Big Sur + Monterey Bay

Restaurants in Big Sur + Monterey Bay

For dinner, pull the kids away from Bubba Gump and head for Passionfish in neighboring Pacific Grove. On the menu: more grown-up dishes such as sea scallops with tomato-truffle butter and risotto custard and ratatouille ravioli topped by aged asiago.

Enjoy an “Ambrosiaburger” on the terrace of a house reputedly once owned by Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth.

At dinner, go for broke at Marinus, where you can enjoy an elaborate seafood-focused tasting menu by a roaring fireplace.

The bland façade may look quiet and unassuming, but inside, executive chef Scott Cater turns out some smart New American cuisine. His special Colorado rack of lamb with raspberry sauce and black truffles is to die for. The beach views aren't too shabby, either.

The kitchen delivers fancy but family-friendly Mexican: the shrimp burrito is a favorite.

Dive into Italian seafood—shrimp scampi, and salmon fettuccine—at the waterfront, touristy-but-fun restaurant.

Using grass-fed beef from local farmers and ranchers who raise their animals humanely, Let’s Be Frank serves up their nitrate- and nitrite-free hot dogs at their shop at 3318 Steiner Street as well as from carts.

On the way into the park, stop at the Old Mountain Inn in Boulder Creek for breakfast.

Jump into this mainstay restaurant in downtown Carmel for a snack of lobster spring rolls or Maryland crab cakes.

Begin the day with lobster eggs Benedict at this downtown joint.

The Italian restaurant features a large live tree inside.

Order dinner of rack of lamb or duck breast with a cherry-port reduction at the restaurant in the classic 1930 Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn.

Start your day with “Mike’s Mess”—a mountain of eggs scrambled with potatoes, mushrooms, and bacon, topped with cheese and sour cream—at this local favorite. Kids, however, opt for the sourdough pancakes.