Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
About Pino Alto Restaurant - Cabrillo College
Spring Semester 2016 is under way: The last week for Spring 2016 is May 12 & 13.
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.
Aptos, CA 95003
American, Contemporary American
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
Cabrillo Colleg Drive
$30 and under
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.
Banquet, Bar Dining, BYO Liquor, BYO Wine, Fireplace, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Pino Alto Restaurant - Cabrillo College Ratings and Reviews
The food was fantastic. Fresh, flavorful, and creative dishes. The service was good but pretty slow. They seemed understaffed. It's so cool that the students make and serve all the food. You can detect their pride in their work. I would definitely go here again and would recommend it to others as well.
Pino Alto is located inside a lovely historical mansion on the Cabrillo College campus. Easy directions to find it and a big parking lot.
Servers and chefs are students at the culinary school. The food, every bite, was fantastic. Would love to go again as they change the menus. Service is not perfect, but they try very hard which is to be commended. Knowing that these people are "in training", you will come to respect their hard work quickly and enjoy the evening.
Kudos to everyone at Pino Alto. Highly recommend sitting outside on the patio if the weather permits.
I've eaten dinner here 3 times now, once many years ago and 2 times in the last 8 months. Every meal has been delicious and a great value plus the menu was totally different each time.
Here is a review of my most recent dinner. Booking a reservation on Open Table was easy. At the beginning of the meal the server brought us an amuse-bouche and some lovely bread and butter. I had a light salad to start and my companions had curried zucchini soup. The soup was fantastic, I wish I had ordered it instead of the salad, however the salad was light and refreshing. Next was a yummy sorbet palate cleanser. Then, onto the entrees, two of us had the filet mignon and one had the pork belly. All 3 of us loved the food and it was beautifully presented. At the end we shared one order of dessert, a panna cotta infused with flowers, and it was very good.
Everything was delicious and the pace was low key, we ended up spending 3 hours there chatting and dining and not once were we pressured to leave so they could turn the table. I really appreciate that!
AND you can BYOB with no corkage fee!
We always enjoy coming to Pino Alto and chatting with the students. Our last visit was especially memorable. The handmade gnocchi, pates, skirt steak and short ribs were creative delicious. The list of local wines and retail prices is very good. We never go home hungry. Wish the restaurant was open all year round!
This was the second time we've been to Pino Alto, and we enjoyed it a lot both times! Both times the food has been creative and delicious (also affordable for what you get). The setting is truly unique and very comfortable; we got to sit by a lovely fire both times. Our server the first time was absolutely wonderful, personable and experienced, and made sure we had everything we needed. The second time our server was pleasant, but our entrees did not come out at the same time (it was a wine makers dinner and I had the vegetarian option, while my 3 friends all chose the meat option). All in all, it's a great deal and I'm so happy we have this wonderful restaurant with the Cabrillo College culinary students working there!
Have been a patron of this Cabrillo College culinary class restaurant for years. Historic home setting. Somewhat classy environment. Very good food. Good locally available wines at retail (read:not marked up) so not a need to bring your own bottle (besides, their wine sales support key restaurant attributes). Reasonable prices, though do not expect to walk away 'full' as the servings are more focused on quality over quantity. My only wish is that full meals would have been available instead of many tapas-style small plated items.
After 31 years coming to Sesnon House for dinner and a few lunches, I was surprised to see market prices. However, it's worth it once in a while. Server is probably a more confident chef than waiter. :) Don't recall his name. He did his job but seemed to wish he were elsewhere.
My husband and I enjoyed a really great meal the other night at Pino Alto restaurant by the advanced culinary students. All the dishes we had were beautifully plated and tasty as well. The fish entree was especially good. The service was good and we enjoyed the little "extra" dishes that were provided. Very affordable wine list. We will definitely be going back!
This was the beginning of the semester at Pino Alto, where the culinary students, under the watchful eye of an experienced chef, cook, bake, serve, and host at the beautiful, historic Sesnon House. The food is always delicious, the setting is very pretty, the service is wonderful, and the prices are very reasonable for the high end food they serve. The menu changes on a monthly basis, and I would recommend checking out as many of their menus at possible!
These food service people do a great job as they are learning the trade at Cabrillo College. The menu is constantly changing and quite innovative. The wait staff is not always perfect but they are students, and learning. Glad to support them and encourage them. I want this program to continue.
The web site said Scallops. No Scallops. The tapas were tasty. Chicken something was excellent. Bread soo good. The salad with oranges just ok. Needed more fruit flavor and zip In the dressing. Chocolate something cake was dry. The service, while Marypolite was very uneven with a few very long waits.The wine suggested by the very lovely chef / waitress was perfect. Very much enjoyed talking with the crew.
We decided to sit outside and it was nice for a while but after it got a bit cold we asked the waiter to move the heater closer to us. He said he would but he forgot and we needed to remind him. Then once it was much colder I asked to move inside and the host was acommodating in reseating us. The appetizer arrived and it was good but themain course took a long time to come. My salmon had a charcoal flavor to it alhtough it was moist. Since we moved inside our waiter seemed to forget about us at that point and we had to start asking for things like the box and the bill. It took a while for that all to come and we were antsy to leave. So between the time it took for the main course to arrive and then the bill were must have been there for over 2 and a half hours! I would come back for lunch as I had a good experience when I came before. The dinner was also quite pricey. I'm not sure if I would come back for dinner.
Our first time at Pino Alto and we will be back. We had a wonderful dinner and look forward to trying lunch. Our server was friendly and had a fun personality. We had a 6pm reservation and we were seated on time. By the time we finished dinner all tables were occupied. The restaurant is small so a reservation is a must. We hope you enjoy your dinner as much as we did.
Food was mediocre, overcook and not well presented. Waiter was disinterested, hands in pocket ,had no idea how to open a wine bottle. Comment card at end of night was not offered. Supervisor/instructor did not circulate as normal. Price was excessive for occasion. We are frequent diners here , know that it is a student project and make allowances, but may not come back.
We have had lunch at Pino alto (indoor) before. This was our first dinner (patio). Can't go wrong either way. Food was very well done and nicely presented. Service was very professional. We enjoyed talking to everyone who waited on us. The location is very relaxing.
We took friends from out of town to Pino Alto as we have generally had great food and decent service and the fact that it is staffed by the students and staff of the Culinary School at Cabrillo is an attraction. We expect that the service will be a bit off as the students are learning the trade and are probably focused more on cooking than customer interaction. This time though, the service was just terrible. We ordered a bottle of wine for the four of us. The server managed to pour everyone a glass but when she came around to top of the glasses she just refilled three and left the fourth one with an ounce or two.. She had no idea how rude that was. She also brought the wrong soup/salad orders. All of the entres were barely warm. Not very appetizing. Maybe it was the start of a new class so they weren't at their peak. We will try them again, but I will find out when they are near graduating with the hope that the food and service will be up to par.
Seafood bouillabaisse was tepid in temperature and a bit thin on broth richness and flavor. Accompany toasts nice texture, but heavy on the tomato based squirt topping. Would not order again because of the disappointing broth- seafood was a bit raw. Appetizers were good on a previous visit: fig and goat cheese and crab stuffed shrimp flavorful and well presented. Amuse bouche and lime sorbet pallet refresher very nice additions. Enjoyed the sparkling wine from Argentina, pleasantly dry and very well priced. Dinner partner's hamburger did not have much seasoning, and his fries were not crisp. I ordered the same dish 2 weeks ago and it was flavorful and my fries were crisp.
Service was attentive, though remind servers not to pick up plates until diners have fork and knife at 4 o'clock position, had to grab my plate back.
Hope director of menu develops some new entrees and menu items. Will return.
It's such a pleasure to see such great enthusiasm among aspiring chefs at the Pino Alto Restaurant. Our waitress was personal and attentive. There seemed to be an older crowd this time; music was suited toward that age. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. We had a great time! The pollo al mattone and vegetarian fettucine were outstanding....fresh, local ingredients... as were our green salads (with fried goat cheese) and dessert (flourless torte with hazelnut ice cream). All dishes were cooked to perfection and beautifully presented. This has been consistent with all our visits to the Pino Alto Restaurant over the years. Great neighborhood gem!
Pino Alto is a great opportunity to experience great food at a reasonable price. There is even a decent selection of wine, but if you bring your own there is no corkage fee. The servings are plenty and you will not go away hungry. The night we were there the some was a cream of broccoli that was delicious.
The students are learning not only the art of cooking but get real world experience as servers and in dealing with the public.
The only reason for four stars and not five is my own pet peeve. The student serving us had difficulty with opening our wine bottle. For some reason here, and in some other restaurants, the task of opening wine is not taught. It is not that hard, and done correctly and cleanly can enhance the total dining experience. When mishandled it dampens the experience.
Otherwise, this is a place I recommend and we will return, hopefully often.
Did not know what to expect. Happened to be tapas night, what a treat! Wanted to try more than we could eat. Everything was great but have to say the bread got my #1 vote. Everything had a little above and beyond in taste and presentation. Can't wait to go back - wish it was year round.
As a long time supporter of this student-staffed educational restaurant connected to Cabrillo College, over the years I've seen steady improvement in the training of the students, and the sophistication and presentation of the foods offered. However we were very surprised and impressed with the latest menu we experienced at our last visit. The dishes, as always, were inventive and delicious - even more inventive than in previous visits, actually. But the astonishing plating arrangements were breathtaking, so well presented that we were taking photos of every dish. The service was excellent as well.
Appetizers - Seared scallops on a tart guacamole sauce with citrus confit; Raw tuna with orange, cilantro, lime and mint on a base of curried avocado. Wonderful.
Salad was a roasted heirloom beet with arugula and a light roasted garlic vinaigrette. Fresh and lovely.
Main plates - Lobster ravioli with lobster pieces and a lovely sauce americaine, opulent and addicting. But the lamb chops, presented with blueberry-topped dabs of yogurt and a soil of kalamata olive/juniper berry, garnished with pressed cucumber strips - beautifully presented and just fabulous, the soil worked as a sauce for the perfectly cooked lamb, an incredible and memorable combination.
Desserts - Again, very well conceptualized and plated, with lots of tiny fresh violets, truly lovely and delicious. Beignets dusted with sugar and vanilla-citrus, chocolate and salted caramel dipping sauces; or a nice chocolate - stout beer cake stuffed with Chantilly cream with a side of awesome stout ice cream - if it sounds odd, let me tell you that the stout beer worked very well in the dishes.
In summary: Highly recommended. Excellent fine dining, and considering that these are students at the culinary college, I'm awe-struck at the quality of the experience. NOTE: The menu changes frequently, so if you see something interesting don't hesitate. You might miss out.
Very well done everyone!
It was clear the cooks and staff were learning but overall it was a tasty elegant pleasant dinner.
The opening taste was the best Brussel sprout I've had without bacon. Leek soup was good to the last drop. Bread was perfect but just bread. Hubby didn't like salad because is bitter greens and beats but I liked it. Cilantro lime sorbet was too intense. We both enjoyed our main course.
Pino Alto is the best kept secret in Santa Cruz County.
The Restaurant is operated by the Cabrillo College Culinary department.
Preparation includes some foods acquired from Cabrillo's Horticulture department.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a 5 Star Restaurant which is very affordable.
Open for Lunch and Dinner, College specific dates.
Don't be fooled by the small window for seating times, you always are
given plenty of time to dine.
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