Carmel, California
July 13-16, 2000

Where To Go In Monterey County ... During the Western Regional Specialty

Local Favorites

The local folks here in Monterey County have put their heads together and come up with this list of their favorite places to visit, shop and eat. Its by no means a comprehensive list, but we can certainly steer you away from the tourist-traps, and point you in the way of a great meal or two. Most local fish places have an Italian flavor, since the local fishermen come from old Sicilian families. DO try the calamari, and an artichoke! No matter where you are staying, no place is too far away from any other place. Carmel and Monterey are just a couple of miles apart, for example, and Pacific Grove (PG to the locals) runs into Monetery and Pebble Beach, and Seaside runs into Monterey. And some places, like Phils and Nepenthe, are so lengendary, its worth the trip!

For more local information, try:


Groceries and other necessities:

  • Albertsons, Carmel Rancho Blvd, just south of Carmel Valley Rd.
  • Safeway, Rio Road at Highway One, in the Crossroads Shopping Center
  • Longs Drug Store, next to Safeway. Large, very complete store.
  • Brintons, across Carmel Rancho Blvd from Albertsons, hardware and housewares.
  • Costco. Off Highway 1 in Sand City, northern side of Monterey before Ft. Ord. Also 101 at Laurel in Salinas.
  • Walmart, near Costco in Salinas
  • Del Monte Shopping Center, Monterey, Munras Ave. exit from Highway 1, northbound. Macys, Mervyns, Whole Foods,, movie theaters, etc.
  • Northridge Shopping Center, 101 at Boronda Rd, Salinas. Macys, Penneys, Sears, Mervyns, etc.
  • All of Carmel! Look for the Coach Factory Store and Dansk on Ocean Ave.
  • American Tin Cannery. On the Pacific Grove side of Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Factory shops.

Doggie things:

  • The Decoy Gallery, 6th Ave., Carmel (625-1881). Wonderful dog and wildlife art, prints, decoys, etc. Very special things.
  • The Total Dog, 26366 Carmel Rancho Lane, near Albertsons, across from the Barnyard. 624-5553. Dog supplies as well as lovely and unusual items.
  • Petco, Crossroads Shopping Center, on lane behind Longs.
  • Collier Feed, 101 W. Laurel, Salinas (Laurel exit off 101, east of 101), 443-6161. Many high-end dog food brands
  • PetSmart, near Costco in Sand City, also in Salinas
  • YellowDog Gallery, Dolores between 5th and 6th, Carmel, 624-3238. Debra Marlin, artist and author of YellowDog and YellowPup, has moved to Carmel, and her gallery is not to be missed!

Beaches, parks, hiking, things to see, etc.

  • The Carmel City beach. At the foot of Ocean Ave. Its a long sandy hike down the hill to the water, or do what we do, and head south on Scenic a few blocks, as far as 13th . You'll find stairways down to the beach every block or so. VERY dog-friendly. No leashes if your dog is in control, carry baggies for clean-up.
  • Del Monte Beach in Monterey, just east of Wharf #2 in Monterey. May require leashes.
  • Pfeiffer State Park beach in Big Sur. State beaches require leashes.
  • BEWARE: Monastary Beach, along Highway One just south of Carmel on the way to Pt. Lobos, is VERY DANGEROUS. Horrible undertow. For people and for dogs. The locals call it Mortuary Beach. People and dogs DIE there every year.
  • Garland Ranch Regional Park. About 8 miles east of Highway One on Carmel Valley Rd. Keep dpgs on leash until you get away from parking area and into the park, but dogs are okay if under voice control.
  • Jacks Peak Park, incredible views. Pebble Beach/Highway 68 exit from One, head east on Aguajito Rd.
  • The Monterey Bay Aquarium. Considered the best in the country, if not the world. Fantastic. Be sure to take at least 4+ hours. Fantastic. Also terrific restaurant and cafeteria. (L/D) $$ to $$$
  • The 17 Mile Drive in Pebble Beach. Allow yourself at least two hours, because you will want to stop at every turn out. Bring camera and extra film. The Pebble Beach restaurants are all good, all expensive. But worth it.


(from $--cheap, meals from under $10, to $$$$$--expensive, $30+++ a person) (B/L/D/W -- breakfast, lunch, dinner, weekend brunch)


  • The Running Iron Restaurant and Saloon. Hands down, everyones favorite place for cheap eats, and you wont go away hungry. Everything from burgers and other sandwiches, Mexican specialties, dinner specials, weekend brunch, great atmosphere. (L/D/W) $ to $$
  • Plaza Linda. Great Mexican food. Historic, too---this where Joan Baez brought her English visitors when she lived in Carmel Valley. You know, The Fab Four... (L/D) $$
  • Cafe Rustica. (Across from Plaza Linda). This place is getting rave reviews, more expensive. $$ to $$$
  • Just about every other place in the Village will be wonderful. Its THE place to be. Ask any local about any other place. Too many to mention.


  • The Covey Restaurant at Quail Lodge, Carmel Valley Rd, across from Suzi Blufords house. This is where to go when you take BOB, and be sure to treat all your friends. World-class, and expensive. And worth it. (D) $$$$$
  • Baja Cantina, Valley Hills Shopping Center, next to Quail Lodge. Good Mexican food, fun atmosphere with old racing car theme. Moderate. (L/D) $$
  • The Rio Grill, Crossroads Shopping Center. Terrific food, a real local favorite. Moderate to expensive, ala carte menu. California cuisine (L/D) $$$ to $$$$
  • Chevys. Crossroads Shopping Center. Needs no introduction. (L/D) $$
  • China Delight, Crossroads Shopping Center. Our favorite for Chinese food. (L/D) $ to $$
  • Allegro Pizza, Barnyard Shopping Center, Carmel Rancho Blvd. Better than all those cheap pizzas! Great, in fact! (L/D) $$
  • The Wagon Wheel, Valley Hills Shopping Center. (B/L). $ to $$
  • Little Swiss Cafe, 6th Ave. and Dolores, Carmel. (B/L) $ to $$
  • Katys Place, Mission and 6th, Carmel. Breakfasts. (B/L) $ to $$
  • The Mission Ranch. Dolores St, behind the Carmel Mission (Rio Rd). Clint Eastwoods restaurant and inn, THE place to people-watch, terrific old Carmel tradition (my parents were going here in 1943!) Great food, too. (D) $$$$
  • The Hogs Breath Inn has just reopened, but it is not owned by Clint Eastwood. No reviews available.
  • Casanovas. Romantic, great food, lovely way to spend an evening. (L/D)$$$$


Any of John Pistos restaurants, and look for his cooking show on the local cable channel. Terrific! Emphasis on seafood, with Italian accents.

  • Abalonettis, Fishermans Wharf. Great calamari, moderate to expensive. (L/D) $$$
  • Domenicos On The Wharf. Oyster Bar, expensive, and very very good. (L/D) $$$$
  • The Whaling Station, 763 Wave St., above Cannery Row. Best steaks in the county. (D) $$$$
  • Paradiso Trattoria, on Cannery Row. YUM! (L/D) $$$-$$$$
  • Tarpys Roadhouse, Highway 68 on the way to Salinas, past the Monterey Airport. Similiar to The Rio Grill in Carmel. (L/D) $$$ to $$$$. Beautiful outdoor seating.
  • Del Monte Express, 2329 N. Fremont. Home of the Adult Five Napkin Hamburger (B/L/D) $
  • Papa Chanos, Alvarado St, downtown and near Costco in Sand City. Fresh, cheap, and very good. (L/D) $


  • Peppers. Terrific fresh Mexican food. (L/D) $$
  • Toasties Cafe. Breakfast. Great! (B/L) $$
  • Fandangos. French bistro-style, wonderful food. Like Casanovas in Carmel. (L/D) $$$$


  • Chef Lees. North Main Street, across from Northridge Mall. Chinese, a local tradiiton. Also in Monterey on Fremont St. (L/D) $ to $$
  • Spagos, Old Town Salinas downtown. Pizza, Italian, best in Salinas. (L/D) $$ - $$$
  • Ginos, South Main. On the way to Highway 68 and Monterey. Italian, family-style. (L/D) $$ - $$$ Salinas is also where you'll find reliable places like Red Lobster and Olive Garden, both on North Main.


  • Saritas Mexican. Reservation Rd., behind McDonalds. A tiny old-fashioned place, good food. (L/D) $
  • Bamboo Pavilion, next to Saritas. Very good Chinese. (L/D) $ to $$


  • Nepenthe in Big Sur. Views forever, great food, the place of legends. At least 30 to 45 minutes south of Rio Road, winding road, take longer if you want to see the scenery! The scene of the party in The Sandpiper with Liz Taylor, Richard Burton and Charles Bronson. (B/L/D) $$ to $$$
  • Ventana. Big Sur. Everyones idea of luxury in the middle of the wilderness. (L/D) $$$$
  • The Sardine Factory, Wave Street, above Cannery Row. Classy joint, a place to celebrate. Clint Eastwood stopped by here for a drink in Play Misty For Me. (D) $$$$ Or stop by to just have a drink.
  • Phil's Fish Market and Eatery, Moss Landing. (B/L/D) $ to $$. What Fishermans Wharf used to be. When they tore down the old building, Phil held a wake and moved two doors down. This is only about a fast 25-30 minute trip up Highway One. Everyones favorite fish place. Check out Phil's menu at Don't miss this one.

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