One of the first places my wife and I discovered when we were seeking fine dining with a Central Coast flair was the SeaVenture Restaurant on the third floor of a hotel sitting on the sand of Pismo Beach. There are a few places like this up and down the coast, but the SeaVenture has a special charm of its own that sets it apart. It’s not trying to be a modern day metal and glass monstrosity. It’s intimate and decidedly loungy feeling with what look like hand-carved blocks of marble in the entryway exhibiting an old craftsmanship we don’t see in many newer restaurants. Some of our best times have been long leisurely meals watching stunning sunsets or migrating whales, but this is also a destination when we just want to class it up for an evening and grab some light bites and drinks. There is one dish that is our defacto for these missions.
On the menu it’s called the “Bistro Plate for Two” and is described as “Handcrafted antipasto plate of gourmet vegetables, nuts, cheeses and meats.” If you’re a tapas nut like I am, I find this plate to be the best of its kind. Yes, like others, it’s “gourmet,” meaning great care has been taken in selecting fine ingredients – not dumping out Costco ingredients on a plate. Unlike others, however, there is a good combination of simple ingredients like olives and slices of salami, and those that took some preparation like roasted pepper bruschetta, an entire head of roasted garlic, and some of the best roasted herbed almonds I’ve had anywhere. The latter has led me to many experiments at home with olive oil, rosemary, salt and cayenne pepper.
The other thing that’s notable about the plate is that there are a full thirteen different things on it. Other tapas and salumi plates I’ve had come with half a dozen selections, but a full baker’s dozen? This permits lots of creative tastings by not only combining ingredients to see how well they go with each other, but can be an intricate pairing activity with whatever wine you’ve selected to enjoy it with. There’s a great selection of wines here like we have many places, but there are also several flights that are perfect for tasting prior to deciding what you want for a full glass.
So whether out for an evening or simply as an excuse to capture one of the best spots to witness another perfect sunset, I highly recommend a visit to the third floor for this delicious dish of delicacies. And please share with us where your favorite small plates can be found.