Monterey trip: Need fish market, casual Wharf/Cannery Row lunches
We're renting a big house with friends and will be cooking our dinners, so I'm looking for a good market to buy fish and shellfish. We'll be staying in Monterey Dunes (just north of Marina/west of Castroville). I got from Google Local a list of 5 or 6 asian markets in Marina (Asian Market, Da Nang Market, Hong's, Chon's, Kim's). Anyone know if any of them are good places to buy seafood?
My fall-back is to buy fish from Sea Harvest in Moss Landing per the recs in this thread:
But we also want crabs, oysters & other shellfish (even if they're not local).
Also, we're eating lunches in Monterey since we're doing the tourist thing with kids and need the convenience of eating at Cannery Row or the Wharf. <gag> I’m hoping to suggest some places with food better than the "crap for the tourist masses". We need casual or some place that doesn't mind 4 loud toddlers & 8 even louder parents (actually only 1 of us is louder than the toddlers but she's actually been asked to tone it down before).
I've read lots of past Monterey threads, of the ones that are casual and at the Cannery or Wharf, I’ve found recs for Sea Market (couple blocks from Cannery Row), Deli at the Breakwater (but it’s kind of far), Abolonetti's, and Old Fisherman's Grotto. What are people’s thoughts on these places, and any other suggestions?
Or I might suggest we walk to the Coast Guard Pier if there really is nothing worth eating at the Wharf/Cannery Row.
LouLou's on the Wharf #2, north of Fisherman's wharf gets lots of good ratings for B'fast. Typical local vibe in a diner setting. Can be very busy on weekends IIR.
Red's Donuts in downtown Monterey on Alvarado is open very early and they have counter service.
Turtle Bay is in Seaside on the main drag, right on a corner, next to the better of the two area 'Fishwife's. I'm thinking that the Fishwife sells fresh fish at their counter in the deli next to the dining room....Haven't gotten any, but have had fish poorboys there and they have been very good.
My kids grew up on the peninsula, so I know what you mean about "doing" the wharf and cannery row -- they love it. Domenico's was our place during those times, strictly for the cioppino, which we loved. But, it's the most "formal" (not really, but considering the toddlers... maybe.)
Cafe Fina, which Ed mentioned, is now owned by Domenic Mercurio, (who used to own Domenico's), and specializes in seafood and pasta. We used to like it, but it's been years, however it sounds like it is still good.
Abalonetti's, specializes in calamari done many ways and other seafood. It has also been years since I've gone there, but I read a positive review of it here recently. They have an outdoor deck, which the two other places don't that might accomodate loudness better and there's also a children's menu.
Liberty Fish is still on the wharf and they get fresh fish daily, so while there, you could check them out.
On Cannery Row, there is one nice place above the schlock, Schooner's at the Monterey Plaza hotel. They have outdoor dining and were voted 4th place for Best Outdoor Dining by locals in this year's Best of the Best, fwiw. The hotel is pretty upscale, though, just so you know.
I would buy seafood at Sea Harvest, either Moss Landing or the one by Cannery Row.
Lunches in the Cannery Row area: Sea Harvest again; years ago the sandwiches etc in the huge family pool hall (blue fin is its name, I believe) used to be very good, but I'm not sure if they still are. Lighthouse is only 3 blocks from Cannery Row, and there is a decent Korean place (Won Ju), a sortof Hawaiian place, Taqueria del Mar (OK Mexican seafood), and even a kabob house (Amir's, I believe). These are not the finest eateries on the peninsula, but they are close to Cannery Row.
London Bridge pub is in the parking lot by the Wharf under a Japanese restaurant. If you have to eat on the wharf, my local friends swear by Cafe Fina.
Don't miss the farmer's markets (Tuesday after 4 in downtown Mty - 2:30 Thursday in the MPCC parking lot). Excellent produce.
I don't know anything about those small markets, but I support your idea to check out Sea Harvest in Moss Landing. Last time we were there a while ago, they had Blue Point oysters and very fresh petrale sole. If in the area, you could check out Phil's (although their selection doesn't seem as fresh or well-priced as SH) or go down to the harbor to see if someone is selling anything from their boat.
If you're in the Sand City area, keep in mind that they have a Costco there. Since you have a large group, bulk buying could come in handy. Details on Sand City Costco:
I don't know much about food around Cannery Row. From the posts that I have read, I would consider Sea Harvest (is that the same as Sea Market?), but maybe you want a break from standard seafood? Is Turtle Bay Taqueria close to the wharf at all?
BTW, don't forget to search on farmer's markets. There's also a Whole Foods in Monterey, but pricey as usual. Have fun and let us know if you find out more about the area's markets, particularly the ethnic ones.