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Nepenthe - 17 Reviews - Hwy 1, Big Sur, CA - Restaurants Reviews - Phone (831) 667-2345
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Hwy 1
Big Sur, CA 93920
(831) 667-2345
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Nepenthe - Big Sur, CA
Nepenthe - Big Sur, CA


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When we go camping in Big Sur, we normally take one day to cleanup and head over to Nepenth for lunch! What a fantastic place....


Good place for cocktails and a view. Skip the meal it is overpriced and not good. Pros: view Cons: overpriced, food quality

What a view! 1/31/2011

After a scenic Big Sur drive, it was nice to continue the views during our meal. We enjoyed the famous ambrosia burger (yum!) along with a nice glass of California wine. The place was packed so we did have to wait for a table to open, but it was worth the wait. It's definitely a must to sit outside (weather permitting). more


I've been to Nepenthe once before & should have listened to my gut instinct & never visited this sham of an establishment again. Instead, I decided to stop here for dinner on my way down to the Lucia Lodge w/ my boyfriend. I would've been better off stopping by the side of the road with a cooler of sandwiches. \r \r #1 - we went to the bar to get a drink as the result of our hour wait (expected). The bartenders were rude & genuinely disinterested in serving anyone who wasn't at the bar ordering food. You'd think that for an establishment that always has a long wait they would have better bar tenders who help pass the time. But no, they were rude & unhelpful. I waited about 40 minutes to even get their attention. Unacceptable.\r \r #2 - we were finally seated at a table inside the restaurant. The restaurant was extremely hot & unairconditioned. I know that restaurants in this area are not air-conditioned at all, but...DON'T SEAT PEOPLE THERE! Incredibly inconsiderate. We thought about leaving at that point but didn't because it was already late.\r \r #3 - The food: horrible quality and ridiculously overpriced. Meal came to $100 (including tip) for dried out Tuna and paper thin swordfish each with a meager salad and an apple pie a la mode. The fish seemed to come out of a frozen package. Awful food, terribly overpriced. The only plus of this part of the evening was the service by our lovely waitress and the Apple Pie which was delicious.\r \r All in all - a terrible experience, this restaurant should be ashamed of themselves. Atrocious.\r \r I should add - we're not picky eaters and we're certainly not gourmet snobs. We're just people w/ appreciation for quality food and service - we got neither on this evening. \r \r Will never return to this establishment, as I said...they should be ashamed of themselves. Pros: The view Cons: Everything else - food, bar service, price, obnoxious attitude. more

if you’re ever passing through Big Sur on PCH,... 9/7/2007

by Kero at Menuism Provided by Menuism
if you’re ever passing through Big Sur on PCH, you must check this place out. peched on a cliffside,... more

Good View....that's about it. 11/20/2006

This place definitely had an awesome view, but the food was not all that great and was very over priced! But there's not too much to choose from in Big Sur, so I guess it's worth a try. Pros: Beautiful View Cons: Overpriced more

You can't get much more beautiful than this 11/3/2006

When we go camping in Big Sur, we normally take one day to cleanup and head over to Nepenth for lunch! What a fantastic place.... more

Fantastic View, Overpriced and so-so food 6/2/2006

Designed by a former Frank Lloyd Wright student, the building is amazing and fits really well in its environment with sweeping views of the Big Sur coastline. We sat outside, on the entranceway patio, but we should have sat on the patio on the other side of the dining room. I point this out, because you come here for the view. My boyfriend and I ordered the veggie-burger, which had the consistency and taste of an overcooked omelette, and the house smoked salmon appetizer (very, very good, though not enough salmon and too many crostinis for the $$$). We stayed away from the fries ($7.50/basket!). Good wine selection. Pros: Sweeping views, Architecture Cons: High Prices $$$, Bland vegetarian food, Slow service more

View is the only saving grace 10/9/2005

The service was slow, and when it finally did come it was wrong. There is a good view but it is not worth eating there for it. Grab a cocktail and watch the sun set and leave. Pros: sunset view Cons: prices, quality, service more

Overpriced view 10/9/2005

Good place for cocktails and a view. Skip the meal it is overpriced and not good. Pros: view Cons: overpriced, food quality more

Who said the sixties is over? 7/27/2004

Climb the stairs to Nepenthe, and you've entered a time warp. Other than a few concessions to today's diets, there is something still comfortingly retro about their menu. But do we really come to Nepenthe because of the food? Not really. We come because of the view. We come because of the ambience. We come because some of us miss an era when restaurants yearned to be what Nepenthe has automatically always been-- a rustic, laid-back haven for pleasant food and good company. You will likely have to wait for a table, but the wait is fine. Enjoy Big Sur. Have a drink. Groovy. Pros: The view, The view, The view more

the view 11/24/2003

Nepenthe isn't the best restaurant in Big Sur by a long shot, but it still serves a delicious if somewhat overpriced meal. Regardless, Nepenthe is the social hub of Big Sur for locals and travellers alike. Grab a pot of chammomile tea and soak up the rays on their patio while you take in the (literally) jaw-dropping view, or come late at night and stretch out next to the roaring outdoor fireplace and enjoy a drink. If you're new to Big Sur this is the place to start learning your way around. Pros: the view, ambience, people more

Nepenthe 4/16/2003

Nepenthe's is arrogantly expensive and the diner should realize beforehand that a hamburger, fries and a coke will cost about $20.00 per person for lunch. Pros: View, large parking lot Cons: Compact seating, Numerous stairs, charge for refills more

The best date! 4/7/2003

One of my best dates ever was a motorcycle trip up the coast to Nepenthe. The weather was beautiful for a ride, the view-breathtaking! We sat outside on the deck and had salmon with papaya chutney, tender baked potatoes and a lovely chardonay. The view is a true snapshot of California...ocean, pines, and oaks. Now if only HE had been the man of my dreams... Pros: the VIEW!, The food, The wildlife visitors Cons: The wind, Some of the prices more

Moonlit Sonata 8/27/2002

Nepenthe was recommended by a friend when she learned that my wife and I were going to the Monterry Bay area. We sat outside (which I highly recommend) with an awe-inspiring view of the Pacific Ocean as dusk settled. The service was exceptional. The food, extraordinary. This will definitely be a place that we will frequent when we need to get away from the city. Pros: service, atmosphere/view, food Cons: a little expensive more

Ambrosia burgers straight from heaven! 8/15/2002

Great for a romantic date or drinks with a group of friends, this restaurant offers fantastic food without too many frills and beautiful views of the ocean. What a wonderful place to catch a sunset! Pros: cozy outdoor fire, prime sunset view, good parking Cons: can have a long wait more

What a view! 8/8/2002

Incredibly beautiful and special, the atmosphere here transcends the normal and elevates you into an almost meditative state as you enjoy the cool breeze from the sea air, the blue ocean in the distance, and the relaxing feeling that there is nowhere you'd rather be. Wait for a spot on the deck - because even the food tastes better this way! more

Gorgeous Views, Good Food 7/18/2002

This is my favorite restaurant in Big Sur. The view is spectacular. Theres always a friendly vibe running through the place. Its not at all chichi like Cielo and the service has always been fantastic. Every meal Ive eaten here has been wonderful, but I must admit, Im hooked on Lollys roast chicken. Prepare to feastportions are huge. Desserts are just OK, so skip dessert and order up a cocktail from the bar and watch the sun go down. Pros: View, Friendly Atmosphere, Outdoor Dining Cons: Busy, Can be a bit pricey more

Amazing Views 6/6/2002

This is a must stop when trecking up or down Hwy 1. Don't let the windy roads prevent you from enjoying this choice destination. The food is good if you keep it simple. Nepenthe is from a time when complex food was not California cuisine, and it's important to remember that when ordering. Translation: stick with the burgers. On a clear day the view is breathtaking. This is what The Coast Road is all about. Pros: great view, good food Cons: one way in more
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  • The Scene
    Relaxed yet boisterous, this hearty lunch and dinner spot still lives by its 1949 motto: ""Forget your worldly cares at Nepenthe's gay pavilion, where the Phoenix bird repairs...

  • 1/26/2006 Provided by Citysearch

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