The Inconsistent Locavore Goes Out for Dinner:
Places I Love on the Central Coast

Taco Temple
2680 Main St.
Morro Bay, CA 93442
(805) 772-4965

This is where it all started for me. My in-laws live in Cambria and they used to take us here for dinner, first in Cayucos and later in Morro Bay. One summer evening, full from a couple of fish tacos we wandered out into the still bright sunshine and said why don’t we live here. Everything changed after that moment.

I suggest the fish tacos in any form–the regular cod, shrimp, crab cake or any other fresh fish. The posole is also terrific and the place is famous for its carrot cake. If you’re a vegetarian, or even a vegan, you can comfortably eat here. The food is fresh, a sort of fusion of California with the Baja Peninsula, combined with a nice assortment of wines. I’ve run into the chef many times at the farmers’ market–always a good sign.

Top Dog Coffee Bar
857 Main St.
Morro Bay, CA 93442
(805) 772-9225
This place is a haven for all inconsistent locavores. Yes–coffee isn’t grown locally but those of us who can’t quite imagine, don’t even want to imagine a life empty of that smell and taste, Top Dog almost eliminates our guilt. The coffee-organic, shade grown–is roasted just a mile or so away on the land surrounding the owner’s home. It’s a compromise, like most of life.

Top Dog is a local business, owned by a resident and staffed by Central Coast barristas. They serve food and exhibit the work of regional artists. The placed is packed in the mornings with Morro Bay residents–people on their way to work, small town politicians, retirees, parents with babies and sailors arguing about a race. You can hear conversations about the latest tiff in the Senate, and debates about current books and what an article in the Sunday New York Times said about women authors. There’s a curmudgeons’ corner and homemade soup.

When I come in during the afternoon the young man making my coffee tells me that my husband was just in, talking with his friend Kevin. I’ve just missed them. “Thank goodness,” I say, and the nice young man winks at me.

This is what it means to be local.


Windows on the Water

The Li’l Hut

place: the li'l hut

The Dockside

place: boat by morro bay dockside

Giovanni’s Fish Market

Ruddell’s Smokehouse

place: morro beach life guard shack


The Cass House



Big Sky

Spencer’s Fresh Market
(There really is a John Spencer!)


The Splash Cafe