Where to Get Food with Your Wine in Paso Robles, California
You know the feeling. After a few tastings and a couple nibbles of cheese, your stomach sends you a message loud and clear. You need food. A shared charcuterie platter simply will not do. It must be something substantial that complements the lovely wines you have sipped as well as those that await you at the next stop.
A search for well-paired food to match the quality of the wines in Paso Robles would have left you empty handed even a few years ago. But as more and more people explore this stellar California wine region, notable chefs, access to superior local foods, and outstanding pairing menus have followed.
There are several wineries to work into your tasting schedule that will provide the meal you crave along with memorable wines for pairing.
For the casual and classic, drive the hill up to Opolo Vineyards for wood-fired pizza.
The winery offers ample covered outdoor seating at the base of a hill covered in climbing grapevines. They are well-known for their house-made sausages including Cevapi, a traditional grilled Serbian sausage. The sausages can be ordered as a tasting platter, but one of the best ways to enjoy them is on the winery’s wood-fired pizza.
A thin crust is layered with just the right amount of toppings and blistered until crisp in a wood-fired oven outside. Order the Italian Sausage pizza to get a taste of their specialties, but the simplicity of the Margherita and richness of the Pizza Bueno with white sauce and chicken are equally wise choices. Each menu item offers a pairing suggestion for a glass of wine so you won’t be left guessing which will best complement your meal.
When only a burger will do, make your way to Vina Robles Vineyards & Winery.
“The Vina Robles Burger is by far our most popular item. The closings and reopenings over the past year have brought many menu adjustments, but the burger is a mainstay for certain,” says Vina Robles Director of Marketing, Catherine Jaeger.
The grass-fed beef patty is grilled to your preferences and served on a buttery brioche bun topped with sweet onions caramelized with Vina Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, creamy raclette cheese, earthy portobello mushrooms, garlic aioli, and peppery arugula. Suggested pairing is a glass of the same Cabernet Sauvignon used to caramelize the onions.
Not to worry if you aren’t in the mood for a burger. Soup, salads and sandwiches are also available on the winery’s menu along with suggested wine pairings for each.
For gourmet sandwiches with vegetarian options, swing into Heirloom Kitchen & Eatery at Wines of the West.
Former L.A. Chef, Mateo Rogers, and Le Cordon Bleu trained baker, Brittney Yracheta, have wowed the Paso Robles area with their culinary creations for years through Heirloom Catering. Now visitors can experience their food at Heirloom Kitchen & Eatery in Wines of the West.
Their sandwiches are served on their own freshly baked bread and they prioritize working with local farms to keep their offerings fresh and seasonal.
“The most popular heroes as of late have been our Donowitz with house-made pastrami, the Gorlomi, a classic Italian sandwich, and our Shoshanna which is our take on a beet pastrami. This is 100% vegetarian,” says Yracheta.
Wines of the West is home to four wine labels giving you plenty of options for pairings. Part of the group is Alloy Wine Works, a can-only winery. An ideal option for grabbing a sandwich and a can of wine to head to the beach on the Central Coast, about 30 minutes away.
For an elegantly prepared and paired meal, make lunch reservations at Niner Wine Estates.
The dining area and tasting room overlook Heart Hill, a historic oak grove dating back to the 1950s that now sits in the middle of vineyards growing around it. A lovely location for a special lunch with excellent service to accompany your meal.
The menu changes seasonally and sources ingredients from the Chef’s Garden as well as numerous local farms and artisans. Some examples of what to expect include the Sautéed Scallops in lentil cream sauce with smoked trout to be paired with their 2017 Reserve Chardonnay. There is also the summer favorite of Fried Chicken with carrot-sunshine slaw to pair with their 2019 Pinot Noir Rose.
For a multi-course experience where the wine leads the way, make reservations for the paired tasting at Robert Hall Winery.
Five of the winery’s Cavern Select wines are expertly paired with five organic, locally-sourced courses created by Chef Michael Learned during this dining experience. The seasonal courses range from starter to dessert with flavors driven by the wines chosen for pairing. The wines are also used to infuse much of the menu.
So that you have an idea of what is in store for your visit, examples include a crostini with hazelnut spread and preserves made of Zinfandel and berries paired with the 2017 Cavern Select Zinfandel. The GSM is served alongside the Mini Braised Pork Shank dressed in a glaze made with the same wine. The Chardonnay comes to life with a bite of the Apple Crumble made with local apples, caramel, and sheep’s milk ice cream from local Negranti Creamery.
These five options will ensure you can adequately satisfy any hunger that hits as you taste your way through Paso Robles. Be sure to check with each location before planning your day as serving times and reservation requirements vary for wineries throughout the area.
Lori Rice is a food and beverage writer and photographer who splits her time between California’s Central Coast and the Bay Area. When she’s not imbibing to take full advantage of living near wine country, she can be found traveling to explore all things food and drink around the world. Her work has been published in CiderCraft Magazine, SIFT Magazine, Edible San Luis Obispo and on CraftBeer.com.
Photo credit: Opolo Vineyards, Vina Robles Vineyards & Winery, Heirloom Kitchen & Eatery, Niner Wine Estates, Robert Hall Winery