Monterey Peninsula News
The finest dining available in Monterey13 Aug 2014 9:09 AM
If you live in some of the Monterey Peninsula's luxury real estate, you've surely got a great taste. After all, you live not just in wine country, but in the place that plays home to many of the West Coast's finest restaurants. But which, among those restaurants, is best?
The following list may not be ranked, but the five restaurants detailed below certainly represent some of the best that the area has to offer. They have varied menus, designs, locations, atmospheres and more, but they all share one thing in common: they offer truly fine dining to Monterey residents.
?Headed by the celebrated Chef Didier Dutertre, Bistro Moulin may be the most widely lauded restaurant in the Monterey area.
"It's no secret that Bistro Moulin gets my vote for best restaurant," wrote the food critic for the Monterey Herald, in a rundown of the area's best places to eat. "This quaint little bistro has a menu of mouthwatering European dishes. As trite as it may sound, everything on the menu is delicious. Chef Didier Dutertre's signature spinach gnocchi is simply sublime."
Given its popularity, tables at the Bistro Moulin - which opens for dinner each night at 5 p.m. - can sometimes be hard to come by, so don't hesitate to call in reservations beforehand. As you can see from the quoted review, the preparations will be well worth the mouth-watering dinner soon to follow.
Old Fisherman's Grotto
If you're looking for a seafood dinner, you're not going to find a destination much better than Old Fisherman's Grotto. The accolades speak for themselves: The location has one the Best Clam Chowder in Monterey Country award from the Monterey County Weekly, for the past 10 years running. Last year, it also won the Best Calamari in Monterey County honor from the same news outlet. That's not to mention the Award of Distinction it was given by Wine Enthusiast Magazine for three years running in recognition of the admirable wine list. What more convincing could you need?
Monterey's Fish House
Often cited as one of the best places to eat a low-priced meal in Monterey, the Fish House offers salmon that's hard to top anywhere, at any price. Many have also called attention to the prawns, which, when in season, offer what is almost certainly the tastiest meal on the menu. After you've had a meal or two at Old Fisherman's Grotto, you'd do well to travel over to Monterey's Fish House for an equally delectable change of pace.
Restaurant 1833 has one of the most idiosyncratic designs you'll find anywhere in Monterey: it's divided into seven rooms, all of which aim to recreate a different era in Californian cultural history. And, as local critics attest, the food and the widely loved cocktails are as ambitious as the design.
"Spirit smith Mike Lay has crafted a creative cocktail menu at Restaurant 1833," wrote the Herald's food critic. "The Milk Punch - clarified milk with pineapple, brandy and spices - is like Christmas in a cup! And no review of the cocktail program at Restaurant 1833 would be complete without mentioning absinthe. Russian style - set ablaze, then doused in orange juice - is my poison of choice."
Fifi's Cafe Bistro
If you're looking for the cafe experience, then this should be your first stop. For French cuisine, Fifi's is one of the primary destinations in the area. And, like all the aforementioned restaurants on this list, it's one of the best places you can sit down and order a meal in Monterey, regardless of the type of food being served.