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Need help for chowhound food in Santa Cruz, Carmel and Walnut Creek-does it exist?

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I need some help finding some really good authetic chowhound locales. I will be kinda all over the state as part of the holidays. FIrst I will be in Walnut Creek/Clayton with my inlaws and I would like to take them out to dinner-maybe Italian or really anything. Not looking for super fancy or over the top, just good food and ambience. Then later in my trip I am going with a friend down to Santa Cruz and Pebble to play some golf-I am looking for fish tacos in santa cruz and then anything that is good food but not a tourist trap (ie rip off) in the Pebble Beach area? Any ideas? thank you very much!!
Oh and I will also be in Bakersfield, so any ideas in that area would be welcome.

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  1. NYC, Your Walnut Creek/Clayton question will get better responses on the San Francisco/Bay Area board.

    1. The Carmel area has Passionfish. I'm often reminded by other hounds it's in Pacific Grove. Bakersfield has Woolgrowers and Noriega, for Basque style food, and there's a recent thread that mentions a good taco place. Do a search for Bakersfield.

      1. I can help you in the Pebble Beach/Carmel area, but I seem to be getting mixed messages. What, more exactly, are you looking for in that area; ie lunch, dinner, fine dining, snacks, casual. Let us know more specifically.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Gail

          Gail, a buddy and I will be in town for golf. Looking for good breakfast and a dinner spot and maybe a place or two for cocktails. we are staying at the inn at spanish bay so we are looking to avoid the same type atmosphere and people. Like seasonal menus, local food and more on the artisinal side. Gastropubs or a couple good casual places would be good too. If there is a good burger place, bring it on.
          thank you.

          1. re: NYCFORKER

            Don't know your time-frame, but a wine tasting episode in Carmel Valley could be fun with lunch/dinner at Corkscrew or Rustica, both have sites, neither have full bars, but wonderful food. Casual, friendly bar and restaurant atmosphere might be Rio Grill in the Carmel Crossroads Shopping Center. Burgers, my favorite is Nepenthe in Big Sur, a 40 min. drive from Carmel. If time permits, it's a lovely drive... Oh, I forgot, Katy's in Carmel... the best breakfast place, but get there early. It's very popular and sometimes a long wait. If you are young and want a lively place, Monterey might be a better bet for you. Check the Trip Advisor site for Monterey. I hear Hula's is very popular.

        2. Wow, you will be all over the state! My favorite tacos in Santa Cruz can be found at La Cabana on the westside on Mission St. I think I've had their snapper taco once, but I actually prefer their other fillings like desebrada (beef), carnitas, chicharonnes.

          If you are in downtown SC, then El Palomar taco bar (in the back of the restaurant) makes very decent fish tacos as well. Unfortunately, I can't help w/ your other requests but you can do a search for those areas.

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          El Palomar
          1344 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

          Taqueria La Cabana
          2332 Mission St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

          1. howdy nycforker, if you like Persian food and your Pebble Beach part of the trip hasn't already passed, we just enjoyed a very good meal at the Persian Grill on Lighthouse Ave. in Monterey.