Tin Canteen

Tin City is an area of rural Paso Robles, just south of the city limits off Ramada Drive. It started out as an industrial area for construction materials and a custom playground manufacturer. Barrel House Brewing Company, which opened in 2013 was the original anchor. Currently, over 20 tasting rooms and craft beverage specialists make up this little “city”. Tin Canteen is a full service restaurant that opened about 2 months ago. Until then, there weren’t many food options other than weekend food trucks (but really good ones), sheep’s milk ice cream at Negranti and the small pasta factory, Etto, which is located next door. Their fresh made pastas are featured here and there’s a view into the store from the window.

The restaurant’s name reflects the trendy industrial setting of Tin City.

The restaurant’s name reflects the trendy industrial setting of Tin City.

The vibe is casual and the noise level is a little high, but somehow we feel really relaxed there. Service was surprisingly very good, even on our first visit, which was right after they opened in October 2018. It was a pleasant surprise, as most new places need to iron out kinks. Tin Canteen’s operation runs smoothly and to me, it indicates a well trained staff. They have an extensive selection of beer and imported wine by the bottle. They have draft beer serve local wines on tap, including some great Italian blends from Giornata by the carafe. We have visited their tasting room (also located in Tin City) many times. The wines pair perfectly with the wood fired pizzas. Another menu item not to miss is the spaghetti and American wagyu meatballs. The meatballs are melt-in-your-mouth tender and flavorful and the tomato sauce is simple, with not too much dry spice and stuff going on. You pretty much can’t go wrong with either of these dishes.

The winning dish by vote of our table of 10.

The winning dish by vote of our table of 10.

Pizza chef at work note the stacks of wood for stoking the oven.

Pizza chef at work note the stacks of wood for stoking the oven.

Wood burning oven- the secret to authentic pizza.

Wood burning oven- the secret to authentic pizza.

If you are a more daring diner like I am, go for the seafood. I’ve had the lovely grilled octopus as well as the whole shrimp. The shrimp left such an impression on me. I found myself craving it and I had to go back for it a week later. Whole head-on shrimp with caramelized onion in an olive oil butter sauce, served with crusty bread for dipping. Spectacular. 

The shrimp. Wow.

The shrimp. Wow.

They are currently open Wednesday through Sunday, for lunch with dinner service Thursday through Sunday. It can get a bit crowded, but once the weather warms up and the patio seating is available, I suggested heading out there. It’s a darling patio and with the water feature it’s going to be so relaxing, you won’t want to leave. 

The patio is a cool place for lunch.

The patio is a cool place for lunch.