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The Steinbeck House / Best Cellar Gift Shop

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 132 Central Ave, Salinas, CA 93901-2651
Phone Number:
+1 831-424-2735
23:30 - 14:00
Closed now
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Tue - Sat 23:30 - 14:00

This Queen Anne style Victorian was the birthplace and boyhood home of...

This Queen Anne style Victorian was the birthplace and boyhood home of author John Steinbeck. Built in Salinas in 1897, the Steinbeck family moved into the house in 1900. The Valley Guild was formed by eight enthusiastic women who shared a common interest in gourmet cooking and wanted to showcase Salinas Valley produce. The volunteers of Valley Guild purchased and renovated the house. It was opened to the public as a restaurant on February 27, 1974 -the 72nd anniversary of John Steinbeck's birth. The house is operated by volunteers with a minimum of paid staff, and recently celebrated the 40th Anniversary. The Best Cellar is in the original basement of the Steinbeck House. The Best Cellar is a delightful gift shop featuring unique gift items as well as vintage and new Steinbeck books. Original furniture from the Steinbeck family is on display including the headboard of the bed in which John Steinbeck was born.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 64 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 41
  • 17
    Very good
  • 2
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  • 1
A Real Privilege For Steinbeck Fans

Beautiful house, immaculately restored to the glory it enjoyed when Steinbeck lived here. A real experience and privilege to walk through his home and see some of his furnishings... read more

Reviewed 4 weeks ago
Dublin, Ireland
via mobile
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64 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 62: English reviews
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
1,169 reviews
836 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 559 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Beautiful house, immaculately restored to the glory it enjoyed when Steinbeck lived here. A real experience and privilege to walk through his home and see some of his furnishings and possessions. A great bookshop on site too featuring all his works as well as curios, pictures, mugs and other souvenirs The house has a thriving cafe in it now too... More 

1 Thank Bozeman-Dublin
Cupertino, California
Level Contributor
170 reviews
73 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

The lunch meal in the restored first floor was delicious. Save room for desert! The volunteer servers were attentive and friendly. They cared about their customers’ experience and were happy to answer questions about the home. The tables filled up, and I recommend making a reservation. The basement gift shop stocks Steinbeck books and a variety of related items. The... More 

Thank Explorer100
Madera, California
Level Contributor
220 reviews
100 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 April 2017

The cellar gift shop book store is below the Steinbeck House. It has a random selection of various items. Purses, Mugs, jewelry etc. But the true gem is the selection of 1st edition and special edition Steinbeck novels for reasonable prices. Very friendly staff volunteers working in there as well.

1 Thank trra
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 10 April 2017 via mobile

This is an extra treat as they are open for lunch five days a week. This is run by the Woman Guild of Salinas valley. The menu is a choice of meat or fish main course. Last Friday was prime rib..OMG melt in your month. A choice of soup or salad and Strawberry sorthcake for a dessert. You can check... More 

1 Thank Rolland F
Winnipeg, Canada
Level Contributor
304 reviews
87 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 159 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 March 2017

It was fascinating to visit John Steinbeck's home and walk through his family's personal spaces. The Steinbeck home has been amazingly restored with period finishes and furnishings and, in spite of once being a family home, now operates as a wonderful restaurant. Tours are handled by volunteers who clearly have their hearts in their chosen tasks. We visited the Best... More 

1 Thank SueFromWinnipeg
Weimar, California
Level Contributor
16 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 February 2017

We walked down a few blocks from the amazing John Steinbeck museum to eat here. No reservations, but it was early, midweek, and Feb. It was awesome to be in his home. The volunteer wait staff knew lots of stories about the home and Steinbeck's life (but they were very appropriate, they did let you eat)! You can walk around... More 

Thank CarolynVan
Salinas, California
Level Contributor
8 reviews
Reviewed 18 January 2017

Wonderful place for lunch in a beautiful Victorian home, the place where John Steinbeck was born and raised. The home is now operated by The Valley Guild--a group of volunteers. The chef is exceptional and the service (by volunteers) warm and friendly. The gift shop is unique and fun. A Salinas treasure.

Thank budhall2016
Greenville, South Carolina
Level Contributor
70 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 December 2016

Stopping at the Steinbeck House was really a treat we'll not soon forget! The home itself was beautiful Victorian masterpiece and very tastefully restored. Some of the local women of Salinas have purchased the property and turned it into a restaurant. The service was very friendly and the food was quite tasty. They're more than willing to show you around... More 

2 Thank john m
Salinas, California
Level Contributor
60 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 December 2016

John Steinbeck actually grew up in this house, if you are a John Steinbeck fan it is definitely worth going to. They serve lunch daily, and they serve a special tea time I believe once a month. You can only view and eat on the first floor as the stairs leading up to the second floor a bit dangerous. But... More 

1 Thank Evi_02
Cathedral City, California
Level Contributor
79 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 November 2016

There were no fusty ghosts in the old John Steinbeck house. At any rate, I did not sense the presence of any as I lunched with my back nearly against the brick of the simple Victorian fireplace with a large, rectangular mirror set in broad, quartered oak trim above the mantle. A photograph of a young John Steinbeck reading near... More 

1 Thank Michael S

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