Nautical Cowboy at the Carlton Hotel

3.6
174 Reviews
$31 to $50
Steakhouse
We specialize in Santa Maria Style BBQ - tri tip, chicken, pork ribs, beef ribs - all cooked over red oak (or slow smoked depending on the cut). Come and enjoy fantastic BBQ in a spacious environment (outdoor seating available too).

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
Physical Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Distancing maintained in common areas
  • Extra space between tables
Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
What 174 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.6based on recent ratings
3.5
food
4.1
service
3.9
ambience
3.4
value
Noise · Moderate
progress_bar_value foreground of progress bar
progress_bar_background background of progress bar
progress_bar_value foreground of progress bar
progress_bar_background background of progress bar
progress_bar_value foreground of progress bar
progress_bar_background background of progress bar
progress_bar_value foreground of progress bar
progress_bar_background background of progress bar
progress_bar_value foreground of progress bar
progress_bar_background background of progress bar
Sort by
Filters
PE
PasoEd
Central Coast
35 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall3food3service5ambience4

Party of 5, dining on a Wednesday evening at 5:45pm. I so wanted this to be a great experience, having dined there in the past and loving the ambiance. While I felt our server Dillon did a great job dealing with a kitchen that let him down, there were several hiccups. The SLO Restaurant month menu published did not jive with the one presented at the table. The salmon entre was not available, and scallops were the substitute. Not an option for those with shellfish allergies. One of our party unfortunately arrived 15 minutes late, and the 1st course he ordered took almost 30 minutes to arrive (3 oysters on the half shell). His entre took nearly 45 minutes after that. The steaks we ordered med-rare were all medium to medium-well, and appeared to be cooked 90% on one side and flipped 10% on the other. Topping it all off, one of the dessert courses (Chocolate cake) was dry and fairly tasteless, and they were out of chocolate syrup for the ice cream sunday. Overall, a disappointing experience.

DB
DianeB
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2021
Overall3food1service3ambience3

New Years Eve Pre-fixe dinner. $70pp. Two of us had dinner at 7 pm. Service was very nice. We switched beer for champagne which was included. I give them a B for effort but our steaks were not well prepared. Don't trust the photos you see from restaurant. I had filet of Oscar and my husband had a ribeye. His was very fatty to a fault therefore presentation was terrible. It needed to be trimmed. It was warm at best. Came with potatoes.
My fillet was so undercooked when ordered MR that it was barely warm. Served with mashed potatoes topped with hidden crab and overcooked soggy asparagus. Béarnaise topped. It was very sloppy all around. Could have been a good entre with an experienced cook that could grill and plate the meal professionally. The ribeye was a loss... to bad. Included dessert: a bland cheese cake and a good apple crisp. Swiss Chalet in Santa Maria is incredible for steaks and fillet or chicken Oscar. Spend the $$ and go there.

LA
LizA
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2021
Overall5food3service5ambience5

Ham was a bit dry, prime rib was mostly fat, got about 5 bites out of it. All in all was good.

DB
DennisB
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Nice Christmas Eve dinner with family. Food was good & well presented in a nice atmosphere.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2021
Overall3food2service4ambience4

First time eating here, we were pretty disappointed in the food quality. All of our prime ribs were supposed to be medium rare but they were all well done.

l
larryr
1 review
Dined on December 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was a slow night, our waiter only had a few tables and was very attentive, but not too much. Every meal was excellent - stew, mushroom pasta, scallops and the chicken. We enjoy this place and look forward to next visit!

KE
KennethE
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on December 4, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Great venue. Wonderful food. Fried chicken was delicious. Highly recommended.

DW
DeniseW
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

This was a family evening, and we were pleased to have a nice dinner so close to home. Our waiter, Dylan, was excellent.

AP
ArtP
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a very nice Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone was very friendly!

S
Sunset
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall1food4service1ambience3

Prime Rib was excellent.
Waite staff seemed enthusiastic but completely untrained!
We finally just laughed about it, but we spent a lot of money that night, and truly expected good food and great service. That didn’t happen.

M
Mendozer9
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Wonderful Thanksgiving dinner! Everyone was so friendly and the food was delicious! Great little discovery. Thank you!!

DB
DonnaB
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience5

A very comfortable atmosphere and delicious meal. Will definitely go again.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2021
Overall4food2service4ambience4

Food wasn’t great as expected, tasted like a reheated or a day old bbq meat

DO
DavidO
Central Coast
6 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Service and food was wonderful. May have been the best prepared steak I've ever had in a restaurant. Including Harris Ranch and other well known places around the country. Nice list of appetizers and all we had were beautifully prepared. We were a bit disappointed that there was not a full liquor license in place.

TW
TracyW
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 5, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely room, food was divine!!

JS
JohnS
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2021
Overall3food3service5ambience4

Service was great. Drink selection was limited for this type of restaurant. Appetizer was not as described on menu. My steak was excellent, however my wife’s mixed plate was disappointing. The ribs were overcooked and neither the chicken or tri-tip were outstanding. Both of our vegetables were overcooked and an unidentifiable pile of brown and gray.

RH
vipRandyH
San Francisco
27 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2021
Overall4food5service3ambience4

Restaurant was busy with several big groups when we arrived for our reservation. We were seated almost immediately but it took a very long time for the waitress to get to our table and even ask us if we wanted any drinks.

In all fairness I think there was only one waitress for all the tables but maybe the manager should have started helping out so customers don't feel like they were forgotten.

We ended up ordering wine, appetizers, and dinner all at the same time so we wouldn't end up spending several hours there. The food was good, and served pretty quick, considering the long wait we had in the beginning.

Although the food was really good I am not sure I would make a special effort to return to this restaurant again

KR
vipKurtR
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and service!

G
Grillgiant
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 18, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Steaks and Prime rib were cooked to perfection. Oysters were deliciously fresh

JE
vipJonathanE
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on September 4, 2021
Overall2food2service2ambience4

Seemed promising with nice ambience but service was very slow. After waiting 45 minutes after ordering we were served very “OK” food. Specifically salmon which was good over “risotto” which was completely unseasoned. BBQ plate served with Tri-tip cooked well beyond well done. Finally kids meal served with a fruit salad which consisted of 2 slices of orange and 2 slices of apple. Overall restaurant seemed to be missing a few steps.

JM
JuaMcd
Central Coast
10 reviews
Dined on September 3, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Mel was wonderful as our waitress. Was so nice of Thomas the Chef to come to our table to ask how our food was. Food was excellent!

TM
TinaM
1 review
Dined on August 27, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience3

Service and food quality was very poor. We are locals and would not come back

CK
ClaireK
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on August 21, 2021
Overall3food4service2ambience4

The food was good, service left a bit to be desired. We had a new server... she did not clear the plates as courses progressed and had a difficult time with follow through. She admitted she was new at the job. Ambience was nice and enjoyable .

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on August 13, 2021
Overall3food1service3ambience3

The food was not very good. The kids beef rib was blood red undercooked, had to send it back, fried pickles were falling apart, the prime rib arrived looking like it had been microwaved cause it was brown all over them when you cut into it, it was pinkish red, and the rib eye was a bit chewy and outdated. Side veggie bowl was almost inedible. The people were nice and friendly but the food was just not good.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The recommendation came from the B&B we were staying at. Dinner was very good, the grilled artichoke was amazing! I don’t understand why bleu cheese salad dressing was ruined with herbs (not a good idea) but other than that the meal was great and the service excellent.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
6 reviews
Dined on July 15, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We celebrated a birthday. The food was excellent and so was the service.

G
Geetarman
Las Vegas
13 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience3

We were surprised to learn the restaurant did not have a full bar. Disappointing. Food was fine, ambiance was old and outdated feeling.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Hawaii
5 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2021
Overall1food1service4ambience5

Food was nothing to write home about. Nice atmosphere and waiter. But food was all over cooked and not too much flavorful

TO
TrudyO
1 review
Dined on June 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The steak was one of the best filet mignons that I have ever had. Perfectly cooked, and our waiter, Chris, was excellent. The presentation was excellent. Will definitely come back.

SM
SMBBQfan
Central Coast
9 reviews
Dined on November 26, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The only negative about our dinner at the Nautical Cowboy wasn't the restaurant's fault. Because of COVID-19 restrictions we had to sit outside on the sidewalk next to a fairly busy street. Not terrible, but the interior of the restaurant looked so nice, it was disappointing not to be able to eat inside.

J
Joan
1 review
Dined on October 31, 2020
Overall3food2service5ambience5

We had halibut. It was bland and a little dry. Not worth the expense.

TR
TerryR
1 review
Dined on October 30, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food and presentation were outstanding, not to mention the phenomenal service. Certainly the best upscale dining in all of Atascadero!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
27 reviews
Dined on October 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great food, which is locally sourced. A craftful chef who brings out the best in his ingredients and friendly attentive service! If you're traveling in the Central Coast make this a stop! Bon Appétit!

MS
MicheleS
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience4

It was a really great experience and we truly enjoyed our time together with the staff, they made it very accommodating with the restrictions of COVID 19.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
8 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a wonderful experience! Our server went above and beyond to accommodate our experience. Loved the social distancing layout making us safe.

JA
JoAnR
1 review
Dined on September 26, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a wonderful dinner. The food was scrumptious!

DT
vipDianeT
Los Angeles
14 reviews
Dined on September 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Chef Thomas’ newish menu is very creative, including Italian dumplings, barbecue and innovative pizzas. The service on the lovely patio is impeccable, led by Cheryl. And a big plus is it is so quiet we could hear each other.

S
Stuffimuffins
1 review
Dined on September 11, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience5

The rib eye and fillet steaks, artichoke dip, chicharron, coconut shrimp were amazing! Oh and the bread! So good. We also had the Korean fried chicken. The chicken was crispy and moist but not spicy at all. Drinks are meh. Order wine. The service was wonderful. The ambiance was great, I would suggest more lighting. Overall, I would definitely recommend for dinner.

CJ
vipChrisJ
Central Coast
35 reviews
Dined on August 14, 2020
Overall3food3service3ambience4

The ambience was wonderful in the open courtyard. It was a little weird to go up steps through the hotel to get there. Our waitress kept disappearing and another waitress kept helping us. The food was OK, not exceptional for the price. I ordered a Mohito, but it was ok.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Orange County
4 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Dining during COVID can be frustrating but this place does it right. The courtyard patio dining is wonderful. The service was outstanding and the playlist for the music was perfect. We had one of the best nights ever. The fried chicken was perfect and there were 4 big pieces on the plate along with some mashed potatoes, veggies and gravy. Super yummy. My husband had the pork and it was cooked perfectly in a tasty sauce. Our friends had the fish and we all tasted each others dinners since they were all so good. This will become one of our must stop dinner places. It was just an excellent dinner all the way around. Spend the time to make reservations and go. You will not regret it.

FAQs

You can order delivery directly from Nautical Cowboy at the Carlton Hotel using the Order Online button. Nautical Cowboy at the Carlton Hotel also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (805) 461-5100.

Nautical Cowboy at the Carlton Hotel is rated 3.6 stars by 174 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.