So if you’ve seen my Instagram, you know that I love to go wine tasting. In addition to going to the Santa Ynez Valley I also like to go to Paso Robles which is 3 to 4 hours away from Los Angeles. When we go to Paso Robles we usually spend 2-3 days, after that my husband and I are over wine tasting. That’s why I also give suggestions on other things to in the area besides wine tasting. So, here is my list of things to do when you’re in Paso Robles for 48 to 72 hours:
Where to Stay in Paso Robles
- La Bellasera Hotel Every time we’ve been to Paso Robles we stay at La Bellasera, it’s centrally located and has nice amenities. They call it a “luxury hotel”, but I feel that it’s a solid 3.5 star hotel. If you don’t want to venture out for dinner after a long day of wine tasting, the Enoteca Restaurant on site has a great menu.
Where to Eat Breakfast
- Vics Café is our only go to spot for breakfast. We stumbled upon this restaurant on our first morning in Paso, 3 years ago. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that they have gluten-free toast (I’m gluten free) as an option for breakfast. My husband loves traditional hashbrowns and they serve those as well. As a kid, I lived in a small town in Texas, this restaurant reminds me of the no-frills, solid breakfasts places that we would frequent as a child. Suffice it to say, with gluten free toast and hash browns, we don’t go anywhere else for breakfast.
Where to Eat Lunch
- Di Raimondos Italian Market and Cheese Shop– Well if you saw my blog from last month you know that I love a good picnic. If you like a picnic too I highly recommend going to Di Raimondos to pick up some yummy nibbles for your picnic. This recommendation came from my friend Ashley and she was spot on. They have a wide assortment of meats, cheeses, crackers, nuts, etc, basically anything you need for a picnic and then some. On our last visit we even picked up some cheese knives and utensils to add to our picnic basket. One thing to mention is that while some of the wineries do offer food options, we like to bring our own food because we bring only what we like and given that I’m gluten free, I have many more options if I bring my own picnic items.
- Fish Gaucho We’re often wine tasting around lunch time, but if we’re in Paso for lunch, this is our spot. Silly name aside, they serve a solid Mexican dishes and I really love the chilaquiles.
Where to Eat Dinner
I can only recommend 2 restaurants at this time because some of the others we’ve tried have not been ones that I would recommend.
- Il Cortile This was a restaurant that my husband found. They have great Italian favorites on the menu. I was a fan of the grilled salmon.
- Thomas Hill Organics You’ll find great farm-to-table options at this popular restaurant. This was another recommendation from my friend Ashley. If the weather permits, I would recommend siting in the outdoor courtyard. The chicken and pork chop main course options are very tasty.
Wineries to Visit
One thing that I would be remiss not to mention is that both me and my husband usually do not like heavy red wines and Paso Robles is known for their red wines, notably cabernet sauvignon. We much prefer lighter chardonnay and pinot nior varietals which must have a cooler climate like the Santa Ynez Valley to flourish. Some of the wineries do offer chardonnay and pinot nior varietals in addition to heavier options.
- JUSTIN Vineyards and Winery This is the only winery that we are members of in Paso Robles. Some people consider this winery to be “too big” or that it “sold out” because they are now owned by Fiji Water. I have to say that I don’t agree. On our first visit we did the winery and cave tour, we had a fabulous tour learning about their wine making process and tasting library wines including their standouts ISOSCELES and Justification. While we don’t usually like heavier wines, we love most of the wines we taste at this winery, prompting us to join their wine club. Our wine and cave tour was led by Mark and we always request a tasting led by him every time we’ve visited since. What we like: ISOSCELES, Savant and Malbec Reserve.
- Wild Horse Winery This winery is off the beaten path, but I would definitely put it on your list. They source their wine from many areas, including the Santa Ynez valley. We always end up with wine every time we visit and it’s usually their Reserve Chardonay and Pinot Nior. Another fun thing to mention is that they have llamas on the property so make sure to say hi. There were 3 on our first visit Floyd, Dolly and Salvador Dali, but sadly one passed in the last year.
- Calcareous Vineyard – This was the first winery in the area with an impressive view. I loved our experiences at this winery, the people that work here are so kind and welcoming. We enjoyed our tasting on the beautiful lawn over looking the valley and had very attentive service, he seemed to know exactly when we were ready for our next pour. Both times at this location they gave us tastings of items not on the menu.
- Eberle Winery This is the only winery we found that offers free wine cave tours without a reservation. We found this winery to have a very relaxed feel. They offer a choose your own wine tasting, they have a very extensive wine list and you can choose the 5-6 wines you want to taste rather than the wines they want you to taste. This is great for people that know the wine varietals they like and don’t like.
Other Places to Go
- Hearst Castle– I highly recommend spending an entire day at Hearst Castle, it’s about an hour from Paso in San Simeon. You will need to make reservations for any of the tours and you should probably do so in advance of your visit. If you only have a few hours, I recommend that you take a tour of the grounds and the grand rooms. If you have longer than that I would recommend going to see the offices and the guest houses. Please note that you will have to take a shuttle bus to get to the estate, so that will add time.
Notably Left Off the List
- Daou Vineyards- Some consider this winery to have the best view (built after the afore mentioned Calcareous Vineyard) and wine in the area. The view was impressive and the wine was good, but I during my one and only visit I couldn’t help but feel like we were constantly being sold on the impressiveness of the location and the wine. Also, we came around 12pm and this was the first winery of the day so we opted to get both the meat and cheese platters to nibble on with our wine. Unfortunately, both my husband and I ended up getting food poisoning, thus cutting our wine tasting activities short for the day. So, if you do venture to this vineyard you will have to make a reservation and I would make sure NOT to get any food only wine.
So there you have it. Let me know some of your favorite places in the comments below.