At this writing, there are six restaurants on Canyon Road. Beginning at the base of Canyon are Café des Artistes and Caffe Greco –both offering patio and indoor seating. Each has its fans with Café des Artistes lauded for its savory sandwiches and owner hospitality and Caffe Greco attracting raves for its Salsa and Green Chile Cheeseburger.
Just before the junction of Gormley Lane, in what was once the main house of the McComb Compound, is The Compound Restaurant, a classic destination for fine dining since the sixties.
The Compound offers a seasonally varied menu. Don’t miss the polenta with wild mushrooms. The back courtyard is charming summer venue with its flowers and fountain. The lively yet intimate bar inspires pop up parties between visitors. Reservations are recommended, even off-season.
Geronimo, located at 724 Canyon Road in the Rafael Borrego House, built in 1756, is acclaimed for its consistent quality. Elegant dining rooms, beautifully balanced flavors and smooth service make for an exceptional experience. The intimate bar is a pleasant refuge for quiet conversation.
In the 800 block, are two distinct, popular options: The Teahouse offers a small, but delightful menu for breakfast and lunch. Their “oatmeal” –a combination of black sticky rice, steel cut oats, and coconut milk– is heavenly even without the added fruit. I love the fresh, bright flavor of the Confetti Eggs. There are plenty of top notch salads, panini, quality coffee and, of course, a range of delicious teas worth exploring.
Just across the street is El Farol restaurant, cantina, music venue and dance stage. In the eighties, the old cantina, with its rough wood floor and wrapping of murals, was one of the few places you could count on to hear live music. The walls of this fun and funky cultural womb would have much to tell. Today the cantina still hops with music, and in summers, there’s flamenco in the courtyard. Or you can just enjoy the savory small plates or entrees in the restaurant, housed in a rambling old home, or on the portal which offers streetside seating for the action on Canyon Road.
Take this as a rough sketch of the options. If you like, what you hear, dig deeper. All of these dining spots merit further exploration.