Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant, a half-mile north of Ventana, offers glorious Meyer-lemon bars and jelly doughnuts, plus a constantly changing menu featuring dishes like oven-roasted oysters and wild salmon with succotash. The brunch options, including nine-grain pancakes smothered in strawberries, are pretty inventive too.
For more formal dining, it’s usually a coin toss between the Sierra Mar at Post Ranch and Cielo at Ventana. However, with Sierra Mar’s panoramic dining room closed for remodeling through August 2007, stick to Cielo. Request a table on the outdoor terrace with its gorgeous Pacific views, and try out the mole-covered enchiladas and fresh guacamole.
The five-year-old Big Sur Roadhouse is the place to go for casual dining. The main room is adorned with local artwork and a corner fireplace, and the Latin-influenced menu goes easy on the wallet (most entrées are under $20—a rarity in Big Sur).