THE INN AT SPANISH BAY 2700 17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach; 800-654-9300, pebblebeach.com. Rooms: $460-$620. Suites: $850-$2,505.
"We're staying at the Inn because we couldn't get in the Lodge—but I figure the beds will still be sleepable," said one guest, serving up the conventional opinion of the Inn as the redheaded stepchild of Pebble Beach lodging. But for families with children, or travelers looking for more privacy than the Lodge affords, these 270 comfortably furnished rooms and suites provide their own distinctive brand of understated elegance. And don't miss the famous outdoor fire at sunset.
THE LODGE AT PEBBLE BEACH 1700 17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach; 800-654-9300, pebblebeach.com. Rooms: $525-$1,610. Suites: $1,395-$2,545.
The Lodge's 161 tastefully appointed rooms and suites offer easy access to the resort's unbeatable new spa, its oceanfront Beach & Tennis Club and its four first-rate restaurants. But for the finest in Pebble Beach experiences, we suggest splurging on oceanfront accommodations—from which guests can walk barefoot from their patios onto the fairway of Pebble's closer and admire the sunset as it kisses Carmel Bay. It's like heaven without all that unpleasant dying.
QUAIL LODGE 8205 Valley Greens Drive, Carmel; 888-828-8787, quaillodge.com. Rooms: $305-$425. Suites: $415-$545. Villas: $775-$795.
You'll be greeted with a glass of wine at this intimate Carmel Valley jewel, ten minutes from the heart of the peninsula. Last year, twenty-five million dollars was spent to completely remake the once-faded resort and spa. And by every indication—from the hemlock floors and flat-panel TVs to the cozy elegance of the fine-dining restaurant, the Covey—it was money well spent.
CLUB XIX (French) 1700 17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach; 831-625-8519. $$$$
Overlooking Pebble's eighteenth green, this is luxury fine dining with views to match. Here, luscious sautéed Monterey Bay abalone and caramelized diver sea scallops are routinely accompanied by a trio of beluga caviars ($375/oz.) and Gurkha HMR cigars ($450 each). You say you've got it?Here's where you flaunt it.
FANDANGO (Mediterranean) 223 17th Street, Pacific Grove; 831-372-3456. $$$
The fireplace in the boisterous dining room will warm your bones on dank Monterey nights. The fiery cuisine will warm everything else. It's easy to go loco on the osso buco and paella, but save room—and a notch on your belt—for the chocolate nougatine meringue tower.
THE FISHWIFE AT ASILOMAR BEACH (California/Caribbean seafood) 19961Ž2 Sunset Drive, Pacific Grove; 831-375-7107. $$
Consistently voted the best seafood on the peninsula, this low-key eatery is revered by locals for its fresh ocean fare with feisty Caribbean accents. Don't let the family-friendly vibe or the garish pink and aqua decor distract you from appreciating the Boston clam chowder topped surprisingly—but delightfully—with a fresh salsa fresca.
KATY'S PLACE (Breakfast) Mission Street and Sixth Avenue, Carmel; 831-624-0199. $
Nine types of waffles, two dozen styles of eggs Benedict and omelettes, and eleven pancake varieties grace the menu at this lively Carmel institution. (That is, in other words, a unique breakfast every day for six weeks.) But it's the breakfast burrito, stuffed to the point of structural instability, that will put the gas in your golf cart.
THE RESTAURANT AT MISSION RANCH (California Cuisine) 26270 Dolores Street, Carmel; 831-625-9040. $$$
Mingle with the locals; get drunk with the locals; sing apologetically off-key with the locals at this rowdy restaurant and piano bar. Owner Clint Eastwood, who in 1986 saved this former dairy farm from the wrecking ball, at times stops by to croon a few tunes. In the midst of this mayhem, enjoy such hearty cuisine as filet mignon in a zinfandel and roasted-shallot glaze and tarragon-flavored Dungeness crab soup.
PASSIONFISH (Seafood) 701 Lighthouse Avenue, Pacific Grove; 831-655-3311. $$
A delightful family-run establishment, Passionfish is noted nationally for its exceptional selection of some four hundred wines. But what most distinguishes the menu are the lively, fruity sauces that often adorn the fresh-caught seafood. A real local find.
ROY'S (Hawaiian) 2700 17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach; 831-647-7423. $$$
Internationally renowned chef Roy Yamaguchi is clearly bent on conquering the world one lively fusion restaurant at a time. With such sublime offerings as sake-marinated halibut in a shitake-mushroom basil broth and macadamia nut-dusted mahimahi, that's fine with us.