Road Food Guide:

West Coast Road Eats

West Coast Road Eats is a road food guide covering the Pacific Coast from California through Oregon to Washington, giving the best road trip food stops.

Cover of the West Coast Road Eats food guide for the Pacific Coast HighwayWest Coast Road Eats

‘The best road food from San Diego to the Canadian border’ is what this road food guide, West Coast Road Eats, promises. 

It’s written by Anna Roth, an award-winning food and travel writer, who must have plenty of chance to do in-depth research as she travels back and forth between her two homes, in Los Angeles and Seattle. She’s also the Managing Editor of the eHow Food website - not bad credentials for what could be a very useful book for Pacific Coast Highway drivers.

A USA west coast burger

In her travels, the author has covered over 1500 miles of West Coast roads, and describes hundreds of road food stops. These range from seafood shacks and burger joints to ice cream parlors, wineries and brew pubs.

The guide covers Highway 1, Highway 99, and Highway 101, as well as Interstate 5 for those who might want to take the faster inland route from time to time. There are also some diversions off the West Coast included too.

Introduction to West Coast Road EatsFrom The Introduction

Road Food Guide Reviews

The bulk of the book’s 350 pages are given over to no-nonsense in-depth reviews of the road food places the author recommends. Each review begins with the name, address, milepost or exit number, phone number, website, and finally opening hours (though obviously these are sure to change over time.)

There then follows a lengthy one-paragraph write-up, and most of these are as full of flavor as the foods the author’s describing. Roth is no food snob. She enjoys everything from the simplest of places, like Tito’s Tacos in Culver City, to a few gourmet inclusions, such as Nepenthe in Big Sur - which she admits is pricey, but sometimes a treat is worth it. 

Sample page from West Coast Road Eats

The Price of Good Road Food

The only thing missing from West Coast Road Eats is information about prices. In many ways this is understandable, as prices can change quickly and most places in this book will definitely be in the budget category. However, it would have been helpful to have an idea what a meal might cost in the non-budget places that are also included.

On the other hand, for La Bicyclette bistro in Carmel we’re told that it certainly isn’t a ‘cheap eat’, but only that it is about $10 cheaper than other similar places, with some wines at under $10 a glass. It may say something about Carmel, that there is only one other entry for the town: the Carmel Bakery. By contrast there are six entries for Santa Barbara, and six for Solvang. The lack of prices isn’t a major problem. You know most places in a road food guide will be affordable.

A coffee shop along the Pacific Coast Highway

Side Courses

In addition to all the very helpful reviews, there are lots of extra boxes of information about food and drink. These include, for example, a Portland Brewery Pub Crawl, the Sonoma County Farm Trails, Cannery Row, and local specialties such as the Santa Maria Barbecue, Monterey Jack Cheese, and California Olives.

A typical restaurant review from West Coast Road EatsA Typical Entry

Road Food Guide Verdict

The verdict on West Coast Road Eats is easy. Buy it. This is one which, instead of going on our bookshelves for reference, is going straight into the glove compartment for the next PCH road trip. We just know we’ll be using it.

Other food and drink pages

  • Wineries and Vineyards on the Pacific Coast Highway

    The wineries and vineyards along the Pacific Coast Highway make some of the best wine in the world, from Oregon and Washington to California's Sonoma and Napa.

  • Where to Eat on the Pacific Coast Highway

    Where to eat on the Pacific Coast Highway: advice on the best fine dining options, budget restaurants, romantic locations in Oregon, Washington and California.

  • Where to Eat and Stay on the Pacific Coast Highway

    Expert advice and personal recommendations on where to eat and where to stay along the Pacific Coast Highway, including a guide to PCH Hotels that you can buy.

  • Ventura Bars, Breweries, and Beer Festivals

    There are plenty of Ventura bars, breweries, brewpubs and pubs to enjoy, not to mention one of the biggest beer festivals in California.

  • Sonoma County Distilleries

    Sonoma County is so associated with wine that it's easy to overlook the fact that it's also home to distilleries and here's a list of the main distillers.

  • Santa Cruz Downtown Wine Tastings

    There are plenty of Santa Cruz downtown wine tastings including Beauregard Vineyards,Storrs Winery and Pelican Ranch Winery,all with tasting rooms.

  • Santa Barbara Wine Country

    Santa Barbara Wine Country is one of the top wine destinations says Wine Enthusiast, alongside Napa Valley, rating California vineyards alongside Champagne.

  • Santa Barbara Italian Restaurant

    The Santa Barbara Italian restaurant Olio e Limone serves some of the best Sicilian-Italian food in California, and is well-located downtown.

  • San Francisco Best Chinatown Restaurants

    San Francisco has some of the best Chinatown restaurants in the USA, and its Chinese restaurants provide superb dining. Here are our top eating places.

  • Ravens' Restaurant Mendocino

    Ravens' Restaurant in Mendocino at the Stanford Inn by the Sea is one of the top dining experiences in California with gourmet vegan and vegetarian cuisine.

  • Paso Robles Accommodation

    If looking for Paso Robles accommodation you could stay on a vineyard at the luxury JUST Inn Bed and Breakfast, in the grounds of the JUSTIN winery.

  • The Miramar Santa Monica Restaurant

    The Miramar Santa Monica's restaurant, FIG, had a rave review from the Los Angeles Times for its romantic dining and tasty food.

  • Michelin Guide to California

    The Michelin Guide to California is a gourmet's guide to the best restaurants along the Pacific Coast Highway and elsewhere in California.



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