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Pino Alto Restaurant - Cabrillo College
Pino Alto Restaurant - Cabrillo College

Pino Alto Restaurant - Cabrillo College Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.pinoaltorestaurant.org
  • Phone: (831) 479-6524
  • Hours of Operation: Dinner: Wednesday - Friday: 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM

    Lunch: Monday - Thursday, 12:00 - 1:30 No Reservations

    Terrace, Wednesday - Friday 5:00 - 8:30

    Catering for up to 250 on Saturdays at the historic Sesnon House
  • Payment Options: MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: American, Contemporary American
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, BYO Liquor, Fireplace, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Catering: A perfect venue for weddings. Let the Cabrillo Culinary Arts department cater your wedding or event. Groups up to 250. Contact instructor Sue Slater at 831-479-5205 for food details. Contact Margitta Dietrick - Welsh at 831-479-6229 for information on availability and pricing.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Cabrillo Colleg Drive
  • Parking: Public Lot
A word from Pino Alto Restaurant - Cabrillo College
Spring Semester ends: The last week for Spring 2013 is May 28th - 31.
Lunch will be Tuesday - Thursday
Wine Maker Dinner ONLY AVAILABLE ON MAY 31 (all other days are full for dinner)

Pino Alto Restaurant is located in the historic Sesnon House on the Cabrillo College campus in Aptos. The student run restaurant is open for dinner Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 5:50 - 8:30. The Terrace, with more casual fare, opens at 5:00. The restaurant is also open for lunch Monday - Thursday. We only accept lunch reservations for groups of 6 or more. Continued
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Diner Reviews
  • "We've been to Pino Alto before, My wife made reservations through open table but when we arrived on May 28th, the place was closed down for the summer! How can this happen? Open table just wasted our time and fuel to get there, Open table should have known the place was not open for business when you secured our reservation, You also called us at home to confirm the reservation the day before, What a JOKE I doubt that I will use open table for reservations again...It really sucked ! we are not disappointed with the restaurant, only with open table for securing a reservation to a restaurant that was closed !"
    Dined on 5/28/2014
  • "I always enjoy eating at the Pino Alto Restaurant, but this experience was especially enjoyable and FUN! We were a group of twelve friends who received excellent and personable service and great food to share: tapas! I especially like the Extremaduran salad which highlights toasted bread, tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. It was beautifully presented with edible flowers. The only disappointment amongst the group was the Spanish tortilla. It was overcooked and not very tasty. Everything else was great. This time we brought our own wine. I'm looking forward to tasting next semester's Tapas menu! Not to miss!"
    Dined on 5/8/2014
  • "We went in a group of 6 for the Tapa's night, which unfortunately was one of their last open nights before the next semester. I think we had almost everything on the menu! The service was quite good even though there was 1 other large party in the same room. I very much appreciated that we were not charged corkage for the wine we brought. It made it an affordable and fun evening. I think Cabrillo has a great program. "
    Dined on 5/8/2014
  • "Good food, great service. Would recommend. The lights were a bit high for my raste."
    Dined on 5/1/2014
  • "Pino Alto is the Cabrillo College restaurant run by students in the Culinary Program. We went for the Tapas-themed dinner and loved it. Good wine list at great prices. Menu had something for everyone. The potatas bravas were excellent as were the dessert churros. Also very good was an order of chicken wings. My husband had the paella and took home half of it and the beef short ribs. He loved both of them. The only downside was that service was a little off but they are students and they just need some practice.It's a very nice experience and very affordable for a delicious meal."
    Dined on 5/1/2014
  • "We had received a gift certificate - this meant anything we ordered off the food menu was gratis. We were encouraged to order everything on the menu - good practice for the kitchen! We took advantage of the situation to sample foods we had never tried before, such as avocado soup, oxtail empanadas, quail eggs with radishes, and grilled octopus. The food was prepared with care, and presented in a very pleasing manner. The taste was fine, but rarely lived up to our expectations based on the visual impressions. The service was absolutely charming - not only (almost) professional, but very kind and almost shy. Not an unwelcome change from some other restaurants. We had a dry Riesling, which at $20 for the whole bottle was extremely good."
    Dined on 4/30/2014
  • "I lived in Barcelona, and the tapas at the Pino Alto were fantastic....as good as any I had in Spain. Great service from lively staff, a must-stop-at place. I'll be back soon"
    Dined on 4/25/2014
  • "Some dishes are done well by the cooking school and some are not. We have gone to both "continental" dinners and Spanish tapa dinners. We have had food that was poorly prepared, way undercooked and one evening they forgot our entree altogether. At first they had no idea what was going on and then someone confessed that our order had slipped by them due to "problems" they were having with the staff. To their credit they did comp us our entrees. Naturally this could be expected for a "culinary" school teaching students with little to no experience but they are now charging full price for their meals as if it were a fine restaurant. I Have tried earnestly to support them but they seem to have slipped too far downhill in recent years."
    Dined on 4/17/2014
  • "Had a great meal on a Friday night. Food very well done by students at the culinary academy. Spent over two hours dining in a turn of the century mansion on Cabrillo College campus. Very good value and the wine list was extensive and also great value. Highly recommend taking advantage of the talented students here at Cabrillo College. The grounds are also lovely."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "The Pino Alto Restaurant is a neighborhood gem serving lunch, dinner and special events. What makes it extraordinary is that it is run by Cabrillo College students enrolled in the Culinary Program and is professional in every sense. The themed lunches are more casual than dinners and a real bargain for all the delicious, homemade items. The dinners are also outstanding! Very upscale, creative and delicious, all designed and prepared by the students. Wine list is local and reasonably priced; bring your own bottle with no corkage fee. Menu items are local, seasonal, and sustainable. Each course is artistically presented. Service is outstanding. Classical guitar Thursday nights. A great place to unwind and enjoy a delicious, relaxing meal!"
    Dined on 3/20/2014
  • "Excellent food and service. I can't think of a better experience I've had in Santa Cruz resturants. It was like eating in a good french resturant."
    Dined on 3/12/2014
  • "The venue was great, it was our first time and I am going back. The food was very good, the service first class and so much fun."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "Our daughter went through the program about 5 years ago and loved it. We know that all of the students need to work both the front of the house and the back of the house. The front of the house seems to need a bit more training. Most of the students aren't that interested in the front of the house but they should know that people will not come back for the food no matter how good it is if the front of the house isn't a good experience. Our waiter was OK but we could see and hear another waiter that was really good, we wish that we had him as a waiter. This restaurant is a learning experience for both sides of the house and we'll be back."
    Dined on 2/26/2014
  • "I booked the table as a treat for Valentines day, but we had such a terrific time we will be returning to see what the ever changing staff has in store. The food was delicious and very well presented. If you want to enjoy the entire meal, just make sure you go hungry, because there will be a lot of good food to eat! Have a little fun and quiz your server about the menu and wine choices, you'd be surprised what little gems they produce, besides being very attentive and efficient. Don't miss this unique experience!"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Unique experience dining @ student-run restaurant. My companion described it as one of the best meals she's ever had and loved every course (5 included, if including the sorbet, which she loved) & ridiculously reasonable prices. Wait-staff is comprised of students, not professional waiters."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "enjoyed great service, food and ambience (fire going)."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "This was our first time at Pino Alto and this was the first week of the term for this student run restaurant at Cabrillio College. Our server was verbally reminding himself of his class lessons in serving and correcting his position in placing and removing plates but service was definitely attentive and amicable. Each entree comes with an amuse-bouche, soup, salad and entree. We also ordered a duck egg roll as an appetizer. Every dish was delightfully plated with flavors running from good to very-good. Sauces were well balanced and the Arctic Char and Short Ribs were perfectly cooked. We hope to return towards the end of the term to see how experience benefits the front and back of the house performance."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Cabrillo is always a great deal! Fabulous food and wonderful ambiance at a great price! Always remember that eating at a schools restaurant is not like a regular one even though it feels like a high end place, it is a laboratory where the students learn how to serve, cook and run a restaurant. There are bound to be mistakes and it is best to give constructive feedback rather than getting irritated and frustrated if things don't go perfectly. My experience is that the students are committed to working hard and getting it right. Sometimes it takes a long time to eat there and I would not make plans for after dinner when going to the Pino Alto Room but otherwise it is a great experience! Very yummy food and alway a great menu!!"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "The wait staff and the chefs are students in the Culinary College advanced courses. So, the food is interesting and sometimes experimental. And some of the students seemed unfamiliar and uncomfortable with their new roles. The historic home was a nice setting. But, I appreciate having the opportunity to try new things as well as offer our future chefs an opportunity to learn. I'd go back again."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "First visit , didn't know what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised. The new staff consistently tried to please. Caesar salad with olives worked. Meats cooked to perfection. Special flavors not always on the mark but love the experimentation."
    Dined on 2/13/2014
  • "The Pino Alto room at the Sesnon House at Cabrillo College is wonderful. The food is very good to fabulous. The student staff are eager to please and enthusiastic and there is no corkage fee. So byob and have a leisurely, affordable and delicious meal!"
    Dined on 2/12/2014
  • "The Spanish Tapas are a treat for a different dining experience. Sample a variety of different foods. Expect a high bill if you want to walk out full! (meager portions)"
    Dined on 12/4/2013
  • "This community college culinary staff is very creative and the service was excellent. Support these students and enjoy their changing menu in a lovely historic home that has a lot of charm."
    Dined on 11/15/2013
  • "My husband has always wanted to take me to Spain to enjoy Tapas. However, the trip has not materialized. So when I saw the description that you were offering tapas for dinner, I checked the menu. My husband read the selections, and said that this looked authentic. We walked into the restaurant and were serenaded by the Spanish Flamenco guitar. The small dishes were tasty and prepared with care. My husband enjoyed them as much as when he was in Spain! We had an attentive and interesting waiter who helped create a special evening for us. Thank you!"
    Dined on 11/13/2013
    Dined on 11/7/2013
  • "Bundle up so you can watch the sunset from the back porch of the Sesnon House, or eat outside at lunch. This is a great restaurant! Melisma4U"
    Dined on 10/25/2013
  • "Four of us enjoyed Friday night dining on the Terrace. Four courses, four beers, artfully paired. The soup, served in its own pumpkin bowl was beautiful and delicious. As always, the bread is house made and this time the butter was beer infused - crazy good! The salad, entree and dessert, each so creative."
    Dined on 10/11/2013
  • "We went to Pino Alto in Nov 2013, and we had a very good dinner. The soup was quite good, but not out of this world, hearty, wholesome food, the right thing to start dinner. The salad that came after that was absolutely delicious, quite a treat. For the main course, we had beef and albacore. The beef was served with a gorgonzola sauce, and that was quite excellent. Not anything you've never had before, but perfectly cooked, and tasted delicious. The albacore, although advertised as "quickly seared" was in my view quite overdone. However, the sauce it came with was truly delicious. Dinner came with very tasty fresh bread, with delicious plum butter (yes!) and we finished with an excellent creme brulee. All in all, a very good experience."
    Dined on 10/2/2013
  • "This was a great experience for us> Service by the culinary students at Cabrillo College, from waiter staff to the chef's, I am looking forward to enjoying this again!"
    Dined on 9/27/2013
  • "all is good, but it is a bit expensive, so i can not come too often. food and service was great."
    Dined on 9/19/2013
  • "Happy to support our local culinary academy. Food very good with appropriate food portions. Unique salads. Nice wine pairings. Service friendly and attentive."
    Dined on 5/31/2013
  • "This is a wonderful restaurant run by the Cabrilo College Culinary department. The location is a local landmark and the wait service is very enthusiastic and thoughtful. Enjoy!"
    Dined on 5/23/2013
  • "As a party of three on a night when the menu was entirely tapas, I think we sampled everything. The gambas and the pulpo were flavorful and tender, the tortilla espanola was fresh and was complimented nicely by arrugala. The desserts were unique and all three were delicious. Would definitely eat here again."
    Dined on 5/23/2013
  • "Intimate, creative food. The students aren't great waiters, so you'll wait a while. Don't come starving! But the food was fun, and the experience was a nice change from restaurants."
    Dined on 5/17/2013
  • "Food was OK, some dishes better than others, the lamb skewers were tough and gristly.. The dessert was a disaster and they should not have served it at all."
    Dined on 5/17/2013
  • "This is always a fun place to go with friends, It is a "local gem". I wish it was open even more however."
    Dined on 5/15/2013
  • "Diners should understand that the rotation of culinary arts students results in varying food preparation and service but the effort is good, fun and interesting. The May tapas menu took some explaining for us but the variety of small plates included some very good innovations and only the tortilla espanola was a burnt disappointment. We brought a bottle of wine for dinner which was a good idea because it took a long time to bring a bottle that we ordered from the menu."
    Dined on 5/1/2013
  • "This is a hidden Gem in our small community of Aptos. The students do an outstanding job with food and service. The only regret is that it is not open year round. I give Pino Alto Restaurant on OUTSTANDING rating, and look forward to what the students are cooking up next. Bon Appetite!"
    Dined on 4/26/2013
  • "Pino Alto is the nicest restaurant we've dined at in a long long time. Perfect setting; Sesnon House is magnificent. Our waiter, Matt, was charming. The nettle soup delicious, the lamb rib chops supreme. Can't offer enough compliments to the chef and staff. We'll certainly return. Would like to try the small plates on the Terrace. Maybe next week. Sunday Brunch would be a real asset as would Saturday night. Keep up the outstanding work. Thank you. Kathy Mann"
    Dined on 4/17/2013
  • "This is an absolute fabulous place to have dinner when you are not in a hurry. You have to go understanding this is a college and everyone is learning so the pace is slow and can take 2-3 hours to complete your meal. It is a wonderful place to go if you are catching up with an old friend or are looking for a leisurely dinner. They certainly don't rush you and you are free to linger and talk and take as much time as you like eating your dinner. The night I went the food was absolutely fantastic. From the fresh baked bread to the avacado gelatto everything was delicious. The amazing part of the whole thing is you get this fantastic dinner for half what a "real" restaurant would cost. And they don't have a corkage fee! Too good to be true"
    Dined on 4/17/2013