If you’re keen to experience Paso Robles like a local, then follow the advice of Jason Haas from Tablas Creek Vineyard...
Where to go in Paso Robles
This 16-room boutique hotel brought a new level of luxury to Paso Robles when it opened in 2007. It’s still the town’s classiest spot to stay, with live music evenings in the Pony Club bar and the benefit of its location, just half a block from the town’s restaurants in the downtown park. www.hotelcheval.com
Abalone fishing has a long history, but decades of over-harvesting mean that to try abalone you must travel to Cayucos, whose kelp forests are home to one of California’s three licensed fisheries. Visits are by appointment and are a fascinating look at the journey this mollusc makes from spawn to plate. www.abalonefarm.com
New classic, or old? Chef Laurent Grangien was the first to open a fine dining restaurant in Paso Robles back in 1997. His onion soup has been a staple on the menu ever since. The Hatch, opened by Maggie Cameron and Eric Connolly in 2015, is Paso’s newest hotspot, with southern-inflected sharing plates and a delectable cauliflower dish. www.hatchpasorobles.com, www.bistrolaurent.com
I played Ultimate frisbee competitively for two decades. Disc Golf is more my speed now, and the Udsen brothers, Max and Luke, have constructed a course that takes players through the gorgeous hillside vineyards of their family’s winery.
Goshi Japanese Restaurant
Offers fantastic sushi. Half the tables will be occupied by winemakers out with their families, refreshing their palates with beer, saké and amazingly fresh fish. No website, +1 805 227 4860
Rather than spend all night at one restaurant, try several. These spots are all located within a few blocks of each other. At each stop, try an appetiser and a drink. If you’re wined out, order cocktails made from local craft spirits, such as those produced by Alex and Monica Villicana’s Re:Find Distillery. www.artisanpasorobles.com, www.villacreek.com, www.thomashillorganics.com, www.lacosechabr.com, www.refinddistillery.com
My two favourite places to shop are located less than a block apart. Studios on the Park is a work space and gallery for a dozen local artists. General Store Paso Robles (my wife’s favourite) sells picnic items, cookbooks, homewares and anything themed Paso Robles. www.studiosonthepark.org, www.generalstorepr.com
Made by our winemaker Neil Collins in homage to Bristol in England, where he grew up, the line of Bristol’s ciders is available to taste at his cider pub in Atascadero. The ciders are delicious, while the themed food nights are great fun.
On a summer Thursday, bring a blanket, a bottle of local rosé and a picnic (try 15c in Templeton for both), and relax with the entire Paso Robles community. Fun for all ages. www.15degreescwines.com
Los Robles Café
Don’t be put off by the bare-bones exterior of this café, situated a few blocks north of the park on Spring Street. This is the kind of place you think should be everywhere in California: an inexpensive local taqueria, where the staff are equally happy taking your order in Spanish or English. No website, +1 805 239 8525