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Great dining in Monterey/Carmel

Great dining in Monterey/Carmel

Old Mar 13, 10, 1:51 pm
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Great dining in Monterey/Carmel

We'll be spending a weekend in Monterey, staying at Highlands Inn. We're planning a meal at their restaurant, 1 Pacific's Edge, with its great view of the surf. We'll also likely eat at California Market, also onsite. Where else should we go? Outdoor dining with or without a view always gets points from me. We like great food, but not necessarily high end white tablecloth restaurants.

Summary from below:
  1. Tarpys, near Monterey Airport, on Salinas-Monterey Highway - excellent meal on 7/20 visit
  2. Cafe Rustica, Carmel Valley, closed on Monday
  3. Baum & Blume, Carmel Valley, Wed-Sat, noon to 7pm
  4. Rio Grill, same owners as Montrio, mouth of Carmel Valley
  5. Taste Cafe Bistro, Pacific Grove
  6. Fandango Restaurant, Pacific Grove
  7. Fifi's Bistro Cafe, Pacific Grove
  8. Fishwife, Pacific Grove
  9. Passionfish, Pacific Grove, dinner only - sustainable seafood and organic produce
  10. Red House Cafe, Pacific Grove
  11. First Awakenings in Pacific Grove - killer breakfasts, walking distance to Cannery Row, and was also featured on the $40.00 a day with Rachel Ray
  12. 400 Degrees, Carmel - gourmet burgers
  13. Cantinetta Luca, Carmel - delicious Italian
  14. Grill on Ocean Ave in Carmel
  15. Jeffreys, Carmel - great breakfasts
  16. Katy's Place, Carmel - great breakfasts
  17. Little Napoli, Carmel, bistro Italian
  18. Aubergine, Carmel - high end, worthy of special occasion
  19. Montrio Bistro, downtown Monterey, great Sunday -Thurs $22 2 course meal with movie ticket at Osio Cinemas
  20. 1833 - high end in Monterey
  21. Rosine's Grill, on Alvarado in downtown Monterey close to the Wharf: killer desserts
  22. The Bench, Lodge at Pebble Beach; delicious, innovative contemporary California cuisine, killer views over the water when the fog isn't in. Price to access the 17 Mile Drive is refunded with a meal here.
  23. Monterey Bay Aquarium - great open area to eat overlooking the bay

  24. Cachugua General Store, 25 miles inland, Monday night only
  25. Rocky Point Restaurant, 10 miles south of Carmel, overlooking the coastline, phenomenal views inside and out. 7/22 - closed; new owners to rebuild; keep your eyes on this
  26. Post Ranch Inn - 45 minutes south, overlooking the coastline, reservations required
  27. Ventana Inn, Big Sur, 1 mile (a bit inland) from Post Ranch Inn
  28. Nepenthe, Big Sur - great view, have a beverage - food is so-so. 1 mile south of Post Ranch Inn.
  29. Coast Big Sur - great views, a few miles south of Nepenthe. Open 11-4 Thurs - Mon during COVID19.

Last edited by SanDiego1K; Aug 2, 22 at 10:31 am
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Old Mar 13, 10, 4:08 pm
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The Fishwife in Pacific Grove. A fun, unpretentious place with excellent food
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Old Mar 13, 10, 10:01 pm
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Montrio Bistro in downtown Monterey is one of my favorites -


The Grill on Ocean Ave in Carmel is another good choice.

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Old Mar 15, 10, 3:19 pm
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Originally Posted by JerryFF
Montrio Bistro in downtown Monterey is one of my favorites -


The Grill on Ocean Ave in Carmel is another good choice.

I second the recommendation for Montrio. They also own another restaurant at the mouth of Carmel Valley called Rio Grill which is great also. There's a gem way in the valley called Cachagua General Store but it's only open on Mondays and it looks like you'll only be there for the weekend.
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Old Mar 15, 10, 3:33 pm
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Cachugua General Store sounds insanely good. It's a shame we're not around Monday night, because I'd love to go. I couldn't find a proper website, but from their idiosyncratic blog:

A country store, hidden in the mountains 25 miles from the Carmel coast. Home of A Moveable Feast caterers, local organic foods since 1976..

Montrio sounds like a must.

I'll be looking up the others.

Keep the suggestions coming.
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Old Mar 15, 10, 7:07 pm
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It was incredible and unlike anywhere I've ever been and very reasonably priced for what you get.

If you like barbeque-type food, the guys that own Montrio and Rio Grill also have a restaurant called Tarpy's Roadhouse not far from the Monterey Airport. You can't go wrong with any of that group of restaurants, it just depends on what you feel like.
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Old Mar 15, 10, 7:20 pm
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Tarpys could be perfect for the night we arrive. We're trialing Allegiant's nonstop service from San Diego to Monterey. It only flies two days a week, one flight each day. Fingers crossed for reliable service! We arrive at 7pm, so it would be perfect to pick up our rental car and get a meal there. That spares us the traffic and parking in town. I read the menu. Not only do the mains sound good, but I could make a meal out of some of the vegetable side dishes.
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Old Mar 15, 10, 9:00 pm
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So many good places to eat in that area. Also, if you're looking for an amazing breakfast place check out Jeffrey's in Carmel Valley. They do lunch too but are known more for their breakfasts it seems like.

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Old Mar 16, 10, 5:09 am
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Tarpy's is quite good and, as you saw on their site, just next to the airport. Huge parking lot. I've had both lunch and dinner there several times and it's relaxed, good food, good wine, nice service, outdoor seating weather/season permitting. My last visit was driving up from Santa Ynez to San Jose on Valentine's Day last year, which fell on a Saturday ... I'm such a romantic I had completely forgotten it was Valentine's Day and we stopped for lunch at Tarpy's .... it was a mad-house rather than a road-house. We ended up having salads at the bar and it was fine, but really crowded and noisy with harried service at some tables and a few verbal scuffles between staff and patrons. There was also a wedding party ... so it can get busy on the weekends, though we had a lovely brunch there one April Sunday with my parents.
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Old Mar 22, 10, 4:40 pm
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Passionfish, in downtown Pacific Grove, if it's not too far out of your way. Nice little neighborhood place - but you may need to plan ahead, it gets crowded.

We didn't try it yet, but stopped by on Saturday and saw Taste Cafe & Bistro (also in Pacific Grove). Looks intriguing, and I mean to go again on a future trip (sans kids!)
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Old Mar 22, 10, 5:00 pm
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Friends who live there love Fandango and I really liked the awesome burger a the Red House Cafe in Pacific Grove.
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Old Mar 23, 10, 12:15 pm
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I remember great food and an amazing chocolate cake here:

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Old Mar 26, 10, 2:20 pm
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I heard Fifi's Bistro french restaurant is good but have never eaten here.
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Old Apr 1, 10, 8:13 pm
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I really like Passionfish because of the food and esp. the relatively cheap wine list.

The grilled artichoke at Tarpy's is killer.

Finally tried Taste in Pacific Grove in February and it was very good...made reservations early and ended up with the best table in the house....and who comes in just after us and sits at the table next to us: Bill Murray and his gang! They'd been golfing at the AT&T at Pebble.

My other favorite in Monterey, Stokes, closed last November but is evidently opening with new owners, soon or already.
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Old Apr 5, 10, 4:34 pm
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There's some great suggestions here. I've just booked a couple of them.

I know this one is further afield, but is anyone familiar with Nepenthe in Big Sur? I found an old NYT article on "36 Hours in Monterey" and the restaurant is recommended. This heavily windowed restaurant, designed by Rowan Maiden, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, looks out onto the water and the untouched coastline stretching into the distance. It sounds interesting for a lunch visit - but does the food match the view?
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