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Suggestions for a low-key vacation in Monterey, where to eat?

Hi, so as I mentioned before my husband and I are going to be out in Monterey (first time) next month. We don't want to spend a ton of money on food while we're out there just b/c the airfare and hotel are already eating up a big part of our budget (pun intended). We're totally content to just walk around and find a good pizza joint but I thought it may also be nice to have some recommendations as well (we will be taking day trips to Carmel and Pacific Grove, etc). We have gotten suggestions for Il Vechio and La Balena for a nice dinner one night which is perfect. The rest can be somewhat casual (in other words we're not going to head to Marinus). So far I have Fandango for lunch or dinner, Lokal for dinner, and La Bicyclette for breakfast. Any other good brunch spots or any other casual but fun places that you think we just have to try while we're out there? Unfortunatly we don't eat seafood but we do love American, Italian, Mexican, Greek, etc. Thanks!

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  1. Seaside and Marina are great for food at great prices.

    Seaside
    http://www.chow.com/search?query=Seas...

    1. In May last year we enjoyed Mundaka in Carmel, Phil’s Fish Market & Eatery in Moss Landing on drive down, Passionfish in Pacific Grove, & Duarte’s Tavern in Pescadero on the drive back up. We'd read good things about the bread from a store in Pescadero (artichoke, was it?) but it was only ok at best & not worth the money. Hope this helps.

      Cheers!

      2 Replies
      1. re: FishTales

        Thank you, I will check out Seaside and the Marina and see what's what. Fish Tales think you also but remember that we don't eat fish! But I will check out Mundaka and the tavern if they have other things. I've heard about that artichoke bread too!

        1. re: slozier

          Mundaka is my favorite casual restaurant in Carmel and Lokal in Carmel Valley is very good too. Both are tapas/small plates style for dinner.

          I tried 1833 for the first time this month and while I wasn't as enamored with it as others on this board seem to be, it was our least expensive dinner and the portions are good sized (two of us shared a small bite, 2 apps and 1 main and had leftovers).

          I also tried the weekday lunch at Il Vecchio this trip. You get a salad and 2 different pastas (no choices) depending on the day of the week for $9.50 per person. Friday is seafood so I wouldn't go then. Again good value though I did have better pasta dishes elsewhere this trip (La Balena, Basil) but that may be an unfair comparison given the different price points.

      2. Deli food from Bruno's or the Safeway in Carmel and picnic at Point Lobos about 3 miles S of Carmel.
        Wine tasting in Carmel Valley followed by lunch at the Corkscrew or Cafe Rustica.
        Mexican food at Peppers Mexicali, Pacific Grove
        Breakfast on the Municipal Pier at LuLu's Griddle in the Middle.

        1. Fandango??

          I don't think it represents good value; and it's the sortof place done better back in MA.

          1. In Pacific Grove, my fav breakfast / lunch place is Red House Cafe. redhousecafe.com

            Fandango is okay, but not the better value for the cost-conscious. For that kind of money, I prefer Mission Ranch Restaurant in Carmel. Cocktails outside on the patio watching the sunset, etc. Caution: no reservations, dress in warm layers for chilly sun downs!

            I also like the Wagon Wheel on Carmel Valley Road for the good old-fashioned hearty breakfast. Or lunch --cash, no reservations, prompt service, they close at 2 pm.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Stephanie Wong

              Really? A lot of other Chow Hounds have said good things about Fandango. Well OK, and we do love a good cocktail while watching the sun set!