The Monterey Bay Area Restaurants

The Monterey Bay area is a culinary paradise. The surrounding waters are full of fish, wild game roams the foothills, and the inland valleys are some of the most fertile in the country—local chefs draw on this bounty for their fresh, truly Californian cuisine. Except at beachside stands and inexpensive eateries, where anything goes, casual but neat dress is the norm.

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  • 1. Aubergine

    $$$$ | American

    To eat and sleep at luxe L'Auberge Carmel is an experience in itself, but even those staying elsewhere can splurge at the inn's intimate restaurant...Read More

  • 2. Basil

    $$ | Modern American

    Eco-friendly Basil was Monterey County's first restaurant to achieve a green-dining certification, recognition of its commitment to using organic...Read More

  • 3. Fandango

    $$$ | Mediterranean

    The menu here is mostly Mediterranean and southern French, with such dishes as osso buco and paella. The decor follows suit: stone walls and...Read More

  • 4. Laili Restaurant

    $$ | Mediterranean

    Exotic Mediterranean flavors with an Afghan twist take center stage at this artsy, stylish space with soaring ceilings. In the evening, locals...Read More

  • 5. Montrio Bistro

    $$$ | American

    This quirky converted firehouse, with its rawhide walls and iron indoor trellises, has a wonderfully sophisticated menu. Organic produce and...Read More

  • 6. Passionfish

    $$$ | Modern American

    South American artwork and artifacts decorate Passionfish, and Latin and Asian flavors infuse the dishes. The chef shops at local farmers' markets...Read More

  • 7. Restaurant 1833

    $$$$ | Modern American

    Inside the two-story Stokes Adobe, built in 1833, this popular restaurant and bar showcases the region's colorful history and local bounty....Read More

  • 8. Soif

    $$$ | Mediterranean

    Wine reigns at this sleek bistro and wineshop that takes its name from the French word for thirst—the selections come from near and far, and...Read More

  • 9. The Pocket

    $$ | Italian

    In surf lingo, "the pocket" is a perfect riding spot within a barrel-shape wave, and this Italian–Californian restaurant is likewise a perfect...Read More

  • 10. Anton and Michel

    $$$ | American

    Carefully prepared California cuisine is the draw at this airy restaurant. The rack of lamb is carved at the table, the grilled halloumi cheese...Read More

  • 11. Assembly

    $$ | Modern American

    Seasonal, sustainably farmed local ingredients inspire this downtown eatery's rustic California cuisine. An adjacent pop-up space temporarily...Read More

  • 12. Beach House

    $$$ | Modern American

    Patrons of this bluff-top perch sip classic cocktails, sample California fare, and watch the otters frolic on Lovers Point Beach below. The...Read More

  • 13. Bittersweet Bistro

    $$$ | Mediterranean

    A large old tavern with cathedral ceilings houses this popular bistro, where the Mediterranean–California menu changes seasonally, but regular...Read More

  • 14. Café Rustica

    $$ | European

    European country cooking is the focus at this lively roadhouse, where specialties include roasted meats, seafood, pastas, and thin-crust pizzas...Read More

  • 15. Carpo's

    $ | Seafood

    Locals love this casual counter where seafood predominates, but you can also order burgers, salads, and steaks. Baskets of battered snapper...Read More

  • 16. Casanova

    $$$ | Mediterranean

    This restaurant inspires European-style celebration and romance in an intimate French-country setting. Feast on authentic dishes from southern...Read More

  • 17. Corkscrew Café

    $$ | Modern American

    Farm-fresh food is the specialty of this casual, Old Monterey–style bistro. Herbs and seasonal produce come from the Corkscrew's own organic...Read More

  • 18. Crow's Nest

    $$$ | Seafood

    Vintage surfboards and local surf photography line the walls and nearly every table overlooks sand and surf at this restaurant on the Santa...Read More

  • 19. Estéban Restaurant

    $$$ | Spanish

    In a festive fireplace dining room at Casa Munras hotel, Estéban serves modern and classic versions of Spanish cuisine: empanadas, Moorish chickpea...Read More

  • 20. Fishwife

    $$ | Seafood

    Fresh fish with a Latin accent makes this a favorite of locals for lunch or a casual dinner. Standards are the sea garden salads–-topped with...Read More

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