Culinary Delights on the Classic Californian Road Trip

There’s nothing quite like driving along the stunning coastal Highway 1 from San Francisco to Los Angeles with a view of mist covered mountains, dramatic waves and staggered cliff walks down to the beaches below. Whilst the scenery is undeniably breath-taking, the diverse cuisine is a real highlight. If you’re thinking of setting off on a quintessentially American road trip, here’s our guide to the best eats along the way.


In the bustling city of San Francisco, you’ll be spoilt for choice. For classic Californian fare done well, do not miss Trestle, an elegant restaurant with a surprisingly affordable prix fixe menu. Book or arrive early to nab a table. For breakfast, Food:Table is a lovely spot positioned in North Beach, serving healthy and unhealthy plates (hello vanilla Kouign-amann).

For a taste of all the city has to offer in a condensed space, head to the farmers’ market at the Ferry Building, open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. There you will find a showcase of fresh fruit, artisan chocolate, spices, hot eats and everything in-between. Try the excellent tacos and juicy organic peaches, and don’t forget to stop by Humphrey Slowcombe’s for quirky ice cream flavours like ‘Secret Breakfast’ made with cornflakes and Bourbon!


Grab a hearty breakfast in the small coastal town of Carmel before you set off on the stunning stretch of road known as Big Sur – try Lafayette for French pastries and fresh juice. For something a little more special, head to Nepenthe (positioned 800 feet above the sea). Whilst the food we ate didn’t justify its price tag, the views were out of this world. Enjoy a couple of pre-dinner drinks on the front tables for the best views and then head to enchanting Cambria for a better value supper at Robin’s Restaurant.


This charming town is full of delicious eateries and buzzing bars. Neighbourhood restaurants Barbareño and The Black Sheep blew us away with their classic dishes with a twist, and The Lucky Penny serves tasty pizza in a sun-soaked courtyard. The best draw of Santa Barbara is The Urban Wine Trail, a collective of exciting producers based in converted warehouses with flights priced between $10 and $15. Our favourite haunts included Area 5.1 and Santa Barbara Wine Collective, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. for beer flights and Test Pilot for Tiki cocktails.


Although some parts of town aren’t as glamorous as you might think, we adored Santa Monica with its palm trees, friendly vibe and colourful pier. For an inexpensive but delicious dinner, head to Uovo, a counter top eatery serving hand made fresh pasta. Wander down 3rd Street Promenade where you’ll encounter some street salsa and grab a drink at one of the many bars. For the ultimate finale, head out to the rooftop bar at the Mama Shelter Hotel in Hollywood for some of the best views of the city.