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Nepenthe

48510 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920
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Who Likes This Place?

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These scores tell you how well-liked a place is in each Tribe. Gogobot Tribes are groups who share a certain travel style, like Family Travelers or History Buffs.

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  • 98%
    Foodies
  • 92%
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
  • 92%
    Family Travelers
  • 82%
    Luxury Travelers
  • 75%
    Local Culture
  • 65%
    Adventure Travelers
  • 59%
    Backpackers
  • 59%
    Nightlife Lovers
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  • NepenthePro 2014
    Eduardo Sasso
    5 Feb 20, 2014

    A must go place to grab a bite in Big Sur.
    This is a family owned place in the heart of Big Sur. Very famous among tourists with good food and some amazing views.

    Recommended for:BackpackersFamily TravelersOutdoor EnthusiastsWellness
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  • NepenthePro 2014
    Arlo Hemphill
    Member of
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Business Travelers
    Green Travelers
    Adventure Travelers
    5 Feb 09, 2014

    I can only say this once, and would under any other circumstance hesitate to do so, but this restaurant is situated in THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SETTING IN THE WORLD. Situated on a high escarpment over the Pacific Ocean in the heart of Big Sur, Nepenthe is more of a dream than a dining experience. The food is good. I won't wax on about that because it's a little on the expensive side and frankly, I'm satisfied with the very filling $13 burger. And I'd be lying if I said I came here for the food. This is a place you come to simply be there - and happen to have a meal while your out at it.

    Are you looking for a good spot for a romantic occasion? I never talk about or even mention the word romance, but this place is romantic with a capital R. I've been here about a dozen times and always just with a platonic friend, but I'd characterize each of these visits as romantic. You can't escape it. The endless expanse of the mighty Pacific. The towering slopes of Big Sur, unfolding down the coast. Vivid Greens. Deep Blues - all framed in handcrafted wood architecture complimented with roaring open fire pits. The business is family run and you're not likely to ever forget your experience here. HINT: Arrive an hour or more before sunset and stay for one nature's greatest light shows.

    Recommended for:FoodiesLuxury TravelersOutdoor Enthusiasts
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  • NepentheAmbassador
    Tara Carberry
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Budget Travelers
    + 3
    • Foodies
    • Luxury Travelers
    • Adventure Travelers
    4 Jan 02, 2014

    Enjoy a meal, or just some of the strong and delicious cocktails on the patio, with gorgeous views of the coast.

    Recommended for:Adventure TravelersFoodiesLuxury Travelers
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  • NepenthePro 2014
    Sara Benson
    Member of
    Wellness
    Green Travelers
    Students
    Adventure Travelers
    3 Nov 06, 2013

    It's not about the food here, which is pretty dull (although that roasted artichoke & dip is darn tasty). It's about the cocktails (or a glass of grown-in California wine) and the wide-open ocean views from the upstairs deck at this historic restaurant, once co-owned by Orson Welles. Come for sunset and grab a seat by the outdoor fire pits. The so-called Ambrosia burger is overhyped -- don't say you weren't warned!

    Recommended for:Trendsters
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  • Nepenthe
    Betty N.
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Foodies
    + 5
    • Luxury Travelers
    • History Buffs
    • Nightlife Lovers
    • Trendsters
    • Art & Design Lovers
    4 Jul 03, 2013

    **GOOD VIEWS, AVERAGE FOOD**

    3.5 stars.

    I'm often wary of places with "magnificent views".
    Translation: mediocre food.
    And Nepenthe didn't disappoint with that stereo-type.

    PARKING
    ========
    Parking lot.

    AMBIANCE
    =========
    Great outdoor terrace.
    Awesome views.
    We opted to sit in the indoor dining room.
    Heard wait can be looooong.

    FOOD
    =====
    ORDERED:

    LAURA CHENEL GOAT CHEESE AND ROASTED WHOLE GARLIC - $12
    Pecan topped goat cheese, slow-roasted Gilroy garlic and toasted baguette slices was very average in taste and creativity. I could make this at home.
    RATING: 3/5

    THE FAMOUS AMBROSIABURGER - $14.50
    Their version of a ground steak sandwich, served on a French roll with their famous Ambrosia Sauce. With Swiss or Cheddar add $1.50.
    I liked the French roll concept, but didn't care for the rest. I asked for medium-rare but was served a medium. It was good, but not OMFG.
    RATING: 3/5

    Service was scrappy, but good.

    Next time, I'd drop by for a cocktail, check out the views, and skip the food.

    RECOMMEND.

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  • Nepenthe
    Traci
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Foodies
    Luxury Travelers
    4 Feb 01, 2013

    Walking into this restaurant you feel like you are about to dine in a giant treehouse. The vibe is casual - you can sit down inside or grab your drinks and take them out to the outdoor seating. They have a great selection of beer and wine, and the desserts are great. The view is one of the most beautiful you could possibly imagine and if you're there at sunset, you are in for quite a treat!

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  • Nepenthe
    Mike G
    5 Feb 01, 2013

    Great place to relax and enjoy the stunning views of the rugged Big Sur coast with great food and drink. You can't go wrong with the goat cheese and roasted garlic on toast.

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  • Nepenthe
    Nordic Ninja
    4 Dec 06, 2012

    A staple of any Big Sur visit, Nepenthe is worth the price for the view. The food is good but uninspired, but no one comes here for the food itself anyway. It can get pretty busy, but Cafe Kevah downstairs generally handles the overflow pretty well. There's a gift shop here as well, so you can satisfy everyone in the car at the same time.

    Just don't forget your camera, because the view really will blow your mind.

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  • NepenthePro 2014
    Joseph Coureur
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Business Travelers
    Foodies
    5 Sep 27, 2012

    The Nepenthe restaurant is worth the drive from Monterey. I'd take the hour or so drive to get the Nepenthe Burger and sit on the patio watching the jays pick the acorns off the trees.

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  • Nepenthe
    Delanie Sinton
    5 Sep 24, 2012

    If you drive down the Big Sur Coast- you must stop here for a burger on the deck by the firepit- with the most spectacular view ever!!!

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  • Nepenthe
    Yvette T.
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Budget Travelers
    + 4
    • Foodies
    • Wellness
    • Backpackers
    • History Buffs
    3 Sep 11, 2012

    You just can't beat their view!

    The owners of Nepenthe know that fact, and are planning on mining it until the well goes dry (i.e. when your wallet runs out of cash). Their famous ambrosia burger is a rich man's version of an In-N-Out burger, complete with their own "secret sauce" which they call ambrosia sauce, better bread (french steak rolls vs. hamburger bun) and thicker, juicier meat. Of course, this rich man's version also costs roughly FIVE TIMES as much (six if you want to add cheese!) as the In-N-Out version.

    Even though you're paying roughly $14-16 for your burger/sandwich, don't expect it to come with fries. You can order their basket of fries for $7.50, which is definitely good enough to share for a table of four. We also had the tuna salad sandwich, which was delicious, although nothing out of the ordinary.

    Despite the exaggerated prices, Nepenthe totally would have deserved 4 stars if it weren't for the service. I called a couple weeks ahead to make a reservation for a party of 7 celebrating an important birthday. The person answering had assured me that the experience would be memorable. However, upon arrival, I realized we didn't get the best seat in the house; instead we were stuck staring at a bright orange fire house, which completely stood out in our pictures. And we were one of the first customers to arrive when they opened at 11:30am, so there really was no excuse. Luckily, after lunch, we were able to take better pictures from their viewing balcony.

    If you're in the area, I would still recommend checking this place out, but just remember that it is more for the location than the food. Enjoy!

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  • NepenthePro 2014
    John Abdou
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Budget Travelers
    + 8
    • Business Travelers
    • Family Travelers
    • Wellness
    • Green Travelers
    • Students
    • History Buffs
    • Adventure Travelers
    • Spiritual Seekers
    5 Jul 05, 2012

    Favorite restaurant in Big Sur. Unbelievable view and great setting. You can sit outside and overlook the coast while you eat. Great menu with some creative dishes as well. We'll keep going back.

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  • Nepenthe
    Keri McCarthy Ferry
    4 Jul 05, 2012

    Great casual restaurant with decent food and above average atmosphere. Known for prime sunset viewing with some of the best views in Big Sur. Great burgers and drinks

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  • Nepenthe
    Crystal Kranz
    3 Jul 05, 2012

    Great view but over priced! My boyfriend and I just got a cup of coffee to enjoy the view and that's all you need :)

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  • Nepenthe
    Cynthia Machata
    5 Jul 05, 2012

    The view from this place is unreal! You can see all the way down the coast line and the seating is bleacher-style ... pointing to the sea ... as it should be!

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  • Nepenthe
    Jin Kim
    5 Jul 04, 2012

    I love riding my motorcycle out here for a long lazy lunch. Fantastic views of the ocean in a woodsy setting.

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  • Nepenthe
    Josh Goldman
    4 Jul 04, 2012

    3-star hamburgers and sandwiches that become 4-star just because of the astounding views from this iconic Big Sur bar and grill.

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  • Nepenthe
    Nicholas D
    3 Jul 04, 2012

    Ok good stuff first: view (A++++), ambiance (A++), clientele (A), artwork (A+). The combo of these aspects make Nepethe 100% worth a visit. The restaurant is perched on a high cliff overlooking the beautiful Big Sur coastline and designed in the Frank Lloyd Wright style. It is chock full of interesting and beautiful art (sculptures, paintings, photos, you name it) and populated by an eclectic and fun crowd.

    Now not so good things: food (B), service (C). The food was ok at best, and not worth the high prices. I had an amazing artichoke dish and the soup was killer, but the main dishes were weak to say the least. The service was absolutely awful. Our waitress refused to look at us when speaking to us, which really bothered me, and our food took over an hour to come out. They ended up comping us for their disorganization.

    I definitely recommend visiting Nepenthe if you are in the area, but perhaps just for cocktails on their wood-fire heated patio rather than a full dinner (its a super romantic place and perfect for couples at any stage in a relationship).

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  • Nepenthe
    ChrisTower
    Member of
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Foodies
    Luxury Travelers
    5 Jul 03, 2012

    A must-do pit stop for any LA-SF road trip. The Ambrosia burger is easily one of the best in California. People also like the view of the Pacific...if you're into that sort of thing.

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  • Nepenthe
    Bryana G
    5 Jun 22, 2014

    Dine in elegance with ocean views and shop in The Phoenix store.

    Recommended for:Family TravelersFoodiesLocal CultureNightlife Lovers
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OverviewEdit

4.5 out of 5
30 members' reviews
791 people visited Nepenthe
  • Price

    Expensive$$$
  • Cuisine:

  • Open Hours:

    Lunch & Dinner daily
  • Phone:

    (831) 667-2345

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