Monterey proper is, indeed, a rather half-assed restaurant town. However, as noted, you can fresh sardines on the Wharf and at a couple of places on Cannery Row. Beyond that, you have to go to Pacific Grove, Carmel village or, best of all, Carmel Valley which is where all the truly good restaurants are. I went to the newly renovated restaurant at the C. Valley Ranch in Aug and it was great.
11/20/14 at 10:33am