48510 Highway One
Photo by Lisa Corson, AFAR Media
NepentheA fictional medicine for chasing away sorrow mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey gives this restaurant and shop its name. Perched high above the Pacific and in the shadow of the Santa Lucia Mountains, Nepenthe offers miles-long views of the coast. It’s certainly served its purpose as a lure for poets, artists, travelers, and vagabonds since it opened in 1949—and part of the pleasure of a stop here is listening to fellow diners who are old-timers tell “I remember when” stories. Enjoy it all from a seat on the laid-back patio, or inside the main building, designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and made of native materials to blend with the landscape. Three of this restaurant’s dishes are so beloved that the staff is asked daily for recipes: the Ambrosia burger (where quality of ingredients and temperature of the grill are essential), Lolly’s Roast Chicken Dinner with fresh sage stuffing, and the raspberry-boysenberry-strawberry Triple Berry Pie. Even the simplest menu items take on a best-ever taste here, and you wonder if it’s the food, the atmosphere, the view, the company, or all of it wrapped together in an iconic California package that can’t be found anywhere else.