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 $15 during their brunch (and they have mango mimosas now)!
Pavel’s You can’t live in the Monterey area without coming here once! This place is AMAZING! But remember to bring cash because they don’t accept cards!
Bay Cafe They offer a military discount too!
Katy’s a super cute place in Carmel to eat breakfast!
coffee when we left! (Win in my book!)
Paris Bakery If you love Europe as much as I do, this is a MUST stop! This place will take you to Europe and back in a quick breakfast.
Lunch Date or Dinner Date you Pick!
Crystal Fish– Sushi the BEST Sushi we ate here for my birthday and I was sooooo happy we did! AMAZING! If you’re a sushi lover this is the place to go!
Peter B’s This place is great for beer lovers and kids! A win-win in my book!
Dametra Cafe sister restaurant is Mediterranean (Same restaurants two names two buildings they’re just that popular!) in Carmel by the Sea. So if you’re into dancing singing, and having a really really really good time with the best food you’ve ever had! Then make sure you visit Demetra Cafe before you leave Monterey! Trust me when I save it’s my favorite place to eat on earth… and if you’ve read my blog you know I’ve been lots of places!
Baja Cantina buy the gift card from Costco first. (100$ 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!
Up Next Take a Hike… The Best Places to Hike in Monterey!
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