Cheap and tasty in downtown Monterey
Looks like I'll be finding myself in Monterey for the better part of a day on Monday - I'm at a conference at Asilomar Conference Grounds that ends at noon, but my flight doesn't leave till 8:30, so I've got some time to kill. I imagine I might check out the aquarium, but I'd also like to try some tasty local things to eat, for dinner and perhaps lunch.
I will not have a car. I'm taking the bus from Asilomar to the downtown transit centre, and then another bus from downtown to the airport. (And I guess another bus to and from the aquarium if it's not in walking distance.) So it needs to be within walking distance from the downtown transit centre (ideally) - or the aquarium, Asilomar or the airport.
My budget is low, but I tend to prefer low-budget food anyway - either authentic international food (served by immigrants to immigrants) or the kind of thing you might find in _Roadfood_. (And spicy is always good.) Since it's California, some sort of Mexican or Cali-Mex would be the obvious thing, but if you know of a good hole-in-the-wall Thai or Ethiopian or chicken-wing joint, I'd be into that too.
If you are at Asilomar, walk across the street to Fishwife and enjoy the food there! Food is reasonable and good.
Probably too late to be helpful, but if I were eating close by Asilomar, I would go to the restaurant at the Pacific Grove municipal golf course (I can't recall the neame of the place). I much prefer it to Fishwife for lunch - better food, service etc.
Unfortunately for OP's original request, Monterey is not a place to find places where immigrants cook for immigrants because Mty is an expensive area and is home to few immigrants. That being said, Ambrosia Indian Bistro on Abrego is pretty good. Turtle Bay would be my favorite Mex/Latin place in the downtown area.
For simple seafood, Sea Harvest in the Cannery Row area is good and within walking distance of the Aquarium.