Elaine and Scott Harris
Ciopinot is a name that combines great food and of course fantastic Pinot Noirs. We were introduced to this fabulous seafood focused restaurant on a recent trip to the Central Coast. Our journey took us to the lovely college town of San Luis Obispo Calif., where we had the opportunity to meet with the affable Leonard Cohen, the owner of Ciopinot and learn about one of the best seafood grilles and oyster bars on the Central Coast.
Leonard is no stranger to the restaurant business, being a member of a local restaurateur family who’s notable Old Porte Restaurant, located at the end of the Avila Beach Pier, is one of the local’s favorite dining spots. Leonard, being an astute business man, saw the need to have a seafood focused restaurant in town, where the locals and tourists could easily come and dine on the bounty of the local catch of the day. The restaurant was a vision whose timing could not have been more embraced and enjoyed by locals and tourists alike, with many awards and kudos that now draw a large and consistent following.
According to Mr. Cohen, no one had a seafood oriented restaurant in San Luis and here they were with the ocean literally just miles from the front door. With that in mind, the Cohen’s decided to “marry” their love of local sustainable seafood and pair it with some of the best local and worldwide Pinot Noirs. The Cohen’s believe that Pinot is the perfect pairing for their cuisine of Cioppinos, oysters and sustainable locally sourced produce and seafood.
The wine list is an extensive offering of Pinots, but other varietals are available as well and if you have a great bottle from your cellar there is no corkage fee. We had the opportunity to try Kenneth Volk’s 2009 Pinot Noir, with an assortment of appetizers and signature dishes. Each dish was enhanced by the lovely cherry, smoke and cola notes of this lovely local Pinot Noir, which nicely intermingled with the spiciness of the dishes and offered a delicate balance to the texture of the fresh seafood.
Our friendly, knowledgeable server, Andrew, made our dining experience a memorable one with his expertise on local fare. As anyone in the restaurant business can attest to, the restaurant service can make or break even the best menu, and Andrew’s charming presence brought a new awareness and appreciation for the local fare and wine. Andrew truly is an asset to this charming local eatery. Leonard Cohen’s son, Ryan, the general manager, in keeping with the family restaurant legacy, was on hand to make sure everything was running smoothly as dinner was in full service. With a superb staff and incredible seafood, we can only envision continued success for Ciopinot. For more information go to www.Ciopinot.com.