As the food from the nearby Salinas Valley is so fresh and so is the seafood, Monterey County is a food-lover’s paradise. Furthermore the county is known for it’s ethical organic growers as well as its numerous vineyards along the coastline and in the hills near Salinas along Highway 101
There are scores of very highly Zagat rated restaurants along the coast of Big Sur that offer wonderful views of the ocean along with great seafood. These cliff-sitting restaurants offer delicious fare such as artichoke ravioli, roasted rabbit, organic rib-eye stake and creamed Diver Scallops.
Pacific Grove is also known for it’s fine cuisine and in particular, it’s wonderful seafood restaurants. Many of the restaurants in Pacific Grove are quite tony and cater to the rich and famous in the area. Food is prepared with calories, nutrition and creativity in mind. Organic prime steaks, fowl and lamb shanks are on this type of menu along with creatively done vegetables like asparagus fries and oyster salad.
Carmel-by-the-Sea is also a food Mecca that used to be a bohemian paradise. The food here is more European inspired and features Italian, French and Mediterrean fare alongside Mexican and Spanish influenced foods.
Spa food is very popular in Carmel Valley, which is famous for it’s very healthy, calorie-wise Cal-French cuisine. These five star spas serve up such delights as sweet corn succotash served with black truffle vinaigrette, rabbit loin with onions and apple and lamb stew with morel mushrooms and garlic.
On the cheaper side, Carmel and the surrounding area is also very famous for it’s gourmet pizza made with fresh vegetarian ingredients. There are also many affordable oyster and wine bars in the area.
Moss Landing is one of the most famous destinations for fresh seafood in the country. It is a favorite haunt of Iron Chef star Bobby Flay. The place is actually an old wharf that combines restaurants and seafood shops with antique shops and art studios. This old wharf has been around since 1866.
Salinas has one of the largest Chinese populations in the country so it is not surprising that it is home to so many wonderful Chinese restaurants. Seafood prepared in black-bean and ginger sauces and loaded with plenty of garlic are a specialty in this city.
Wine tasting is also very much where it is at in this California County and you can find wine-tasting rooms in most malls, hotels and along shopping board-walks near the sea. You can also take scenic wine tours by bus to winery after winery in the hills and valleys near Salinas.