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Aug 28, 2012 05:22 PM

driving from the bay area to monterey bay next friday - where do eat along the drive?

my title says it all

driving from sfo to Monterey next Friday -- wondering about any spots along the way not to miss.

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    1. re: Melanie Wong

      dummy me - i actually have not even planned this out yet

      and maybe the wrong place to ask - but what is the most scenic most beautiful one? highway 1 i'd assume?

      1. re: ssainani

        I do this trip at least once a year, latest being two weeks ago. I like PCH on the way south, although the area around Santa Cruz never fails to depress. Half Moon Bay has decent food but I prefer to press on regardless to Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel or wherever your final destination is. After all, we're only talking about two hours transit time. The extra 30 minutes drive from Monterey to Big Sur is pure gold.

        1. re: steve h.

          If you take 1 all the way, it's 2.5 hours without traffic, and Friday of Labor Day weekend, it'll probably be busier than usual.

          I'd probably stop for lunch in Santa Cruz, which like Monterey is discussed on the California board.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Hi Robert,

            I stand by my two-hour driving time from SFO. That's what it took us to drive to Monterey two weeks ago for car week although 2.5 hours is a reasonable estimate. Adding more time because of the holiday makes good sense.

            I wouldn't stop for lunch.


            1. re: steve h.

              The fastest route from SFO to Monterey is two hours without traffic, but if you take the scenic route, that adds at least half an hour.

              Whatever route, I'd stop in Santa Cruz for lunch at a Sri Lankan place and maybe a little wine tasting.

                    1. re: artemis

                      There are two others, Malabar and Pearl of the Ocean (in the former Sri space).

              1. re: steve h.

                Hey steve,

                I agree with you. I wouldn't stop for lunch. Even if starving, I'd probably do some McDs fries drive-thru or something :)

      2. if PCH is your route, then Barbara's Fish Trap is your place. Their tempura fried scallops are outstanding. Located in Princeton, just north of Half Moon Bay.

        1. What arrival time at SFO on this get-away Friday?

          4 Replies
          1. re: Stephanie Wong

            no schedule to follow

            i land at sfo on thursday night and leave monday morning -- so friday is our PCH day. i imagine we will leave early though (9am?)

            1. re: ssainani

              Gayle's Rosticceria and Bakery in Capitola, a few miles below Santa Cruz on Hwy 1, is worth the detour. Fabulous bakery and casual meals to eat in or take for the road. Hope you will try it and like it.

              1. re: anyhow

                Here's a link to the discussion about Gayle's - pro and con - on the California board. Definitely a popular place . . .

                1. re: anyhow

                  I ended up popping in for breakfast on a drive between Monterey and San Francisco based on this thread. Definitely a success for our breakfast detour.


            2. I've done the drive often. I would stop at Sam's in Half Moon Bay for a Lobster Roll for breakfast before heading south to Santa Cruz. There, I would eat at Bonny Doon's restaurant for a late lunch. Save room for dinner at Passion Fish in Monterey.

              4 Replies
              1. re: CarrieWas218

                Leave as early as possible to avoid holiday traffic. And really, it's not that long a drive. I'd make a reservation at Fifi's/PacGrove or Bouchee/Carmel for lunch. Fifi's has a soup-and-quiche lunch special that's a bargain, and the quiche is very fine. Bouchee is our favorite of all, we drive down twice a year to stay in the Monterey area and eat ourselves silly.

                If you want something quick to eat, stop at Parker-Lusseau in Monterey (either location; they're close to one another but the Munras Ave. location is larger). Their baked goods are superb; we place an order for quiches, croissants, and pastries when we arrive, then return just before departing to pack everything up in an ice chest to bring back to the East Bay.

                Passionfish is very good, although I found it irritating when we were there that they only had after dinner tea, not coffee. But honestly, we think Bouchee is the best of them all. We are sweetbread and French sauce lovers, and Andre Lemaire (his son Stephen cooks at lunchtime) makes SUPERB food. We were last there in late April and had a lobster salad with black truffle oil that made us both swoon!

                1. re: CarrieWas218

                  Passion fish in Monterey, but in Santa Cruz, we like O'Mei unique Chinese food. It's not as good as it used to be, but it's still one of the tastiest in the greater bay area.
                  In Half Moon Bay, we like the brunch at Cetrella.

                  1. re: Kim Cooper

                    Just a very slight correction, although it should show up properly on any search engine: Passionfish is in Pacific Grove, not Monterey. Only open for dinner, and they have (finally!) added an excellent coffee for after dinner. No espresso, just coffee and the aforementioned teas.

                    Parker-Lusseau Bakery is as good as ever. We stopped by Bechler's Patisserie in PacGrove which has the same Yelp rating as PL, and were appalled. The bakery goods were abysmal, big and cheap. A shame, the dining room is large and pleasant; service is excellent. In no way does the quality of croissants or cakes compare to Parker-Lusseau.

                    1. re: tre2012

                      Couldn't agree more about Bechler. You motivated me to post about it on the California board, where the Monterey Peninsula is covered.

                2. Absolutely go into Parker-Lusseau bakery when you arrive. I've only been to the main baking location on Munras and have talked to the owners each time. They sellout of things in the afternoon, so if you had an idea that you wanted to get something specific (e.g. a tart or some croissants) you should call.


                  For a lunch stop along the way, I like Phil's Fish Market. The food is reasonably good, sometimes quite good. Known for their cioppino. Order at the counter and the food is brought to your table, always buzzing with people and kids, access to walking on the beach through the back of the building.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JojoSF

                    On one of our trips in 2011 we ate at both Phil's and at Passionfish, and had cioppino at both. There is no comparison. Phil's is cheap and busy, but another half-hour gets you to a much higher quality array of choices in Monterey/Carmel. My DH was hot to try Phil's after hearing so much about it, and afterwards he was "meh." The fried fish was big portions but clearly frozen; a little greasy. Bread rolls are cheap fluffy white pillows. The cioppino broth was okay but some of the seafood wasn't that fresh. And the place is a mess, dirty tables, food all over the floors. Ick!

                    I'd rather pay for quality, and Fifi's cost exactly what our lunch at Phil's did. But it was much, much better (and has been, all three times we've been there in the last two years).