Monterey, California, has a long-standing reputation as an integral part of the nation’s seafood industry. At the turn of the 20th century, Monterey was the capital of the world’s sardine packing industry. There is bountiful availability of fresh fish caught by local fishermen off Monterey Bay. Besides taking a reel out or going on a fishing excursion to catch fresh seafood yourself, many high-quality restaurants in Monterey use fresh, locally sourced seafood. Here are our top favorites for the best seafood in Monterey CA.
Passionfish is located in Pacific Grove, just a short distance from Monterey. The restaurant has won many awards from local and national outlets for its superior seafood. In addition to working with local, sustainable fisheries, they source ingredients from local farmers as well. They also state that they were the first restaurant in the area to be designated as a “green business,” showing their dedication to sustainable dining. They serve high-quality entrees from duck confit to arctic charr. Their starters include various seafood favorites like sea scallops, spicy fish stew, and fried California squid.
Crystal Fish is a sushi restaurant in Monterey. They prepare their sushi and sashimi using authentic Japanese techniques. The restaurant’s owner, Tamotsu Suzuki, was born in Japan infuses the culinary flavors of the area into the dishes at the restaurant. In addition to sushi rolls, sashimi, and traditionally-prepared sushi, Crystal fish also offers classic Japanese cuisine like teriyaki, tempura, and udon. They source their seafood from local fish markets and fishers. They are located on Lighthouse Avenue in Monterey.
Hula’s built a reputation that surpasses Monterey. They were voted the 14th Best Restaurant in the United States by Trip Advisor in 2019. When you step inside Hula’s, you step back in time to the popular tiki restaurants of the 50s and 60s. Their menu fuses Hawaiian island flavors with American fare. They offer several fish sandwiches, including blackened ahi steak and calamari steak sandwiches. They also offer fish and shrimp tacos. Their dinner menu includes fresh fish like Ahi, Mahi, Barramundi, and catches of the day prepared with different seasonings, from macadamia nut encrusted to Jamaican jerk.
Vivolo’s is located in Pacific Grove, within walking distance to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Their guests rave about their clam chowder, saying it's the best New England Clam Chowder west of the Mississippi. They offer various seafood dishes, from sauteed Mahi Mahi to fried prawns served with french fries. They also have a full beer and wine menu and a patio for outdoor dining.
Monterey's Fish House was featured on the Food Network hit show “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives,” where celebrity chef Guy Fieri sampled the Oak Grilled Oysters and Sicilian Holiday Pasta. Fishing and restaurant ownership are part of the family at Monterey’s Fish House. David DiGirolamo, the restaurant’s owner, grew up watching his father fish off Monterey Bay and working at the family’s restaurant in Fisherman’s Wharf to prepare the daily catches. Now, a new generation runs the Fish House on Del Monte Ave in Monterey. Their seafood offerings include oysters, clam chowder, and crab cakes. They also offer many different types of fresh fish like Grilled Sole, Snapper, Salmon, and swordfish.
Food and fun in Monterey
The restaurants above are just the beginning of the best seafood in Monterey CA. There is so much to explore in this historic area, from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Stay close to it all when you book a room at Ramada Monterey. Looking for things to do in the area? Check out the rest of our blog articles to learn about everything there is to see and do in Monterey!