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You are here: Monterey County Convention & Visitors BureauFood and WineDining Guide

Dining Guide


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Did you know?

Monterey County's Salinas Valley is known as the Salad Bowl of the Nation because of the large quantity and variety of produce that is grown here. A few of the county's top crops include lettuce, strawberries, artichokes, and broccoli.

Regional Specialties

Monterey County's bounty of fresh foodstuffs means our restaurants offer diners a host of special treats that are not found elsewhere (or if they are, they just don't seem to taste as great!).
Among the delicacies to look for are:
artichoke soup This creamy concoction is one of the culinary world's most tedious to prepare: every leaf must be carefully scraped and pureed. Castroville is California's artichoke capital.
abalone Once upon a time, abalone grew to dinner plate size and were common as clams. Now Monterey's two abalone farms produce the nation's only fresh, ocean-reared abalone. It's pricey, but tender and succulent.
calamari Breaded and sauteed, cut into savory strips and deep-fried, cold in a spicy salad, calamari is the Italian culinary name for the squid that thrive in Monterey Bay.




Dining Guide


Click here for a list of Restaurant Listings by Type


Monterey Dining GuideMonterey County is home to hundreds of delightful places to eat—from casual family-oriented cafes to elegant, award-winning restaurants, and every kind of eatery in between—so don't leave home without your appetite.

With fresh produce available year round from the Salinas Valley ("America's Salad Bowl"), chefs from Big Sur to Carmel to Salinas take pride in creating menus that reflect Monterey County's seasonal bounty. Paired with fresh-caught seafood from the Monterey Bay and a nice bottle of Monterey County wine, local chefs create meals you will be talking about long after you have returned home. If you've never sampled the tender heart of an artichoke, meltingly tender sand dabs or fried calamari, Monterey is the place to try these local favorites.

Group Dining—Many restaurants offer dining and meeting space for groups small and large. To view some of our Unique Group Facilities, click here.



Reservations Recommended

Whether you're arranging a romantic dinner for two or a 'power lunch' with colleagues, we suggest you make reservations at your desired restaurant. The most popular times (lunch 11:30am-1pm; dinner 7:00pm-8:30pm) fill up well in advance, so try to be flexible—we guarantee it will be worth the wait! If you do make a reservation, try to arrive a few minutes early, or call ahead to let the restaurant know if you will be late. Because some diners forget to cancel their reservations, many local restaurants will only guarantee a reservation with a credit card, especially on busy weekends.



Pacific Edge Restaurant, Highlands Inn
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Restaurant Information





Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.