I recently returned from successful chowhounding activity in Monterey and Pacific Grove. Let's share the sleuthing and enjoyment! The following 2 restaurants are local favorites, although they are very near the main attractions.
Monterey's Fish House was packed. All Saturday night tables were booked until 8:30. We persisted and the young host sympathized and suggested we'd get the next no show table. After half an hour, we got a table. Lesson - make a reservation here. My French friends ordered, of course, the bouillabaise. I ordered halibut with piccata sauce. The fish was definitely fresh. The sauce and accompanying vegetables - whipped potatoes and corn - were perfect complements.
Fifi's Cafe in Pacific Grove is a French restaurant and patisserie with a semi formal, comfortable atmosphere. I ordered blintzes with mango raspberry coulis, eggs, and canadian bacon. The blintz crepes were tender and the ricotta filling appropriately sweetened, although this is not dessert. Dessert is chosen from a tray starring over a dozen high, but worthwhile, calorie pastries. It was surprising to see such an array of well executed French pastries in this small town. Compared to the top (10 )rated Fauchon in Paris, my French friends rated Fifi's 7-7.5. Note that the dinner bistro menu offers a main dish, soup and small dinner salad for $16.95. See link below.