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Where to Eat in Monterey – a food and dining guide

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With its enviable coastal location, year-round growing season, abundance of sea life, and world-renowned vineyards, Monterey is a veritable paradise for lovers of food and drink. As you might expect, local seafood features prominently on many menus – indulge in buttery lobster rolls, steaming clam chowder, or freshly shucked oysters. There’s also an abundance of markets, wineries, and craft breweries, ensuring that delicious taste sensations lurk around every corner.
Typical dishes

 

 

Artichokes are a major specialty, with the town of Castroville in Monterey County proclaiming itself the ‘Artichoke Center of the World’. You’ll find them in some form on many menus. The Pacific sand dab is another local delicacy: a sweet, buttery-tasting fish, often served fried.

Alvarado Street

 

With the charming, bustling Alvarado Street at its center, Monterey’s historic downtown is home to a host of long-established, independently owned eateries, much-loved by locals and visitors alike. Old Monterey Café is one of the best spots in town for breakfast or brunch. You may well have to queue at weekends, but you’ll be rewarded with hearty portions of irresistible favorites such as banana pancakes, French toast, corned beef hash, and eggs Benedict. Rosine’s is a firm family favorite, particularly acclaimed for its desserts, such as towering, multi-layered cakes, deep-filled fruit and cream pies, and gooey homemade brownies.

 

• Old Monterey Café, 489 Alvarado Street, Monterey; Tel: +1 831 646 1021

Rosine’s, 434 Alvarado Street, Monterey; Tel: +1 831 373 1400

 

Fisherman’s Wharf

 

The clue’s in the name – Fisherman’s Wharf is Monterey’s go-to destination for unbeatably fresh seafood with spectacular ocean views. A specialty is creamy clam chowder served in a crusty bread bowl – home-made comfort food at its best. Old Fisherman’s Grotto is perhaps the finest place to sample this classic appetizer. Other signature dishes at this much-loved, family-run establishment include fried Monterey Bay calamari, and linguini with bay shrimp, chopped clams, and scallops. Paluca Trattoria is a delightfully romantic Italian restaurant which serves dazzling pasta dishes such as lobster ravioli, gnocchi stuffed with spinach and ricotta, and penne with hand-made sausage.

 

• Old Fisherman’s Grotto, 39 Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey; Tel: +1 831 375 4604

Paluca Trattoria, 6 Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey; Tel: +1 831 373 5559

 

Cannery Row

 

The famed Cannery Row, revamped since its industrial days, is home to a wealth of restaurants, with a particular focus on fish, steak, and hearty American staples. Louie Linguini’s is a lively, family-friendly joint, which boasts lip-smacking cioppino – a hearty, fennel-scented seafood stew served with whole crab legs and garlic sourdough toast. The Sardine Factory, around the corner on Wave Street, is a Monterey institution, loved by celebs and locals alike. Its widely-praised dishes include abalone bisque enriched with Madeira wine, Pacific sand dabs in a lemon-butter sauce, and 55-day dry aged prime steak with morel and oyster mushrooms.

 

• Louis Linguini’s, 660 Cannery Row, Monterey; Tel: +1 831 648 8500

The Sardine Factory, 701 Wave Street, Monterey; Tel: 831 373 3775

 

Pacific Grove

 

A few miles from the center of Monterey, the elegant coastal town of Pacific Grove is a fantastic food destination in its own right. Julia’s is one of the region’s best vegetarian restaurants. Its menu changes on a weekly basis, but you can usually expect to find their ever-popular aromatic yellow coconut curry, plus pizzas with moreish toppings such as roasted vegetables, fresh olives, and creamy blue cheese. Fandango is an elegant bistro, with a menu that draws inspiration from all over Europe. Enjoy a taste of France with flavorsome roast duckling a l’orange, or indulge in authentically-made Spanish paella.

 

• Julia’s Vegetarian Restaurant, 1180 Forest Ave, Pacific Grove; Tel: +1 831 6569 533

Fandango, 223 17th Street, Pacific Grove; Tel: +1 831 372 3456