- Hours: Open for lunch and dinner every day
- Reservations: Not accepted except for large groups
- Location: California Highway One in Big Sur, driving directions below
- Best Time to Visit: Nepenthe is best when skies are clear and it's warm enough to sit outside and enjoy the view. The indoor, wood-burning fireplace is nice after dark.
Nepenthe CuisineDon't let any of your food snob friends discourage you from eating at Nepenthe. The food here is more than adequate if not up the standards of a gourmet, but Nepenthe is not just about the food. The Big Sur coast views and laid-back ambience are Nepenthe's strength. That being said, their most famous (and tastiest) menu items at Nepenthe are the Ambrosia burger, French fries and berry pie (with ice cream). A single order of fries is enough for several people, and they're especially tasty if you ask for Ambrosia sauce to dip them in.
Nepenthe Gift ShopFor me, no visit to Nepenthe is complete without a stop in the Phoenix Shop, which has an especially nice collection of artisan jewelry, handmade scented soaps and books.
Tips for Dining at Nepenthe
- Seats on the Nepenthe back patio have the best views, but expect to wait to get one. Order a drink at the bar (non-alcoholic if you're the driver) and find a spot outside to wait.
- If you're in a hurry, the seats to the left as you enter the Nepenthe patio are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Hang out nearby, wait for someone to leave and politely enlist the server who's working in the area to help you.
- Because the views are such an important part of the Nepenthe experience, try to get there before dark.
- Even if you're not a bird-watcher, you'll enjoy the ongoing birdy drama at Nepenthe. For years, the local crows and Steller's jays (the ones that look like punk rockers having a bad hair day) have been outwitting the serving staff, making off with a package of crackers or their latest favorite, a beak-full of French fries.
- From time to time, winter rains precipitate mudslides that can close California Hwy 1 and block access to Nepenthe. Use this guide to find out how to check conditions and find detours.
Nepenthe ReviewWe rate Nepenthe 5 stars out of 5 for excellent views and laid-back ambience and food 3.5. It's a favorite we come back to over and over again, bringing all our friends and relatives when we can.
Others may disagree. You can see what other people just like you think about Nepenthe, then bookmark this page and after you've been there, come back and tell us what you think of Nepenthe.
What do you think of Nepenthe as a tourist destination???
- 0 = Yuck! Just say no to this flea-bitten hole of a tourist trap
- 1 = So-So More fun than a night in jail, but you might enjoy a good nap more
- 2 = OK Some people find it interesting, but I didn't
- 3 = Good Go if you have time, but it's not a big deal if you miss it
- 4 = Great I really liked it, and I think you will, too
- 5 = Awesome! It's a must-see sight that I recommend to everyone
Getting to Nepenthe
Nepenthe RestaurantNepenthe is located on California Highway One, about 30 miles south of Carmel, near the Ventana Inn and Post Ranch Inn. Look for the Nepenthe sign on the west (ocean) side of the highway.
Big Sur, CA