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Pacific Grove/Monterey - Need Help

Going down to the Monterey Bay area for Memorial Day weekend to spend with the folks. Looking for a good place to go celebrate an adults birthday while in the area. Most of my restaurant experiences in the area can be characterized as high priced restaurants with decent if not unspectacular food. I don't mean to sound critical, but the price to quality always seems out of whack. Also, bear in mind that I will have my two kids - ages 3 and 1.5 years of age. I suspect some will say that I should not take them out to nicer restaurants and I don't altogether disagree, but I suspect if we go early, we can make it work out. Thoughts please...

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    1. Many on the board, including me, would heartily recommend Passionfish in Pacific Grove. (Search the board and you'll see lots of posts.) Sustainable seafood-heavy menu, with a fabulous wine list priced at just about retail. (If nothing else, the price to quality ratio of the wine can't be beat!) I've seen lots of well-behaved kids in there, including young ones like yours. www.passionfish.net

      By all means, head out to Spanish Bay one evening to watch the bagpiper who walks the links every night. I think it's at 6:00, but call and double check. To keep it food related, you can order apps and drinks from Roy's while you huddle up next to the outdoor fire pits.

      1. here's an older post from a CH vet who visited Monterey with a small child. Note the reference to the cartoon character. Google it.

        The link may take you to other relevant posts, as well: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/88723...

        1. You can't beat Passionfish. We took our two small kids there and it was fine (but we went right when they opened for the evening). I would not recommend bringing small kids there later in the evening as it really is a sophisticated place known for its wines and for lingering over your food.

          There is also a good pizza place and a good Mexican place about a block away and across the street in Pacific Grove, but I can't recall the names of those restaurants.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tnilsson

            The Mexican place you are referring to might be Zocalo. It has gotten some good mentions on the board, though I have yet to try it.

          2. Hello, my dear rooster, here are my two reports from eating this week at two places that I think offer good value.

            Passionfish,
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/39662...

            and Sea Harvest (but not special enough for a birthday)
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/405180

            6 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I should have taken your advice. My father wanted to go to Club 19 at Pebble Beach and I chose not to given the fact that they did not have any hi-chairs for kids. I took this to mean that it really is not suitable for kids which I accept as just fine. Furthermore, I understood that it was quite expensive so did not think it good given that dining with kids can often be an exercise in speed-dining. We settled on a restaurant called Stokes which I thought would offer decent food and an environment that may be more amenable to dining with kids. In summary, I cannot recommend this restaurant at all as a place for fine dining. I ordered the NY steak (medium rare) which I felt should be pretty safe. As it turns out, I'm not sure it was really a NY or a sirloin steak but this piece of meat had no fat and while cooked according to preference, still managed to be a tough and dry piece of meat. My mother made the same mistake in her selection. Wife ordered the "wood oven risotto" (not sure what she was thinking) which was overly rich and looked like a bad idea on a plate. Father had a braised lamb shoulder which he indicated was dry and not very appealing at all.

              Either way, I should have tried Passionfish as your description sounds much more appealing. Thanks for the input.

              1. re: poulet_roti

                So sorry to hear this chow tale of woe. I've not been to Stoke's Adobe in the current incarnation, but I have fond memories of eating at Gallatin's, the previous occupant, when I was a teen. One of my first exposures to "fine dining".

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Well its interesting as we went to Stoke's Adobe about 2 years ago and I recall it being a bit better. That said, while the meal was nothing to go back to, I alter my expectations when dining out with my kids as never know how long they are going to be able to maintain suitable behavior at this age. The place was fine, the meal was marginal but it was a good evening nonetheless...

                  Now, I went to Regalito Rosticeria a few weeks ago with the kids and had an excellent time and meal - and this not seeming like the type of place that would be suitable for small children - never can tell.

                  1. re: poulet_roti

                    When you have a chance, please post about Regalito on the SF board. It opened to lukewarm reports and we haven't heard much since. Always enjoy hearing about who you think does chicken well!

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Will do so shortly, although you should know I did not have the chicken - In a nutshell, I had a very favorable response to the place.

                  2. re: Melanie Wong

                    Oh Melanie!
                    My goodness that takes me waaaaay back. My father was good friends with Mrs. Gallatin......a sad day when they closed their doors.