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Buona Tavola - San Luis Obispo

4.3
377 reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
Perfect For:
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Great for Outdoor Dining
  • Special Occasion

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About

Buona Tavola in San Luis Obispo, California is an Italian restaurant that specializes in serving Northern Italian cuisine. The restaurant features casual dining in a fine dining atmosphere and is family friendly.

Buona Tavola in San Luis Obispo serves lunch five days a week and dinner seven days a week and offers a separate gluten-free menu. Lunch at the restaurant features salads, soups and entrées, including chicken fettuccine, stuffed ravioli and pumpkin stuffed tortellini. Dinner at Buona Tavola in San Luis Obispo features a variety of appetizers, salads, soups and entrées. Entrée selections include spaghetti, gnocchi and grilled flat iron steak.

Dining Style
Fine Dining
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Cuisines
Italian, European
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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
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Phone number
(805) 545-8000
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Antonio Varia
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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.
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Private party contact
Keilah Smith: (805) 545-8000
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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.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Santa Rosa St.
Additional
Beer, Corkage Fee, Delivery, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 377 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.3based on all time ratings
4.4
food
4.4
service
4.2
ambience
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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5.0Dined on December 31, 2014

The wait staff was great and the food beyond my expectations. I've eaten here before for special occasions and never been disappointed. This time they out did themselves. Clearly I will be returning

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4.0Dined on December 27, 2014

Italian food is not usually our first choice, but this restaurant was a cut above the normal. Food was well prepared and the menu offered interesting interpretations of standard fare. We were very pleased.

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5.0Dined on December 14, 2014

Great dinner, some of the best service in the entire county. It's a little pricey, but worth it if you're looking for something special. We spent $70 on a an appetizer, dinner, and dessert for two and were absolutely stuffed afterward. Incredible place. Our server, Tim, was awesome.

One note is that the back patio gets pretty cold at night.

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5.0Dined on December 4, 2014

Reservations were easily made. My girlfriend and I really enjoyed the back patio seating, we were very comfortable and warm thanks to plenty of (optional) outdoor heaters. Service was excellent. Our waiter's knowledge of the menu really helped us to make the best selections. The dishes came out in good time and we found the meal to be very satisfying. We sa ores every bite. It was a very romantic end for my girlfriend's birthday. Another big thank you to the staff and we will be back to try more off the menu.

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5.0Dined on November 28, 2014

Amazing service, amazing food! First time in SLO with my boyfriend and we definitely don't regret going here.

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5.0Dined on November 28, 2014

Went for my husband's birthday and were extremely happy with the food and our waiters. They were very entertaining, keeping us laughing and providing exceptional service. All of us were glad to experience this gem of a restaurant. Oh, and the dessert was to die for. The birthday boy got a complementary molton lava chocolate cake with raspberry sauce ( not called that, but forgot the name). A cake by any other name is just as good. Gotta try this and we will be back.

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5.0Dined on November 22, 2014

I enjoyed the outdoor patio. The Service was great and the food fantastic. I highly recommend this restaurant and look forward to returning soon

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5.0Dined on November 15, 2014

It would be hard to ask for more from a restaurant. The service was excellent and friendly and the food was terrific. The polenta secondi was incredible and trout main the best I have experienced in recent memory. Considering the service and the quality of the food, the pricing is acceptable.

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5.0Dined on November 14, 2014

my wife thought it was the best Italian food she has had outside of Italy.

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5.0Dined on November 11, 2014

Driving south on 101 searching for good spots for a late lunch in SLO. Went to Buona Tavola based on reviews. I had the parpadelle and my wife had linguine vongole. Both were spectacular!!
Linguine was very generous with the clams, which along with the sauce, made this dish one of the best we've ever had. Will definitely seek this place out next time we are anywhere in the area.

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5.0Dined on November 9, 2014

We have never been disappointed when we dine here. SLO is one of our favorite places to visit and we always dine here. From the appetizers to dessert we enjoyed everything. Service was great.

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5.0Dined on November 7, 2014

The risotto I had with seafood is the best I've ever had, and I've had a lot. Service was incredible and prices were reasonable.

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5.0Dined on November 3, 2014

Food was superb, fresh and delicious. Our server Bernecia, was very knowledable, regarding the food and wine selections. A wonderful evening.

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5.0Dined on October 22, 2014

We have always had a lovely dining experience at this established restaurant in downtown San Luis Obispo. The food is fresh, well prepared, nicely presented and excellent. Wine served is excellent, as well, and fair prices. The service is personalized and efficient. Highly recommended.

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2.0Dined on October 19, 2014

Our bill was 90 for 2 pasta dishes and 1 salad. My pasta was awful, the fettuccine was incredibly dense. The meat sauce was okay but definitely not appealing. My boyfriend got the seafood pasta, I didn't try it but I could smell the fishiness. I wouldn't go back

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5.0Dined on October 14, 2014

I've been here at least a dozen times. I've never had a bad meal and I've never had a poor experience with staff. Can't go wrong.

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5.0Dined on October 4, 2014

Everything we ordered was fantastic. Generous portions. 6 of us able to share an appetizer, 2 salads and an entrée each. Highly recommend the eggplant pasta (tagliatorini?). Make sure you get a reservation in advance and ask to be seated on the back terrace/garden. Candle placed on dessert for our daughters bday (requested when I made open table reservation a week before we dined!).

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2.0Dined on September 26, 2014

We set reservations a week in advance for our anniversary. The hostess was sweet and sat us, but we never got greeted by our server. For 20 minutes we sat there waiting to order. 2 tables were seated AFTER us and were already served their drinks and appetizers. We are so disappointed that we left before ordering. It ruined our experience and we won't be back.

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5.0Dined on September 24, 2014

The service was great and friendly. Our waiter, Joey, was friendly and professional. Steven the bus-boy should get prompted, but then they would have to higher two or three more people.
The food was outstanding, very fresh, with a wide selection.

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4.0Dined on September 21, 2014

We arrived first, as the opened at 5:30 on Sundays. And a few other tables filled during the first half hour.
All was well, the food excellent and after a couple of hours of walking and shopping preceding the meal a
good time to retire home.

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5.0Dined on September 19, 2014

GREAT restaurant whose true glory is hidden behind a small front-facing cafe area. The large main patio dining area is tucked behind the front and therefore you'd never know it was there! Hanging lights, old grand trees, and an overhead partial tent make for a wonderful ambiance for any occasion. Would definitely reccommend to anyone visiting slo looking for wonderful handcrafted cuisine and an overall great experience. Make sure to request the patio for reservations, you don't want to miss it.

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5.0Dined on September 19, 2014

For lunch, 3 of us had the same dish: Tortelloni di zucca alla salvia e mascarpone. What a difference home made pasta makes! Couldn't have been better. 2 had the soup of the day, which they also loved. 1 had the Rose wine though, and said it was awful. We were to full for dessert, but perhaps next time!

The service was very nice and attentive enough. The setting in the patio is lovely and quaint, with soft music playing in the background.

Will definitely go back!

Nance (from Saratoga, CA)

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5.0Dined on September 15, 2014

Best dinner I have ever had in SLO. The food was rich and delicious, and even a basic pasta with basic tomato sauce tasted out of this world. The service was incredible as well...I even thought I was becoming friends with my waiter! Not to mention how beautiful the dining area was outside, surrounded by fairy lights. I can't wait to go back!

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5.0Dined on August 29, 2014

Sitting on the patio was reminiscent of summer in Italy! Everything was wonderful. Highly recommended.

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2.0Dined on August 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.

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4.0Dined on August 23, 2014

Food was great, unusual but good. Made a reservation online, there is no place to ask for inside or outside dining.

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5.0Dined on August 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!

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5.0Dined on August 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.

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3.0Dined on August 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.

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4.0Dined on August 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.

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5.0Dined on August 7, 2014

I have been going to this restaurant for years and am never disappointed. Excellent across the board!!!!!!

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1.0Dined on August 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

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4.0Dined on August 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.

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5.0Dined on July 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.

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4.0Dined on July 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.

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4.0Dined on July 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!

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5.0Dined on July 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!

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5.0Dined on July 14, 2014

If you like Italian food, you will be happy at Buona Tavola.

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5.0Dined on July 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.

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5.0Dined on July 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!

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