Buona Tavola - San Luis Obispo
Buona Tavola - San Luis Obispo

Buona Tavola - San Luis Obispo

  • Dining Style: Fine Dining
  • Website: http://www.btslo.com/
  • Phone: 8055458000
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Friday - Wednesday: 11:30am - 2:30pm, Thursday: 11:30am - 2:00pm; Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 9:30pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: European, Italian
  • Executive Chef: Antonio Varia
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Beer, Delivery, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Buona Tavola offers full service catering featuring Antonio Varia's Northern Italian cuisine for any event on the Central Coast. Years of experience on the Princess Cruise Lines have prepared Antonio to cater any event from 25 to 1000 people.
  • Private Party Facilities: Our beautiful heated and covered garden courtyard can accommodate up to 100 guests, with a separate area for parties of 40 or less.
  • Private Party Contact: Keilah Smith 8055458000

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Santa Rosa St.
  • Parking: Street Parking
A word from Buona Tavola - San Luis Obispo
For over 18 years Antonio Varia has been delighting the palates of the Central Coast with his inventive yet traditional Northern Italian cuisine. Using only the freshest local and imported ingredients, Buona Tavola offers a romantic garden setting to enjoy fine dining lunch and dinner. The esteemed Zagat Survey gave Buona Tavola the highest ratings of any restaurant in the county, calling it "Superb dining with great wine in a charming setting... one of the best between Los Angeles and San Francisco." The loyal staff at Buona Tavola still consists of more than a handful of the original opening crew, and as you walk through the front door you truly become a part of the family. The skill that comes with hard-won years of experience and the area's freshest seasonal ingredients are apparent in every dish served. Plus the main ingredient comes from Antonio himself: "I cook with love!"
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Service
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeigborhood Gem
Buona Tavola - San Luis Obispo reviews from OpenTable diners
52 reviews since May 24, 2014
Overall Rating4.3
  • Food4.3
    Service4.5
  • Ambiance4.1
    Noise LevelModerate
85% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for outdoor dining (37)romantic (27)fit for foodies (26)special occasion (26)neighborhood gem (21)notable wine list (18)good for groups (6)kid-friendly (4)great for brunch (4)great for lunch (3)scenic view (2)late-night find (2)hot spot (2)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
  • Patio felt like Italy!
    BobRiceVIP
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Sitting on the patio was reminiscent of summer in Italy! Everything was wonderful. Highly recommended.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Expectations not met
    Benzgolfer
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    The reviews set the expectations of this little place higher than we received. Though we had a reservation, we waited about 20 minutes for a table. Given a table in the corner with an awkward wall cutout. The table was super wobbly, and in order to fix it, we had to hold our waters and wine for several minutes. I asked for a different table, but to no avail. They have a pesto gnocchi on the online menu, but wasn't avail when we went. The gnocchi they did have was very dry. The pasta also was very dry. Restaraunt was not crowded, so not sure what issues they were having. We will not go back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • skiermel
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Food was great, unusual but good. Made a reservation online, there is no place to ask for inside or outside dining.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • New Favorite For Me
    WineandDiner
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    Had an absolutely wonderful dinner and experience at Buona Tavola. Food was delicious, service was great. Relaxing evening. Never felt rushed. Definitely looking forward to going back next time we visit SLO!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • An annual treat
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    A group of us come to SLO nearly annually for a workshop at Cal Poly, and we always make a point of dining at Buona Tavola. Outdoor dining (with a canvas pullover roof in the event of cool weather or rain). Very good northern Italian cuisine. Nice wine list. Excellent, helpful, friendly service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • JudyVIP
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    We had a good meal here the other night. The minnestrone was quite good. We also had bruschetta, a chicken with mustard sauce and the risotto. The best of these dishes was the risotto. We were celebrating a birthday and they brough a little tiramisu with a candle. It was a nice recognition without making a spectacle! If we returned to the restaurant, I would ask for patio seating as the table we were given felt a little crowded even though it was upfront near the windows.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Top FIVE in San Luis Obispo
    Notbigbux
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    As a resident for over ten years, the improvements to the food quality and enviroment made by the relatively new manager Mr. Fabbretti are outstanding. I had the evenings special Italian Pork Sausage with Papperadella and it was as good at Italy. My two guests were equally as pleased with their meals. The new waiter Allesandro is direct from Italy and waited on our table in true Continental Style that is even dissappearing in Europe. It was like a trip to Italy without leaving our hometown! Great Dinner Great Evening.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, special occasion, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great restaurant
    PatL
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    I have been going to this restaurant for years and am never disappointed. Excellent across the board!!!!!!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good looked better than it tasted
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    My wife and I decided to try this place for a nice dinner out on evening and we were very disappointed. I ordered theBruschetta ai funghi trifolati to start and the mushrooms were over cooled and the bottom of the bread was charred! Literally blackened. We did not want to order anything else after that so we paid our bill and left. Very disappointing
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Charming spot in downtown SLO
    royalfork
    Dined on 8/3/2014
    Was there with new freshman daughter for SOAR. First night in SLO, first meal too. Lovely spot next to the movie theater. We dined in the back courtyard, which had an intimate feel with trees and lights. Food was delicious and our server, a recent Cal Poly grad, was terrific. A great start to our Cal Poly experience.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wonderful
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    Nice outdoor dining area. My wife & I dined there on our last evening in SLO, We both had the Veal Scalloppini & it was excellent. Service was very good and attentive. Would recommend it.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • creifer
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    Lovely menu with some delicious specials. The salmon special was a healthy and outstanding dish. The service and was excellent as well. We particularly appreciated the knowledge of local wines since we are not from the area. Recommended for anyone visiting SLO.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • SLP Staple
    JoJoVIP
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    Whenever I am in town, I always make a reservation here. The food is always good, there is a nice selection of specials, and the staff is friendly!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Quiet Lunch
    Anachronism
    Dined on 7/15/2014
    Met a friend from San Francisco who was driving through. We met here for lunch at 2 pm on a weekday. We practically had the whole back patio to ourselves and it was fabulous! The service was excellent, the food was incredible. I had a salmon salad that was absolutely delicious. The ambiance was pure European. I can't recommend it highly enough!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Real Italian
    JIDCO
    Dined on 7/14/2014
    If you like Italian food, you will be happy at Buona Tavola.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Authentic Italian
    Foodlover
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    We always love the food here and have never been disappointed with the quality of the food and service. I do wish they had more on the wine list though. Other than that, it is always a big hit with friends and family.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lovely Dinner for 10!
    epialla
    Dined on 7/10/2014
    I made reservations for a pre-wedding dinner with the wedding party at Buona Tavola. We were given a great table outside on the patio (with heaters to keep everyone warm). We had a last minute addition and were accommodated swiftly - they added a table to the end instead of trying to cramp us in which was nice. Matt, our server, was fantastic and very attentive. The food was incredible - very fresh and flavorful. I would absolutely recommend Buona Tavola!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food, not too expensive
    Southwesterner
    Dined on 7/3/2014
    Portions are ample. We were happy splitting a big salad and one entree. Service is pleasant, and provided good advice on wines and entrees. Slightly less expensive than comparable restaurants in the area.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • **Ask for courtyard seating**
    Hunt4theBest
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    Would certainly recommend this restaurant. Where most italian restaurants seem to thrive in chaos and being malfunction junction, this place takes pride in impeccable service! Very friendly, courteous staff who have a passion for what they do and yes, the food is very good as well!!! Note: If booking via OpenTable must specify request for courtyard seating in the notes section or else the reservation will automatically be made for inside seating.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Lenny Green
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    Took my family here for dinner on Sunday, June 15 following graduation. I was disappointed to see that a fixed menu was in place. When I booked the reservation, there was no mention of this. When I brought it up to the hostess and server, they could care less. Since I booked the reservation several weeks in advance due to dinning demand in SLO, I could not walk out to find another dinning location. It was very disappointing. In addition, the food was fair, at best. Based upon failure to disclose their graduation dinner menu, and the food, I would not recommend this restaurant. I do not have plans to return with my next student who will be attending SLO.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good but not Great
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    Went to dinner at Buona Tavola for Father's Day. Made reservations over a week in advance through "Open Table". At mid-afternoon on Father's Day receive call from restaurant indicating that menu would be prix fix (should have been notified when the reservations were first made). Was seated in dining room since patio area was booked. Dining room is nice and somewhat intimate. Service was very good although waiter seemed to want to rush things a bit. Food was good but was expecting something a bit more exciting for the price.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • KrumbsfromKovVIP
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    Had reservations during a special menu night (Cal Poly graduation) but it was still a wonderful meal. Service was good even though there were many big parties going on. We both had lamb sirloin--excellent! Salads were very tasty. Will return for their regular menu.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Unbelievable Italian Food
    SteveVIP
    Dined on 6/11/2014
    This is by far the best northern Italian restaurant at which I've ever had the pleasure of dinning. The menu is large, wine list robust and the food is preapred upon order yet arrives without much delay. It very much reminds me of a good European meal during which you have a few minutes, not the long delay experienced at some eateries, to chat in between courses. As good as the last item that you consumed was, it seems like the next is even superior. We drive three hours from the SF Bay Area for lunch, which is a real bargin, and is every bit as good as the dinner menu. Because of the large number of choices, I've never asked for something special, but I bet that they'd accommodate you if you did. It's just that kind of amazing place.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 29 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 24, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.5
    • Food4.5
    • Ambiance4.2
    • Service4.4
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 312 reviews are from the Buona Tavola - San Luis Obispo reviews archive.
  • delicious!
    dineforwork
    Dined on 5/14/2014
    This is a fantastic restaurant. Service was great - food was absolutely delicious. We were a party of 6 and we were all very pleased with our dinner selections. Staff was attentive throughout the entire meal. Highly recommend to anyone in the mood for Italian
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Italian Treat
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 5/3/2014
    My wife Erna and I were recently in SLO to attend a concert. We decided to have an eartly dinner and chose Buona Tavola with no info. We loved the food and our waitress. It was apparently prom night locally, so as we lingered over our fine meal, the restaurant garden patio/dining room filled with young couples - probably at their first expensive restaurant. All-in-all, a thouroughly enjoyable evening!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • absolut empfehlenswert!
    palle
    Dined on 4/22/2014
    herausragender service, grossartige weinkarte und umwerfend gutes essen. ein toller innenhof vervollständigt das bild. so ein gesamtergebnis hätte ich wirklich nicht erwartet!
    Special Features:
    Great for Outdoor Dining, Romantic, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Perfect date night
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 4/19/2014
    This restaurant was great! The wine list, meal options and patio dining were perfect for a little date night. The server was very friendly, considerate and attentive. I absolutely enjoyed every aspect of my visit here.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Outdoor Dining, Romantic, special occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A SLO Must Dine
    Robaroo
    Dined on 4/14/2014
    As my business travels take me to San Luis Obispo, Buona Tavola is a must dine. Request seating in the courtyard, even on a cool night the heaters keep you warm. A couple of starter recommendations are the bruschetta (get it half traditional tomato and half mushroom) and the daily salad is always unique. For the entree the veal marsala never disappoints. Top the meal off with the custard dessert, also get it half topped with chocolate and half topped with carmel.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great restaurant, everything
    Diana
    Dined on 4/12/2014
    Great restaurant, everything was good. We sat on the outdoor patio it was a little chilly outside but the heaters made it really nice. Had a mother daughter dinner after going to the Cal Poly open house. This place made it such a special memorable weekend, all our food choices were great from the brushetta to the desert. In fact we were so impresed with everything we though we had to order desert just to see how good that would be and it was wonderful. We will come here everytime we visit her at Cal Poly and she thought this will be her special date night place.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Enjoyable Dinner
    luvgoldens
    Dined on 4/4/2014
    My wife and I had a wonderful dinner at Buona Tavola. The staff was knowledgeable about the menu and provided great service. The service and timing of the appetizers, dinner, and desert matched our tempo to create a causal and enjoyable experience. The restaurant also serves cured meats from their own Italian salami company, Alle-Pia in Paso Robles. The cured meats were exceptional.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Great for Outdoor Dining, Romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • 3 course prifix paring with wine
    happycat
    Dined on 3/29/2014
    Found this restaurant from open tables. Top rated Italian restaurant on my list. Will be back.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Perfectly Delightful!
    Foody4u
    Dined on 3/29/2014
    This is one of my favorite locations for a nice romantic dinner. The atmosphere is delightful and the food always delicious and unique. Prices are very affordable for this type of restaurant. The staff is very attentive and overall a wonderful experience every time. I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone. A reservation is suggested to make sure you get a table when you want it. It fills up fast.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic Chef & Staff
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 3/29/2014
    Authentic Italian cuisine, always wonderful specials. Be sure to dine in the charming patio. We are locals, and this is one of SLO's best restaurants.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Food and service a stand out!
    KitKat
    Dined on 3/26/2014
    Terrific Italian food, good wine list, and super staff make Buona Tavola a gem in SLO. Very helpful, friendly staff.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing Service
    Leahrutledge514
    Dined on 3/22/2014
    We ate here for our anniversary and the service was outstanding. Their gluten free menu was extensive and the waitress very knowledgeable and helpful. Food was fabulous as was the wine and dessert! Can't wait to go back.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great experience
    Datenite
    Dined on 3/21/2014
    We rarely get out for a date night, and were so glad we chose to come here for dinner! The patio was warm and charming. It was quiet enough for us to have great conversation, but not so quiet that we felt like people were listening. It was a fun and romantic atmosphere. The service was better than we have had in a long time. Everyone was so friendly and attentive. The food was delicious!!! We are definitely coming back here again.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing food!!
    SF123VIP
    Dined on 3/21/2014
    The food was delicious!! The house made pasta's were all so good. There were 6 of us and we all loved our food. Will definitely go back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Reviews spot on.
    Jim2
    Dined on 3/20/2014
    Dined here based on open table reviews and was not disappointed. The 2 people with me had the prefix (sp?) menu and said it was very good. I had the lamb and it was excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent special occasion dinner
    CassCreig
    Dined on 3/18/2014
    We chose this as our anniversary dinner spot and we loved it. They had a 3 course meal with wine pairing that was perfect. Because there were two choices on each course we each got one of the meals and shared everything. It made for an awesome array of flavors and everything was perfect. I highly recommend this place for a nice date.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Always Consistent
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 3/14/2014
    My husband and I have been coming to Buona Tavola for years and is by far our favorite special occasion restaurant. While many of the Italian restaurants in town have come and gone, Buona Tavola is still around for many reasons.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.