After traveling the area for over a decade, we are very familiar with the central coast of California and the explosion of world-class wines and gastronomic delights in Paso Robles. Highway 46 can be quite a beautiful drive through cattle ranches, farms, and vineyards, the latter of which act as a beacon guiding visitors to one of California’s hottest destinations.
Paso Robles is fast on the way to becoming a premier tourist destination for oenophiles and culinary aficionados, and it now has a world-class resort by Ayers Resorts. Allegretto is perfectly located in Paso Robles Wine Country on 20 acres of vineyards and olive and fruit trees. When you arrive on property, the European and Mediterranean atmosphere makes you forget you’re in California, as the surroundings seem more like a quaint European estate. Walking the property, why not take some time to lounge with a lovely glass of wine in the Tuscan style courtyard? After a fun day of wine tasting in the area, sit back and relax in your own private poolside cabana or visit the spa and experience their Chära wellness program.
Accommodations at Allegretto rival any resort we have stayed in for quite some time. The 171 guestrooms and suites provide a perfect respite from the day with a classic European flair. We opened our door to old world luxury at its finest. Our eyes were immediately drawn upward to 14-foot-tall vaulted ceilings and our private patio that opened out to a lovely lush green garden. The Allegretto “Dream Sleeper” pillow-top mattresses with high-count linens, plush bamboo towels, robes, and slippers pampered us to no end. After feeling rejuvenated, set out and tour global art and antiques and enjoy the French-inspired abbey.
Paso Robles now has a plethora of fantastic dining venues to explore, however, when staying at Allegretto, your exploration will not expand very far. Cello Ristorante and Bar is right up there with the region’s best, and no matter how casual or dressed up you choose to be, you will certainly feel comfortable with excellent farm to fork dining.
Start off at Cello’s bar and enjoy a very nice selection of handcrafted cocktails created by mixologist Alexandra Pellot and Andrew Brune. The Rye Gold & Raw is a soothing combination of Re:Find Rye, raw sugar cube, bitters, grapefruit peel, and edible gold. If you are in a wine mood, sample Allegretto’s private label Viognier, Zinfandel, Tannat, and Cabernet Sauvignon ,or one of the many fine wines on their impressive list. In addition to excellent cocktails and wine, Cello has a fine selection of artisanal draft beers that should not be left untested.
After enjoying a spectacular libation of your choice, take your seat in Cello’s beautiful restaurant. Chef Eric Olson’s rustic Mediterranean menu fits right in with the ambiance of the resort. Every dish is carefully created using fresh local ingredients sourced from regional farmers, ranchers, and purveyors daily. In fact, chef Olsen recently spent three years studying sustainable cuisine, superfoods, and learning the art of forging. All of these skills can be tasted with every bite of his creative cuisine, all in concert with his staff and local sources that he knows by name.
Start off your experience with the bigeye tuna carpaccio with red onion and capers to get your palate warmed up. Or how about salad with locally sourced kale, Edna’s Bakery rye croutons, aged coco-dusted jack cheese, and cracked pepper for a fresh taste of the local terroir? Diners also have a choice of three flatbreads: margarita, 100% natural chicken, and mushroom — all of which are excellent.
Thankfully, chef Olson brought out his crab spaghetti for us to enjoy. This marriage of snow crab claws, sliced jalapeño, minced scallion, lemon, and Allegretto Viognier butter had our taste buds jumping with delight. Locally foraged mushrooms with eggplant, shallots, leeks, garlic, Italian parsley, and shaved truffle cheese combined in one of the best risottos we have had in quite some time. Ask about the daily seafood special; more than likely your dish was swimming that very morning.
For the carnivores, try the oak-grilled 10-ounce sirloin or the all-natural beef filet with creamy garlic mashed potatoes. No matter what you crave on your visit, anything on the menu will bring a smile to your face and satisfy any member of your party.
After dinner, enjoy a quiet moment under the stars on the patio and reflect on this rare experience where most everything that was enjoyed was likely sourced less than two hours away that day. Allegretto is a true resort in every sense of the word and long overdue in the region. One day is certainly not enough to enjoy the region, the resort, and all it has to offer. Take our advice and book a weekend to really indulge yourself in the area.