Eat like a local in Monterey, California

When we move to a new city everything is new and it can be a little challenging to find the “real” local places. We normally don’t find our “spots” until 6 months in. Lucky for us, this is our 2nd round of Monterey and we pretty much know all the ends and outs of this area! With all the friends that we have moving here next month, I thought I would share my knowledge with everyone and help save you the 6-month transition. 

Don’t forget to ask for local menus too! Lots of places around town have local menus and military discounts, so make sure to take advantage. 

Best Coffee Shops 

Aloha coffee and cafe Monterey  This local coffee shop is super close to La Mesa

Caffe Trieste Monterey This cafe is extra special to me because we lived 45 minutes away from Trieste, Italy when we lived in Slovenia. When I find myself homesick for Slovenia I go to this cafe and get my “real” European coffee and talk to my “real” Italian Bristo! I highly recommend this place it makes me happy!

Carmel Valley Coffee Roasting Company  

Captain Stoker This has got to be my all-time favorite coffee shop! It’s open air, modern, and total hipster. If you’re visiting Monterey you have to stop by one morning and try it out! 

Best Donuts in Town! 

Red’s Donuts– hmmm I go here every Saturday! It’s the cutest mom and pop shop around! They don’t do donut holes unless you call and order them… 

Monterey Donuts This place is so mom and pop it doesn’t even have its own website! LOL I’ve heard from multiple friends that children get free donut holes (a bonus in my book!) You can even call on your way and they’ll make you sprinkle covered donut holes! I’ll be honest I haven’t been here yet… and as I’m writing this I feel the need to make run by Monterey Donuts TODAY!  

Pavel’s  I mention this down below too, because well… it’s just that good! They have one of the world’s largest donuts…well maybe not the world’s largest but as big as your face BIG! Trust me when I say it’s a must go! But remember to bring cash, they don’t accept cards! 


Let’s do Breakfast or Brunch!

Holly’s Lighthouse Cafe My husband and I love this place! It’s not super popular but the food is AMAZING

First Awakenings  I’ll be honest this is one of my biggest weaknesses you ask me to eat here with you I’ll never say no! As an added bonus it’s literally right across the street from The Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Crema  This place is so popular! Make sure to make reservations! 10% mil discount each day, but 20% on Sundays! Bottomless mimosas for $15 during their brunch (and they have mango mimosas now)!

Pavel’s  You can’t live in the Monterey area without coming here once! This place is AMAZING! But remember to bring cash because they don’t accept cards! 

Bay Cafe They offer a military discount too! 

Breakfast Club

Katy’s  a super cute place in Carmel to eat breakfast! 

coffee when we left! (Win in my book!) 

Paris Bakery If you love Europe as much as I do, this is a MUST stop! This place will take you to Europe and back in a quick breakfast. 

Lunch Date or Dinner Date you Pick! 

Crystal Fish– Sushi the BEST Sushi we ate here for my birthday and I was sooooo happy we did! AMAZING! If you’re a sushi lover this is the place to go! 

Peter B’s This place is great for beer lovers and kids! A win-win in my book! 


Dametra Cafe sister restaurant is Mediterranean (Same restaurants two names two buildings they’re just that popular!) in Carmel by the Sea. So if you’re into dancing singing, and having a really really really good time with the best food you’ve ever had! Then make sure you visit Demetra Cafe before you leave Monterey! Trust me when I save it’s my favorite place to eat on earth… and if you’ve read my blog you know I’ve been lots of places! 

Baja Cantina   buy the gift card from Costco first. (100$ worth for 80$) the food is good but service is always slow, be prepared to wait.

Forge in the Forest  I had a lunch day here last week and it was AMAZING! The food is perfect for a lunch date and the atmosphere is amazing! 

Santa Fe This place is not only a great food store for Mexican! But it has some of the BEST Mexican food I have ever had! 

El Torrito’s Make sure you sign up for their e-mails! You’ll be in the know with all their specials! This is a great Mexican place on Cannery Row very close to the aquarium with GREAT bay views! 

Fisherman’s Wife This place has been on my bucket list for forever! I’ve heard nothing but WONDERFUL things about this place! I’ll make sure when I eat there to update you guys on my personal experience. 

Fish House This place is soooo good! Mouthwatering good! We ate here when Tyler and I were alone in Monterey in December (the kids were with our parents) All I have to say is I need to go back ASAP! The fish and pasta are by far some of the best that I’ve had in Monterey. 

Ike’s for quick-serve sandwiches, way better than any national chain

Hula’s all-time fave. (lunch & dinner/ gluten free/vegetarian/vegan options)I’ll continue to add to this list so make sure to check back! 

Gianni’s Pizza I’ve had this place recommended to me so many times! It’s so GOOD! 

Nepthene Big Sur

Toro Cafe

Up Next Take a Hike… The Best Places to Hike in Monterey! 


  • Karine
    August 21, 2018

    Thanks, it is very informative

  • Leonore
    August 22, 2018

    I enjoy the article

  • Roslyn
    September 6, 2018

    It works really well for me

    October 15, 2018

    This is really useful, thanks.

  • Trevor
    April 2, 2019

    Good info. Lucky me I came across your blog by accident
    (stumbleupon). I have book-marked it for later!

  • Hortense
    April 7, 2019

    Normally I do not read article on blogs, however I would like to say that
    this write-up very forced me to take a look
    at and do it! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks, very
    great post.

  • joker188
    April 13, 2019

    I absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for.
    Would you offer guest writers to write content
    for yourself? I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on some of the
    subjects you write in relation to here. Again, awesome website!

  • joker188
    April 13, 2019

    After exploring a handful of the blog posts on your web site,
    I really like your technique of writing a blog. I book-marked it
    to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the
    near future. Please visit my web site too and tell
    me what you think.

  • Edwina
    April 13, 2019

    Some times its a pain in the ass to read what website owners wrote but this internet site is
    very user friendly!

  • pokerpelangi188qq
    April 13, 2019

    I was able to find good advice from your articles.

    April 23, 2019

    I constantly emailed this web site post page to all
    my associates, since if like to read it then my links will too.

  • Grace
    April 27, 2019

    My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different website and thought I should check things out.
    I like what I see so i am just following you.
    Look forward to finding out about your web page repeatedly.

  • fish307
    April 29, 2019

    DUDE! I am so excited right now after reading this! Thaaaaankkk you!

  • Mack Norrid
    May 7, 2019

    I’m impressed, I have to say. Actually not often do I encounter a blog that’s each educative and entertaining, and let me inform you, you will have hit the nail on the head. Your concept is excellent; the difficulty is one thing that not sufficient individuals are speaking intelligently about. I am very joyful that I stumbled throughout this in my search for something referring to this.

  • Jada
    May 11, 2019

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your blog?
    My blog site is in the exact same niche as yours and my users would
    genuinely benefit from a lot of the information you provide here.
    Please let me know if this okay with you. Thanks!

    • admin
      June 15, 2019


  • bcom degree
    May 12, 2019

    Good Information for Students, Personal & Govt.

  • Russell
    May 16, 2019

    Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the issues.

    It was truly informative. Your site is extremely helpful.
    Thank you for sharing!

Leave a Comment

Previous Post
Things I wish I knew before moving to Monterey, California!
Next Post
Venice, Italy