While on a recent Pacific Coast Highway road trip, my family and I stopped in the small village of Cambria to refuel and grab lunch. I was not expecting this little gem of a town along the Central California coast.
Cambria has a very laid-back vibe, encouraging a stroll through town to unpeel the local scene. We found lots of little boutiques, quaint inns, art galleries, cafes and restaurant options.
Based on a local’s recommendation, we decided to lunch at the Café on Bridge Street and had what turned out to be the most savory and appealing-to-the-senses lunch of the entire trip. If you’re ever in Cambria, I suggest giving this place a chance. You won’t be disappointed.
The specialty lunch restaurant aptly named the Café on Bridge Street—simply the Café on the building’s sign—is located a few blocks off Main Street. Surrounded by a tree-lined white picket fence, it’s in a quaint little house with limited parking on the premises. Street parking is available.
The small, antique-filled space has a very relaxed ambiance. There is funky mix/match Victorian-style furniture in the interior and vintage wrought iron patio seating in both the front and back yards.
We entered through the main door and headed down a narrow hallway leading toward a counter with a vending machine next to it. Menu items are handwritten on tiny framed menu boards above the counter where we placed our order. There was a line, but it moved rather quickly. We paid and found a table indoor.
Our order was then bought to us in paper-lined plastic baskets shortly after. Hint: Grab a seat on the back patio if possible. It’s a relaxing oasis, perfectly shaded and inviting with plants and decor everywhere. There was no available outdoor seating when we were there, but I scoped the outdoors and it was like being at home in your own backyard.
The relaxed atmosphere and rustic ambiance are amplified by the quality and flavors of the food. No over-the-top frills or fuss here, but rather mouth-watering meals prepared from scratch with fresh, locally sourced produce and ingredients to please just about any palate.
The hot pastrami sandwich reigns supreme, but you can’t really go wrong here. The portions are generous and enticing: choices ranging from massive organic, grass-fed beef burgers, hearty homemade soups, ridiculously large and colorful salads to towering specialty sandwiches, with multiple appetizing vegetarian options.
I opted for the California burger, made with organic, grass-fed beef topped with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, mayo and mustard on a brioche bun.
Our other order, the Cordon beef burger, was also an organic, grass-fed beef burger topped with ham, Swiss cheese, sautéed mushrooms, tomatoes, pickle, mayo and Dijon mustard served on toasted sourdough.
Both burgers were huge, tender, juicy and full of flavor, with the side of chips and pickle adding a nice crunch. The Café also has a great selection of beverages with an emphasis on local beers, wines and ciders.
If you find yourself in the area, the perfect blend of local flavor, service, atmosphere, generous sharing portions and fresh, quality ingredients makes Café on Bridge Street a not-to-be-missed lunch stop in Cambria.
Location: 4286 Bridge Street, Cambria, CA 93428
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday; 11am – 4pm