Restaurants of Monterey Peninsula & Carmel

After spending about 3 weeks in Monterey for work, I accumulated a list of restaurants I would recommend to people visiting Carmel, Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Pebble Beach.  The majority of the places my co-workers and I tried were Italian, American, or seafood restaurants.  Sadly, 3 weeks was not enough time to try all the restaurants I wanted to.


  • Casanova – featured in the Carmel & Big Sur post
  • Little Napoli – A casual, well-priced Italian restaurant with all the Italian comfort dishes you would expect. I had garlic bread, roasted garlic and goat cheese as my starter, and a prosciutto and arugula pizza as my entree.
  • Village Corner – Another casual restaurant serving Italian and Mediterrean type food. I’ve tried different seafood pastas here and found each one delicious. There is an outdoor patio area with a fire pit and heaters that let’s you enjoy the charming main street of Carmel.
  • Tommy’s Wok – I admit, I was very sketpical to try a Chinese resaurant in Carmel. It wasn’t the best Chinese food I ever had, but I found the dishes to be satisfying and quite authentic.
  • Mission Ranch – featured in Monterey, Pacific Grove & Pebble Beach post
  • Cantinetta Luca – Another Italian favorite, although pricier than Little Napoli. We enjoyed the burrata cheese and the cured meats for starters. I had the Spagehtti alla Vongole (clams, garlic, and white wine). My co-workers particularly enjoyed the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese. We finished of our meal with an assortment of gelatos.
  • Places I really wanted to try: La Bicyclette (Italian),  Dametra Cafe (Mediterrean, everytime I walked past this place, it was packed), AW Shucks (Seafood, the name caught my eye, it also looked like it had a bar that was open later), Pacific’s Edge (a place I would like to go for drinks and admire the view)

Pacific Grove/Monterey

  • Passionfish – featured in the Carmel & Big Sur post
  • Il Vecchio – One of my team’s favorite Italian restaurants in the area. The prices are very reasonable and the staff are very welcoming and knowledgeable. We’ve tried so many items on the menu! Some of our favorite are their soups, polpette con sugo (ground beef and sausage meatball in a tomato sauce – amazing! everyone is always fighting for the last bite), carbonara pasta, fettuccine con ragù di pollo, and the prince dessert (strawberries in aged balsamic, pureed, and over vanilla gelato). I honestly feel like you can’t wrong with any dish on the menu. The have a great wine selection. We always devour the bread with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and peppers in an instant.

  • Crystal Fish – Among all of the Italian and American food options, we found a sushi place. I really liked the sweet potato roll I had. Each co-worker ordered 3 different rolls per person and everyone thoroughly enjoyed this meal.
  • Red House Cafe – Living up to it’s name, the cafe is in a little red house. Breakfast is served on the weekends (I got the crab cake eggs benedict). I’ve also had the portobello mushroom sandwich and crab cakes.
  • First Awakenings – featured in Monterey, Pacific Grove & Pebble Beach post
  • Places I really wanted to try: Restaurant 1833 (American, I heard their bacon cheddar biscuits are amazing)

Pebble Beach

  • The Bench – The dining options along 17-mile drive in Pebble Beach are rather pricey. The Bench, located at The Lodge at Pebble Beach, is one of the more reasonably priced restaurants. It serves American food and the interior is white marble. There an outdoor patio with fire pits, offering a great view of the 18th hole. They also provide blankets for the outside seating if you find it chilly but still want to enjoy an outdoor meal. The flatbreads are great option to start of the meal. I found my entree of the wood grilled natural chicken to be delicious and seriously filling. Our waitress was nice enough to let us make smores in the fire pits.

Photos via Il Vecchio and The Bench


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