Best of Monterey Bay® Visitors Guide

100 The Best of Monterey Bay ® 2023-2024 food Coffee, Tea, Juices Acme Coffee Roasting Co. A little stand with a loyal customer base lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites and more. 485 B Palm Ave., Seaside. (831) 393-9113, Counterpoint Coffee Coffee drinks and beer to go along with paninis or pastry. Good seating, both indoors and out. 565 Broadway Ave., Seaside. (831) 2300503 The Creperie Café See listing p. 98. 1123 Fremont Blvd., Seaside. (831) 901-3900 SOUTH COUNTY Cocuyo’s Restaurant Mexican It’s almost like sitting down in a home with a Mexican grandmother cooking the family meal. The small place is popular beyond its size. 185 Kidder St., Soledad. (831) 237-5004 El Michoacano Mexican A small spot where they know to keep the menu manageable. The kitchen focuses on what it does well. 5 El Camino Real, Greenfield. (831) 674-2378 Luigi’s Italian Expect big plates of pasta and other Italian fare, plus a locally focused wine list and friendly service. 346 Alta St., Gonzales. (831) 675-7800, Mo’s River Road Grill Eclectic Pizza, nachos, baked brie, burgers, steaks, pasta, seafood, sandwiches, salads—it’s easier to list what’s not on Mo’s menu, because they offer a broad, something-for-everyone list. 275 River Road, Salinas. (831) 998-7564, Restaurante El Rinconcito Mexican The place can get crowded because it has a reputation for exceeding expectations, which then brings people back for more—of both the food and the almost comically giant cocktails. 246 El Camino Real, Greenfield. (831) 8568228, Tacos La Potranca de Jalisco Mexican Choose your meat for tacos, burritos or try their vegetarian burrito. The room is colorful, the presentations classic and the place has been around for a while, so you know it has fans. 201 Broadway St., King City. (831) 3857500, Taqueria Pacheco Mexican Located inside La Placita, a grocery store, Taqueria Pacheco still manages to draw traffic from the highway thanks to made-to-order tortillas. 325 Front St., Soledad. (831) 678-1808 The Cork & Plough American This is a culinary destination thanks to the kitchen’s commitment to local and seasonal ingredients. The kitchen takes great pains to prepare things from scratch, right down to the ketchup. 200 Broadway, King City. (831) 3869491, The Windmill Restaurant American Go big, with a T-bone steak, or go light, with one of the many salads on offer—or anything in between. This is a great spot to refuel for a trip to nearby Pinnacles National Park. 1167 Front St., Soledad. (831) 678-1775 Delis, Markets and Shops La Plaza Bakery & Cafe With three Salinas locations and four South County locations—in Gonzales, Soledad, Greenfield and King City—La Plaza is a dominant presence in Mexican cuisine, with a full list of savory classics, plus mouthwatering cakes and a coffee bar. SANTA CRUZ Crow’s Nest American Located right on the harbor, this place is as much about the view as the daily chef’s specials. Stay into the evening for regular live shows. 2218 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz. (831) 476-4560, Gilda’s American Order any of the classics—with seafood prominently (and appropriately) featured—at this oceanfront stop. 37 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz. (831) 423-2010, Hula’s Island Grill Hawaiian See listing under Monterey. 221 Cathcart St., Santa Cruz. (831) 426-4852, Paradise Beach Grille American Come for the view, stay for dinner. The classic menu encourages sharing, with a few familystyle offerings, so instead of spending time worrying about what to order, you can focus on said view. 215 Esplanade, Capitola. (831) 4764900, Santa Cruz Diner Diner, American They combine the best of the East Coast diner experience with a California twist for a fresh take on familiar comfort foods. (831) 4267151, Shadowbrook American, Steak Unlike lots of casual settings around here, you have to dress up in your hard pants and shoes to dine here—no flip-flops and beach attire. The dress code gives you a sense of the quality to expect. 1750 Wharf Road, Capitola. (831) 475-1511, Red House Cafe Nik Blaskovich