Best of Monterey Bay® Visitors Guide

74 The Best of Monterey Bay ® 2023-2024 food New Korea Korean You’ll find everything you want in a family Korean place, from blood sausage to bibimbap to bulgogi. Note the dining room fills up fast. 300 Carmel Ave. #D, Marina. (831) 384-7171 Noodle Bar Vietnamese Pho and dry noodle bowls, rice plates and more are done consistently and to perfection. There are vegetarian dishes and a long list of smoothie options. A much smaller sister location in Seaside does to-go orders only. 215 Reservation Road, Marina, (831) 384-6225, Pho Lucky Noodle House Vietnamese Pho is popular, of course. Yet rice noodles and stir fried noodles are good options. They are a noodle house, after all. For dessert try one of the freezes. 266 Reservation Road, Marina. (831) 883-8003, Salt Wood Kitchen & Oysterette International, Seafood In a community known for global flavors from mom and pops, Salt Wood gives Marina a taste of fine dining. Come for the seasonal oyster menu, stay for anything else on offer from the kitchen, which draws from local sources and changes seasonally. 3295 Dunes Drive, Marina. (831) 883-5535, Siam Marina Thai The time-honored address for noodles, curries and a list of unique dishes. You might even find frog legs or something more familiar (and more global) when the kitchen runs specials. 210 Reindollar Ave., Marina. (831) 883-9399, Tico’s Breakfast, Sandwiches Go sweet or savory, but go big—this is a great spot to fuel up for the day on a hearty brunch. 330 Reservation Road, Marina. (831) 5822509, Delis, Markets and Shops Grinderz This is a classic, unpretentious sandwich spot with cold cuts or internationally inspired hot options (banh mi, cubano, chicken parm) on one hand, and a German grocer on the other, with offerings like mustards, pickles and salamis. 215 Reservation Road, Suite N, Marina. (831) 324-4291, Bakeries, Ice Cream and other Treats Cheesecake Dreamations Bakery Cheesecakes come in all sizes, from a customary pie to one- or two-bite minis. And the flavors, well, there are something like 50 of them. So if you happen to be craving an ube cheesecake, this is the place. Plenty of topping options, too. 265 Reservation Road, Marina. (831) 884-5033, Marina Donuts & Bagels Bakery There are regularly long lines flowing from this institution, for good reason. There are doughnuts—try the creme filled—and bagels with different spreads to choose from, just as the name suggests. 266 Reservation Road, Marina. (831) 833-4527 MoonScoops Ice Creamery Ice Cream Curiously enough, ice cream isn’t the main attraction here. They serve it, yes—organic soft serve in different flavors. But the rainbow of house made “moon ices” in a carnival of flavors is what reels you in. They are like a fusion of sorbet and Italian ice, only better. 110 General Stilwell Drive #104, Marina. (831) 901-3384, Coffee, Tea, Juices Coffee Mia The friendly neighborhood atmosphere plus strong coffee, flavorful paninis and a dogfriendly setting make this a popular local’s destination to grab a bite or to linger. 250E Reservation Road, Marina. (831) 384-0148 Monterey Abalonetti Bar & Grill Seafood Treat yourself to the joy of squid at this local seafood landmark with a dockside view. Order Abalonetti’s famous calamari prepared six different ways. 57 Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey. (831) 373-1851, Alvarado Street Brewery & Grill Brewpub, American The brewhouse-grill enjoys nearly 5,000 square feet, 110 seats and 20-foot ceilings, plus a back patio beer garden—and rotating house-brewed drafts. They do fresh California bar-and-grill fare with a creative kick. 426 Alvarado St. (831) 655-2337, Alejandro’s Mexican Put aside notions of a taqueria or Tex-Mex place. This is Mexican-style fine dining. The flavors are inspired and even the simple dishes are done well. And the bar is equal to the kitchen in its preparations. Plus, it’s a handsome space. 474 Alvarado St., Monterey. (831) 717-4781, Ambrosia India Bistro Indian Sublimely aromatic and spicy cuisine from every region of the subcontinent is served at this slightly off-the-beaten-path restaurant. The second location is on the beaten path. 565 Abrego St., Monterey, (831) 641-0610; 751 Cannery Row #121, Monterey, (831) 3244852. American Burger Burgers There are different burgers to choose from. There’s a basic one and a few hot, spicy and wild ones. And two vegetarian burgers—you get the point. 738 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey. (831) 373-7573, Benihana Japanese Teppanyaki-style steak, chicken and shrimp are specialties at this branch of the national franchise, strategically located adjacent to Fisherman’s Wharf and Custom House Plaza. 136 Olivier St., Monterey. (831) 644-9007, Bistro Moulin European Long known for its fine French standards, Bistro Moulin is also deft with classic Italian and other European dishes. The wine list is as full of as many dynamic flavors as the sauces. A favorite spot for gourmands in the know. 867 Wave St., Monterey. (831) 333-1200, Bon Ton L’Roy’s Lighthouse Smokehouse Barbecue, International This place makes a case for barbecue in this area, but the menu ranges to New Orleans and Russia. And there is generally a dessert that is well worth trying—if you can manage after a plate of smoked meat. 794 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey. (831) 375-6958 Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Seafood, American The menu at this friendly, kitschy chain boasts at least a dozen shrimp dishes. It is a great place for the kids, where mom and dad can enjoy the ocean view. 720 Cannery Row, Monterey. (831) 373-1884, Bulgogi House Korean The narrow restaurant with its open kitchen is aptly named. Bulgogi is the star here, but they also offer rice bowls, kalbi and snacks. Plates come with three banchan, because a Korean restaurant table should be crowded. 413 Alvarado St., Monterey. (831) 920-1251,