One of the most celebrated chefs in the area, the most accomplished restaurateur and hotelier in the region, and one of the most spectacular restaurant locales on the South Coast are all converging in one place. Rocky Point Restaurant, which will be a project by Michelin-starred Executive Chef Justin Cogley and operator David Fink, is not yet open, but will soon enough make Big Sur’s remote, small and mighty food scene that much mightier. In the meantime, there are all sorts of flavors and settings to savor. They appear here, within our Big Sur Restaurant winners for 2022 — labeled by their most singular qualities — selected by our editors.
Feature image: Sierra Mar by Kodiak Greenwood
Big Sur Restaurant Map
Big Sur Taphouse
The Taphouse is unofficially the South Coast’s #1 locals hangout, thanks to affordable fare, indoor-outdoor seating and a raft of daily discount specials like Mardi Gras Monday, Taco Tuesday, Burger Wednesday, Fishy Fryday and Weekend Brunch. A great craft draft beer program with lots of local finds and neighboring deli/general store help sweeten the deal. bigsurtaphouse.com
48510 CA-1, Big Sur
The grand views from the various patios might be better than the hype. The same can be said about the South Coast Margarita and Ambrosia Burger. The staff team members are as friendly as they are professional, and know their way around the indulgent menu — including the namesake Nepenthe steak and pan-seared diver scallops — and deep wine list too. The Café Kevah Book Store, meanwhile, can soak up an hour’s worth of exploration if you can ever peel yourself away from the view. nepenthe.com
*Readers’ choice winner 2023
Big Sur Smokehouse
48123 CA-1, Big Sur
One of the more recent additions to Big Sur is also its smokiest. The smokehouse serves classic barbecue in an iconic little red homestead adjacent to Highway 1 that dates back to the 1800s, at the foot of the entrance to Ventana Big Sur. Barbecue platters come with two sides, house-made pickles and Hawaiian sweet rolls, featuring a choice of smoked brisket, smoked chicken, pulled pork, hot links or abalone mushrooms. Sides like burnt-end baked beans, braised collard greens, chili coleslaw, baked mac and cheese and potato salad round out the experience, with hand pies for dessert. bigsursmokehouse.com
The Sur House at Ventana
48123 CA-1, Big Sur
Sur House sits so high in the sky the clouds often lay below the expansive mountain-top decks, looking like a cushy comforter that runs all the way to the horizon. The food and drink somehow match the setting, with goodies like grilled swordfish with smoked bacon, Santa Barbara prawns with rosemary, and garganelli pasta with wild mushrooms. Visiting here makes it clear why Big Sur Food & Wine hosts many of its main events right on this spacious patio. ventanabigsur.com
Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn
47900 CA-1, Big Sur
This might be my favorite restaurant in California, full stop. Such is the alchemy of cliff-hanging setting, top-flight contemporary food and exemplary wine list. The prix fixe menu isn’t capable of disappointing, with much of the greens coming from the on-property gardens that are worth a wander after eating. postranchinn.com
Big Sur River Inn
46800 CA-1, Big Sur
This place qualifies as The Best Destination to Soak Your Toes in Big Sur River While Sipping a Glass of Local Pinot, but also works as the Best Lawn for the Kids to Play On While Mommy and Daddy Eat Baked Baby Brie and Best Grab-and-Go Option for its General Store burrito bar. Rustic, timeless and family-owned, with barbecues and live music in the backyard come summer. bigsurriverinn.com
Top Sushi Spot
Wild Coast Sushi Bar
71895 CA-1, Big Sur
It’s a bit of a trek to reach the yurt-laden paradise that is Treebones Resort, but well worth the effort. The views stretch toward infinity, the organic gardens impress with their lushness, and the vibe is as welcoming as it gets. The sushi is superb too, which makes it a special destination for locals and visitors alike. It’s gotten so popular that they’ve gone entirely to two omakase menu seatings a night, so planning ahead is wise. treebonesresort.com
Deetjen's Big Sur Inn
662 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove
Visiting Deetjen’s can feel like walking into the pages of a historic romantic storybook. Flowering wisteria hangs from eves. Redwoods soar over 1930s era cabins. Canyon waterfalls drop into a nearby creek. And yet as charming as the backdrop is, the breakfast might be more memorable, with homespun Benedicts, massive pancakes and special recipe coffee, all served in a dining room that feels like a cozy time capsule. deetjens.com
More Local Favorites on the Monterey Peninsula
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