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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Assembly

    $$ | Modern American

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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. Gabriella Café

    $$ | Italian

    Local artwork features prominently at this petite, romantic café in a tile-roof cottage. Featuring organic produce from area farms, the seasonal...Read More

  • 9. Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria

    $$ | Café

    Whether you're in the mood for an orange-olallieberry muffin, a wild rice and chicken salad, or tri-tip on garlic toast, this bakery-deli's...Read More

  • 10. Haute Enchilada

    $$ | South American

    Part of a complex that includes art galleries and an events venue, the Haute adds bohemian character to the seafaring village of Moss Landing...Read More

  • 11. Jennini Kitchen + Wine Bar

    $$ | Mediterranean

    Sommelier Thamin Saleh, who named his lively restaurant and wine bar after his hometown in Palestine, designed a seasonally changing menu of...Read More

  • 12. La Posta Via

    $$ | Italian

    Authentic Italian fare made with fresh local produce lures diners into cozy, modern-rustic La Posta. Nearly everything is made in-house, from...Read More

  • 13. Monterey's Fish House

    $$ | Seafood

    Casual yet stylish and always packed, this seafood restaurant is removed from the hubbub of the wharf. The bartenders and waitstaff will gladly...Read More

  • 14. Mundaka

    $$ | Spanish

    The traditional Spanish-style tapas, made with fresh local ingredients, and the full bar attract legions of locals to this downtown spot. Longtime...Read More

  • 15. Peppers Mexicali Cafe

    $$ | Mexican

    This cheerful, white-walled storefront serves traditional dishes from Mexico and Latin America, with an emphasis on fresh seafood. Excellent...Read More

  • 16. Phil's Fish Market & Eatery

    $$ | Seafood

    Exquisitely fresh, simply prepared seafood (try the cioppino) is on the menu at this warehouselike restaurant on the harbor; all kinds of glistening...Read More

  • 17. Red House Café

    $$ | American

    When it's nice out, sun pours through the big windows of this cozy restaurant and across tables on the porch; when fog rolls in, the fireplace...Read More

  • 18. Taste Café and Bistro

    $$ | American

    Grilled marinated rabbit, roasted half chicken, filet mignon, and other meats are the focus at Taste, which serves hearty European-inspired...Read More

  • 19. The Cottage Restaurant

    $$ | American

    This family-friendly spot serves sandwiches, pizzas, and homemade soups at lunch, but the best meal is breakfast (good thing it's served all...Read More

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