Best of Monterey Bay® Visitors Guide

food Cafe Fina Seafood, Italian Cafe Fina serves fresh, local seafood and Italian dishes in a beautiful waterfront setting. Pizza from the wood-burning oven. 47 Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey. (831) 3725200, Cella Restaurant & Bar International An irresistible setting in the Cooper Molera Adobe may distract guests from the plates and cocktails—until they arrive at the table. The menu is seasonal, so it changes. But it’s not over the top, except in flavor. 525 Polk St., Monterey. (831) 920-1046, cellarestaurant. com Chart House Seafood, American Although the Chart House is technically a chain, with locations in 15 states, plates at the high-end eatery have a local touch, with seafood from the adjacent coast. 444 Cannery Row, Monterey. (831) 372-3362, chart-house. com Chef Lee’s Mandarin House Chinese The setting is reminiscent of American Chinese restaurants in the ’60s heyday—colorful and ornate, with plenty of themed decor accents. At Chef Lee’s, this extends to an exterior you can’t miss. 2031 N. Fremont St., Monterey. (831) 375-9551, China Garden Chinese China Garden’s downtown location and free parking are supremely convenient. Lunch specials and family dinner deals too. 600 Munras Ave., Monterey. (831) 375-1111, Chong’s Szechwan Restaurant Chinese Chop suey, egg foo yung and long lists of chicken, beef, pork and seafood dishes are among the classic options at this downtown establishment. 485 Tyler St., Monterey. (831) 373-5153, Chopstix Vietnamese Part boba cafe, part Vietnamese restaurant, Chopstix’s welcoming, family-owned outposts (there are four around the county) draw swarms of loyal local eaters with familiar dishes at very reasonable price points. 1244 Munras Ave., Monterey. (831) 372-2622, Cibo Ristorante Italiano Italian Yes, there are plenty of pasta dishes and other favorites. But Cibo is also known as a haven for live jazz. One of the best happy hours in the area, too. 301 Alvarado St., Monterey. (831) 649-8151, Coastal Kitchen International It’s not unusual for guests to fall silent as they become captivated by the dishes. This is cooking at a high level. The chef prepares a changing tasting menu of four courses plus an amuse bouche. Wine pairings are exquisite, as are the views—outside and on the plate. 400 Cannery Row (in Monterey Plaza), Monterey. (831) 920-6710, Crab House Seafood Remember that scene in Forrest Gump where Bubba lists all the ways to prepare shrimp? Well, Crab House is like that, substituting the namesake ingredient. And there are plenty of other seafood dishes, as well. 60 Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey. (831) 717-4898, Crêpes of Brittany Creperie The Peninsula’s oldest creperie, and there’s a reason it has been around so long. The crêpes are so pleasingly authentic that the need to put that little accent mark over the first e. 211 Alvarado St., Monterey. (831) 649-1930, Crêpes on the Row Creperie A handy spot for those visiting the Aquarium. Crepes range from sweet—think Nutella and strawberries or bananas and chocolate—to savory items with meat and cheese. So it’s an option for breakfast, lunch or a snack. 807 Cannery Row, Monterey. (831) 641-7004 Crystal Fish Japanese The quarters are cozy and the sashimi is fresh. The winning combination makes the familyowned-and-operated spot a favorite. Don’t let the humble exterior fool you, Crystal Fish earns the Best Sushi vote from Weekly readers regularly. 514 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey. (831) 649-3474, Del Monte Bar & Grill Breakfast, Lunch The menu is small, but who needs choices when it comes to a swarthy smashburger or a crispy chicken sandwich? The hidden gem looks out at Del Monte Golf Course, the oldest continuously operating course west of the Mississippi (and Pebble Beach’s original course). 1300 Sylvan Road, Monterey. (831) 373-2700, Del Monte Grill & Cafe Diner Once a Seaside establishment, Del Monte Grill moved to Monterey in 2023. But that’s the biggest change. It remains a staple for American diner breakfast and lunch fare. Then it switches gears with a dinner menu. 2030 Fremont Ave., Monterey. (831) 394-7851 Domenico’s on the Wharf Seafood, Italian For a steaming, flavorful bowl of cioppino and a gorgeous view of the water, there’s always Domenico’s. Seafood is served with an Italian accent and a view from every table. 50 Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey. (831) 3723655, Dos Victorias Mexican A stop for breakfast, late night and in between. Dos Victorias promises something for everyone, but it’s hard to get past those asada fries. 299 Cannery Row #B, Monterey. (831) 372-7298, Duffy’s Tavern Pub, Burgers Some places claim a neighborhood vibe. Duffy’s is truly a neighborhood space. There’s a list of burgers, baskets and appetizers, as well as a kids menu. Go for a burger. Worth it. 282 High St., Monterey. (831) 644-9811 El Cantaro Vegan Mexican Restaurant Vegan, Mexican Two words that you never expect to see together—vegan Mexican—marry at the El Cantaro. Somehow they get flavors and textures right, all without dairy or meat, in dishes like crispy potato tacos. Spicy salsas and rich, deep moles are made in house. 791 Foam St., Monterey. (831) 646-5465, El Charrito Express Mexican See listing under Salinas. This is a scaled down lunch place in Alejandro’s (see above). 474 Alvarado St., Monterey. (831) 884-5143, El Estero Snack Bar Burgers Order at the window, dine at a picnic bench. The snack bar is situated between Dennis the Menace playground and Sollecito Ballpark. And what goes well with baseball and children? Burgers and hot dogs, of course. 777 Pearl St., Monterey. (831) 372-8446 El Torito Mexican A California chain with something like 30 LA-area locations, and at least that many tacoand-margarita combinations. But it’s hard to imagine one with a better view. 800 Cannery Row, Monterey. (831) 373-0611, Epsilon Greek Old-school Greek menu and the cooking to match at this venerable downtown institution. Dishes learned long ago with a family touch. Always friendly and enjoyable. 422 Tyler St., Monterey. (831) 655-8108, epsilonrestaurant. com 76 The Best of Monterey Bay ® 2023-2024