Wine and Dine in Historic Paso Robles Downtown

Paso Robles Inn
I ALWAYS HAVE my appetite, my wine curiosity and my camera with me when I walk Paso Robles Downtown ...

Twenty-three restaurants, 10 winery tasting rooms and two wine bars -- all within four blocks of each other ...

... in an old-fashioned downtown wrapped around an oak-shaded city park.

It’s one of the surprises of Paso Robles.

Right now, we’re in one of my favorite spots in Paso Robles ... in the shade of an ancient oak in the city park. Nearby, fountains send water dancing into the warm afternoon.

Across 12th Street, gay-nineties-style brick buildings zig-zag their way from left to right. I see lots of arched windows, lots of parapets and ornamentation. One building even has an acorn-topped clock tower, which tells me that it’s now 5:15 this Saturday afternoon.

Paso Robles Downtown
Downtown from the Park

Paso Robles Downtown is Downtown on a small-town scale. It’s about four blocks from one end to the other ... and that’s counting the city park.

But what it lacks in size it makes up for in spontaneity and surprise.

Here, these refurbished old buildings sparkle with new, innovative restaurants. They beckon you with Paso Robles winery tasting rooms. Their shops tempt you with window displays.

And so, even though Paso Robles Downtown is a mere four blocks wide, there’s no guarantee that you’ll see it all in a day.

You might get distracted ...

... just as we did.

Susie at Vic's
Vic's was Susie's choice ...
a winning call!

First, there was Vic’s.

Vic’s is where you go for a hearty meal, and to catch up with your friends and neighbors.

Thank God we weren’t on a diet.

You see, we stopped in at Vic’s for brunch. I ordered the chile relleno omelet.

It was the best of both worlds ... the spice and cheese of a chile relleno and the breakfast taste of eggs.

I think it took us about 60 seconds to go through our omelets, the hash browns and the toast. It was that good.

If we were really, really bad, we’d have ordered seconds.

Maybe next time.

The second distraction was a tasting room ...

Midlife Crisis Winery
Syrah or Sangiovese?
Midlife Crisis Winery

The Midlife Crisis Winery tasting room.

Midlife Crisis Winery ...

... talk about brand.

Can a winery that calls itself the Midlife Crisis Winery make award-winning wines? Indeed, it can – and does.

My favorite? The sangiovese. That’s a keeper.

We’re keeping an eye on this winery. In fact, we may join the wine club.

It’s called the Crisis Management Team.

The third distraction is Paso Robles Downtown, in its own right.

Downtown has that irresistible combination of the old and new, the stately and the stylish

Twelfth Street facades
Twelfth Street facades

I love the play of late afternoon light on brick buildings, the roses of sunset on parapets and arches, and those grand old oaks in the park. The camera says, “Stop. Get that picture.” I get a lot of good images that way.

I love the excitement of new cuisines enlivening old buildings ...

... and tasting rooms offering a diversity of local wines.

A walk along the park
A walk along the park

And one other thing ...

Paso Robles Downtown can have a sense of celebration ...

When you’re there, you might be drawn to a festival in the park, or enjoying live music. The Paso Robles Main Street Association and the business community do a good job of giving Downtown a party atmosphere.

That’s why you don’t just walk in Paso Robles Downtown.

You saunter.

With plenty of time-outs to explore and enjoy.


After leisurely glancing at menus at the string of restaurants along Pine Street, we dined tonight at the Berry Hill Bistro. We arrived in early evening, when the park across Pine was bathed in the mellow light of sunset.

On Vineyard Drive

Susie had the grilled wild salmon with balsamic glaze, topped with pesto butter. I ordered the New York steak in a mushroom brandy reduction sauce. It was exquisite. We’re coming back.

Return from Paso Robles Downtown to Paso Robles Uncorked