Big Sur + Monterey Bay

Restaurants in Big Sur + Monterey Bay

A seaside town through and through, restaurants in Monterey Bay specialize in fresh fish and shellfish dishes.

For those looking for Monterey Bay restaurants that serve casual fare, Monterey’s Fish House is worth a visit. But be sure to make a reservation! The popular joint – whose specialties include blackened swordfish, barbecued oysters, and Mexican squid steak – is consistently crowded and attracts a casual, friendly rowdy crowd on weekend nights.

True seafood lovers shouldn’t leave without dining at the Sandbar & Grill. Considered to be one of the best restaurants in Monterey Bay, the establishment is located on a pier and boasts panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Specialties include rustic dishes like heaping bowls of creamy clam chowder and enormous crab club sandwiches.

In the unlikely event that you get tired of seafood, there’s always Crepes of Brittany. The cash-only stand, located directly on the beach, serves both sweet and savory crepes and attracts long lines on weekends.

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

Stop for moules frites on a sunny day.

Dig in to butternut squash enchiladas or brick-roasted chicken; the chef promotes the local and sustainable.

Dine at Michel Richard’s Citronelle, at the Carmel Valley Ranch resort—and be sure to order the Monterey Bay abalone with caviar cream.

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

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

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

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.

Feast on braised veal cheeks at Bistro Laurent, housed in a park-side, 19th-century brick building.

Catch a spectacular sunset at The Sea Chest Oyster Bar and Restaurant, reminiscent of a New England cottage, while feasting on fresh oysters and garlicky scampi.

Fill up on morning blueberry pancakes or cinnamon raisin French toast at this local breakfast haunt.

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.