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The Steinbeck House / Best Cellar Gift Shop

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Address: 132 Central Ave, Salinas, CA 93901-2651
Phone Number: 18314242735
See all hours
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 52 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 32
  • 15
    Very good
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1

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... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed 4 weeks ago
New York City, New York
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52 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 50: English reviews
New York City, New York
2 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

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
43 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars 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 stars 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
5 of 5 stars 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
California Central Coast
Level Contributor
86 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2016

The Steinbeck House is open for lunch. I think you should have reservations. Each day there are featured, homemade dishes. It's a great way to have a delicious meal and get to see the inside of Steinbeck's childhood home.

1 Thank MtDavid
Windsor, Connecticut, United States
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2015

I enjoyed a great lunch served by Volunteers in Period Costume. A thrill to dine in the author's home.

Thank John Z
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
27 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2015 via mobile

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
4,350 reviews
2,793 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2,252 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2015

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
176 reviews
59 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2015

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
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
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 

1 Thank Brigid M

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