Local’s Guide to Cambria
Discover tasty eats, charming shops, and outdoor fun in Central California’s quaint beach town
Rising from a rocky shoreline into hills covered by Monterey pines, Cambria has a spirit shaped equally by ocean and forest. Midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, this Central Coast beach town boasts several miles of coastline and, especially in spring, is bordered by rolling hills green enough to evoke the Welsh origins of its name. These days Cambria makes an ideal base for anyone looking for a weekend filled with long beach walks or hikes into the hills.
Lily’s Coffeehouse. Head into the village for breakfast, where, on Saturdays, Lily’s Coffeehouse serves crêpes on its patio. $; 2028 Main St., Cambria 805/927-7259.
Robin’s Restaurant. For lunch, Robin’s Restaurant has an eclectic menu that features daily salad specials and a flavorful salmon bisque. Its vine-covered patio is one of Cambria’s most appealing dining spots. $$$; lunch Mon-Sat, brunch Sun, dinner daily. 4095 Burton, Cambria. 805/927-5007.
Linn’s Restaurant. Save room for dessert and stop at Linn’s for its country setting and famous olallieberry pie. Olallieberry? It’s a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry. $; 2277 Main St., Cambria; linnsfruitbin.com or 805/927-0371.
Harmony Cellars. While Harmony’s old dairy town has seen busier times, you can watch glassblowing demonstrations, visit a pottery studio, and end your afternoon with wine tasting at Harmony Cellars. 3255 Harmony Valley Rd., Harmony; harmonycellars.com or 805/927-1625.
The Sea Chest. The Sea Chest offers water views, knock-you-down-it’s-so-good seafood, and divine local wines. The sweet, plump Morro Bay oysters, with just a spritz of lemon, are addictively bracing. We fell for the sea bass, too. $$$; 6216 Moonstone Beach Dr., Cambria; 805/927-4514.
French Corner Bakery. With bread bins and a Parisian street mural, the French Corner Bakery lives up to its name and is a good bet for a light breakfast, or for sandwiches at lunch. $; breakfast and lunch daily. 2214 Main, Cambria; 805/927-8227.
Wild Ginger Cafe. For lunch, the Wild Ginger Cafe is a good bet for its Pan-Asian cuisine. $$; closed Thursdays. 2380 Main, Cambria; 805/927-1001.
Tognazzini’s Dockside Restaurant & Fish Market. Those flexible on time can drive 20 miles south of Cambria for freshly caught oysters. This waterfront eatery serves them in myriad ways: barbecued with garlic-butter, Rockefeller style, fried, and raw on the half shell. $; 1245 Embarcadero, Morro Bay; morrobaydockside.com or 805/772-8100.
Ruddell’s Smokehouse. You may have enjoyed many fish tacos in your life, but nothing quite like what you’ll find at Ruddell’s Smokehouse. 15-miles south of Cambria sits this unpretentious joint, serving a changing assortment of smoked seafoods—ahi, salmon, and shrimp among them. The subtle and sweet smoke, plus toppings such as chopped apples, gives Ruddell’s tacos and sandwiches a memorable twist. $$; 101 D St., Cayucos. smokerjim.com or 805/995-5028.