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“Farm-to-Table Gourmet Gem in Avila Beach”
Review of Gardens of Avila

Gardens of Avila
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Ranked #70 of 302 Restaurants in San Luis Obispo
Price range: $30 - $35
Cuisines: Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Scenic view, Romantic
Dining options: Breakfast, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Hwy 101
Transit: Avila Beach Pismo Beach
Solvang, California
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Farm-to-Table Gourmet Gem in Avila Beach”
Reviewed January 21, 2014

Dinner was superb! 5-stars all around: food, service, wine list, presentation, price. All was perfect! Best dishes:

Ahi Crudo
Orange pasta with roasted cauliflower
Milk-braised pork short rib

Dessert was also delicious. We did the tasting menu with wine pairings and relished every moment.

We loved it so much we went back for breakfast. That's where I'm reducing the 5 stars to 4. We ordered 3 things: eggs benedict, soft scrambled eggs with salmon and lemon ricotta pancakes. The pancakes were sublime but the other 2 were very blah. Next time I would order the fried chicken & waffles that I've heard so much about.

Can't wait to go back!

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank lizzyd111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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100 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    46
    23
    21
    6
    4
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Santa Barbara, California
Level Contributor
69 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Good choice if you are staying at Sycamore Springs Resort”
Reviewed November 17, 2013

We ate at the Gardens of Avila Restaurant because we were staying at Sycamore Springs Resort so it was convenient and had received reasonable reviews. Apparently it has a new chef and a new goal of serving organic, locally grown or acquired product. Nice idea. They handled our reservation without issue. We reserved through Open Table because it was simpler and the only way for me to include an order for flowers for the table without having to find a local florist and make a separate arrangements. Thanks to the restaurant staff, the flowers made it to the table without any problem. The flowers were okay---they could have been a little fresher but they only needed to last through dinner so no harm, no foul. Frankly there were as pictured on the website from which I ordered them, just a little dryer than I had hoped.

We ordered the Chef’s selection of 5 courses for $55 to be chosen by the Chef. We knew it was a risk in that often that means you get what there is the most of or is the least expensive on the menu. If we returned, we would choose our own meal items and not ordered the Chef selected meal. But, no regrets! It did add a little adventure to the evening.

The pros: price reasonable, organic, convenient for guests of Sycamore Springs, food and service pretty good. The presentation of the food was nice and the staff tried hard to serve us well. Absolute A for effort, which means a great deal and added to a pleasant dining experience!

Suggestions: Lighten up on the orange in the pasta, take it easy on the salt in the short ribs. Maybe crisp the pork belly in the squash soup? The desert was unremarkable, but not bad. Add a “history and vision section to the menu” for patrons to read at their leisure instead of the endless presentation by the waitress, who was nice but spent a lot of time telling us all about the changes to the restaurant, the menu and the vision of the new Chef. Make sure the menus are clean. Liven up the aesthetics and atmosphere of the space which was kind of cold and sterile. The restaurant was a little slow, a good time for a new Chef to walk around and meet his guests.

We would definitely eat there again if we stay at Sycamore Springs Resort. We wouldn’t go out of our way to go there if we were staying someplace else.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank santabarbaraserenity
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Luis Obispo, California
Level Contributor
85 reviews
51 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Big Price Tag, Little Interest”
Reviewed November 12, 2013

We were underwhelmed with the Gardens of Avila. For a hundred dollars we got 2 glasses of very nice wine and 2 big hunks of meat. My husband had the duck, which was wonderfully tender and had luscious flavor. I had the short rib, which tasted like the pot roast dish that I used to make with Lipton's Onion Soup packets. We missed having some vegetables or rice or other food on the plate. It didn't feel like a meal. It seems like the menu is geared towards the 5 course prixe fixe meal. If you opt for just the entree, you get meat.

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank LizCordoba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Huntington Beach, California
Level Contributor
18 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“super tasty”
Reviewed October 17, 2013

This place is good - great service - everything we have had here has been good - been here a few times. Great wine list. I think for the quality of the food at this place it is a bit "under priced" everything is always really fresh and unique - stop here for sure if you have the chance.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Bob D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pismo Beach, California
1 review
“Best Kept Secret under the Sycamores”
Reviewed September 30, 2013

Nestled within the scenic and tranquil setting of Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort, sheltered under the arms of its majestic trees, lies perhaps the resort's crowning jewel and best kept little secret, The Gardens of Avila Restaurant. At first glance it seems that the restaurant consists of a small lounge area just off the lobby and a front terrace. Further exploration leads to discovery of a more intimate dining room in back, a private dining room and an additional terrace. My husband and I had frequented the restaurant for Sunday brunch (a review for another day, but highly recommend).
Our most recent visit, however, was more than a dining experience; it was a culinary adventure that awakened the senses with a diverse farm-to-table menu concept.
As we soon discovered, most of the ingredients for the evening's bill-of-fare came from the on-site garden which is tended to by a local couple and shared among top restaurants and chefs throughout the area.
In this season on the Central Coast homage is paid to the tomato, "Ode to the Tomato". Therefore this vegetable played a key role throughout the meal in a myriad of ways.
Chef Trester prepared, with his creative style and precise attention to detail, a divine 7-course tasting of his choosing each course paired with a different wine selection from local vineyards.
The Chef's amuse-bouche was compressed watermelon, with sunburst tomato, goat feta, bronze fennel, and lemon verbena. It served both to prepare us for our meal and to offer a glimpse into the Chef's approach to the art of cuisine.
Our soup course was a garden tomato gazpacho, married with peppers, garlic, and sherry vinegar. While I typically prefer my soup served warm, this was a welcome and refreshing respite from the norm. The presentation was beautifully executed.
Our salad course consisted of grilled peaches, mixed tomatoes, berries, honey, buckwheat, kale, and whipped burrata, with a sprinkling of pollen! It was divine. It amazed the senses and delighted the taste buds.
The pasta dish, and I must admit, my favorite of the evening, consisted of hand-cut pasta, (yes, literally, which reminded me of the way my husband’s Italian grandmother always made her spaghetti), baby leeks, sunburst tomatoes, Thai basil, and Parmesan. It was so light and flavorful that it left me wanting to order seconds. And possibly thirds!

The main entree was grilled prime sirloin cap, garden succotash, topped with a tempura squash blossom, and bordelaise. (The Chef prepared the steak, in a warm "bath" which seals in the flavors.) The steak was cooked to perfection. The squash blossom was fabulous. ("Sufferin' succotash"; it transported me back to my childhood and my Southern roots.)
Dessert was a chocolate mousse accompanied with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. In a word: Decadent!
The final course was 4 homemade ice creams, each unique and totally unexpected in flavor: cucumber, mint chocolate chip, salted caramel, lemon verbena. My personal favorite was the lemon verbena - a burst of playful flavors on my palate. I wanted to take a gallon home! Truly the perfect ending to an exquisite dining experience!
Gardens of Avila is the place to go when you want to spend an unhurried evening, in an intimate setting, and simply focus on an "experience" in fine cuisine.
My compliments to Chef Trester, his staff, and the Gardens of Avila Restaurant for providing outstanding service and culinary delights. We'll be back!

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Elizabeth C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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