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Restaurants

Las Vegas, Nevada
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35 posts
3 reviews
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Restaurants

Hello all! I received great advice from TA back in September when I made plans to visit SF and drive down to Monterey/PG/Carmel/Big Sur. We will be staying in the Gosby Inn, as they were one of the few willing to sell us a one night stay on the weekend. After reading many posts, I think that we have decided to eat lunch at the Red House Cafe (based off the recommendations from PGdenizen). Just wanted to know what are some of the best things to order there? Or is it all good?

Also, debating between Fandango, Melange and Casanova for dinner. Any thoughts on which of those three would be best? Oh, and are these places dressy (like dress pants or a dress) or could we get away with being a bit more casual?

Last question, we are arriving at SFO at 8am, would it be better to drive straight to Big Sur the fast way and then work our way back north to PG or drive Hgwy 1 down to PG area and visit Big Sur the next morning before we head back to SF? I just want to maximize our time seeing this beautiful coastal area and fit in all that we want to do (MBA, Big Sur, 17mile drive, etc.). Thank you for any and all information!

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Monterey
Monterey
Monterey County, CA
Carmel
Carmel
Monterey County, CA
Red House Cafe
Red House Cafe
1,157 Reviews
Pacific Grove, CA
Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard
Historic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Lovers Point
Beaches, Points of Interest & Landmarks
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37,613 posts
960 reviews
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1. Re: Restaurants

Casanova is in Carmel, we have enjoyed several very nice lunches there, you could definitley be casual here for dress. The food is very good and there is also an outdoor patio with heat lamps if you want to dine alfresco. Have fun at the coast! :)

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Carmel
Carmel
Monterey County, CA
San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
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3,440 posts
46 reviews
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2. Re: Restaurants

If you feel up to driving, then do it when you arrive. You can get out often and stretch your legs, take photos; might as well get the most use out of the car rental. I recommend looking at this guide http://tinyurl.com/sanfrancisco2monterey and also checking out Duarte's Tavern in Pescadero www.duartestavern.com/

see if you can check into the Inn on the way south by calling them when you arrive at the airport, that way there's no delay on returning to the Inn when you're tired and want to get some rest

SF Bay Area
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228 posts
38 reviews
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3. Re: Restaurants

Enjoy the Gosby House! We stayed there several years just before Christmas and it is a really nice BnB!

If I am reading your question correctly, by the "Fast Way" you mean drive down from SFO to San Luis Obispo and drive north along One to Pacific Grove?? Wow, that is a lot of territory to cover in a short period of time and still make dinner resys.

My recommendation would be to drive down the coast (101-92-1) going thru HMB and Santa Cruz. Assuming you don't stop along the way, you might have enough time to drive along the Asilomar coast before dark. Then the next morning, I would either do 17 mile drive or get up really early to be at Pt. Lobos State Reserve when it opens at 9am and spend some time there before heading back to SFO. If you visit Pt. Lobos, skip Whalers Cove and head to Sea Lion Rocks or points along the coast for the flavor of Big Sur that you are hoping for.

Pacific Grove...
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for Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, Monterey County
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25 reviews
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4. Re: Restaurants

Hi. I'm glad you're going to try Red House for lunch. It is just a block or two from the inn. Here are the things I like best, but I don't think there is anything bad on the menu:

If you're in the mood for comfort food, their grilled cheese is amazing--served on thick bread with a wonderful mix of cheeses and artichoke hearts, with a side of orzo pasta. Their crab cake on a bed of greens is also very good. A friend of mine loves their pizza. And the soups are excellent. They have a different soup each day, and they are wonderful. If it's broccoli soup, you'd swear you were eating fresh broccoli. Most of the soups are creamy, but not overly heavy. Personally, I hate cream-based anything, but I love their soups. They offer the Red Plate, a different half sandwich with soup or salad each day, as well.

I've heard good things about Melange. It is pricier than Fandango, and even though I like Fandango (especially the setting), I find that there food can be hit or miss. Casanova has the same kind of ambience as Fandango--a cozy Mediterranean feel--and the food is very good. If you want to stay in PG for dinner, I'd say Melange of the two you mentioned. Have you looked at the menu for Max's Grill? That's an interesting place with very good food. I also love Taste Cafe and Bistro in PG. It's not in downtown, but at the corner of Forest and Prescott, up the hill from downtown. It's in a small strip mall, and parking can be a problem sometimes, but the decor and the food and very nice.

Enjoy!

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Max's Grill
Max's Grill
156 Reviews
Pacific Grove, CA
Las Vegas, Nevada
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35 posts
3 reviews
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5. Re: Restaurants

Thank you all for the great advice!

EarthPal, by "fast way" I did not mean go all the way to San Luis Obispo, but rather use the highways that were more inland. I thought they would be faster than Highway 1. Thanks for the Point Lobos ideas, I am thinking that it might be a better option to Big Sur.

PGdenizen, I cannot wait to try the grilled cheese! Mmmm, it sounds delicious.

I just noticed that the Big Sur Marathon will be going on, as well as the Great Wine Escape Weekend. Will either of these create huge crowds? Would it be better to go to the Aquarium on the Saturday or Sunday during those times? Thanks again!

Berea, Ohio
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1,439 posts
75 reviews
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6. Re: Restaurants

TinVegas,we followed the same itinerary but had a full week Oct. 18-25. We stayed at Seven Gables, and our dining spot in PG was Passionfish. (Day-by-day trip reports can be searched under "SF/Monterey Bay Area First-Timers")

We'd definitely recommend Point Lobos, too. $9.25 senior rate for our vehicle, it's a State Reserve - a living museum. The purpose is to preserve native ecological relationships, unique plant/animal life, geologic features and scenic qualities in an undisturbed condition with specific guidelines/restrictions for public enjoyment. Such an extraordinary gem on the final day of our vacation! We hiked Bird Island Trail to the sparkling jade-green waters of China Cove and Sea Lion Point and Sand Hill Trail and Cypress Grove Trail, where we were thrilled to spot spouts of mist of gray whales through our binoculars. This is such a remarkable place to take time to enjoy nature’s array…yet on a cliff with a dramatic ocean vista, we encountered a 60-something woman loudly gabbing away on her cell phone!

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Passionfish
Passionfish
1,461 Reviews
Pacific Grove, CA
Pacific Grove...
Destination Expert
for Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, Monterey County
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5,394 posts
25 reviews
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7. Re: Restaurants

With the marathon, the road (Hwy 1) will be closed between Big Sur and Carmel that Sunday morning. That might be the best time to visit the aquarium. Point Lobos is along the road to Big Sur, about 4 miles south of Carmel. You'll be able to get to Point Lobos on Saturday with no problem, or you could go Sunday afternoon, when the marathon traffic has cleared out.

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Carmel
Carmel
Monterey County, CA
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37,613 posts
960 reviews
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8. Re: Restaurants

Both Sat. and Sun. will be crowded at the aquarium, especially during event weekends, you can purchase tickets online, that should help with your wait time to get in. You will love the aquarium, we have been many times and always find something new to enjoy here. :)

Las Vegas, Nevada
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35 posts
3 reviews
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9. Re: Restaurants

Thank you all for the terrific information and advice! I am so excited for our visit!!

Walpole...
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60 posts
44 reviews
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10. Re: Restaurants

Just got back. You've picked a great place to see. I spent 10 days there with my wife and did / ate at the places in your question. My advice is based on what I saw and did and how I did them. Some of which is just honest opinions, because some things I would never do again if I went back to the area.

SFO down Highway 1 to Pacific Grove: We left San Fran, jumped on 280 and cut over to Highway 1. Then we took 1 down to Carmel Valley where our cottage was. We saw nothing really, there were lights to contend with, and in comparison to Big Sur / Pt. Lobos and the coast in Pacific Grove – Highway 1 from San Fran was a waste of time. I would suggest to just go down into the area as soon as you can. I believe that will be 280 to 101 to 156 (I think that was the route) and onto Highway 1. You will save an hour at least – maybe more and miss nothing. And I do mean nothing!!

In Pacific Grove – skip the 17 mile drive. Save your money. My wife and I biked from Monterey into Pacific Grove and then on 17 mile drive. We were grateful we did not spend money on 17 mile drive. Golf courses and houses owned by people who live there 10 days a year. So what! As a note to this – we thought the bike ride along the ocean in PG was awesome. It was a wonderful way to see the coast. We stopped at Lover’s Point, saw a light house, some Butterfly sanctuary, and just took it all in. Once we got onto 17 mile drive – to us – it was at best equal to what we saw for free without the golf courses and mansions. It depends on you – but given the other things to do – 17 mile drive can be skipped and money / gas saved. I would not do 17 mile drive ever again. But I would bike all day long on the Monterey and Pacific Grove coast / bike path. The scenery here all by itself is better than anything on the drive down Highway 1 from San Fran.

Pt. Lobos. – Beautiful. Really nice. We saw deer in there, and beautiful coast line scenery. If you can get here – go. We paid to park and that saved a walk (folks park on Highway 1 and walk in to skip the fee or not drive around looking for the limited parking in the park). By the way – the scenery here is also better than the drive down Highway 1 from San Fran. This place is a top of the line scenery spot – as far as I’m concerned.

Big Sur: The biggest and most beautiful coast lines you will ever see and as breathe taking as anything you’ll see. We spent two days driving up and down this gorgeous coast. We stopped where ever we could and just looked at it all. We hiked too and ate at Nepenthe twice (suggested by the gracious folks who advise so often on the boards for the area). Have the Ambrosia burger and sit out on the Veranda (ocean side) if you can. We waited a half hour just to sit out there and was it worth it! Big Sur is a must if you’re on the peninsula. You will not regret it.

Monterey Bay Aquarium: We spent almost four hours in awe of the best aquarium in the country. If this type of thing interests you – get tickets online and go. We caught several feedings and saw everything. I am so happy I saw this place.

Red House: Yes - I took all the suggestions for this place too. Red House is a great place to eat. We ordered the special (whatever it was) and it was great. Had some wine. Real nice. Service was awesome too. It’s right on Lighthouse and it is in fact – a Red House. Very charming. One other thing – I don’t know what it was – but they have this dipping oil you put your bread into – it was delicious. So much so we asked what it was and where we could buy it. Sadly – they don’t sell it. Otherwise I would have it at home right now…

Have fun…

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San Francisco
San Francisco
California
Monterey
Monterey
Monterey County, CA