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May 14, 2012 12:54 PM

Monterey-Carmel Area Best Dabs, Sardines, Cioppino

Looking for decently prepared fresh sardines, sand dabs, & Cioppino in this area. Would appreciate any advice on what restaurants do these traditional foods well.

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  1. We love the Sand Dabs at The Sardine Factory in Monterey! If you can get over to Moss Landing, Phil's Fish Market does Cioppino really nice. We also like Domenico's on the Old Fisherman's Wharf for Cioppino. :)

    3 Replies
    1. re: syrahgirl

      We were put off by the high glitz of The Sardine Factory assuming it was just for tourists and later learned it has a very good reputation so we were sorry we missed it. So do put this on on your list for Monterey.

      1. re: syrahgirl

        The sand dabs are available on both the early prix-fixe menu and the lounge menu, if one is interested in keeping the tariff down at the Sardine Factory. Although, my mother reported that the serving size had shrunk quite a bit when she was last there over a year ago, so not quite as much of a screaming deal.

        1. re: syrahgirl

          Is Domenico's still the best bet for cioppino in Monterey? Thanks for any comments. :-)

        2. Thanks all, for your advice & experiences. We had OK Dabs on Fisherman Pier & are still looking for sardines. By the way, we had a couple of unexpected decent meals in Monterey area: lunch at The Red House in Pacific Grove & a decent supper at Baan Thai in Seaside.

          1 Reply
          1. re: FoodSearcher1

            The season for fresh sardines may not have started yet.

            Sardines have been a seasonal addition to the menu at Esteban in Monterey although I've not hit the right day.

          2. Have not been there in a while, but used to like the sand dabs at the Sandbar and Grill in Monterey. It's on the pier next to Fisherman's wharf and used to attract locals, as well as tourists. Down below pier level, very casual, it has a great view of the harbor and you used to be able to watch the sea otters playing at dusk. Maybe someone else has some newer information, because, as I said, it's been a while since I have been there.

            1. I was just at Monterey Fish House a week ago and had a very tasty version of cioppino with them called Sicilian Holiday pasta. I would describe it as cioppino over homemade pasta. All the fish/shellfish was cooked just to the point of doneness.

              Although you didn't ask, their fried calamari is always cooked perfectly (not at all rubbery or oily) and their oak grilled items are great. We had oak grilled oysters that were the highlight of the dinner.