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Monterey non touristy seafood lunch

Looking for a place after the aquarium with great seafood, but not touristy. Think this probably means staying away from the piers and cannery.

Was looking at Pacific Grove places. Vivolo's Chowder house looks promising.

Also would be willing to go somewhere on the way back up to the Bay, like in Watsonville or Seaside.

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  1. just an idea.. the aquarium itself has a lovely restaurant next to the cafeteria.. and the view can't be beaten!

    3 Replies
    1. re: rmarisco

      Could you please tell us more about the Aquarium's restaurant? It reopened in April after some renovation and we've not heard anything about it.


      1. re: Melanie Wong

        sorry, wish i could.. i haven't eaten there in a couple of years. they have a blurb on the website, but can't give personal experience

        1. re: rmarisco

          Since all the dining option required admission fees or membership in the Aquarium, this turns into a longer and more expensive outing then I'm able to do readily too.

    2. Point Pinos Grill in Pacific Grove

      Sea Harvest in Monterey is pretty close to the aquarium.

      Golden Tee at the Monterey airport has very good sand dabs, plus you can watch the planes take off and land over the bay.

      1. You might try Sandbar and Grill. It is on the commercial pier just east of Fisherman's Wharf. Because of the location It is not overrun with tourists, and the restaurant is slung down from the pier level to the water level so the view is interesting and unique.

        It has been a couple years since I ate there, but I thought the service was friendly and the food comparable to Point Pinos Grill and better than my memories of Vivolo's (though I have not been there in Years). It also is fairly close to the aquarium.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Ed Dibble

          Sandbar is a good suggestion for an on-the-water experience.

          When's the last time you ate at Point Pinos Grill? Since the new management came in two years ago with a local, sustainable ethos, I have a difficult time drawing any comparison to Sandbar's cooking style.

          The only thing to get at Vivolo's is the chowder.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Good catch. I have eaten at Point Pinos 2 or 3 times, but I haven't been on the peninsula in the last two years. I will pass on your recommendation to my local friends.

            1. re: Ed Dibble

              No visit in two years, how'd that happen? Pls don't be a stranger.

        2. I highly recommend Vivolo's Chowderhouse: it's within walking distance of the aquarium yet it's not on cannery row, so you can avoid the crowds. They're kid-friendly (not sure if this is a requirement), meaning they have child-friendly menu items and crayons. They serve simple seafood dishes--I had sanddabs. And finally, the servers won't ask you any Bubba Gump-related trivia questions.

          1. Two thumbs up for the Sand Bar. Ed gave you most of the info on it.
            Menu favorites of mine are; sand dabs, mussels, fried calamari and fried oysters. Good drinks, but limited wine list.

            1. Go to Phil's Fish Market in Moss Landing. Their cioppino is not to be beat.

              1 Reply
              1. re: RobertLaughlin

                I second Phil's. The food is only OK, but it's an experience that shouldn't be missed.

                A friend from Orange County comes to visit me once or twice and year and always wants to go to Phil's.

              2. Massaro & Santos @ the Coast Guard Pier has great seafood. :)

                2 Replies
                1. re: syrahgirl

                  Mixed reviews on vivolos chowderhouse on trip advisor..

                  We too are looking for a non tourist trap location for a family for seafood.

                  Seems more recommendations here for Sand bar??

                  1. re: palmtree38

                    Massaro & Santos and Sand Bar get recommended often because they are on the water. They're both locals kind of places rather than the wharf restaurants that have barkers out front to draw in tourists. So they're good choices if you want water views and not feel ripped off.

                    At Sandbar, you're literally bobbing on the water. Haven't been for a couple years, but here's a link to my photos so you can see the setting.

                    Here's more about M&S with my recent update,