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

Pino Alto Restaurant - Cabrillo College

  • 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.
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Pino Alto Restaurant - Cabrillo College reviews from OpenTable diners
10 reviews since July 29, 2014
Overall Rating4.3
  • Food4.3
    Service4.4
  • Ambiance4.1
    Noise LevelModerate
100% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (7)special occasion (5)great for outdoor dining (4)neighborhood gem (4)romantic (4)good for groups (3)scenic view (2)great for lunch (1)Show More
  • Tapa2lover
    Dined on 11/19/2014
    The tapas were decent but not authentic. There was alot of variation in the quality...the garlic shrimp was very good, while the smoked chicken and the bread and tomato salad were pretty bad...the rest in between.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Our culinary future is safe!!
    PapaYogiVIP
    Dined on 10/31/2014
    I have to give this restaurant 5 stars. The effort made by the culinary students to make our dining experience memorable was outstanding. I hope they can continue this enthusiasm when they enter the culinary workforce. The food and presentation was great, and I was amazed at the depth of knowledge our waiter had in explaining each dish. We will be back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Refreshing find
    edgypenn
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    Good marks on all points.mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm good
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Dressuptodine
    Dined on 10/23/2014
    We always have a fine time here. It is great to have dinner among such committed students. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent Food & Service
    JohnnyB
    Dined on 10/23/2014
    This is student run, faculty led dining in a lovely old home called the Sesnon house that is part of Cabrillo College. The first couple of nights of a new semester expect some slowness in the service as students learn the ropes. They have a wine list -- all donated wines from local wineries but you are welcome to bring your own. There is no corkage fee but I strongly recommend you add an extra $10 to your tip as if there was one. Note they are open only W-Th-F for dinner but every week day for lunch.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Adventure
    Topofourlist
    Dined on 9/25/2014
    Our Open Table reservation did not reach the hostess for some reason. She was still able to seat us as there was ample room. The front of the house staff was a bit tenuous and very green. However, they were gracious and eager to try. The menu was nicely diverse. The amuse bouche was a supreme bite; salad, and soup fresh with greens from the Horticulture dept. Our entrees were delicious but could have done with a little less cooking time for the pork loin and a little more salt on the chicken. Over all, a delightful experience and one we shall definitely repeat.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Top quality food-Best price ever
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    Served /prepared by student chefs who are foodies, this gem is the most reasonably priced spot. 5 courses served for the low price of a good entrée. Bring your own wine or order from their wine list. No corkage fee. This will be a weekly dinner for us and friends. Older style dining room in historic house.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 3 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 29, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.7
    • Food4.7
    • Ambiance4.3
    • Service5
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 88 reviews are from the Pino Alto Restaurant - Cabrillo College reviews archive.
  • Steve Wilburn
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 5/28/2014
    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 !
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Tapas!
    lovetoeat
    Dined on 5/8/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Tapa's night was fun!
    Scootermom
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great
    Alex
    Dined on 5/1/2014
    Good food, great service. Would recommend. The lights were a bit high for my raste.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A real treat
    Disappointed
    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.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Great for Outdoor Dining, Great for Lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good food by student staff.
    Sugar8Spice
    Dined on 4/30/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    Kid-Friendly, Good for Groups, Great for Outdoor Dining, Romantic, Scenic View, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent Tapas
    Lalu
    Dined on 4/25/2014
    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
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Romantic, special occasion, Scenic View, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • very hit and miss
    Tapa2lover
    Dined on 4/17/2014
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Top Drawer Dining at Cabrillo Coll
    YummyTummy
    Dined on 3/28/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Local restaurant treasure
    lovetoeat
    Dined on 3/20/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Bon bon apetit
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 3/12/2014
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Friday Night
    Barbara
    Dined on 3/7/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Front of the house
    Mimi
    Dined on 2/26/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Just the ticket!
    Dinner4two
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent meal at excellent price.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great valentine's dinner
    Erin
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    enjoyed great service, food and ambience (fire going).
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fun time with student run dining
    SatisfiedKauboi
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Support your local future chefs!
    chefany
    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!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • College Course
    Robert
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Special experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 2/13/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The best deal in town!
    Susan
    Dined on 2/12/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • good food in small portions
    wilguy
    Dined on 12/4/2013
    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)
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food course!
    DiscerningDiner
    Dined on 11/15/2013
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Trip to Spain
    HappyFoodie
    Dined on 11/13/2013
    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!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, neighborhood gem, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • HEIDI'S REVIEW
    HEIDI
    Dined on 11/7/2013
    PINO ALTO RESTAURANT IS A NEIGHBORHOOD GEM. WONDERFUL FOOD, WONDERFUL SERVICE. THE STUDENTS REALLY WANT TO MAKE YOUR DINNING EXPERIENCE A POSTITIVE ONE. MY SALMON WAS COOKED TO PREFECTION. THE WINES ARE FROM LOCAL SANTA CRUZ WINERIES. I GIVE THIS RESTAURANT AN A +.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Food! Enthusiastic staff!
    melisma4U
    Dined on 10/25/2013
    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
    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.
  • Beer Makers Dinner - So Tasty
    peasgal
    Dined on 10/11/2013
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very good dinner
    jeanl
    Dined on 10/2/2013
    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.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • This was a great experience
    KumaKi
    Dined on 9/27/2013
    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!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • all is good, but it is a bit
    dvt1
    Dined on 9/19/2013
    all is good, but it is a bit expensive, so i can not come too often. food and service was great.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice experience
    Time2eat
    Dined on 5/31/2013
    Happy to support our local culinary academy. Food very good with appropriate food portions. Unique salads. Nice wine pairings. Service friendly and attentive.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A very nice time
    Dressuptodine
    Dined on 5/23/2013
    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!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good Food!
    DocPhun
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.