NOVO Restaurant & Lounge: Plates To Please Every Patron

Located in the middle of a 'foodie' feasting area on Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo you will find NOVO Restaurant & Bar. This is a venue with plates to please your palate and satisfy your curiosity for culinary dishes from distant places that are prepared with optimum flavor and good health in min

NOVO Restaurant & Lounge, San Luis Obispo

The first floor of NOVO has an open lounge with a window dining bar perfect for people watching, and the outdoor rear patio overlooking the creek, is a very popular destination for the SLO lunch and dinner crowd, offering a close to nature experience. Due to rainy weather we opted to dine in the lower level wine cellar, a cozy dining room lit by a warm red hue that makes you forget where you are and lets you get lost in the moment of some exceptional food and attentive service.

NOVO Restaurant Chef Richard Pfaff was born into an Italian American household, where food--and the belief that food brings people together--was always a driving force in his life from the time he was a very young boy. According to Chef Pfaff one of his earliest memories as a child was sitting on the counter with his grandmother making fresh pasta and canning fresh marinara sauce. His father, a very accomplished pastry chef in New York, gave him the drive and ambition to make the culinary industry his future. The memory of his father and his accomplishments still drives him today.

Chef Richard Pfaff

He worked as a pastry chef, through high school, but when it came time for culinary school, he decided to blaze his own path by not following his father's footsteps and he gave cooking a shot. Needless to say, he fell in love, and the twenty plus years that have passed since have been amazing. He attended Johnson and Wales University in New England, spent a year in Europe (mostly in France, but also Spain and Italy) finding his culinary voice. After returning to the states, he traveled across the country learning regional cuisines and perfecting his craft in cities like Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Santa Fe.

Although he spent years developing his skill in European cuisine, he soon became focused on the culinary importance of implementing clean and local foods. The use of organic, local produce, regional meats, and small, local companies are his commitment to the health of his customers as well as his planet. "It is a throw back to a time when you knew your farmer, butcher and fishmonger, and could trust what was in your food and where it came from," says the chef.

Selections from dinner I enjoyed to the last bite included Novo Lettuce Wraps with huge butter leaf lettuce, stuffed with fresh jullienne vegetables, mint, cilantro, nuoc nam, sweet chili sauce, roasted peanuts and shrimp. They also have potato samosas that looked divine made of Indian spiced potatoes in wonton skins, dipped in hot oil, with mint, chutney and yogurt.

Koream BBQ Beef with Kimchi & Thai Rice

Two entrees that I savored were the Korean Short Ribs served with house made kimchi and jasmine rice, and the Tai Green Chicken Curry that was light and served with coconut milk curry and green chilies. Both were unique and quite delicious. The Korean Ribs paired beautifully with a glass of Melville Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills 2014.

The portions at NOVO are large, but if you have room for a salad their mixed lettuces with local apples, dried figs, toasted hazelnuts, creamy goat cheese & orange vinaigrette or the signature soup do novo, which is always vegetarian, and sometimes vegan salmon bisque (with shellfish) are both delicious additions.

The cocktail menu has everything from old standards to new mixology muddles and then some. The wine list at NOVO is outstanding and contains many fine wines by the glass and unique wines from the many award winning surrounding vintners. Their champagne list is quite impressive and offers the best bubbly from around the world.

For unusual beverages you might try their thai iced coffee or tea, lavender cream earl grey tea, made using bergamont & real citrus peel, genmaicha, a nutty flavored tea blend of steamed green tea with toasted rice or the jasmine dragon pearls, hand-rolled green tea infused with essence and aroma of fresh jasmine flowers that could become my drink of choice forever.

Sheep Milk Ice Cream Dessert

The dessert menu is a bit overwhelming, and included Mc Connell's Ice Cream favorites, but our talented server was kind to recommend this amazing and delicious dessert, which is ideal for people who are not so lactose friendly - the Negranti "sheep's milk" ice cream trio made from local sheep's milk and all natural cane sugar, with flavors that change daily. Our flavors were chocolate, salted caramel, and vanilla honey - simply divine ending to a perfect dinner on a rainy night in San Luis Obisbo.

NOVO Restaurant & Lounge
4726 Higuera Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
(805) 543-3986


By Bonnie Carroll

About Bonnie Carroll
Bonnie Carroll has been a food/travel/lifestyle writer since 1983. She is the founder & publisher of Bonnie Carroll's Life Bites News -, does travel and food reporting on KZSB1290 radio, and contributes to a variety of national and international travel/lifestyle publications. Her first children's book C.C. Charles was published in 2002 and she is currently working on a second book. Contact her at Contact her at


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