Monterey Travel Guide

USA  #2 in Best Day Trips from San Francisco
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What to Eat in Monterey

Because of Monterey's location along the Pacific Ocean, fresh seafood is, of course, a staple on menus throughout the area. Old Fisherman's Wharf is often the first choice of those looking to sample Monterey's famous clam chowder. Yet despite the wharf's unbeatable views and abundant free samples, travelers have found the establishments to be overpriced and mediocre. To break from the crowds and sample better seafood, walk one pier over to LouLou's Griddle in the Middle for cheaper chowder and a delightfully kitschy atmosphere.

Serious seafood lovers should look no further than Phil's Fish Market in Moss Landing. Located just under 20 miles north of Monterey, Phil's is considered to be one of the best seafood spots in Monterey County, serving seafood in all shapes and sizes, hot and cold. It's so popular that Bobby Flay paid a visit for a Food Network throwdown (chef Phil DiGirolamo beat the celebrity chef and restaurateur with his signature Cioppino stew).

If you're hungry for something other than the catch of the day, travel inland to the hillside neighborhood of Seaside for some of the region's tastiest Mexican restaurants. Carne asada connoisseurs in particular enjoy Baldemiro's Taco Shop for its robust carne asada fries.

Head south to Carmel-by-the-Sea and Pebble Beach and you'll quickly see the finer things in life can be just as tasty. Carmel-by-the-Sea prides itself on having no chain restaurants, so Starbucks-lovers will have to trade in their fraps for a mom-and-pop-brewed cup of joe. Those looking for a fine dining experience should book a table at the award-winning Aubergine restaurant at L'Auberge Carmel. The restaurant features an eight-course chef's menu that changes daily, as well as a 2,500-wine cellar featuring wines from the region as well as France.

If you have an extra day to spare, take a drive out to Carmel Valley and explore the area's many wineries, situated among the picturesque Santa Lucia Highlands. Talbott Vineyards in particular makes a mean Pinot Noir. 

Find the Best Restaurants in Monterey

  • #1
    Compagno's Market & Deli
    #1 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 380 reviewsTripAdvisor (380)
    $ | American, Deli
    2000 Prescott Ave, Monterey, CA 93940-2031
    Read More »
  • #2
    Montrio Bistro
    #2 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1228 reviewsTripAdvisor (1228)
    $ - $$ | American
    414 Calle Principal, Monterey, CA 93940-2706
    Read More »
  • #3
    Paris Bakery Cafe
    #3 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 573 reviewsTripAdvisor (573)
    $ | French, Cafe
    271 Bonifacio Pl, Monterey, CA 93940-3042
    Read More »
  • #4
    Bistro Moulin
    #4 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 462 reviewsTripAdvisor (462)
    $$ | French, European
    867 Wave St, Monterey, CA 93940-1054
    Read More »
  • #5
    Hula's Island Grill
    #5 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1666 reviewsTripAdvisor (1666)
    $ - $$ | American, Bar, Polynesian, Hawaiian
    622 Lighthouse Ave, Monterey, CA 93940-1008
    Read More »
  • #6
    Loulou's Griddle In The Middle
    #6 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1366 reviewsTripAdvisor (1366)
    $ - $$ | American, Seafood, Diner
    Municipal Wharf 2, Monterey, CA 93940
    Read More »
  • #7
    Wave Street Cafe
    #7 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 149 reviewsTripAdvisor (149)
    $ - $$ | American, Cafe
    550 Wave St Lower Level, Monterey, CA 93940-1478
    Read More »
  • #8
    Old Monterey Cafe
    #8 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 629 reviewsTripAdvisor (629)
    $ - $$ | American, Cafe
    489 Alvarado St, Monterey, CA 93940-2722
    Read More »
  • #9
    Crystal Fish
    #9 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 424 reviewsTripAdvisor (424)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Seafood, Sushi, Asian
    514 Lighthouse Ave, Monterey, CA 93940-1423
    Read More »
  • #10
    Rosine's Restaurant
    #10 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1155 reviewsTripAdvisor (1155)
    $ - $$ | Soups, Italian, American
    434 Alvarado St, Monterey, CA 93940-2711
    Read More »
  • #11
    Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop
    #11 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 514 reviewsTripAdvisor (514)
    $ - $$ | American
    660 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940-1055
    Read More »
  • #12
    Sandbar & Grill
    #12 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 651 reviewsTripAdvisor (651)
    $ - $$ | American, Bar, Seafood, Soups
    9 Municipal Wharf No2, Monterey, CA 93940
    Read More »
  • #13
    Old Fisherman's Grotto
    #13 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 2378 reviewsTripAdvisor (2378)
    $ - $$ | Steakhouse, Seafood, Soups
    39 Fishermans Wharf, Monterey, CA 93940-2432
    Read More »
  • #14
    Whaling Station Steakhouse
    #14 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 434 reviewsTripAdvisor (434)
    $$ | American, Steakhouse
    763 Wave St, Monterey, CA 93940-1016
    Read More »
  • #15
    Crown & Anchor
    #15 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4 based on 495 reviewsTripAdvisor (495)
    $ - $$ | Bar, British, Pub
    150 W Franklin St, Monterey, CA 93940-2708
    Read More »
  • #16
    Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar
    #16 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 2085 reviewsTripAdvisor (2085)
    $ - $$ | American, Seafood
    400 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940-7501
    Read More »
  • #17
    The Club Room
    #17 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 397 reviewsTripAdvisor (397)
    $ - $$ | American
    2 Portola Plz, Monterey, CA 93940-2419
    Read More »
  • #18
    Esteban Restaurant
    #18 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 329 reviewsTripAdvisor (329)
    $ - $$ | Mediterranean, Spanish
    700 Munras Ave, Monterey, CA 93940-3110
    Read More »
  • #19
    Sea Harvest Restaurant & Fish Market
    #19 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 867 reviewsTripAdvisor (867)
    $ - $$ | American, Seafood, Soups
    598 Foam St, Monterey, CA 93940-1441
    Read More »
  • #20
    C restaurant + bar
    #20 of 265 Places to Eat in Monterey
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 618 reviewsTripAdvisor (618)
    $$ | American, Seafood
    750 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940-1087
    Read More »

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