Best of Monterey Bay® Visitors Guide

94 The Best of Monterey Bay ® 2023-2024 Portobello’s Sandwiches, Salads A range of sandwiches and salads for every taste feature local ingredients. The lunch rush gets busy here. 150 Main St., #116, Salinas. (831) 753-0797 Pupuseria Marleny’s Salvadoran A menu of pupusas that go beyond the rudimentary beans and cheese or pork and cheese. Also plates and fried yucca. 337 Monterey St., Salinas. (831) 998-7629, Restaurante El Michoacano Mexican The list of dishes is long and maybe a bit daunting. And that’s the restaurant’s approach to portion size, as well. But don’t be daunted. 2015 N. Main St., Salinas. (831) 272-6182 Salinas City BBQ Barbecue Full of down-home goodness like brisket, ribs, tri-tip, pulled pork, baked beans, coleslaw and several kinds of house-made barbecue sauce, it’s a smoky, sweet choice for barbecue in the county, repeatedly voted the county’s best. 700 W. Market St., Salinas. (831) 758-2227, Shogun Japanese Shogun has earned a reputation for out-ofthe-ordinary Japanese food in a town where “gracias” is more common than “arigato.” This is creative Americanized Japanese cuisine in the middle of Oldtown. 216 Main St., Salinas, (831) 757-6105, Smalley’s Roundup Steakhouse You know what you are getting into when on the menu, under the heading “lighter side,” you see choices like ribs and pork chops, complete with sides. And the salads come with filet mignon and other proteins. 1190 S. Main St., Salinas. (831) 758-0511, Steinbeck House Eclectic Dine at John Steinbeck’s boyhood home. And just like at home, there is an entree (with a few options, just in case) and dessert. The menu changes every few days and there is Saturday tea. 132 Central Ave., Salinas. (831) 424-2735, Stonies Taphouse & Bistro Barbecue, Eclectic There are wings and rings, burgers and a lot of things thrown over the fire. Barbecue—especially the ribs—is the focus, but attention to other dishes is such that tortillas are handmade. And they like to play, loading up fries and even pretzels. 1366 S. Main St., Salinas. (831) 202-0632, T&A Cafe, Home of Kleinfeldt Family BBQ Barbecue The tri-tip here is wildly popular, prepared Santa Maria style. The pitmaster turns to the smoker for pork and chicken. For those about to venture along the River Road wine trail, this is a good spot to pack a lunch. 1 Harris Road, Spreckels. (831) 225-0447, tacafespreckels. com Tacos Don Beto Mexican People love food trucks because of the quality and vibe. Well, this place is a food truck gone indoors. Tortillas are done from scratch. They serve bowls and are vegetarian friendly (jackfruit carnitas). 42 W. Gabilan St., Salinas. (831) 272-3233 The Last Call Bar & Grill Pub Not a good place for those who can’t make up their minds. There are seven wing options, five different burgers and seven fries on the list— yes, including normal, but also a version called “Voodoo.” Drinks all around. 9 E. San Luis St., Salinas. (831) 208-6576 Villa Azteca Mexican Unless you’ve been, Villa Azteca will surprise you. The dishes are gorgeous, both in appearance and flavor. Everything is made from scratch. It’s a beautiful dining room. The Villa Azteca