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Diver Sea Scallop from Coastal Kitchen.
Diver Sea Scallop from Coastal Kitchen.
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

Where to Eat and Drink Near Monterey and Carmel

Innovative pastries, tasty tacos, and fresh sustainable seafood on the California coast

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Diver Sea Scallop from Coastal Kitchen.
| Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

The Monterey Peninsula is for more than scenic drives and Steinbeck nerds. Now that NorCal restaurants are moving toward a semblance of normalcy, it’s an opportune time to sally forth and explore the coastal towns of Pacific Grove, Carmel, Seaside, and Monterey itself, of course. (The locals are already well aware that their food goes hard.)

This list of 21 places to eat and drink in and around Monterey and Carmel is for lovers of rich seafood and adventurous cocktails. The nine different wine appellations and veritable abundance of farms growing organic produce all make the area’s dining experience quite special. As Steinbeck might say, the Monterey Peninsula is “peopled with wonders.”

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Aubergine

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Monte Verde St.
Carmel, CA 93921
(831) 624-8578
Visit Website

In an intimate garden courtyard space within the tiny L’Auberge hotel, award-winning chef Justin Cogley and pastry chef Yulanda Santos serve innovative and artful dishes for a whimsical nightly tasting menu focused on seasonal coastal cuisine. Expect eight to ten courses that range from a single turnip baked in salted dough and served with nori in a hollowed-out ciabatta bun, to a Monterey Bay abalone finished with caviar and fine strands of hand-foraged seaweed and potato. Wine pairings will complement your Michelin-starred meal (and more than double the price of your ticket if you opt for the “Reserve Tasting”). Reservations required.

Amanda Friedman

2. Cultura Comida y Bebida

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In a city sated with French and Italian eating options, Cultura is a breath of fresh, worm-salted air. Founded by Sarah Kabat-Marcy and John Cox (of Sierra Mar/Post Ranch), the Oaxacan-inspired restaurant offers a seasonal menu of fresh, artistic dishes that range from street tacos to mole to a great huevos rancheros at brunch. The full bar features a hand-picked library of mezcals, many of which are sourced directly from small producers in Oaxaca, along with traditional chapulines (grasshoppers), local orange slices, and sal de gusano (worm salt). Don’t miss the toasted peanuts with garlic and chile arbol while sipping an excellent cocktail.

Cultura/Facebook

3. Toro

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Dolores 5 SE of 5th
Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93921
(831) 574-3255
Visit Website

This tiny sushi spot in Carmel took its chances by opening during a pandemic. Luckily, Toro’s ethos of only serving extremely fresh fish and simple, high-caliber ingredients has ensured return customers. It is a traditional menu, with a few appetizers, salads, and simple rolls. Nigiri is the star, and the omakase is a great way to try 16 pieces of the chef’s choice. The sommelier has curated the sake list, offers flights and interesting sake-based cocktails like the Tokyo Smoke (Junmai sake, Japanese Bermutto vermouth, shiso, and mesquite smoke).

Amber Turpin

4. Seventh & Dolores

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7th Avenue &, Dolores St
Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93921
(831) 293-7600
Visit Website

The Folktale Group, Gregory Ahn’s mini empire of a dozen wine labels, has broadened its scope to include some high-quality restaurants as well. In 2017, Seventh & Dolores opened in a former 1970s-era bank in Carmel, and it’s still the place to be for living large. The lavish steakhouse menu offers all the sauces and sides you would expect with your 32-day dry-aged Kansas City steak, with a seasonal focus to highlight the local produce: Think roasted acorn squash with hazelnut pistou or Brussels sprouts with pumpkin romesco and seed brittle. Up the street is Rise + Roam, another Folktale spot that specializes in naturally-fermented sourdough, tempting baked goods, and Roman-style pizza by the yard.

5. Edwin's Kaona Carmel

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Corner of 6th Avenue &, San Carlos St
Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93921
(831) 250-7744
Visit Website

Edwin’s takes the place of Affina, a longtime Mediterranean restaurant from chef Dexter Salazar. During the pandemic, Salazar was on the brink of retirement, with plans to sell the restaurant, when his brothers and nephew stepped in. Now they’ve reopened as Edwin’s, a tribute to the family’s Filipino roots, and Salazar’s father, Edwin. Expect excellent Shanghai lumpia, Balinese chicken, and more Filipino flavors sprinkled throughout, with an extensive wine list on hand as well.

6. Stationæry

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San Carlos Street, 3 NE of 6th Avenue, San Carlos St
Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93921
(831) 250-7183
Visit Website

Stumbling upon Stationaery, hidden within the quaint San Carlos Square, is like discovering a secret note written just for you. Except it is no secret, as everyone now knows about the delicious food to be found here. The tiny 34-seat space has outdoor seating too, which helps accommodate the long wait for the popular brunch featuring items like the potato pancake with salmon, miso, creme fraiche, and soft boiled egg (get decadent and add caviar) or a lobster roll on an Ad Astra brioche bun. Dinner includes some of the same delicious brunch items, with the addition of comforting things like spaghetti Amatriciana and butterscotch budino. Online ordering and takeout are available for those who don’t feel like waiting. 

7. Akaoni

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Mission & 6th Ave
Carmel, CA 93921
(831) 620-1516
Visit Website

A local favorite for industry folk and avid eaters alike, this little no-frills spot serves artful sushi that is both delicate and delicious. Exceptional offerings — made from local and imported seafood — easily make up for the minimal service. Definitely ask about specials first before ordering your standard go-tos; otherwise, you might miss the local spot prawns, glazed black cod, and live Monterey abalone sashimi that are offered alongside a variety of soups, salads, and hot and cold sakes. Hours vary, so check in advance.

8. Passionfish

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701 Lighthouse Ave
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
(831) 655-3311
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A pioneer in Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch and Restaurant Partner program, family-owned Passionfish has served sustainable seafood for nearly two decades. The seasonal menu offers small plates and entrees that are balanced, thoughtful, and fresh. Dishes such as smoked trout ceviche and Dungeness crab salad are offered alongside a considerable 400-item list of local and imported wines offered at close to retail prices.

Slices of seared fish over a green puree in a bowl Michelle Magdalena

9. La Balena

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Junipero Btw 5th & 6th
Carmel, CA 93921
(831) 250-6295
Visit Website

Don’t be fooled by the inconspicuous location and worn-in appearance of this family-run Italian restaurant. The minimal decor and straightforward use of simple, fresh ingredients are intentional, and resemble the classic osterias of chef Emanuele Bartolini’s hometown of Florence. Menu highlights include tender grilled octopus, crispy fried chicken, hand-made gnocchi, and compulsively eatable chili-infused fried cauliflower. The extensive wine list features small producers and highlights female winemakers, as well as organic and biodynamic wineries. The bubbling fountain and soft twinkle lights set a romantic mood on the front and back patios, which is suitable for their outdoor-only dining and takeout service.

A.K.Carroll

10. Poppy Hall

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589 Lighthouse Ave
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
(831) 204-9990
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Poppy Hall serves a menu of classic comfort food. Lunch brings dishes like the Hippy Hand Grenade, a half avocado with a veggie-packed salad topped with sprouts and carrot ginger dressing. Dine in the bright, cozy dining room or grab a seat on the outdoor sidewalk patio with twinkly lights and room to relax.

11. Jeninni Kitchen & Wine Bar

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542 Lighthouse Ave
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
(831) 920-2662
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A gem of Pacific Grove, Jennini is an unassuming wine bar situated on Lighthouse Avenue. The menu is best described as Coastal Mediterranean, with dishes influenced by the flavors of Greece, Southern Spain, the Middle East, and North Africa. Crispy lamb shank is served with chickpeas, harissa, poached radish, brown butter, and herbs. The wine list, curated by seasoned somm Thamin Saleh, offers abundant options by the glass or bottle.

A.K.Carroll

12. Cafe Guarani

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111 Central Ave
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
(831) 747-1551
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Liliana Rodas de Araujo grew up making and selling empanadas in Paraguay, and after a long career in the pastry arts, she has opened Cafe Guaraní during her retirement, hoping to introduce the Monterey Peninsula to traditional Paraguayan foods. This cute cafe, full of cheerful folk art and a welcoming atmosphere, serves a wide selection of empanadas. There are typical versions, like chicken and ham-and-cheese, but also specials, like a recent pulled pork variety. They all come with the magnificent house chimichurri sauce, which alone is worth the trip. Sandwiches are served on homemade brioche along with mandioca fries, and the pastry case is full of fancy-looking cakes, guava-filled croissants, and dulce de leche alfajores. Everything tastes great with any of the yerba mate drinks.

Amber Turpin

13. El Cantaro

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791 Foam St
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 646-5465
Visit Website

El Cantaro defies any resistance customers might have toward the idea of vegan Mexican food by offering fresh, traditional flavors that nobody can deny. And it happens to be non-GMO, mostly organic and completely devoid of animal products. The menu is astoundingly large, broken into appetizers, soups, salads, traditional plates, combination plates, enchiladas, tacos, burritos, and tostadas. Those looking to try something new might opt for the kipes (fried bulgur and potato croquettes) or the empanaditas made with red beet flour. There are also traditional dishes like mole, pozole, and enmoladas, all made with Chickin’ instead of chicken. If you still can’t decide, just ask the cashier: She won’t miss a beat in telling you to order the crispy potato tacos.

14. Pearl Hour

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214 Lighthouse Ave
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 657-9447
Visit Website

Aside from a handful of dive bars, hotel bars, and Fisherman’s Wharf restaurants, the cocktail scene in Monterey isn’t necessarily buzz-worthy. But now there is Pearl Hour, an eye-catching turquoise storefront on Lighthouse Avenue, aptly named by proprietress Katie Blandin (of Good Food Award-winning Golden Bear Bitters) after Steinbeck’s poignant quote: “It is the hour of pearl — the interval between day and night when time stops and examines itself...” Here, Blandin mixes inventive concoctions like the “Pearlescent” with mezcal, gin, bergamot liqueur, dry vermouth, and yarrow. During daylight hours, the bar transforms into a Euro-inspired coffeehouse.

15. Coastal Kitchen

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400 Cannery Row
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 645-4064
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Executive Chef Michael Rotondo is bringing new life to this Cannery Row hotel restaurant. The hotel’s culinary program has been in operation for over a decade, but the team sees the debut of Coastal Kitchen as a major step in incorporating the Monterey Peninsula’s seasonal offerings such as scallops, black cod, and black truffle pasta.

Hand cut pasta at Coastal Kitchen.
Hand cut pasta at Coastal Kitchen.
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

16. Alta Bakery and Cafe

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502 Munras Ave
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 920-1018
Visit Website

The Old Town District of Monterey is chock-full of history and lore, and one of the richest places to absorb some of it is in the rehabilitated Cooper-Molera Adobe and the surrounding grounds. The project to revitalize this property was no small feat, and one of the principal players was Ben Spungin, formerly of Post Ranch Inn and now culinary director of Alta Bakery & Cafe, which is housed in this historic corner on Munras Avenue. The tucked away garden courtyard is a lovely spot to sip a pine and huckleberry latte or rosemary vanilla mimosa, while nibbling on one of Alta’s daily doughnuts like lemon verbena or miso glazed.

Amber Turpin

17. Alvarado Street Brewery & Grill

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426 Alvarado St
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 655-2337
Visit Website

This local craft brewery and restaurant has pivoted well to accommodate its legions of fans with even more outdoor sidewalk seating to supplement its original 50-seat beer garden out back. The menu offers varied but straightforward options of the pizza, burger, and big salad variety, with a few twists like a spicy Korean fried chicken sandwich and a bacon Loco Moco. Fan favorite IPA’s, kettle sours, and sessionable lagers are served all day with 3 to 6 p.m. happy hour all week long, plus bottles and cans to go. (Alvarado Street also took over its own Carmel Plaza spinoff, the former Yeast of Eden, where it now serves a smaller, seasonal California-leaning menu, plus a handful of the sought-after Yeast of Eden mixed fermentation brews.)

18. Las Cazuelas Taqueria

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880 Broadway Ave
Seaside, CA 93955
(831) 641-7832

This is the newly opened sister location to the original Las Cazuelas in Marina, which has many fans. It serves a vast menu of solid, generous, fresh taqueria food with a spiffed-up ambiance. The variety of wet burritos, tacos (including hard-shell and soft), and tender sopes make it easy to frequent this place, especially during this time when takeout reigns supreme. A nice breakfast menu and freshly squeezed orange and carrot juice are a bonus. Other Brother Beer Co., located directly across the street, offers a great solution to post-beer dinner dilemmas.

19. Other Brother Beer Co.

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877 Broadway Ave
Seaside, CA 93955
(831) 747-1106
Visit Website

The often ignored strip-mall town of Seaside, in North Monterey County, is having a food and drink revival, and Other Brother Beer Co. is one of the main attractions. This breezy craft beer spot, founded by two brothers who helm a California olive oil company with the same name, offers a diverse variety of fresh brews (not just IPAs) for local pickup and delivery. They also manage an outdoor parklet called “Heermann’s Landing” — the perfect spot to enjoy the remarkable onsite baked goods of chef Ron Mendoza’s Ad Astra Bread Co.

Amber Turpin

20. The Meatery

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1534 Fremont Blvd
Seaside, CA 93955
(831) 656-8810
Visit Website

First and foremost, the Meatery is a butcher shop. Chef-owner Kevin Hincks opened the shop in 2019, bringing a strict whole-animal, small-batch, sustainable philosophy to an unassuming Seaside strip mall. Local chef Todd Fisher has since taken the helm. The Meatery is also an excellent place to get sandwiches like the customer favorite bahn mi or Italian po’boy. Quintessential deli case items, like mac salad and a bacon-loaded potato salad, are at the ready, along with fermented hot sauce by the bottle.

Amber Turpin

21. Noodle Bar

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1944 Fremont Blvd
Seaside, CA 93955
(831) 392-0210

With all of the buzzy new food businesses opening up shop in Seaside recently, it would be remiss to not mention some of the diverse spots that have been serving locals this whole time. One such restaurant is Noodle Bar, an aptly named skinny hall with sparse seating and affordable Vietnamese-leaning takeout: flavorful pho, as well as soupless rice vermicelli bowls topped with cilantro, mint, house dressing, and chopped peanuts. Vegetarians have a full menu page of options to choose from.

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1. Aubergine

Monte Verde St., Carmel, CA 93921
Amanda Friedman

In an intimate garden courtyard space within the tiny L’Auberge hotel, award-winning chef Justin Cogley and pastry chef Yulanda Santos serve innovative and artful dishes for a whimsical nightly tasting menu focused on seasonal coastal cuisine. Expect eight to ten courses that range from a single turnip baked in salted dough and served with nori in a hollowed-out ciabatta bun, to a Monterey Bay abalone finished with caviar and fine strands of hand-foraged seaweed and potato. Wine pairings will complement your Michelin-starred meal (and more than double the price of your ticket if you opt for the “Reserve Tasting”). Reservations required.

Monte Verde St.
Carmel, CA 93921

2. Cultura Comida y Bebida

Carmel, CA 93923
Cultura/Facebook

In a city sated with French and Italian eating options, Cultura is a breath of fresh, worm-salted air. Founded by Sarah Kabat-Marcy and John Cox (of Sierra Mar/Post Ranch), the Oaxacan-inspired restaurant offers a seasonal menu of fresh, artistic dishes that range from street tacos to mole to a great huevos rancheros at brunch. The full bar features a hand-picked library of mezcals, many of which are sourced directly from small producers in Oaxaca, along with traditional chapulines (grasshoppers), local orange slices, and sal de gusano (worm salt). Don’t miss the toasted peanuts with garlic and chile arbol while sipping an excellent cocktail.

3. Toro

Dolores 5 SE of 5th, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93921
Amber Turpin

This tiny sushi spot in Carmel took its chances by opening during a pandemic. Luckily, Toro’s ethos of only serving extremely fresh fish and simple, high-caliber ingredients has ensured return customers. It is a traditional menu, with a few appetizers, salads, and simple rolls. Nigiri is the star, and the omakase is a great way to try 16 pieces of the chef’s choice. The sommelier has curated the sake list, offers flights and interesting sake-based cocktails like the Tokyo Smoke (Junmai sake, Japanese Bermutto vermouth, shiso, and mesquite smoke).

Dolores 5 SE of 5th
Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93921

4. Seventh & Dolores

7th Avenue &, Dolores St, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93921

The Folktale Group, Gregory Ahn’s mini empire of a dozen wine labels, has broadened its scope to include some high-quality restaurants as well. In 2017, Seventh & Dolores opened in a former 1970s-era bank in Carmel, and it’s still the place to be for living large. The lavish steakhouse menu offers all the sauces and sides you would expect with your 32-day dry-aged Kansas City steak, with a seasonal focus to highlight the local produce: Think roasted acorn squash with hazelnut pistou or Brussels sprouts with pumpkin romesco and seed brittle. Up the street is Rise + Roam, another Folktale spot that specializes in naturally-fermented sourdough, tempting baked goods, and Roman-style pizza by the yard.

7th Avenue &, Dolores St
Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93921

5. Edwin's Kaona Carmel

Corner of 6th Avenue &, San Carlos St, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93921

Edwin’s takes the place of Affina, a longtime Mediterranean restaurant from chef Dexter Salazar. During the pandemic, Salazar was on the brink of retirement, with plans to sell the restaurant, when his brothers and nephew stepped in. Now they’ve reopened as Edwin’s, a tribute to the family’s Filipino roots, and Salazar’s father, Edwin. Expect excellent Shanghai lumpia, Balinese chicken, and more Filipino flavors sprinkled throughout, with an extensive wine list on hand as well.

Corner of 6th Avenue &, San Carlos St
Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93921

6. Stationæry

San Carlos Street, 3 NE of 6th Avenue, San Carlos St, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93921

Stumbling upon Stationaery, hidden within the quaint San Carlos Square, is like discovering a secret note written just for you. Except it is no secret, as everyone now knows about the delicious food to be found here. The tiny 34-seat space has outdoor seating too, which helps accommodate the long wait for the popular brunch featuring items like the potato pancake with salmon, miso, creme fraiche, and soft boiled egg (get decadent and add caviar) or a lobster roll on an Ad Astra brioche bun. Dinner includes some of the same delicious brunch items, with the addition of comforting things like spaghetti Amatriciana and butterscotch budino. Online ordering and takeout are available for those who don’t feel like waiting. 

San Carlos Street, 3 NE of 6th Avenue, San Carlos St
Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93921

7. Akaoni

Mission & 6th Ave, Carmel, CA 93921

A local favorite for industry folk and avid eaters alike, this little no-frills spot serves artful sushi that is both delicate and delicious. Exceptional offerings — made from local and imported seafood — easily make up for the minimal service. Definitely ask about specials first before ordering your standard go-tos; otherwise, you might miss the local spot prawns, glazed black cod, and live Monterey abalone sashimi that are offered alongside a variety of soups, salads, and hot and cold sakes. Hours vary, so check in advance.

Mission & 6th Ave
Carmel, CA 93921

8. Passionfish

701 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Slices of seared fish over a green puree in a bowl Michelle Magdalena

A pioneer in Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch and Restaurant Partner program, family-owned Passionfish has served sustainable seafood for nearly two decades. The seasonal menu offers small plates and entrees that are balanced, thoughtful, and fresh. Dishes such as smoked trout ceviche and Dungeness crab salad are offered alongside a considerable 400-item list of local and imported wines offered at close to retail prices.

701 Lighthouse Ave
Pacific Grove, CA 93950

9. La Balena

Junipero Btw 5th & 6th, Carmel, CA 93921
A.K.Carroll

Don’t be fooled by the inconspicuous location and worn-in appearance of this family-run Italian restaurant. The minimal decor and straightforward use of simple, fresh ingredients are intentional, and resemble the classic osterias of chef Emanuele Bartolini’s hometown of Florence. Menu highlights include tender grilled octopus, crispy fried chicken, hand-made gnocchi, and compulsively eatable chili-infused fried cauliflower. The extensive wine list features small producers and highlights female winemakers, as well as organic and biodynamic wineries. The bubbling fountain and soft twinkle lights set a romantic mood on the front and back patios, which is suitable for their outdoor-only dining and takeout service.

Junipero Btw 5th & 6th
Carmel, CA 93921

10. Poppy Hall

589 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

Poppy Hall serves a menu of classic comfort food. Lunch brings dishes like the Hippy Hand Grenade, a half avocado with a veggie-packed salad topped with sprouts and carrot ginger dressing. Dine in the bright, cozy dining room or grab a seat on the outdoor sidewalk patio with twinkly lights and room to relax.

589 Lighthouse Ave
Pacific Grove, CA 93950

11. Jeninni Kitchen & Wine Bar

542 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950
A.K.Carroll

A gem of Pacific Grove, Jennini is an unassuming wine bar situated on Lighthouse Avenue. The menu is best described as Coastal Mediterranean, with dishes influenced by the flavors of Greece, Southern Spain, the Middle East, and North Africa. Crispy lamb shank is served with chickpeas, harissa, poached radish, brown butter, and herbs. The wine list, curated by seasoned somm Thamin Saleh, offers abundant options by the glass or bottle.

542 Lighthouse Ave
Pacific Grove, CA 93950

12. Cafe Guarani

111 Central Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Amber Turpin

Liliana Rodas de Araujo grew up making and selling empanadas in Paraguay, and after a long career in the pastry arts, she has opened Cafe Guaraní during her retirement, hoping to introduce the Monterey Peninsula to traditional Paraguayan foods. This cute cafe, full of cheerful folk art and a welcoming atmosphere, serves a wide selection of empanadas. There are typical versions, like chicken and ham-and-cheese, but also specials, like a recent pulled pork variety. They all come with the magnificent house chimichurri sauce, which alone is worth the trip. Sandwiches are served on homemade brioche along with mandioca fries, and the pastry case is full of fancy-looking cakes, guava-filled croissants, and dulce de leche alfajores. Everything tastes great with any of the yerba mate drinks.

111 Central Ave
Pacific Grove, CA 93950

13. El Cantaro

791 Foam St, Monterey, CA 93940

El Cantaro defies any resistance customers might have toward the idea of vegan Mexican food by offering fresh, traditional flavors that nobody can deny. And it happens to be non-GMO, mostly organic and completely devoid of animal products. The menu is astoundingly large, broken into appetizers, soups, salads, traditional plates, combination plates, enchiladas, tacos, burritos, and tostadas. Those looking to try something new might opt for the kipes (fried bulgur and potato croquettes) or the empanaditas made with red beet flour. There are also traditional dishes like mole, pozole, and enmoladas, all made with Chickin’ instead of chicken. If you still can’t decide, just ask the cashier: She won’t miss a beat in telling you to order the crispy potato tacos.

791 Foam St
Monterey, CA 93940

14. Pearl Hour

214 Lighthouse Ave, Monterey, CA 93940

Aside from a handful of dive bars, hotel bars, and Fisherman’s Wharf restaurants, the cocktail scene in Monterey isn’t necessarily buzz-worthy. But now there is Pearl Hour, an eye-catching turquoise storefront on Lighthouse Avenue, aptly named by proprietress Katie Blandin (of Good Food Award-winning Golden Bear Bitters) after Steinbeck’s poignant quote: “It is the hour of pearl — the interval between day and night when time stops and examines itself...” Here, Blandin mixes inventive concoctions like the “Pearlescent” with mezcal, gin, bergamot liqueur, dry vermouth, and yarrow. During daylight hours, the bar transforms into a Euro-inspired coffeehouse.

214 Lighthouse Ave
Monterey, CA 93940

15. Coastal Kitchen

400 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940
Hand cut pasta at Coastal Kitchen.
Hand cut pasta at Coastal Kitchen.
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

Executive Chef Michael Rotondo is bringing new life to this Cannery Row hotel restaurant. The hotel’s culinary program has been in operation for over a decade, but the team sees the debut of Coastal Kitchen as a major step in incorporating the Monterey Peninsula’s seasonal offerings such as scallops, black cod, and black truffle pasta.

400 Cannery Row
Monterey, CA 93940

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16. Alta Bakery and Cafe

502 Munras Ave, Monterey, CA 93940
Amber Turpin

The Old Town District of Monterey is chock-full of history and lore, and one of the richest places to absorb some of it is in the rehabilitated Cooper-Molera Adobe and the surrounding grounds. The project to revitalize this property was no small feat, and one of the principal players was Ben Spungin, formerly of Post Ranch Inn and now culinary director of Alta Bakery & Cafe, which is housed in this historic corner on Munras Avenue. The tucked away garden courtyard is a lovely spot to sip a pine and huckleberry latte or rosemary vanilla mimosa, while nibbling on one of Alta’s daily doughnuts like lemon verbena or miso glazed.

502 Munras Ave
Monterey, CA 93940

17. Alvarado Street Brewery & Grill

426 Alvarado St, Monterey, CA 93940

This local craft brewery and restaurant has pivoted well to accommodate its legions of fans with even more outdoor sidewalk seating to supplement its original 50-seat beer garden out back. The menu offers varied but straightforward options of the pizza, burger, and big salad variety, with a few twists like a spicy Korean fried chicken sandwich and a bacon Loco Moco. Fan favorite IPA’s, kettle sours, and sessionable lagers are served all day with 3 to 6 p.m. happy hour all week long, plus bottles and cans to go. (Alvarado Street also took over its own Carmel Plaza spinoff, the former Yeast of Eden, where it now serves a smaller, seasonal California-leaning menu, plus a handful of the sought-after Yeast of Eden mixed fermentation brews.)

426 Alvarado St
Monterey, CA 93940

18. Las Cazuelas Taqueria

880 Broadway Ave, Seaside, CA 93955

This is the newly opened sister location to the original Las Cazuelas in Marina, which has many fans. It serves a vast menu of solid, generous, fresh taqueria food with a spiffed-up ambiance. The variety of wet burritos, tacos (including hard-shell and soft), and tender sopes make it easy to frequent this place, especially during this time when takeout reigns supreme. A nice breakfast menu and freshly squeezed orange and carrot juice are a bonus. Other Brother Beer Co., located directly across the street, offers a great solution to post-beer dinner dilemmas.

880 Broadway Ave
Seaside, CA 93955

19. Other Brother Beer Co.

877 Broadway Ave, Seaside, CA 93955
Amber Turpin

The often ignored strip-mall town of Seaside, in North Monterey County, is having a food and drink revival, and Other Brother Beer Co. is one of the main attractions. This breezy craft beer spot, founded by two brothers who helm a California olive oil company with the same name, offers a diverse variety of fresh brews (not just IPAs) for local pickup and delivery. They also manage an outdoor parklet called “Heermann’s Landing” — the perfect spot to enjoy the remarkable onsite baked goods of chef Ron Mendoza’s Ad Astra Bread Co.

877 Broadway Ave
Seaside, CA 93955

20. The Meatery

1534 Fremont Blvd, Seaside, CA 93955
Amber Turpin

First and foremost, the Meatery is a butcher shop. Chef-owner Kevin Hincks opened the shop in 2019, bringing a strict whole-animal, small-batch, sustainable philosophy to an unassuming Seaside strip mall. Local chef Todd Fisher has since taken the helm. The Meatery is also an excellent place to get sandwiches like the customer favorite bahn mi or Italian po’boy. Quintessential deli case items, like mac salad and a bacon-loaded potato salad, are at the ready, along with fermented hot sauce by the bottle.

1534 Fremont Blvd
Seaside, CA 93955

21. Noodle Bar

1944 Fremont Blvd, Seaside, CA 93955

With all of the buzzy new food businesses opening up shop in Seaside recently, it would be remiss to not mention some of the diverse spots that have been serving locals this whole time. One such restaurant is Noodle Bar, an aptly named skinny hall with sparse seating and affordable Vietnamese-leaning takeout: flavorful pho, as well as soupless rice vermicelli bowls topped with cilantro, mint, house dressing, and chopped peanuts. Vegetarians have a full menu page of options to choose from.

1944 Fremont Blvd
Seaside, CA 93955

Related Maps