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Disappointing recommedation for Abalonetti's in Monterey

Several people recommended Abalonetti's on the wharf in Monterey for some reason. I was very skeptical, but enough people claimed it was good that I thought I would try it.
I ordered a simple Tuscan salad that I didn't think they could screw up, but the dressing was way too sweet and I couldn't finish it. My friends ordered two different styles of calamari, their specialty, which was oily, but otherwise cooked well, not too chewy, but it looked very unimpressive.
The worst part was the service...absolutely depressing.
I would not recommend this restaurant to anyone. Two local women even asked us if we were sure we wanted to eat there. I guess people have very different definitions of "chowhound".

Beware, Magnaghi

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  1. Thanks for the review of Abalonetti's. We were going to eat there or at it's "brothers" across the way on Sunday. Now, I think we may opt for Schooners in the Monterey Plaza Hotel. Do you have any thoughts about it?
    Thanks...

    1. Do dinner at Passion Fish in Pacific Grove instead. All of the wharf food is horrid!

      1. Oops...this is for lunch. I should have mentioned that.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Gail

          If you are in the Wharf area, you can just walk a few short blocks and you are in downtown Monterey. Alvarado has a lot of interesting places. Also, in the Wharf parking lot under the Japanese restaurant is London Bridge pub which serves decent pub grub. Or walk to the next wharf to the east and try Sandbar and Grill; it has been a while since I've eaten there, but the view is great and it is a locals' place. Or go west to the Coast Guard pier and try Massaro and Santos. Great view and some good dishes. The clam chowder is excellent, sand dabs good, crusted halibut nice. Pasta can be OK there too.

          If you are in Cannery Row area, Sea Harvest at Hoffman and Foam is a good basic seafood house located in a fish market, no frills, fresh fish, straight ahead preparations.

          ed

          1. re: Gail

            For lunch go to either Taste Cafe or The Red House, bboth in Pacific Grove.

            1. re: jaweino

              For food, I agree with you. Those are two of the best options in the area for lunch.

              My recs were based on the assumption that the poster was looking for something in the Wharf/Row areas.

              ed

            2. re: Gail

              Gail, we had a wonderful lunch at the restaurant in the aquarium last fall. There are at least two sections to this operation. One is the "family" side with burgers, etc and lots of kids. We opted for the "white tablecloth" section and were very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food. Whenever possible, I order sand dabs and these were among the "Top Five" I have ever had. The bread was delicious, a nice wine selection and lovely table by the window provided a great view of the bay. It was a "Do Again" lunch. Good Luck.

              1. re: Sherri

                Thanks, Sherri. I'll tuck this info away in my "Carmel" file to NOT do in the summer and Not on a Sunday. There are many times we are there when it would sound perfect!

                1. re: Gail

                  Glad that it helped. The "informal" side of the restaurant is pretty basic with picnic-ish tables and LOTS of families.

                  I live in AZ and am plotting a way to get back there in September -- after the kidlets are all back in school -- for another meal. The chef came out to talk with us and he is very active in (I've forgotten the exact name of the organization) not serving endangered fish, those in serious peril because of overfishing. He was quietly pleased that we enjoyed our meal so much and told us that the aquarium rents the dining room for private functions, as well as renting the aquarium itself. He told us about a dinner party in front of one of the giant tanks that was a huge hit with all the guests.

                  Hope that you have a great experience.

            3. Thanks jaweino & Phoo D...
              We are from central CA so try to always find oceanfront restaurants, so nothing downtown would work. Maybe we should try the Coast Guard pier. We've never been there. Appreciate your suggestions.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Gail

                If you went to Massaro & Santos on the Coast Guard Pier, I hope you enjoyed. Right now I am back in Monterey and suggested to some locals that we catch a dinner there, and they said that in their opinion, M & S had gone downhill. Some things are still good, but they recently had a dinner there with several others and dishes ranged from good to poor. that's too bad.

                They also reminded me that M&S is guilty of the "specials" sin - the server spews out around a dozen specials every night that are special mostly because they cost more than menu items.

                In any case, from now on, I will only recommend M&S for the chowder and the view. I should know that susancinsf is usually right about these things.

                ed

                1. re: Phoo D

                  ahhh ed: thanks for the compliment! I will pass it along to hubby, who might disagree, but shouldn't! :-)

                  yes, the specials issue is acute at M & S.

                  Actually the chowder from the Breakwater Pier downstairs from M and S isn't bad, and the view just as good (better if you take the Chowder to go and sit along the seawall). Too bad the people there aren't very friendly....

                  Do report back on any finds from this Monterey trip: I plan to be down again next weekend...

                  1. re: susancinsf

                    It's partly my love of the style of chowder at M&S. I didn't grow up in Mty, so I don't know how traditional it is, but there is a complexity of flavor to the M&S chowder that reminds me of the chowder at the long departed Spadaro's an old-school, old Mty family Italian place. Most other Mty chowders are pretty generic - not bad, but not singular.

                    ed

              2. Abolonetti's wouldn't be my first choice in the area, (that would be Passionfish!) but my recent dinner there was a whole lot better than my most recent dinner at Massaro and Santos (which is what I assume you mean by the Coast Guard Pier, since the only other place there is a deli with surly service). If one found Abolonetti's disappointing, I don't think they would be happier at M and S (M and S is more expensive, service isn't as friendly, food not as good, but all IMO). If you do try M and S, stick to the basics. (which is probably good advice at Abolonetti's as well).

                I did a post on my Abolonetti dinner, but couldn't find it in a quick search. BTW, the service on my visit was very good.

                I wouldn't bother with Schooner's, unless the view is all you care about. In all honesty, IMO, the best seafood restaurants in the area are *not* oceanfront. I suggest a walk on the beach in Asilomar to get your ocean fix, then dinner at Passionfish!

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