Shout out to Passionfish in Pacific Grove
I've been meaning to post kudos to Passionfish in Pacific Grove for providing what was (for us) the perfect anniversary experience. The place is not stuffy at all, the waitstaff is very personable and friendly without being intrusive, timing their attention just when it is wanted. While we had decided to dress up a tad, there were families there in jeans as well. It is comfortable for all. From appetizer to dessert, the food was excellent. As you might expect from the name, they do seafood really well and adhere to the Monterey Bay Aquarium guidelines for pc seafood. When you walk in, there is a huge climate controlled wine closet that reminds me of one I saw on a show about some megabucks place in Vegas. What is a shocker, despite the fact that it is a mecca for oeniphiles, they insist on charging a markup that only covers glass breakage, about $5 or so. This way you can actually order a really nice bottle of wine without breaking the bank, instead of settling for something you know that you could get for a third the price at a store. The selection includes lesser known vintages from the region, which is part of the point of being somewhere else than where you live.
I have some history of hanging with foodies and don't mind a bit of high falutin' around my meal, but my spouse is definitely someone who, while he appreciates good food, hates any hint of pretense. He keeps a card from Passionfish on his desk, and wants to go back whenever we can. So this restaurant can please nearly anyone with taste buds.
We visited Monterey earlier this month and had a GREAT experience at Passionfish! Great food, great service, and sustainable in terms of a Monterey Aquarium and "slow food" approach. The wine pricing was the fairest I've ever encountered at any restaurant. Stokes Restaurant in Monterey was likewise a real treat.
Over the last few years, I have generally had good experiences at PF. If anyone wants to read more details and see some pictures of the food, I did three posts for the mmm-yoso!!! blog about the restaurant a while back. This links to the Monterey Peninsula category at the blog, so you will have to scroll down a bit to find the Passionfish posts.