Pacific Grove Juice & Java: cozy place for coffee
Sometimes coffeehouses annoy me in the overkill of hipsters with laptops. This place does not seem to carry that vibe. It is a bit more diverse, with a variety of people all ages visiting and chilling out on the coaches by the fire. The coffee was ok. But quite honestly, I judge a coffehouse on the vibe in general. And overall, I liked the ambviance. It is quiet, relaxing, with a minimal amount of elitist hipsters.
- Food and Dining
- Budget Travel
Victorian Corner: Quaint restaurant in the heart of downtown
This is a wonderful and cozy restaurant located in the heart of downtown. There are tables located right at the windows for excellent people watching. The waitstaff is wonderful and easy going. I had a great pasta dish for dinner, Fettucine Alfredo with Chicken. This is a scillian restaurant with excellent Italian Dishes. The next morning I had an Ham and Cheese omelet to die for. Here, is why I love this place; The morning I had breakfast I accidently locked my keys in my trunk. I was quite distraught, but the owner was giving me helpful advice all along the way. In fact his son walked over to the local body shop to get the owners of the garage to help me take my backseat out to get my keys. What kindness and I will never forget it. So please, if you decide to eat here, tell them the guy who locked his keys in his trunk recommended it:)
- Food and Dining
THE FISHWIFE: BEST SEAFOOD ON THE MONTEREY PENINSULA
This restaurant is open for business. Please check out the website to make sure it is open during these difficult times for restaurants. Tucked in the beauty of the Monterey Bay area with pines and ocean sand, sits The Fishwife at Asilomar Beach seafood restaurant. The outside is plain, not much to look at but it seems to fit, just sitting there saying only one thing, "come inside and enjoy the best seafood for the best value". It truly is a local gem, casual they claim and casual they are.
The menu is seafood full with crab cakes, mussels in garlic cilantro broth, fried calamari, snapper, catfish, filet of sole, and clam chowder. Open for Lunch and Dinner. Why not try it before or after driving the famous 17 mile drive which has a Pacific Grove gate only a couple of blocks away.
Favorite Dish: The calamari is fried golden and fresh. Good sized portions as well. The mussels are as good as in Italy. The Fettuccini Alfredo with Crab Sauteed Prawns Belize was excellent. Had to try the Key Lime Pie, which they call "Fishwife's famous Key Lime Pie. I didn't know if I got the famous one, but mine was quite good and refreshing.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
OLD BATH HOUSE: NOW CLOSED
THIS LANDMARK LOCATION RESTAURANT IS NOW CLOSED DUE TO CITY POLICY ACCORDING TO A LOCAL STILL OPEN RESTAURANT. THE RESTAURANT IS MISSED BY LOCALS AND THOSE OF US WHO VISITED THIS WONDERFUL RESTAURANT. I WILL LEAVE THE TIP FOR MEMORIES.
Located in Pacific Grove, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Lovers Point, the Old Bath House restaurant, not only was a former bath house for the area, but has retained the feel of the era in the decor, while instilling an ambiance of romance and a gourmet dining adventure. A menu with such items as Prawns & Wild Boar Sausage as an appetizer, to entrees of Duck Merlot, Rack of Lamb, and Tournedos of Beef & Lobster Tail, the Old Bath House, in their own words," will delight all of your senses".
Favorite Dish: The Rack of Lamb served at the Old Bath House is presented in a unique way. The manager of the restaurant told me that a while back, a few patrons were commenting on their dishes, and one said the rack of lamb was small and looked more like chops, and not as nice as a location down the street. Well, upon hearing this, the manager explained this to the chef, who wanted to make amends by not allowing any restaurant outdo his creations, placed before diners whom order Rack of Lamb , a whole uncut rack of 8 points. Tremendous portion and unbelieveably delicious as well. Compliments to the Chef.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Food and Dining
LATTITUDES: NOW CLOSED
Lattitudes is now closed. The great big foodie in the sky has claimed yet another great restaurant due to the downturn in diners. I have left this review up to remind myself about this superb dining location. There is word that another owner will come along to try their luck with the location which is in prime ocean viewing. RESTAURANT CLOSED.
Tene Shake has done it again. The old Tinnery at Lover's Point has become Lattitudes under the leadership of one of the great chefs of the Monterey Bay area. Tene is interested in the whole package when it comes to restaurants. This signature restaurant will become a focal point in Pacific Grove when Tene Shake, known as America's Seafood Chef, gets done with his ideas. Not only striving for the best gourmet meals presented but for the atmosphere and ambiance with the restaurant.
The view is only the beginning and the interior is going in for a makeover, but the beautiful Murano glass jellyfish that drift overhead are remaining. The menu is only just in the beginning stages but with the leadership of Tene Shake, it will surely enlarge with mouth watering gourmet dishes. Parking which is at a premium in Pacific Grove is on site and the bar has one of the best views of the Pacific Ocean in Pacific Grove. I recommend this restaurant for those looking for a little finesse with their meal without compromising taste.
Favorite Dish: The Maryland crab cakes are not only fresh but brought to the table as a work of art. The blending of the remoulade sauce makes for a delicious beginning to a meal. Of course, if one wants to have Tene Shake's Signature Recipe dish then the Lobster and Shrimp Pot Pie with a marvelous buttery lobster cream sauce will make any gourmet sing. I did. Thanks to Tene Shake for adding his touch to dining in Pacific Grove.
- Road Trip
- Food and Dining
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Point Pinos Grill - PG Municipal Golf Course
The Point Pinos Grill is located in the PG Municipal Golf Links Clubhouse, that was just constructed and opened in February, 2006 after 19 months of construction. The new facility is very nice and clean featuring beautiful stonework inside and out. The front of the building has huge plate glass windows offering diners a great view over the Monterey Bay.
Their menu is pretty simple and inexpensive with their $10 fish and chips being the most expensive item on the menu. Other items include basic burgers, patty melts, grilled chicken, BLTs, deli sandwiches, pizza, pasta, salads, a variety of appetizers, and breakfast items.
Open daily from 6:30am until sunset.
Little Chicken House
Monterey has Willies Smokehouse on Cannery Row and Buzzard's Backyard Barbecue on Fremont Street); Seaside has Curly's BBQ on Fremont. PG's answer to all of this BBQ madness is the Little Chicken House near Safeway, and it certainly tops my list of best local BBQ (though I prefer Willie's for the location and its much nicer overall dining experience).
The Little Chicken House is really just a hole in the wall, but the food is amazing. The menu is your basic BBQ: ribs, brisket sandwich, macaroni, beans, chicken, cole slaw and more, along with a few local foods such as tortillas. Outside you will see a small oak smoker used to give their meat its wonderful flavor and tenderness. Inside there are just 5 or 6 small tables and a little counter with a view of the giant chicken rotisserie. They are very unique in that they have a drive through... as far as I know this is PG's only restaurant with a drive-through window (not even McDonald's has one!).
We stopped in one night and got the $8 brisket sandwiches (not Tri-Tip as is the local specialty). They came with one side, so I had fries while Laura tried the coleslaw. The fries were good, but nothing special; low on salt, they required a lot of good old Heinz ketchup. The sandwiches however, were excellent... the BBQ sauce was very tasty, and the meat very tender and flavorful.
Horrible Experience: The Cellar Door in Pacific Grove
The service was slow and rude. The food was cold. Rib eye was the thinnest that I have ever seen and more fat than meat. Wines are overpriced and the owner takes great pride in trying to sell his wines as a great 'value'... It took 30 min for the waiter to take our order, and nearly 45 min for the entre to be served.
- Food and Dining
The Cellar Door Chop Shoppe -- CLOSED!
The Cellar Door closed in June 2008 and was replaced by Pacific Thai.
"Most English-speaking people...will admit that cellar door is 'beautiful', especially if dissociated from its sense (and from its spelling). More beautiful than, say, sky, and far more beautiful than beautiful. ...cellar doors are extraordinarily frequent, and moving to the higher dimension, the words in which there is pleasure in the contemplation of the association of form and sense are abundant." -- JRR Tolkien
The Cellar Door in Pacific Grove has Over 700 wines available by the bottle, a nice atmosphere, and some good, but relatively expensive food. Most of us started our meals with the house dinner salad ($3) but some in our group decided to try the huge bowl of lobster bisque ($9 -- "It comes in a trough" one of my friends remarked about the giant square-shaped bowl). For our meals, we tried a little of everything on the menu including the Tender Filet of Beef, Penne Pasta with Roasted Chicken, the Seared Ahi Tuna, and a seafood ravioli among others. Steak, veal, pork, seafood and a variety of pasta dishes range in price from about $17 to $30 dollars. Add an appetizer, salad, and wine, and the very good meal will run around $30-$40 per person...not over the top, but definitely on the high end for the area.
The tiny restaurant has seating for perhaps 30 or 40 diners, in a room featuring lots of old brick, a gas fireplace, and a strong wine motif with wooden wine crates lining one wall. The staff was quick and efficient keeping our glasses full and quickly removing our used dishes.
International Cuisine, not to be confused with International Deli a mile away in New Monterey, is one of the rare casual dining establishments in central PG. The decor is comfortable, while being clean and comfortable, except for the old cafeteria tray slides along the kitchen that looks odd and out of place.
We had lunch here and were please with the quality and amount of food. I had the gyros sandwich which was pretty pricey at $9. It was very tender and tasty, but unfortunately didn't come with fries or any other side dish. Laura had the falafel wrap (also $9 despite not having meat!) which was consumed quickly enough for me to know it was pretty good. We were in and out in no time, maybe 45 minutes, despite us taking out time sipping a beer (Gordon Biersch draft was also expensive at $5.75) and enjoying a little sunshine.
This restaurant was the location of "Chili Great Chili" for about 20 years. In 1998 they expanded their menu to include more international selections, and most recently they changed the name to focus only on the international food at the expense of chili (great chili).
Pacific Grove's newest restaurant (summer 2008) is Pacific Thai. It occupies the spot that was briefly The Cellar Door Chop Shop, and many of the old Cellar Door decorations such as grapes and grape leaves are still on the walls. The old wine rack is still in place and fully stocked, making Pacific Thai a unique place for Thai.
We were in town for the farmers market and when we saw Thai food we quickly decided to stop in for dinner. The staff was very friendly and they promptly seated us in one of the two window tables. Our meals started with the fresh and tasty spring rolls (which could have used some shrimp or something to go with the veggies and tofu). My meal was a spicy dish with carrots, celery, and a few other vegetables with a side of rice. Laura had the fried noodles with veggies drowned in peanut sauce.
Our meal was good (but I'd get the peanut sauce on the side!), service was great, and the atmosphere good, despite the old decorations. This is a nice addition to downtown Pacific Grove, as it is the Lighthouse Avenue area's only Asian food, other than Takara Sushi.
Grove Bistro -- CLOSED!
Feb 2008 Update: It is reported that after only a year or so in business, the Grove Bistro has closed. It has been replaced by a small bakery.
The Grove Bistro is a tiny little wine and tapas restaurant in central Pacific Grove. We stopped in one night for a late dinner, where we enjoyed wine and two or three plates of various meats, cheeses, and fruits. They had a good selection of wines, and the appetizers were tasty and fresh. The limited menu also includes soups and some entrees up to about $15.
The entire restaurant has only about 10 or 15 chairs, but is warmly decorated with flowers and candles to make for a romantic environment. This is not a place I'd go often, but it is nice for a change...it would make a great date spot, or s place for a small group to chat around a few glasses of wine.
An Choi - Classy Vietnamese in PG
An Choi offers a mix of Vietnamese and a variety of other Asian dishes from Thailand, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and everything else besides Korean. The restaurant is located at the far end of Lighthouse Avenue not far from Point Pinos Lighthouse and Asilomar beach. An Choi sits off Lighthouse Avenue, kind of off on its own about 1/2 from PG's downtown. Inside the restaurant is deceivingly large, and it has a great cathedral ceiling over the dining room.
We had a great meal of imperial spring rolls ($7.50), shaken beef ($18), Hong Kong Crispy Noodles ($15), the prawn and garlic noodles ($16). The spring rolls were large and fresh, but served with a peanuty sauce rather than the traditional Vietnamese fish sauce. The highlight of our meal was the shaken beef which is a great meal of cubed filet mignon with garlic, pepper and onion. I liked the crispy noodles, which I first tried in Macau, that had shrimp and a few other seafoods with veggies. The fried prawns with garlic noodles were also excellent, and they came seasoned with a tamarind sauce.
Definitely overpriced, especially for Asian food, but it is a unique combination of a variety of Asian foods in a fancier than usual atmosphere.
Fifi's French Bistro
I had seen Fifi's in Pacific Grove several times, and always chuckled at the name... snooty French restaurant named after a poodle? Recently I went to dinner with a friend of a friend who used to live in Monterey, and he chose Fifi's. I hesitatingly accepted the invitation and joined them for dinner. I was very, very impressed with a great meal in a classy atmosphere.
The candlelit dining room, unique European decor, and the great variety of food on the menu gave a great first impression. We sat beside the door, but the creative red velvet curtain made us feel like we almost had our own private room. We started with the smoked salmon plate that had a good quantity of salmon and a variety of cheeses ($9). I had the small spinach crispy fried duck salad with goat cheese that was one of the best salads I can remember ($6.50...next time I might get the large salad for $10.95 and call it a meal!). For my main course I had a very good, but somewhat small swordfish steak that was cooked perfectly and served with a cheesy sauce and a tasty mix of steamed vegetables (about $23). I passed on their impressive variety of about 8 desserts, but enjoyed a tasty cappuccino. Our total bill was about $40 per person and worth every dime.
Laura and I returned almost a year later for a nice Friday evening dinner. We arrived at 8pm and the restaurant was maybe half full. We were immediately seated in the far back corner, as all of the window seats (with views of a parking lot) were taken. Laura started with a glass of the house red wine ($5.50), and I had an Italian Moretti beer ($5 ... isn't this a French restaurant?). After hearing me rave about the duck & spinach salad for the past year, Laura had no doubt that's where she would start her meal (prices have risen significantly to $7.95). I started with a small bowl of the of their tasty seafood chowder, which was only $3.25 with an entree. Since the duck salad was so good, I decided immediately on the fried duck entree (one of the most expensive items on the menu at $24); it came with the great grilled vegetables and an odd huckleberry reduction sauce that I barely touched. Laura had the excellent seafood linguine with pesto sauce ($20). We finished with cappuccinos ($3.75 each). This was another very good meal, in a nice atmosphere, for a reasonable price!
Fifi's is located at the entrance to the Forest Hill shopping center which is home to Dos Amigos, Thaiwaiian, and a few other good local restaurants.
17th Street Grill
The 17th Street Grill is probably the most casual spot in PG to grab a quick lunch or dinner, or just grab a beer and watch the people go by. They have a large outdoor seating area with a big square fire, and a smaller indoor dining room. Most famous for its variety of tasty burgers, you can also find wraps and bowls. Meals are very inexpensive with little on the menu over $6 or $8.
We stopped in for a few late afternoon beers and just enjoyed the unique and comfortable little spot. They had sports on the lone TV, and we were virtually the only people in the restaurant, with a few other guests outside around the fire.
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