville, South Carolina
Level Contributor
69 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 30, 2016

Stopping at the Steinbeck House was really a treat we'll not soon forget! The home itself was beautiful Victorian masterpiece and very tastefully restored. Some of the local women of Salinas have purchased the property and turned it into a restaurant. The service was very friendly and the food was quite tasty. They're more than willing to show you around... More 

Thank john m
Salinas, California
Level Contributor
48 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 9, 2016

John Steinbeck actually grew up in this house, if you are a John Steinbeck fan it is definitely worth going to. They serve lunch daily, and they serve a special tea time I believe once a month. You can only view and eat on the first floor as the stairs leading up to the second floor a bit dangerous. But... More 

Thank Evi_02
Cathedral City, California
Level Contributor
79 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 29, 2016

There were no fusty ghosts in the old John Steinbeck house. At any rate, I did not sense the presence of any as I lunched with my back nearly against the brick of the simple Victorian fireplace with a large, rectangular mirror set in broad, quartered oak trim above the mantle. A photograph of a young John Steinbeck reading near... More 

Thank Michael S
Quezon City, Philippines
Level Contributor
58 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 31, 2016

If you read Steinbeck in high school, visiting the ancestral home of John Steinbeck is a great experience to enjoy. We were able to visit most of the rooms, see the original furniture all well maintained, and listen to the guide talk about the author's life in Salinas. I've come to appreciate Steinbeck so much more, and found out from... More 

Thank Gracie707
Los Altos, California
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 10, 2016

Visited here for the tour and afternoon tea on Saturday. The tour by Dale the guide was very interesting and enjoyable. They had three rooms as their dining rooms and we sat at the living room with a fireplace where John Steinbeck's family gathered! The volunteer ladies were very attentive and never let the teacups go empty :-) The food... More 

Thank Takako S
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 27, 2016

Very good food, lovely waitstaff and historic home. Loved it. We had to call for reservation and the staff could not have been more gracious. The waitstaff is volunteer and were willing to share info about the house and the family.

Thank babymoses1313
Stillwater, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
65 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 16, 2016 via mobile

My entire family and I are Steinbeck fans, and last summer we visited from Oklahoma and went to the Steinbeck Center, which was great. But this was somehow even better. The gift shop downstairs was darling. The restaurant and shop are entirely run by volunteers, who are passionate about what they do, and make the experience even better. The food... More 

Thank mrsfriz
Salinas, California
Level Contributor
64 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 27, 2016

while family was visiting the Central Coast I decided to share with them an exceptional place for lunch. We arrived before the restaurant opened and the docent in the gift shop asked if we would like to tour the house. It was such a pleasure to be treated so kindly and enjoy a fabulous meal in such a famous surrounding.... More 

Thank AngelaMott
Salinas, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 16, 2016

Every American learns about John Steinbeck, who won the greatest writing honors of all time...Pulitzer...Nobel...and who was born in this house in Salinas, CA. Go for lunch. the hostesses are volunteers, and the proceeds continue operations. Make it your stop before walking a few blocks to the Steinbeck Center. There is a gift shop in the cellar where I have... More 

Thank murliehanson

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