Winner of the "New Times" readers poll for "most romantic", called the "new favorite of California" by the New York Times, and given its finest rating for delicious food, fine wine and impeccable service by the "Zagat", The restaurant
along with the highest accolades, was specifically designed to compliment the beautiful view of Morro Bay from every table. The Tuscany flair showcases the open working kitchen, extensive wine cellars, a lounge, and breathtaking sunsets.
The menu changes with the seasons, benefiting from local producers for fresh fish, vegetables, fruit and herbs. The extensive wine list showcases many local wines, current California selections, as well as renowned French vintages. The full bar serves premium liquor, and maintains a vast selection of fine Scotches, Ports, Cognacs, and Tequilas.
So one may ask besides both being located in Morro Bay what do these great dining venues have in common ? The answer is Sunset Magazine's SAVOR the Central Coast " Battle of the Bay "
SAVOR the Central Coast brought together Chefs , Winemakers , Ranchers and Farmers of California's fertile Central Coast together for a 4 day event that was the biggest thing to hit this long overlooked area.
Editor-in-Chef Katie Tamony was on hand at the Santa Margarita Ranch to judge two of the best Chefs in Morro Bay for the title of the First ever Savor Battle By the Bay Champion . Chef Kirk Sowell of Frankie and Lola's and Chef Neil Smith of Windows on the Water went head to head to compete for this coveted title.
We could not think of a better way to represent the Central Coast than these two Chefs from Morro bay that know how to use what bounty they have locally from the land and sea that is sustainable and delicious as well.
Both Chefs were given a basket of local goods that included Black Cod , blood oranges , avocados , heirloom tomatoes , Morro Bay Oysters and of course, Abalone . The bell rang and their creative juices were flowing making dishes, they hoped, would impress the palate of SUNSET Magazine's Katie Tamony.
As they were working hard, they explained the importance of using fresh locally produced food. 99% of the products these Chefs use is obtained within a 25 min drive of Morro Bay, showing how fertile this area is. The mirco climates located in the Central Coast allow fresh vegetables to be available much longer than in other areas of the state.
As aromas of fresh seafood began to fill the air, we knew their dishes were nearing completion. They explained, for example, that often Abalone is easy to over cook. This local fish cooks very fast one min tops and it is ready to go. And speaking about bounty from the sea, local fishermen bring in Black Cod , Ahi Tuna , Sword Fish and Oysters on a daily basis to the docks in Morro Bay.
The back Bay is sustainable and is the only sustainable estuary in the US.The dishes were completed and Katie Tamony took her place between the two Chefs to sample their creations.
Bite by bite the Chefs and the audience were on the edge of their seats as Katie took her time in front of each dish. Many times stating " This is very difficult ! " She went down the line of dishes pausing and then picking up a Morro Bay Oyster , turning to the audience and stating "wow ! "
There was a little tension in the air as she returned to a couple dishes from each Chef a second time. It was obvious that this was going to be close but there could only be one winner.
With her decision finally made , she turned to both Chef's commended them for their great work and announced that Executive Chef Neil Smith from Windows on The Water was the winner and the first ever SAVOR the Central Coast Battle by the Bay Champion. With class , the two Chefs hugged and the event ended after some very hard work in their kitchens and the audiences appreciation for a job well done. We congratulate Chef Neil Smith for his win and we will definitely visit both Chefs on our next visit to Morro Bay.