Restaurants & Bars 9

Monterey/Pacific Grove (new find) report

PolarBear | Dec 4, 200403:07 PM

Spent three days just before Thanksgiving next to Asilomar in PG, which BTW is closer to the Inn at Spanish Bay (and Roy's) than downtown PG. Took the board walkway along the beach to the Inn and returned on 17 Mile Drive through the PG gate, took about 20 minutes to get back, nice path through the woods just off the road.

Arrived in time for a late lunch at Massaro and Santos on the Coast Guard wharf mainly for the view and to be out of the Sunday hustle and bustle. We were ISO dungeness crab but it wasn't on their menu. Wife loved her sand dabs and the price (10) but my seafood pasta was disappointing, not bad mind you, but just not all the fresh flavors I'd hoped for. Total with 2 glasses of wine about $40 w/o tip.

Lunch the next day at Fifi's in the Forest Hill center was superb, entrees come with soup or salad, we both chose her french onion soup, possibly the best ever, deep rich broth and tasty gruyere melted on top. Wife had the trout w/ lobster cream sauce and potato gratin, the sauce was decadently rich and the mashed potato creamy smooth and flavorful. I had the bowl of mussels which were outstanding, again one of "the best ever". My wife doesn't care for them, but I couldn't keep her out of the broth with her bits of french bread. Total for soup, entrees and glass of wine was about $30 before tip.

That evening headed down to Fisherman's Wharf. Noticed that Gilbert's had whole crab for 14.95 ala carte or 16.95 as a dinner. Not being a fan of the one on the Santa Cruz wharf (I'm assuming they're the same) we didn't consider this an option. A few other places had dungeness but we ended up at Abolonetti's figuring it would be less pricey than what we consider our one other wharf option, Domenico's (both are owned by John Pisto).

The whole crab at Abolonetti's was 34.95! Wife wasn't that hungry and just had a bowl of their Boston style clam chowder, which was the highlight of the meal unfortunately. My crab linguine was completely bland, lacking almost any crab flavor. Ended up smothering it in fresh ground parmesan. At $21 it was especially disappointing. I don't know if they're trying to make the place more upscale or what but they no longer appear to be the bargain alternative to Domenico's.

We found whole cooked crab at Albertson's in upper PG for 4.99/lb but decided to pass. Save Mart in Fresno got a shipment in this AM and it's 2.99/lb.

While roaming around the Forest Hill center earlier that day, behind Fifi's in the old Allegro Pizza location we found the Thaiwaiian Bistro. Just as the name suggests it's a fusion of the two cuisines. It's closed on Mondays so we came back the next night. It appears to be a husband and wife operation, he does the cooking, she handles the front. There's a bar with about 5 stools and a couple of tables on the left as you enter, and 6-8 tables in the main dining area. The place was nearly full and about half the clientele were Asian and appeared to be locals.

I started with Kimo's Poke Stack, a generous molded mix of Ahi, Salmon, avocado, seaweed, onion, fleur de sel, and sesame oil. The fish was top quality, very fresh tasting. They use no farmed fish from what I understand. Wife started with a Pumpkin Coconut Curry soup, great flavors, similar to the shrimp and chicken Thai soups we're used to. We shared an order of their Pad Thai and the Roasted Sesame Chicken Salad. We both liked their version of Pad Thai but thought the salad could have been more flavorful and decided next time we'd try the Thai Chicken Salad instead. I'm mainly a red wine person but took a chance on a white off their rather small list and was very impressed. It's called Encore White Medley, a blend of chard, sauv. blanc, malavia (sp?) and two others I don't recall, made by Monterra. Total with 2 glasses of wine (8 ea, most other btg were @6) was about $40 before tip.

We've put Thaiwaiian Bistro at the top of our places to return to and try new dishes list. Also look fwd to hearing about other hounds' experiences here.

Wed. on the way outta Dodge we hit El Miguelena on Broadway in Seaside. Had my traditional pupusa and also tried a Salvadoran tamale, much more moist and lighter than what I'm used to. Wife tried their camarones soup that had a great tasting broth and loads of shrimp. Her only complaint was there were no vegetables. This is another place we return to over and over.

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