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“Spectacular location, average food, gourmet prices”
Review of Nepenthe

Nepenthe
Ranked #1 of 23 Restaurants in Big Sur
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $7 - $30
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Late Night, Breakfast, Delivery, Reservations
Description: TEMPORARILY CLOSED - Nepenthe is closed until Mid-may due to road closures north and south. But we have a skeleton crew here for the duration cleaning, repainting, repairing, and preparing for the day we are back in business again
Reviewed August 21, 2014

This is one of the more dramatic locations for a restaurant, perched on the cliffs of Big Sur on the central California coast. The architecture is as dramatic as the location, with the gift shop, cafe and restaurant sprawled over several levels of a rocky point; the style is reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright. I wish I could say that the food matches the setting, but at least for our Wednesday lunch it was average at best. I ordered what is supposed to be one of their signature sandwiches, the shrimp BLT, and while there was nothing wrong with it, I wasn’t sure why they were so proud of it or why it was worth the $20 price tag. My traveling companion was happier with her pulled pork sandwich. The place is so popular, it is a bit of a food factory, probably serving hundreds of people a day. But, like Disneyland, they have it down to a science. You can have a drink or snacks while waiting to be seated, and the waiting area is outdoor benches that were quite comfortable, or you can wander around the decks and take in the gorgeous view. There are mostly no bad seats, though some especially great spots are the bar-like outdoor benches looking out to the sea near the entrance to the restaurant, the furthest outdoor deck, or the window side of main room looking out to the ocean. It’s worth it for the experience, particularly on a beautiful clear day, but I wish the quality of the food lived up to the location and the prices. I’m giving it four stars for the whole experience, but if it was just the food, it would be three.

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Thank ArtAndFood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,240 - 1,244 of 2,787 reviews

Reviewed August 21, 2014 via mobile

We probably go out to Carmel and Big Sur so we can go to Nepenthe. I hope heaven has such a view and GOOD WINE. We didn't finish our bottle of Lucia but took it back to our room to drink two evenings later. Our food was very good, too - we sampled salads, soup and a sandwich and even had dessert. We got there at 11:30 on a Friday so we could get an outside seat at the 'rail' and catch the view of heaven. It's a special place!

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1  Thank MJLFROG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2014

This restaurant is all about the views; they are incredible! I love the rail sitting on the outside around the edge of the restaurant. We were worried about the amount of people visiting and how long it would take to wait. There was no space in the car park so we had to park on the road. We did not need to worry though as the wait was only 25mins which I did not think was too bad (it would have been less if we didn't want to wait for a seat outside). The menu has a very small selection and it is expensive. The food tastes nice though.

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2  Thank janine_hallas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2014

We came here so that we could eat while admiring the views and it didn't disappoint. We had to wait an hour for a table at 3pm but we were told this on arrival. There is an interesting shop underneath that is worth a look and then we had a drink while gazing out to sea. The food was better than we expected - we all had burgers including veggie burgers. No free refills on the lemonade though, which was the first time on our trip.

1  Thank Picklemummy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2014

Arrive by 11:30 for lunch if you want patio seating during high season. Their menu is not extensive but worthy of a repeat visit for the beautiful ride along Hwy 1. Their crab salad is fresh and has plenty of fresh crab. Views are incredible, service is great.

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2  Thank Donna C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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