Any ideas for Good Eats around the Monterey Bay Aquarium?
Taking our first trip out to Monterey on Monday. Going to spend the day at the Aquarium.
Looking for a nice place to have an inexpensive lunch and a place to have a nice Birthday dinner for 2. Dinner can either be near the aquarium or somewhere between Monterey and San Francisco. But it should be somewhat special or at least "cute" and of course tasty. Veggie friendly would be great. I eat chicken, turkey, no red meat. My guest... no meat, fish, and lots of veggies!
Thanks in advance.
For dinner, one more enthusiastic recommendation for Passionfish. Great seafood, creatively prepared. The chef has a little east-meets-west fusion thing going, and there are occasional misses, but most dishes are well-conceived and -executed. Don't be bashful about asking your server for recommendations on food or wine. Speaking of wine, the list is one of the best I've ever seen; probably THE best, if price is taken into account - everything is priced within a few dollars of what you'd pay in a wine shop.
For lunch, if you want to stay within walking distance of the Aquarium, inexpensive and tasty are hard to find in the same room. Sea Harvest (mentioned by Ed) is probably your best bet; it's about a 10-minute stroll each way. But my first choice for lunch when we're doing the Aquarium is the restaurant on the first floor next to the sea otter tank. It's a little on the pricey side, but the food (sustainable fish, natch), the service, and the view are all quite good. You're already right there, and can look at the menu before deciding whether to go in. Given that you'll be on your feet all day, it may be worth the extra money just to take a load off for a while.
I like Passionfish also.
Assuming that you and friend both eat fish, the Sea Harvest at Foam and Hoffman offers no nonsense fresh seafood preps for lunch. Just east of Hoffman on Lighthouse, Won Ju (last time I was there) had a veggie jab chai lunch special with transparent noodles and tofu and good, homemade panchan. Other Korean dishes also available there. The vegetarian restaurant in the area, Tillie Gort's (if it's still there) is (IMHO) pretty mediocre.