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Oct 5, 2006 08:38 PM

Recs for Monterey - nothing trendy, please

Any recs for lunch and dinner in Monterey? Nothing too fancy or trendy, please. Thanks in advance!

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  1. What about breakfast?

    There was this place on the municipal wharf (at the other end of the parking lot from Fisherman's Wharf) which is great - Lou Lou's, I think.

    Not fancy at all.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Langrrr

      I didn't think about breakfast! Thanks for your suggestion, I'll go check it out.

      1. re: pinkshch

        Here is a rec for LouLou's that I have posted before:

        I would highly recommend LouLou's Griddle in the Middle located on Municipal Wharf 2 in Monterey. It is the commercial pier and you can drive onto the pier and park at meters on the wharf and walk right to LouLou's. It is halfway down the pier (thus the "middle" part of the name) in a charming yellow building. It is small, maybe four tables inside with a counter and some patio seating outside, but the food is great and you can enjoy the beautiful location. It is nice to be able to eat at such a great place far away from the touristy crowds at Muncipal Wharf 1.

        The sourdough french toast is especially recommended for its freshness and awesome fluffiness. My husband has had several of the scrambles and has enjoyed each one immensely. All of the ingredients are fresh and they have several lunch options as well as breakfast. And of course they have a variety of seafood options for both breakfast and lunch. For breakfast they have squid and eggs! And sand dabs for lunch! All the egg dishes for breakfast come with the home fries that have tomato, carmelized onion, basil and Parmesan mixed in. Heaven!!

        This is defintely a local's hangout and you will see regulars helping themselves to coffee behind the counter (which is great coffee btw). If you get there in the early morning you will see fishermen eating breakfast (probably the squid and eggs) and selling LouLou what she calls the "catch of the hour". My husband and I have driven more than 45 minutes out of the way just to eat at LouLou's. I am pretty sure they are only open from 7-3, so get there early!

        LouLou's Griddle in the Middle
        (831) 372-0568
        Municipal Wharf 2 N
        Monterey, CA 93940

    2. Fishwife--there are two, one in Seaside, one in Monterey/Pacific Grove. It's simple, good food, very casual. There's also Fish House closer to the main strip in P.G. A lot of fresh seafood there, aslo very casual. For breakfast/brunch, First Awakenings is good in the Cannery Outlet stores.

      I have to say I haven't been in Monterey in a while but it was one of my favorite places to live and those were staples when we were there.

      5 Replies
      1. re: chowser

        Those sounds just perfect! Fishwife and Fish House sounds like just what I was looking for. Thanks for your help.

        1. re: pinkshch

          The Fishwife in Pacific Grove, if ever good, has slipped badly. Their sister restaurant, Turtle Bay Taqueria, in Monterey and Seaside, is good. And to clarify, if the "Fish House" referred to is Monterey's Fish House (in an old pink house), it's on Del Monte in Monterey, near the entrance to Hwy. 1 (and not near PG).

          The best fish to be had IMO, and a favorite among posters here, is Passionfish in Pacific Grove. It's neither fancy nor trendy, although it is quite popular and serves wonderful sustainable fish (and good non-seafood items as well). If you're a wine fan, they've got a great wine list, with bottles sold at about $1-2 above retail.

          Other good breakfast spots are Toasties and the Red House Cafe, both in Pacific Grove. Red House also serves lunch, and dinner on weekends.

          1. re: mspea

            As a regular visitor and sometimes resident over the past several decades I offer a strong second to everything mspea expressed. If you want the touristy experience go with the other suggestions. IMNSHO.

            1. re: mspea

              Things have changed since we were there. Passionfish looks great. I wish it had been around when I was there. We ate at the Turtlebay in Seaside all the time, often take out but it was an old standby. There were quite a few places we loved going to but I can't remember the names anymore.

              1. re: mspea

                I agree. Fishwife in PG is very mediocre. Worst chowder on the peninsula.

                Another breakfast/lunch spot is the Grill at Point Pinos, in the new clubhouse at the PG public golf course off Asilomar. Operated by the Redhouse Cafe folks, it is a nice space with straightforward, well-prepared food.


          2. Mom and I liked the Old Monterey Cafe downtown on Alvarado St. Typical cafe stlye food. Decent coffee. Just down the street is Red's Doughnuts with counter service. Get there early for selection. I'm not a donut hound, but theirs are good!

            I also like the Wagon Wheel in Valley Pines center on Carmel Valley Road. Great atmosphere and wonderful pecan/banana p'cakes. Old ranch equip. all over the walls. Drive up the valley a few miles till you see a line of large Monterey pines perpendicular to the road on a right hand curve. Valley Pines center is right behind the trees.

            There is a place that has gotten good recs in the old bookstore space (south end) of the Barnyard shopping center,
            Lugano Swiss Bistro

            Hubby and I like the Fishwife restaurant in Seaside right next door to Turtle Bay taco place. Sit down dinners are fresh and reasonable, and you can get more casual serivce at the Deli counter to eat in or take away. Great fish po'boys. Wonderful sandwich rolls. The afore-mentioned 'Fishwife in PG' is in the Asilomar area, not in downtown PG. Up the hill in PG--Forest Ave--there are several restaurants in a group just past Trader Joe's. We liked Choice Bistro--a good value with well-prepared food. Haven't been in a few years.

            Be sure to buy some local breads--they're found in the regular markets like Nob Hill. This area is astounding in the choice of artisan breads at supermarket prices. Lucky dogs those MP folks!

            3 Replies
            1. re: toodie jane

              Taste Bistro, not Choice Bistro, but it is good, interesting dishes, and reasonable prices.

              As far as Lugano's, I wouldn't recommend unless the OP really wants fondue. It is not a bad place, but there are so many better restaurant choices.


              If OP is willing to drive to Marina, Tico's Breakfast and Lunch is wonderful and cheap.



              1. re: toodie jane

                Sorry to pitpick, but it's Bixby Bistro that's in the old bookstore area, not Lugano's. I heard the owners are changing the format of Bixby a little, away from the retro image and towards a more casual southwestern look and menu.

                1. Tarpy's Roadhouse Grill in Monterey is a great place. There early bird dinner specials are a super bargain. Here's their website for more details:


                  1. I entirely agree with the kind mentions of Tarpy's out near the airport, and Taste in Pacific Grove.
                    But a while ago I read a vey complimentary review of an Italian place, I think on Munras Ave., and I think not far from the Del Monte shopping centre. Some guidance please.

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: mspea

                        La Giostra it is! Many thanks; the boss lady and I will try it next week