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“Fabulous food but lackluster service” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Monterey Bay Fish Grotto

Monterey Bay Fish Grotto
1411 Grandview Ave, Ste 2, Pittsburgh, PA 15211-1159
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Ranked #15 of 1,899 Restaurants in Pittsburgh
Price range: $20 - $42
Cuisines: Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Doing business, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night, Dessert
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Sweetbriar Street
Description: Thank you for considering Monterey Bay Fish Grotto for your affair. This award-winning restaurant has always taken pride in its level of standards and excellence. These exceptional standards are reflected in the mouth-watering fresh fish and impeccable service. Guests have come to expect this level of quality in every aspect of the main dining room as well as the private dining rooms. Monterey Bay Fish Grotto's fish is fresh and flown in from a number of locations on the East Coast, West Coast and Hawaiian Islands. for this reason we are the regions Premier Fresh Fish Restaurant offering 20 kinds of fresh fish in an array of original, delicious styles.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
61 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
“Fabulous food but lackluster service”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2014

Stopped by just after the lunch rush in the middle of the week and that was a mistake. I suggest you do not go at that time unless you have a couple of hours to spare as service is incredibly slow. Our waiter had only one other table yet it took him several minutes to take our drink order and another 10 minutes for the drinks to come out (seriously, how long does it take to pour a glass of pinot gris ($12) and make a mojito ($11). As soon as the drinks arrived (the pinot was wonderful, but the mojito was severely lacking in taste) we ordered our appetizers and entrées for fear that we would not see the waiter again. For the appetizers, we shared the cajun shrimp, which were lightly seasoned and seared ($12) and the ichiban, which consisted of bite size pieces of fresh swordfish, salmon and tuna, marinated then chargrilled and served rare over an ancho chili mayonnaise ($13). Both were fantastic! For the entrées my companion and I both had the Maryland crab cakes, which are fresh jumbo lump crab with remoulade sauce ($22). These crab cakes are light and fluffy and absolutely divine. Nothing else compares. My companion said they would be and I wholeheartedly agreed with her. For dessert we shared the oreo cheesecake ($9); not bad (not as good as The Cheesecake Factory, but still pretty tasty). Despite the initial annoyance of the lackluster service, once the food was served the experience was fantastic. And the wonderful views of downtown Pittsburgh can’t be beat. Lunch for two was quite expensive at over $125, not including parking cost for valet (which to be fair was only $3.00), but the taste is definitely worth the price. We will visit again for sure and hope that the service will be much better.

  • Visited June 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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443 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Top Contributor
226 reviews 226 reviews
117 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 73 cities Reviews in 73 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
“First class views and food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2014

Unlike too many "Destination" restaurants, the Grotto not only has killer views, but great fresh food. The chef has imagination but also works with outstanding produce. In the midst of the US, he is serving really fresh Pacific and Atlantic fish. The preparations are excellent. Branzino, served with head on...yum, crab cakes, Hawaii fish of many types, were all pronounced great by our table.The service was also attentive and helpful.

  • Visited June 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
16 reviews 16 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Evening out.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

We spent the evening with friends from Florida. Prior to the meal we had a drink and a beautiful view of Pittsburgh. We were greeted by the Maître De upon our arrival and was showed to our table. We were quickly greeted by our waiter who informed us of the special fish of the day. We choose Chilian Sea Bass and stuffed Shrimp. The meal was excellent and the potatoes and asparagus was excellent. All aspects of visit was first class.

  • Visited June 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
18 reviews 18 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Great food... but not worth the hype or money...”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

I recently took my mother and sister for a birthday dinner at Monterey Bay Fish Grotto on Mt. Washington. I have lived in Pittsburgh my whole life, but had never gotten a chance to go here. We made reservations and asked to wait for a window seat. While we waited, we walked down to the lounge area. The waitress serving everyone was very busy and could have used some extra help, but she was extremely nice and helpful. She was able to make sure we had what we needed even though they were so understaffed. We each got a different martini and they were fantastic!

When our table was ready, we went up to the dining room. The decor was bizarre... there were some really elegant parts to it but there were also these badly painted cartoon palm trees on each of the pillars. I felt as though this really detracted from the elegant dining room. Our table was right in front of the floor to ceiling windows but we were directly in front of a diving wall which impeded our view of the city. We didn't mind too much, though.

It took quite a while for our waitress to come over to the table - I'd say a good 10 minutes. When she did come, she told us all about the specials and explained the menu. She was incredibly knowledgeable about the food but, when she was done, she left immediately left to go tend to another table and didn't even take our drink orders (all three martinis were gone by this point). We only had water. About 10 more minutes later, she came over to ask if we wanted wine. Finally! By this time, we had been at the table for almost 25 minutes and knew what we wanted to order. Unfortunately, she left immediately after getting our order for our bottle of wine and still didn't ask us for our order.

A manager came over to open our wine and pour, but got called away due to the elevator breaking down. Another 5 minutes went by before someone else came to our table to open the wine.

Finally, the waitress returned and we gave her our order. We didn't see her again for another 20 minutes or so when she brought our salads. Both my mom and sister got the Lobster Caesar Salad and I got the Crab Cake appetizer. They were superb! The Crab Cake was to die for! Nonetheless, I don't think they were worth $15-20 each.

Finally, our entrees arrived. All three of us got the Ahi Tuna Shashimi Style for $39 and they were definitely great. Again, not worth the money. I've tasted comparable Ahi Tuna for much less.

After we all finished our meals and got a little Birthday Creme Brule, we went to leave. Because the elevator was down for so long (almost the whole time we were there), there was a long line of people waiting for the elevator.

All in all, the food was great but I definitely wouldn't pay that much for a meal I could get elsewhere for much cheaper. Sure, the view is nice, but the coating on the glass doesn't make for good pictures to memorialize the occasion.

  • Visited June 2014
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
17 reviews 17 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“a quibble please”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2014

Too much of a good thing? Having seen many comments in restaurant reviews about customers being ignored, can I really complain about too much attention? Our server was constantly at the table with inane questions as well as the host and the busboy. Easily a dozen or more visits.

  • Visited June 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Pittsburgh, PA

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