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Where to Eat in Big Sur: Nepenthe Restaurant

One of the many patios at Napenthe Restaurant in Big Sur

Sometimes when you’re looking for a lunch spot on the Pacific Coast Highway, you have to choose between good food or great view. Fortunately Napenthe in Big Sur has both to offer. While not exactly fine dining, this funky California institution has tasty cuisine and oodles of atmopshere. Napenthe is open for both lunch and dinner and at it’s best when the the weather’s good and you can enjoy the spectacular views (especially from the back patio).

The steamed Castroville artichoke was a delightful lunch starter

Family owned & operated since 1949, Napenthe focuses it’s menu on local food and wine. I started with the steamed and chilled Castroville artichoke served with  sun-dried tomato pesto aioli for $11. It was fresh and tasty.

There’s an indoor fireplace to keep you warm on cool days and at night

Next I got the pulled pork sandwich, B with sweet and tangy BBQ sauce and pickled red onion on a sesame focaccia roll and served with garbanzo and kidney bean salad for $17. While $17 seems a bit steep, the atmosphere and view are worth the price of admission.

Napenthe’s back patio offers the best views

I didn’t have any wine, but I will the next time I’m at Napenthe. The restaurant has a great wine list and serves a lot of great wine from the nearby Santa Lucia Highlands including those by  Gary’s Vineyard and Pinot Noir from Roar.

Napenthe fills up on nice days– I love the outdoor seating they provide for those waiting for tables.

Napenthe’s menu has great options for vegetarian including a tofu veggie burger  with housemade Ambrosia sauce ($14.50) and the earthy roasted beet salad with Point Reyes s blue cheese, oranges, apples, pea shoots and field greens served with citrus vinaigrette ($14.50).

I’ve eaten at counters with worse views than this one

Book a reservation if you plan on coming on a weekend or when the weather’s good. Napenthe fills up on gorgeous days.


48510 Highway One, Big Sur, California

+1 (831) 667-2345

Nepenthe Restaurant serves lunch every day of the year from 11:30 – 4:30 and dinner from 5:00 – 10:00 every day except Thanksgiving & Christmas.