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Looking for casual but knock-your-socks off dining around Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey

I'd love to find something that the locals flock to - that hidden gem that may not be the tourist hot spot, but that everyone knows and loves.

Staying at the Portola and they have a restaurant whose menu looks great. (Jack's) Do they perform?

We'll only have a day in town and I'd like to have a moment to taste monterey.

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  1. Go to Passionfish, it is the best. Search for it here to see numerous positive reviews.

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    Passionfish
    701 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

    1. +1 on Passionfish. But if you need something within walking distance, try Sandbar & Grill on the commercial wharf (on the far end of the big parking lot from Fisherman's Wharf) or Massaro & Santos on the Coast Guard pier. Both serve simple preparations of good seafood in beautiful settings. Neither is tourist-free, but they're not as bad as the places on the Wharf.

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      Passionfish
      701 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

      Sandbar & Grill
      Municipal Wharf, Ste 16, Monterey, CA 93940

      Massaro and Santos
      32 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940

      6 Replies
      1. re: alanbarnes

        + 1 on Sandbar & Grill, thought someone had filed a report on their meal there recently but couldn't find it.

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        Sandbar & Grill
        Municipal Wharf, Ste 16, Monterey, CA

            1. re: Ed Dibble

              That's the beauty of this place, they've been consistent and maintained their quality through the years. Trying to recall when I first ate there, know it's been over 20 years.

              1. re: PolarBear

                I ate there back in the 80s, then quit going for a while because I quit smoking before CA passed the no-smoking law and the place used to be very smoky. Some visits back to the area, I will just stop in for a cocktail or snack just for the view.

            2. re: NVJims

              Yours is the one I was thinking of, thanks NVJ.

        1. If you are at the Portola on Cannery Row, you don't want a something around Fisherman's Wharf. FW is a different locale than Cannery Row. If I had only one day in the area, I would definitely go to Passionfish, particularly if you like interesting seafood preps and a wonderful wine list priced at retail. Be sure to make reservations.

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          Passionfish
          701 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

          5 Replies
          1. re: Ed Dibble

            The Portola Hotel is on Portola Plaza at the foot of Fisherman's Wharf. Portola Restaurant and Cafe is in the Aquarium on Cannery Row. Although Chowhound's auto-link feature mapped the restaurant, something tells me the OP is staying at the hotel.

            1. re: alanbarnes

              The map is totally screwed up, "E" for S&G places it at the foot of the tourist wharf, and "D" puts them between the cemetery and the NPS. I wonder if the address were changed to simply Fisherman's Wharf #2 it might come a little closer?

              1. re: PolarBear

                I edited the address. It's in the right spot now and the duplicate has been removed.

              2. re: alanbarnes

                Thanks Alan. I lived in Mty for 12 years and now stay with friends when I visit, so I have no idea where the hotels/motels are. I'd still go to Passionfish, but that does make it more of a trip.

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                Passionfish
                701 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

            2. You all are amazing. Off to read the links.

              I'd love to also have a place where the girls can walk to get drinks in the evening. And, yes, we are indeed staying at the *hotel* :)

              Thank you!

              3 Replies
              1. re: ChasingChe

                There's a nice pub in the alley behind the hotel, actually connected to the hotel, called Pete B's, or something like that. I love to have drinks there when I'm in the area and the have a nice happy hour too.

                1. re: heckonwheels

                  Would that be Peter B's Brewpub?
                  http://www.portolahotel.com/dining/pe...

                  It'd be great if that was a decent place to sit, being that it's so close.

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                  Peter B's Brewpub
                  2 Portola Plz, Monterey, CA 93940