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Jun 19, 2007 09:27 PM

Non-touristy restaurants in Monterey?

Does anyone have a suggestion of a nice, non-touristy restaurant in Monterey? I'll be going this weekend with my husband and his 2 teenagers. We've been all up and down the pier and would like to get off of the tourist track.

Thanks for your help!

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  1. Try the Sandbar off the commercial wharf in Monterey. Here is my post and recommendation after a similiar reguest:

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cheesy Oysters

      As a tourist from Los Angeles 15 years ago I asked someone for a non-touristy restaurant where the locals go and they pointed out the Sandbar and I've been going ever since.

    2. Monterey Fish House on Del Monte Ave. It's well-known and popular, but full of locals. Excellent fish and seafood.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Laura2

        I second Monterey Fish House. Small, friendly and very fresh. There's also a very locals friendly South Pacific place a few blocks from the aquarium on that main drag, Lighthouse is it? Close to where Monterey turns into Pacific Grove. Sorry I can't remember the name, but very good seafood and a specialty of sweet potato fries.

        1. re: Laura2

          I went to the Fish House with a few friends tonight and we were very disappointed with the food quality. While the portions were large, the vegetables were soggy and the fish was overcooked. I would recommend PassionFish over this place.

          1. re: Laura2

            Just was here for dinner when I was in town last week, and have been itching to write a review: I loved it. Pleasant, old-school ambience (it's a converted house), friendly waitstaff. It also didn't feel like part of a culinary pilgrimage--although the food was delicious--which I appreciated even more. I hate when restaurants are too precious, or take themselves too seriously.
            My husband and I both had seafood pastas, so I can't speak to the overcooked fish complaint, but everything in our dishes tasted very fresh, and was not overdone. (One of their many specials was a pasta with artichoke hearts, creamy garlic sauce and assorted seafood. Since I'm a sucker for artichokes, I went for it, and boy, was that good. Appreciate a place that can do a flavorful cream sauce that doesn't overwhelm fresh veggies. Husband's crab ravioli were tasty, although the light tomato sauce did mask the crab, a bit, IMO.)

            Also, portions are enormous. Just a heads up.

          2. Monterey has lots of tourist traps in and around the aquarium. Teenagers might appreciate a meal at Bubba Shrimp whatever. I can't recall the name of the place, but I had fish and chips at some place around Cannery Row, and a big fat bloody mary helped quite a bit.

            That said ... . Wild Thyme Deli in Marina (adjacent, more affordable municipality) is a good choice for lunch. It's brought to you by Chef Terry N. Teplitzky. Fresh, tasty, etc. and located at 455 Reservation Road, Marina, CA. I agree about Fish House. I've had some very fresh, lovely food at this restaurant. The service was great. Passionfish is really good too: 701 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove (again, not Monterey, but adjacent and worth it).

            1. Stay away from the wharf and Cannery Row. The one restaurant on Cannery Row I would recommend is Blue Moon! They have a great Crab Salad and Mushroom Ravioli.

              One street up from Cannery Row there is a place called Crepes A Go-Go fun for lunch if you are going to the aquarium. Also, on wave is a good mexican restaurant called Jose's

              On Munras there is a great organic cafe called The Wild Plumb Cafe they only are open until 5 or 6!
              on Alvarado go to Lallapalooza they do have a large bar crowd after 10 on weekends though!

              On Lighthouse in Mtry there is a fun restaurant called Hula's! Or if you feel like italian or pizza try Gianni's it is always busy but usually with the locals.

              In Pacific Grove there is Passionfish also great mexican place called Peppers.

              1. We like the Fishwife in Seaside, off Del Monte. Good fresh fish choices, casual yet pleasantly decorated small dining room, or you can eat deli-table style near the take-out counter in the lobby. Great fish po-boys. Look for the Cinzano-type umbrellas on the sidewalk out front. Monterey Bay Chocolate Co is across the corner.

                Next door, on the actual corner, is a taqueria run by the same folks. Typical taqueria choices and very flavorful. Much more of a fast-food aura, but delicious.