Do you tend to head to the same Monterey area restaurants each time you visit? Discover amazing places to dine in Monterey, Carmel, and Pacific Grove that you might not have tried yet.
Monterey is known for it’s spectacular scenery, fabulous golf courses, world class wineries, and the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. There’s also a vibrant dining scene offering great choices for casual or upscale establishments.
Top 10 Restaurants in the Monterey Area
Note: Restaurants appear in alphabetical order
Don’t judge this restaurant by its rather plain exterior. Inside you will be treated to classic French cuisine in a cozy, relaxed, atmosphere. Didier Dutertre, chef and owner, prepares delicious meals that are truly delightful. Don’t miss his signature dish, Parisian-style spinach gnocchi. Another favorite was the cannelloni.
Extensive wine list and excellent service all add up to a memorable experience. Reservations are definitely recommended. The restaurant is located just a block from Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Address: 867 Wave Street, Monterey
Telephone: (831) 333-1200
Open daily 5-9 PM
California Market at Pacific’s Edge
This restaurant is perched on a cliff and has the most spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Dine at a table or comfortable booth with a panoramic view that cannot be beat. I took this picture from my table while enjoying a delicious bowl of Cioppinot. The menu features a large variety of dishes using fresh, organic, locally grown and raised ingredients.
California Market at Pacific’s Edge is located inside the Hyatt Carmel’s Highland Inn, approximately three miles from downtown Carmel. It’s in the gorgeous area near Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. They are open for daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Reservations and valet parking are recommended.
Address: 120 Highlands Drive, Carmel, California
Telephone: (831 620 1234)
Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Hula’s Island Grill
Experience an Island vibe in Monterey. Hawaiian decor creates a festive atmosphere, eclectic music fills the air, and happy, smiling servers greet you. Enjoy a topical cocktail along with lunch, dinner, or a snack. There are lots of menu choices including burgers, fish, tacos, and, salads. My favorite is the ceviche, prepared with local fish.
Dine indoors or outside. They’re known for their fun drinks, but also serve local beers, wine, and soft drinks. Happy hour at Hula’s is a popular event especially on Tuesdays when happy hour is extended from 2 PM until closing. This restaurant is located in an area not far from Cannery Row.
Address: 622 Lighthouse Ave, Monterey, CA 93940
Open Sun & Mon: 4pm – 9:30pm/ Tue – Thu: 11:30am – 9.30pm/ Fri & Sat: 11:30am -10pm
This is the place to enjoy authentic Italian food served by a friendly staff. All food is made in house using fresh local ingredients. The seasonal menu changes daily. Many consider La Balena the best Italian restaurant in the area.
Dine indoors in the small, intimate dining room or outside on one of the two patios. The food is exceptional; especially the pastas. Make reservations in advance. I’d ask for a table outdoors. There’s more room outside and the twinkling lights that come on at sunset create a romantic ambiance.
Address: Junipero between 5th & 6th Streets, Carmel-by-the-sea, CA
Telephone: (831) 250-6295
Open Tues – Sun for Lunch 12 – 3:30 PM/ Dinner 5-10 PM
Choose from a wide variety of appetizers and entrees including fabulous tasting burgers, pizzas, salads, and steaks. Lallapalooza is known for its great selection of fun cocktails, wines, and beers. Enjoy the modern, spacious decor of this restaurant and bar.
Relax in a large comfortable booth or large table in the dining area or the the cozy bar. The bar has a number of televisions as well as a big screen television projected onto a wall. The food and drinks are all excellent. Servers are always attentive and friendly. This establishment is located in downtown Monterey in the popular restaurant/entertainment area.
Address: 474 Alvarado St., Monterey, CA 93940
Telephone: (831) 645-9036
Open Sun – Thurs 4 – 11 PM/ Fri. – Sat. 4 PM – 12 AM
Lou Lou’s Griddle in the Middle
Enjoy a unique breakfast or lunch right on the wharf at this Monterey area restaurant. LouLou’s was featured on Diners, Dives, and Guy Fierri. The restaurant is known for it’s delicious and large portioned breakfasts including the omelettes made to order and giant pancakes. If you’re there at lunch time, try the abalone slider or fish and chips.
Expect a wait especially on weekends. The indoor restaurant is very tiny. It’s nice to sit at the bar and watch the chef cooking. I prefer to dine on one of the tables outside the restaurant where there’s more space to stretch out. If you have time, take a leisurely stroll down the wharf after your meal to watch the sea lions.