We found Vivolo's Chowder House on our first night in Monterey Bay. This is a small restaurant and we had no reservations but they were able to seat our party of 7 fairly quickly.
I ordered one of the specials - the Mexican sea bass with lemon butter sauce - as well as cup of chowder. The entree was generous and the fish was fresh. I probably didn't do it justice, though, since I was totally enamored with the chowder and crusty bread. I could have eaten just chowder, bread and salad and been very content.
My husband had the smoked salmon ravioli with a basil and shrimp cream sauce. This was also a generous bowl. One minute it was full, the next...well, he thoroughly enjoyed his meal.
We were pleased with the kids meal too. Even though we only ordered one entree (grilled cheese) to split between the two, it was more than enough for each of them. They were given their own plates with huge sandwich halves and fries.
I thought the prices were reasonable compared to other seafood restaurants in the area, and while Vivolo's was close to the Aquarium it seemed to be away from the really touristy stuff. The atmosphere was definitely casual and laid back.
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