Nestled on California’s rugged central coastline and embraced by the Pacific on three sides, Monterey has a little something special for everyone from spectacular natural scenery of rugged coastline, crashing waves, rolling vineyards, and legendary golf courses. Home to the iconic Cannery Row, which was once a center of the sardine-packing industry and immortalized by novelist John Steinbeck, Monterey features several attractions such as the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium, and plenty of great restaurants, cafés, and eateries for romantic wining and dining, and celebrating special occasions.
1.Anton & Michel Restaurant
© Anton & Michel Restaurant
Located at the Court of the Fountains in beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea, Anton & Michel Restaurant is an award-winning dining destination that has been serving highly acclaimed cuisine and fine wines in an elegant setting since 1980. Renowned for its outstanding food and fine wines, and gracious hospitality, Anton & Michel offers a superlative dining experience with a seasonal menu of contemporary New American cuisine featuring fresh seafood and fish, USDA-graded steaks and chops, organic salads and vegetables, and housemade pasta dishes. Floor-to-ceiling windows embrace breathtaking views of the Court of the Fountains, and the dining room has a fireplace which casts a warm glow and romantic ambiance. The full-service bar offers a variety of fine wines from around the world, craft and draft beers on tap and by the bottle, and classic cocktails made from top-shelf spirits. Anton & Michel Restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner.
Mission Street &, 7th Ave, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93921, Phone: 831-624-2406
2.Aubergine at L'Auberge Carmel
© Aubergine at L'Auberge Carmel
Aubergine is the main restaurant at the luxurious L’Auberge Carmel and promises an unforgettable, exceptional dining experience. Renowned for its graceful architecture, style, and elegance, L’Auberge Carmel is historic hotel located in the heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea just blocks from the famed Carmel Beach. Built in 1929, the Hotel boasts a European grandeur with individually designed guest rooms, an award-winning restaurant, and outstanding service. The award-winning Aubergine, where Executive Chef Justin Cogley creates superb cuisine using fresh, locally sourced ingredients and regional produce, presented with passion and flair. The sublime cuisine is accompanied by a collection of acclaimed global wines and rare vintages, and classic cocktails made with top-shelf spirits. Aubergine at L’Auberge Carmel is open for dinner.
Monte Verde at Seventh, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Phone: 831-624-8578
© Bistro Moulin
Bistro Moulin is a charming European-style go-to for hearty French bistro fare and casual wines with an intimate dining space adorned with European art. Located on Cannery Row in the heart of Monterey, the cozy bistro is owned by French chef Didier Dutertre, who prepares and presents classic French cuisine using fresh locally sourced ingredients where possible. Signature dishes include hors d'oeuvres of escargots with garlic and hazelnut butter, cocur de laitue, and spinach gnocchi au gratin, and entrées of coq au vin, steak bordelaise, moules frites, confit de canard, cannelloni tartufi, and fresh fish of the day. A full-service bar offers a variety of fine wines from around the world, craft and draft beers on tap and by the bottle, and classic cocktails made from top-shelf spirits. Bistro Moulin is open for dinner, seven nights a week.
867 Wave St, Monterey, CA 93940, Phone: 831-333-1200
© Café Fina
Boasting breathtaking harbor views and charming, romantic ambiance, Café Fina is a refined restaurant that serves traditional Italian fare and fine wines for lunch and dinner. Established in 1989, the family-owned and operated restaurant has been serving mouthwatering Italian-inspired seafood, homemade pasta dishes, wood-fired pizzas with gourmet toppings and seasonal organic home-grown salads and vegetarian dishes ever since. Quaint Italian décor and cozy tables with white tablecloths set the scene for a romantic dinner against a backdrop of beautiful harbor views and a selection of excellent wines that Napa Valley has to offer along with Italian vintages complement the cuisine. Café Fina is open for lunch and dinner daily.
47 Fishermans Wharf #1, Monterey, CA 93940, Phone: 831-372-5200
© Casanova Restaurant
Casanova Restaurant is a charming French and Italian restaurant with a beautiful outdoor patio and lovely views. Based in a historic 1920s cottage that was owned by Charlie Chaplin’s chef, the family-owned eatery focuses on contemporary and rustic cuisine prepared using the freshest, highest quality ingredients sourced from surrounding farms and producers. Seasonal menus feature appetizers of Pâté de Campagne, Gnocchi Casanova, and Burrata, and entrées of Ravioli with summer squash, Osso Buco with gremolata, and Roasted Lamb Loin. Diners can savor a chef’s prix-fixe on Vincent Van Gogh’s very own dining table in a private dining room, and a full-service bar offers a variety of fine wines from around the world, craft and draft beers on tap and by the bottle, and classic cocktails made from top-shelf spirits. Casanova Restaurant is open for dinner, seven nights a week.
5th Ave, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923, Phone: 831-625-0501
Cibo is an intimate Italian eatery that offers sublime cuisine, inventive cocktails, and live jazz in a casually elegant spot. The charming restaurant features expressive art such as hand-blown glass, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and serves a menu of Italian fusion cuisine blending the old with the new using fresh locally sourced ingredients and regional produce. Signature dishes range from fresh seafood and housemade pasta dishes to gourmet wood-fired pizza, and the food is accompanied by a selection of the finest Italian and California wines, and traditional and creative cocktails and hosts live jazz in the evenings. Cibo is open for dinner every evening.
301 Alvarado St, Monterey, CA 93940, Phone: 831-649-8151
7.Domenico's On the Wharf
© Domenico's On the Wharf
Serving wild, sustainable local and Alaskan seafood for the past 35 years, Domenico's On the Wharf is a warm and welcoming restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows and spectacular harbor views. The restaurant boasts a beautiful location overlooking the bay with sunny interiors and an engaging family style of hospitality. Guests can dine on seasonal menus of fresh locally caught fish, shellfish and seafood, along with succulent steaks, housemade pasta dishes, and fresh salads and signature dishes like Red King Crab legs from Alaska, Dungeness crab, and Clam Chowder. The cuisine is accompanied by a selection of award-winning wines from the surrounding Monterey County vineyards, as well as France and Italy and the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
50 Fishermans Wharf #1, Monterey, CA 93940, Phone: 831-372-3655
© Estéban Restaurant
Located in the historic Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa, Estéban Restaurant is a family-owned and operated eatery that specializes in authentic Spanish cuisine. Owned and operated by the Munras family, the restaurant features chic interiors, a charming outdoor patio with firepits for alfresco dining, and a stylish, laid-back ambiance. Seasonal menus feature Mediterranean tapas, traditional Spanish-inspired entrées, and Californian sharing plates of dishes created by Chef Thomas Snyder using fresh seafood, naturally-fed meats and chicken, and organic salads and vegetables. The cuisine can be paired with casual wines from around the world, craft and draft beers by the bottle, and creative craft cocktails made with top-shelf spirits. Estéban Restaurant is open for breakfast, brunch, and dinner, seven days a week.
700 Munras Ave, Monterey, CA 93940, Phone: 831-375-0176
© Fandango Restaurant
Located in a charming, beautifully converted house in Pacific Grove, Fandango is an upscale Mediterranean restaurant that serves a European-inspired menu with Basque influences and casual global wines. Using only the freshest locally sourced ingredients and regional produce, seasonal menu feature dishes of fresh seafood, a range of housemade pasta dishes, and exotic Mediterranean entrées of paella, North African couscous, rack of roasted lamb, lobster, abalone, and catch-of-the-day fish. Guests can also enjoy daily specialties, and a full-service bar offers a variety of fine wines from around the world, craft and draft beers on tap and by the bottle, and classic cocktails made from top-shelf spirits. Fandango is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
223 17th St, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, Phone: 831-372-3456
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© Il Vecchio
Il Vecchio is a delightful Roman-style Italian restaurant on Central Avenue that serves a menu of traditional Italian fare and an impressive wine list showcasing many Italian and California vintages. The rustic-chic eatery boasts comfortable décor, a crackling fireplace, and a warm and welcoming ambiance and serves a menu to match which features house-made pasta and creamy sauces, wood-fired pizza with a variety of toppings, platters of grilled meats and sausage, antipasto and fresh salads, and mouthwatering desserts. Boasting the vibrant and lively atmosphere of a bustling trattoria, divine aromas, and slick, unmatched service, Il Vecchio features a massive Carmel stone fireplace built in 1950 and can seat up to 80 diners for lunch during the week and dinner every night.
110 Central Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, Phone: 831-324-4282
11.La Mia Cucina
© La Mia Cucina
Nestled between Lighthouse and Laurel on 17th Street in the heart of Monterey, La Mia Cucina is a culinary gem that exudes charm and elegance and is ideal for an intimate dinner for two. The cozy, 11-table bistro features white-clothed tables and walls adorned with classic turn-of-the-century posters and a warm ambiance with soft lighting, setting the scene for the sublime menu of seasonal cuisine. Delicious dishes of prime meat, fresh seafood, handmade pasta, and organic vegetarian options are prepared with locally sourced ingredients, along with homemade desserts and a selection of casual wines from around the world, craft and draft beers by the bottle, and classic cocktails. La Mia Cucina is open for dinner, Wednesday through Sunday.
208 17th St, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, Phone: 831-373-2416
© Lalla Grill
Located in the Del Monte Shopping Center, the Lalla Grill is a contemporary seafood and steak restaurant a sophisticated ambiance in which to enjoy outstanding cuisine and fine wines. Boasting a contemporary design with modern interiors, sleek décor, and a cozy fireside patio, the eatery serves a menu of house-butchered cuts of USDA choice steaks, free-range chicken and pork, fresh seafood and a range of vegetarian options. A full-service, sky-high back-bar has an extensive menu of fine wines from around the world, which can be enjoyed by the glass or bottle, craft beers on tap or by the bottle, and handcrafted cocktails. Lalla Grill is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week and Sunday brunch.
1400 Del Monte Center, Monterey, CA 93940, Phone: 831-324-4632
13.Monterey's Fish House
Monterey’s Fish House is a rustic and homely restaurant with a warm dining room that serves fresh seafood dishes, prime steaks, and homemade pasta dishes in an inviting ambiance. Offering an idyllic spot for a romantic dinner or a quick bowl of clam chowder, the cozy corner establishment features a small, quaint seafoam-green dining room with cloth-covered tables and a crackling fireplace. The menu boasts seasonal seafood such as fresh fish, blackened swordfish, Mexican squid steak, and signature oak-grilled oysters, along with perfectly seared steaks, and a range of homemade dishes such as seafood linguini. Decadent desserts range from cannoli and tiramisu to spumoni, and the cuisine is accompanied by casual Italian and global fine wines, craft beers on tap or by the bottle, and handcrafted cocktails. Monterey’s Fish House is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday, and dinner only on the weekend.
2114 Del Monte Ave, Monterey, CA 93940, Phone: 831-373-4647
© Montrio Bistro
Located in a beautifully converted 1910 firehouse in the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Montrio Bistro is an eco-friendly sustainable restaurant that offers a comfortable yet classic dining experience with a rotating menu of internationally and seasonally-inspired cuisine with European and American influences. Chef Baker uses only the freshest, locally sourced and organic ingredients to create delicious dishes of sustainable seafood, prime meats, local organic salads and vegetables, and house-made desserts. The cuisine is accompanied by a range of signature cocktails, an extensive wine list, and craft beers, and the restaurant is open for dinner, seven nights a week.
414 Calle Principal, Monterey, CA 93940, Phone: 831-648-8880
© Paluca Trattoria
Overlooking Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf, Paluca Trattoria is a charming, rustic restaurant that specializes seafood-heavy Sicilian classics and other Italian fare along with boutique wines and freshly brewed espresso coffees. Chef and owner Sal Tedesco brings the rich tastes and flavors of Sicily to the heart of Monterey with a creative menu of traditional seafood-centric Italian fare such as clam chowder, Sicilian prawns, beer-battered Alaskan cod, and a variety of housemade pasta with from-scratch sauces. The restaurant has a warm dining room with classic décor, a pet-friendly patio with waterfront tables offering waterfront views, and a full-service bar that serves boutique wines, craft beers, and classic cocktails. Paluca Trattoria is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
6D Old Fishermans Wharf, Monterey, CA 93940, Phone: 831-373-5559
Passionfish is a sustainable, eco-friendly restaurant that serves Californian-inspired fare and rare wines in a small and sophisticated dining space. The restaurant’s ever-evolving menu features ocean-fresh sustainable seafood, prime cuts of meats that are slow-cooked to perfection, organic salads and vegetables, and delectable desserts, all accompanied by an extensive award-winning wine list of well-known and hard-to-find bottles. Signature dishes on the menu include starters of Smoked Trout Ceviche Tostaditas, Fried Californian Squid, entrées of Sea Scallops, Albacore Tuna, and Arctic Char, and desserts such as Straus Organic Mint and Espresso Mud Pie and Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta. Passionfish is open for dinner, seven nights a week.
701 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, Phone: 831-655-3311
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17.Scales Seafood and Steaks
© Scales Seafood and Steaks
Located on the historic Fisherman’s Wharf with beautiful views over Monterey Bay, Scales Seafood and Steaks is a classic seafood restaurant with an airy, open dining space and a casual atmosphere that serves New American fare. The sustainable seafood-centric restaurant serves signature dishes such as Seafood Paella, Veracruz Swordfish, Dungeness Crab, and Lobster Tail, along with Filet Mignon, Boneless Ribeye, and Macadamia-Crusted Halibut. A full-service bar offers an extensive menu of fine wines from around the world, which can be enjoyed by the glass or bottle, craft beers on tap or by the bottle, and handcrafted cocktails, and the restaurant also features a casual café, a fresh fish market, and a gift shop. Scales Seafood and Steaks is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
30 Fishermans Wharf #1, Monterey, CA 93940, Phone: 831-375-1331
18.Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar
© Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar
Located in the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar is a spectacular restaurant suspended over the waters of Monterey Bay that serves sustainable seafood and contemporary American cuisine. Executive Chef Jerry Register celebrates the bounty of the Central Coast with fresh locally sourced ingredients to produce sublime dishes of fresh seafood, both raw and cooked, along with homemade soups, salads, wood-fired dishes, and large sharing platters. An impressive array of creative cocktails and wines from surrounding Monterey County wine estates are available to pair with the cuisine, and a beautiful outdoor patio is perfect for alfresco dining in the summer. Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week.
400 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940, Phone: 831-372-2628
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© Tarpy's Roadhouse
Tarpy’s Roadhouse is a sprawling American steakhouse that serves award-winning comfort food in an elegant setting. Set in a historic stone building surrounded by 3.5 acres of beautiful landscapes and elegant rustic stone patios, the restaurant, which is named after Irish settler, Matt Tarpy, serves classic steakhouse fare of prime steaks, prime ribs, wild game and meatloaf, and fresh seafood. Intimate dining spaces range from cozy dining nooks, charming patios, and tranquil gardens, where guests can savor the delicious fare and fine global wines in quiet and romantic spaces. The cuisine is accompanied by a range of signature cocktails, an extensive wine list, and craft beers, and the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
2999 Salinas Hwy, Monterey, CA 93940, Phone: 831-647-1444
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20.Taste Cafe & Bistro
© Taste Cafe & Bistro
Taste Cafe & Bistro is a cozy European-style restaurant that serves a creative menu of contemporary Euro-centric fare in a warm and welcoming ambiance. Owned by Chef Bill Karaki, the casual eatery has a bright and airy dining room with modern décor with potted plants and wooden accents, in which diners can enjoy a European-inspired menu of delicious made-from-scratch fare, such as organic salads, homemade soups, housemade pasta and sauces, and signature plates of herb-roasted chicken and grilled rabbit. Decadent desserts include hazelnut chocolate torte, apple galette, and freshly baked brioche bread pudding, and the food is accompanied by casual wines from around the world, craft and draft beers, and classic cocktails. Taste Cafe & Bistro is open for dinner, Tuesday through Sunday.
1199 Forest Ave #5, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, Phone: 831-655-0324
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21.The Bench at The Lodge at Pebble Beach
Overlooking the 18th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links, The Bench at The Lodge at Pebble Beach is an upscale restaurant with a lovely patio that boasts breathtaking views over the iconic 18th hole. Designed for elegant fine dining in an airy, yet intimate ambiance, the restaurant features an expansive dining room with contemporary décor, a glass-enclosed conservatory, a lively bar, and a picturesque outdoor dining area with fire pits and fire tables. Inspired by international culinary styles and cooking techniques such as wood roasting and open-flame cooking, an eclectic menu features dishes of prime steaks and meats, fresh seafood, made-from-scratch pasta and sauces, and organic salads and vegetarian options. The bustling bar presents an extensive, one-of-a-kind cocktail program, along with premium draft beers, and fine wines from around the world, and the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
1700 17 Mile Dr, Pebble Beach, CA 93953, Phone: 831-298-5906
22.the C restaurant and bar
© the C restaurant + bar
Located at the deluxe InterContinental The Clement Monterey hotel on Monterey Bay, the C restaurant + bar is an elegant seafood-centric eatery with spectacular views over Monterey Bay. Boasting expansive floor-to-ceiling windows that embrace stunning ocean views from every table in the dining room, the restaurant serves a seafood-driven menu only featuring seafood endorsed by Seafood Watch of the Monterey Bay Aquarium with signature dishes such as Washington State Arctic Char, New England Clam Chowder, Monterey Bay Red Abalone, and Hawaiian Swordfish. Executive Chef Matt Bolton also presents an array of other California regional cuisine such as steaks, salads and pasta dishes and the food is accompanied by an array of signature cocktails, an extensive wine list of local and imported wines, and craft beers. The C restaurant + bar is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, daily.
750 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940, Phone: 831-375-4800
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23.The Fish Hopper
© The Fish Hopper
Located in the Monterey Canning Company and within walking distance to The Monterey Bay Aquarium, the family-friendly Fish Hopper Restaurant is a casual eatery that specializes in fresh local seafood and prime steaks. The bustling restaurant exudes a warm and welcoming ambiance with a lively kitchen and bar, large windows that embrace spectacular panoramic views of the beautiful Monterey Bay from every table and a heated outdoor patio for alfresco dining. The Fish Hopper presents a menu of fresh, sustainable seafood, such as Macadamia-crusted halibut, Ahi tuna with coconut shrimp and crab cakes, and fresh Dungeness Crab, along with with certified Angus steaks, and housemade pasta dishes. The cuisine is accompanied by global fine wines, craft beers on tap or by the bottle, and handcrafted cocktails, and the restaurant is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, daily.
700 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940, Phone: 831-372-8543
24.The Sardine Factory
© The Sardine Factory
Established in 1968, the Sardine Factory is a historic restaurant on Cannery Row that has been serving both locals and visitors for over 50 years. The beautifully decorated restaurant features a refined dining room with elegant décor with ornate silk curtains, monogrammed seatbacks, and crisp white tablecloths, and serves an award-winning menu of delectable creations of fresh, sustainable seafood, USDA prime and dry-aged beef, organic salads and vegetarian dishes, and decadent desserts. The cuisine is accompanied by an award-winning list of fine wines from around the world, craft beers, and classic cocktails made with top-shelf spirits and live entertainment is offered throughout the week. The Sardine Factory is open for dinner, seven nights a week.
701 Wave St, Monterey, CA 93940, Phone: 831-373-3775
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25.Whaling Station Steakhouse
© Whaling Station Steakhouse
The Whaling Station Steakhouse is an internationally-acclaimed old-school steakhouse with an on-site dry-age room that serves award-winning cuisine and fine wines in an elegant setting. Located in a historic building perched just above famed Cannery Row, the fine-dining restaurant exudes a stylish and sophisticated ambiance with chic décor and soft lighting and serves classic steakhouse fare such as house-butchered cuts of USDA choice steaks, free-range chicken and pork, fresh seafood and a range of vegetarian options. Guests can select their cuts of steak from the on-site dry-age room, which are presented on a silver tray and cooked to perfection, and the cuisine is accompanied by an extensive menu of fine wines from around the world, which can be enjoyed by the glass or bottle, craft beers on tap or by the bottle, and handcrafted cocktails. The Whaling Station Steakhouse is open for dinner, seven nights a week.
763 Wave St, Monterey, CA 93940, Phone: 831-373-3778
25 Best Restaurants in Monterey, CA
- Anton & Michel Restaurant, Photo: Anton & Michel Restaurant
- Aubergine at L'Auberge Carmel, Photo: Aubergine at L'Auberge Carmel
- Bistro Moulin, Photo: Bistro Moulin
- Cafe Fina, Photo: Café Fina
- Casanova Restaurant, Photo: Casanova Restaurant
- Cibo, Photo: Cibo
- Domenico's On the Wharf, Photo: Domenico's On the Wharf
- Esteban Restaurant, Photo: Estéban Restaurant
- Fandango Restaurant, Photo: Fandango Restaurant
- Il Vecchio, Photo: Il Vecchio
- La Mia Cucina, Photo: La Mia Cucina
- Lalla Grill, Photo: Lalla Grill
- Monterey's Fish House, Photo: pfpgroup/stock.adobe.com
- Montrio Bistro, Photo: Montrio Bistro
- Paluca Trattoria, Photo: Paluca Trattoria
- Passionfish, Photo: Passionfish
- Scales Seafood and Steaks, Photo: Scales Seafood and Steaks
- Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar, Photo: Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar
- Tarpy's Roadhouse, Photo: Tarpy's Roadhouse
- Taste Cafe & Bistro, Photo: Taste Cafe & Bistro
- The Bench at The Lodge at Pebble Beach, Photo: Artem/stock.adobe.com
- the C restaurant and bar, Photo: the C restaurant + bar
- The Fish Hopper, Photo: The Fish Hopper
- The Sardine Factory, Photo: The Sardine Factory
- Whaling Station Steakhouse, Photo: Whaling Station Steakhouse
- Cover Photo: Santorines/stock.adobe.com