Alila Ventana Big Sur Smokehouse, a building steeped in history and newly renovated to offer southern BBQ.
Yesterday we checked out of the Alila property in Big Sur – Ventana Big Sur.
Alila is now part of the Hyatt group. We redeemed a free night certificate 1-7 category award for our stay but left the folio open on check out so we could earn points on dining.
We did this because we intended to eat at their new restaurant which had been closed the day before. The Big Sur Smokehouse, serving southern BBQ.
The building itself is the original home of the Post family and it was built in 1867. Which is really cool. It has been renovated but the house was still standing for all that time to allow a renovation. Toilets are an outhouse, renovated as well. I did not take photos of the toilet though.
Inside is one big T shaped open space. We ate inside as it was a bit warm for us but most people were eating outside, well, everyone else was eating outside.
High ceilings, industrial elements and the welcoming aroma of bbq slowly smoking away.
While it was Wednesday afternoon, around 1pm, the restaurant wasn’t super busy, nor was it abandoned. My photos may make it seem we were the only people but people were in front of us to order and others ordered directly after us and while we were eating.
Most seats outside were filled. There were quite a few people eating. Ordering takes just a few moments and it is canteen/cafeteria style so you get your food as you order.
There were local gourmet handmade products available in both the drinks fridge and under the counters. We didn’t order any drinks, ice cream (though I hear it is really good) or products.
We weren’t super hungry, we had a huge breakfast and the products would be too difficult for us to take home but it was an impressively curated selection.
Condiments available were a range of big, well known brands.
And some very intriguing house blends. We went the house blends. They were all really tasty and each enhanced the meal in it’s own way. We ended up using the sauces in different combinations and there wasn’t a bad mix.
Salt and pepper is also available if you need it but we only used the three house brand sauces.
Our meal, we selected one platter to share. Pulled pork with an extra meat of brisket. Mac and Cheese and potato salad as the two included sides.
The platter was actually huge, far more food than I had expected. Both meats were tasty, tender, well smoked and seasoned. Good on their own, enhanced with a sauce.
TW used the included Hawaiian sweet buns to make a little sandwich, so I followed suit. Everything was tasty.
We found the price to be really impressive. Given the quality of the food, the taste – one of the best BBQ meals we have had – and the size. We spent far more the lunch before for extremely slow service and very mediocre meals.
We felt we got great value but also great tasting food. The restaurant was/is closed on Tuesdays so there wasn’t a way for us to have had it the day before, that was a good thing for us because had it been open we would have been so disappointed with where we did stop in for lunch when we could have been eating here.
We almost had a sandwich but I felt one sandwich wouldn’t be enough but two would be way too much because we weren’t fully hungry. I found the platter was great value.
The long and short of it is, if you are driving along Highway 1 or staying at the Alila Ventana then I highly recommend the Big Sur Smokehouse.
I couldn’t find much information on it before we ate. First, I just wanted to check what was on the menu but it wasn’t loaded yet on to the Alila website under dining. I did google but the restaurant opened only on the 4th of July 2019 and I had to first know the name before I could find the website. Googling Alila Big Sur bbq etc didn’t return results. Googling Big Sur Smokehouse I hit it straight away.
Honestly it is worth the stop and if you are living locally or spending time in the area I think it is well worth the trip in/over. If you like BBQ this really is a great BBQ.
Currently it is open Wednesday to Sunday 11am through to 9pm you have plenty of opportunity to stop in. If you are passing through on a Monday or Tuesday, I recommend waiting a day or leaving a day earlier so you can have lunch here. We had lunch just down the road and it was $70 and terrible, we waited 25 minutes for the cheque and had waited 10 minutes after being acknowledged before being seated on arrival. That is a story for another day.