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Jan 17, 2008 06:55 AM

Recommendations for Monterey Bay/Pacific Grove

Will be there about 4 days in March with my parents for a Jazz Festival...Have not been for years...Last time it seems that we ate at a nice little Bistro in downtown Monterey, can't remember the name, but other than that, the food was not particularly memorable...Any suggestions for nice lunches or dinners (that don't break the bank?) Thanks...

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  1. My wife and I had an outstanding meal at Passionfish in Pacific Grove a couple of days before Christmas. My wife was so enthusiastic about the dipping sauce for the calamari that the server brought us a handwritten list of ingredients. They have an especially good wine list with many hard-to-locate wines at incredibly reasonable prices.

    1 Reply
    1. re: BN1

      Third for Passionfish! Cibo is also a great place, near the Marriott in Monterey.

    2. We also had a wonderful meal at passionfish, we really enjoyed the red house cafe and we also had an interesting but strange meal at Max's grill in Pacific Grove.

      Lunch at the monterey bay aquarium's restaurant was a real treat with the best view in monterey. Make sure to book ahead though so you dont have a long wait.

      We had a wonderful dinner at Montrio Bistro on our last visit. I've heard mixed reviews on here, but we loved it.

      1. Passionfish - though not consistently great - is my local favorite.

        For more about Passionfish:


        1. Well, for a nice (but oft crowded) Brunch, I'd go for the Red House in Pacific Grove. Great food, and decent service, considering it's usually packed. If you're looking for a something easy for lunch, Esteban Restaurant recently opened with a good menu, simple class and some great reviews (I've not yet made it in, but am goin' pronto, next week). A nice class, relaxed steakhouse is near the airport: Steakhouse Sixty 8. Reasonable and good food.
          For memorable, I don't think you can beat Roy's @ Spanish Bay. Yes, it's $$, but who can beat the view, the food, and the outdoor lounge..get there for Sunset if you want to be wowed.

          Have a great time!!

          3 Replies
          1. re: Karin_v_R

            Thanks for the mention of Esteban and for putting in on the radar. May check it out soon too. They have a decent website:


            but I have to admit, the menu doesn't excite me, though I can't really put my finger on could just be that I've never liked Casa Munras (the hotel where it is located) and that is causing a bias....but I don't know, they talk about using seafood from 'local dayboats where possible' but their fish dishes are baramundi and Irish salmon. Huh?

            Well actually, just re-read the website and the actual statement is:

            "Esteban strives to purchase all our produce from organic farms, local purveyors, and day boat fishermen", not exactly clearly written, but technically I don't think they are claiming to get their fish locally....

            Let us know what you think.

            1. re: susancinsf

              I can see your point, and I liked their site OK - -it looked clean and crisp, but then again, in second sight, maybe I was a little hungry when this first passed my path.. I will definitely let you know the skinny from first hand experience. Hopefully I didn't stick my foot in my mouth too far, and we'll compare later on!


            2. re: Karin_v_R

              KvR, thanks for your posts, and welcome to the CA board. I notice in you profile that you like Stammtisch in Seaside. What do you recommend there? We seem to be constantly on the search for a decent German restaurant, any idea how their dishes might compare to Coq d'Or's in Carmel?

            3. I used to live in Monterey - miss it so much! I highly recommend Rosine's in downtown Monterey - great prices/great food! Loved their salad with homeade croutons, wonderful soups (mushroom!) and cake slices that could feed 4! I used to go there for lunch and after I gave birth to my first born, we headed there right from the hospital! That was all I wanted! Owners are great! It's a local fav. Sarita's Mexican Food in Seaside is good authentic and inexpensive, El Torito's and Marie Callendars both have very good and generous Sunday Brunch Buffets. There's also a cute American diner next to Marie Callendars in the Monterey "Mall". And if you're lucky enough to be in town on a Tuesday (4pm-7pm), the downtown Farmer's markets were wonderful! Lots to see, buy and great food! Have a blast!

              1 Reply
              1. re: newchow

                Neither Marie Callendar's no Elli's American Bistro are there anymore. MC is now PF Chang and Elli's will soon be Williams Sonoma.