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Vacation in Monterey

Hi All, my husband and I will be vacationing out in Monterey in June and will probably take some day trips to Carmel, Big Sur, and maybe Pacific Grove or Morro Bay. But in Monterey I'm planning on surprising my husband with a beach bonfire and then afterwards was thinking of taking him to a romantic Italian restaurant (Italian is his favorite). Does anybody have any recommendations on what is the best Italian restaurant out there? Hopefully nothing too incredibly expensive (would be willing to spend about $100). Any suggestions would be great, thanks!

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  1. We really enjoyed il vecchio when we visited last summer, which is in Pacific Grove. Really cute and simple restaurant, delicious food, and affordable. I remember the roasted chicken with polenta being wonderful.

    http://www.ilvecchiorestaurant.com/

    1. RE Il Vecchio:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/898348

      Morro Bay is a rather long day trip from Monterey, you will spend most of your time driving.

      Pacific Grove and Carmel on the other hand are 2-5 min and 5-10 min trips depending on what part of Monterey you start from.

      Big Sur is only about 45 min south of Carmel but if the weather's nice do continue a little past Nepenthe to Julia Pfeiffer-Burns SP.

      1. I love Il Vecchio and La Balena (in Carmel) seems to be getting lots of love lately.

        2 Replies
        1. re: gmk1322

          Both Il Vecchio and La Balena look great. I am just realizing that Morro Bay is a rather long trip from Monterey which is too bad b/c it seemed nice w/ lots of good wildlife. Pacific Grove also looks beautiful so I'm sure we'll make it there at some point...

          1. re: slozier

            There is good wildlife viewing at Point Lobos and you may want to look into Elkhorn Slough too.

        2. Better than a beach bonfire (that's not really very Monterey - and may not be allowed), get some local take-out like sandwiches from Campagnos and go to Point Lobos, the most beautiful place in the world and have a picnic.

          1. I've been thinking about your posts. You really need to rethink Monterey; it is not a beach town. The weather will likely be in the 60s or 70s and windy. Pack jackets and sweaters, not bathing suits.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Ed Dibble

              Good catch, I missed the beach references too. June is the foggiest month. Cold and windy weather, cold water unsuited to swimming, and our summer nights are even colder (50 to 55 degrees) not warm like the East Coast. You won't want to be on the beach at night. A nice warm restaurant is the place to hang out.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Well the beach bonfire is something that I read about that "Romantic Room Designs" does and it's supposed to be very romantic; I'm sure if we bundle up we'll be fine. After the winter that we just had here in Boston 60's 0r 70's and even in the 50's at night is OK! I like the idea of a picnic as well and have heard great things about Point Lobos...

                1. re: slozier

                  Notice that the beach bonfires are at Carmel Beach, not Monterey, which doesn't have much of a beach.