You may not have heard of Enoteca Restaurant and Bar, but you’ve no doubt driven by it dozens of times. This quiet, hidden gem is tucked inside La Bellasera Hotel and Suites in Paso Robles, within just a stone’s throw of the bustling Highway 101 and Highway 46 West intersection.
As you enter this white linen tablecloth restaurant, a cozy fireplace adds to the stylish ambiance that’s created with a décor of rich earth tones and accents of stone and tile.
Seating options range from three U-shaped banquettes, to a dozen tables, to several seats at the bar. Weather permitting, an outdoor patio is available, and there’s a subtly placed flat screen in the corner in case the big game is on.
One of the challenges of a hotel restaurant is offering something for everyone, but Enoteca’s “eclectic California cuisine” manages to do that without being obvious.
At dinner, the appetizers run the gamut from a spinach and strawberry salad, to mussels and clams steamed in Firestone beer, to a beer and cheddar soup made with Cal Poly cheddar cheese and Fat Tire Ale. It’s also hard to pass up the guava-glazed baby backs when they’re offered as an appetizer special.
For the signature entrée, Enoteca brings down the house with the coconut-crusted halibut, served over a bed of jasmine rice and topped with soy-glazed sautéed vegetables and a pineapple curry cream. General Manager Bill Roof noted that it’s far and away the most popular item, but other dishes are worthy of attention as well, such as the grilled porterhouse pork chop with sherry mustard glaze, and the filet mignon with whipped shallot mashed potatoes.
If you save room for dessert, it’s hard to go wrong with temptations like the cheesecake with berry coulis, caramel sundae, or chocolate soufflé. Several dessert wines are offered as well, including some Paso Robles labels, which is indicative of Enoteca’s predominately Central Coast wine list.
For lunch, most of the dinner appetizers are available, including the guava-glazed ribs, and a smaller version of the halibut. Additional options include a barbecue chicken salad, fish and chips, and a grilled American Kobe beef burger with either white cheddar or bleu cheese.
Breakfast lets you greet the day with healthy choices such as steel-cut oatmeal or fresh fruit with yogurt and granola. If you want to go a little more hearty — OK, OK, a little more decadent — opt for the buttermilk pancakes with maple bacon, some classic eggs Benedict, or a chicken and brie cheese scramble.
Enoteca opened in July 2007, and Roof noted that the original menu concept has remained much the same since, though “we do change it up a bit about three or four times a year.” Developed and still overseen by Chef Brady Thomason, the cuisine is now presented by executive chef Luis Salazar.
“Luckily, we were able to find our niche right from the beginning,” said Roof, noting that the restaurant regularly draws a mix of repeat locals and frequently returning hotel guests. “We really haven’t had to evolve, which I think is a big testament both to the way we started and to our employees. They really deliver quality food, service and ambiance.”
Enoteca is participating in San Luis Obispo County’s Restaurant Month. During January, these establishments will be offering three-course prix-fixe menus for $30. Visit www.sanluisobispocounty.com/restaurantmonth/.