Monterey Bay is a wonderful city, surrounded by great place, such as Carmel by the Sea and Pacific Grove. Here are the restaurants we tried during our road trip in the Central Coast of California.
1. Restaurant 1833 : What to order --- First, arrived the Amuse Bouche (a cream of cauliflower). We wanted the order a Cheese course, but they don't serve cheese, can you imagine??? But then, another SURPRISE: I have to tell you. In this restaurant, they don't serve bread. I am serious! So, it is located in an old house and it is very well designed inside, but when the server told us that there are only buttery biscuits, we decided to start with a pizza. He said it was a small, thin pizza. Well, I don't know what kind of pizza is he normally eating, but this one was HUGE. Anyway, it was delicious. The crust was kind of thick, the cheese was melty and gooey.
We open a bottle of nice Spanish wine from Alicante and continued with the entrees. I ordered the Mahi Mahi with leeks, mussels, tomato, and russel potato. The server said that it is light and comes with a little bit of cream. But then, SURPRISE: It was a huge pool of cream and on top some fish and seafood. I liked the flavors and the combination of mushrooms with potatoes, but I didn't like the fact he was not telling us the truth. The dish was overly creamy. THE SERVICE IS REALLY BAD. THEY NEED TO HIRE NEW STAFF, SERIOUSLY!
My husband ordered the Parmesan Crusted Chicken served with salsify and lemon butter. It was an organic breast, but it was a big portion. Nothing impressive, just a regular preparation. But the dessert was very very delicious (So, the chef is so so, but the pastry chef is amazing!!!). We shared a Chocolate Mousse Cake with Caramelized Hazelnuts, and Chocolate Ice Cream. It came as two triangles, which was perfect for sharing. STUNNING dessert!!!
|Grilled eggplant pizza with basil pesto, goat cheese, gruyere, and peppers|
|Parmesan Crusted Chicken with salsify, lemon butter, and basil|
|Mahi Mahi, leeks, mussels, tomato and russel potato|
|Chocolate Mousse Cake with Caramelized Hazelnuts, Chocolate Ice Cream|
2. Cantinetta Luca : What to order --- This is my favorite restaurant in Carmel by the Sea. Amazing service, great food, and moderate prices! We started with the delicious Italian bread that comes with a sun-dried tomato tapenade. So soft, warm, and tasty. A bottle of Syrah & Merlot blend from France helped us to elevate our lunch even more! We shared the classic Pizza Margherita: traditional San Marzano tomatoes, Mozzarella, and Basil. The crust was pleasantly salty, thin, and delicious! The wood-fired oven is essential to achieve this kind of chewy, but also toasted crust.
The dessert was very Thanksgiving-inspired: a warm apple crostata drizzled with honey and served with vanilla ice cream. This was a recommendation from our server (Rodrigo) and I really appreciated it. He was such a good server. Honest, nice, happy. The food arrived on time. We had a great table next to the window (perfect for people watching the turists) :)
I strongly recommend this restaurant if you are going to Carmel by the Sea. Next door is a Salumeria, where you can buy cheese and house made salami. Not a bad idea, ah?
|Delicious Italian bread with sun-dried tomatoes tapenade|
|Caprese Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and House-pulled Mozzarella|
|San Marzano Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil|
|Apple crostata with honey and vanilla ice cream|
3. Passionfish : What to order --- This is the BEST RESTAURANT in Pacific Grove. Great for fish lovers like me. Great service! Supporters of Sustainable Seafood and Fish, just like us. We started with the famous Mussels steamed in a spicy tomato-cilantro broth. Those were super tasty, but be aware that they are very spicy (hot habanero peppers...).
I got the Whole Rainbow Trout. It was butterflied, no spine, nothing to remove. I was able to eat it with a knife and fork. It was stuffed with basil and came with red wine braised vegetables (artichokes, peppers, potatoes, and kalamatas). The fish was topped with a flavorful basil-garlic aioli! Recommendable!
My husband ordered the Tilapia with Thyme-Mashed Potatoes, soy beans, and red-wine balsamic butter. He liked it a lot, but it was not so extraordinary. The wine was great: a bottle of Chateau d'Oupia. For dessert, we had the Chocolate Truffle Torte with blood orange syrup. It tasted like a Chocolate Soufflee. It was served with Whipped Cream and it was a good size for sharing. You should try this restaurant!!!
|Mussels steamed in a spicy tomato-cilantro broth|
|Tilapia with Thyme-Mashed Potatoes, soy beans and red wine balsamic butter|
|Whole Rainbow Trout / basil stuffed / red wine braised vegetables|
|Chocolate Truffle Torte with blood orange syrup|
4. The C Restaurant and Bar : What to order --- This restaurant is very close to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. So if you are visiting it, stop by the C Restaurant and request a table next to window. You will have the same great view to the Ocean as we did.
I ordered the Grilled Arctic Char, which was served with plenty of delicious butterbeans, tuscan kale, fennel, and whole grain mustard vinaigrette. It was nicely presented and a very good portion for a lunch. Oh, and the bread was warm rosemary rustic bread, amazingly good. I got a glass of a3 Red Blend wine (Zinfandel, Merlot, and Cabernet), very fruity and ripe.
My husband got the Fish and Chips (beer battered Ling Cod served with coleslaw, garlic herb fries, and house made ketchup. It was a big serving, but we had a light breakfast, so it was perfect for him. He got a draft local beer: Fat Lip Ale!
The dessert was the BEST OF THIS TRIP: Hazelnut Crunch Bar: Milk Chocolate Mousse, Hazelnut Dacquoise, and Sun-Dried Apricot Sauce. It was so small, but so full of flavors. Creamy and crunchy at the same time, the perfect ending of a great trip!!!
|Arctic Char with butterbeans, tuscan kale, fennel, and mustard vinaigrette|
|Fish and Chips (beer-battered Ling Cod with garlic herb fries)|
|Hazelnut Crunch Bar (Milk Chocolate Mousse, Hazelnut Dacquoise, Sun-Dried Apricot Sauce)|