3 Delicious Days in Monterey County
Follow this itinerary, or plan your own culinary journey.
With sustainable seafood, organic farms and pioneering restaurants — amid vineyards and charming towns famed for their coastal views — Monterey County, California, can inspire a personal food and wine celebration.
Day 1: Welcome
Check in at Bernardus Lodge, a luxurious boutique resort nestled between the vineyards of Carmel Valley. Plan for dinner at Passionfish in nearby Pacific Grove. This pioneer in the sustainable seafood movement is also known for its award-winning wine list, with most wines offered at retail price. Select a bottle to bring out the flavors of your entrée, which might feature seafood or delectable, slow-cooked meats and local, organic produce.
Passionfish in Pacific Grove, California, is known as a pioneer in the sustainable seafood movement — and for its affordable, award-winning wines.
Day 2: Food Tours and Famous Restaurants
Lucia Restaurant & Bar at Bernardus Lodge is a foodie destination. This morning, the restaurant comes to you — simply order breakfast-in-bed (the golden pancakes are a favorite).
Following breakfast, make the short drive to the charming town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, itself a fine-dining hub. For a delicious overview, consider a tasting excursion with Carmel Food Tour; for a behind-the-scenes look at three local wineries and the world’s largest grower of organic produce (Earthbound Farm), journey out with Ag Venture Tours of Carmel Valley.
Leave time for hopping between Carmel-by-the-Sea’s shops, art galleries and wineries (a Carmel Wine Walk-by-the-Sea Passport will help you track your tastings). Dinner presents choices. The truly adventurous foodie will ask Chef de Cuisine Justin Cogley of Aubergine Restaurant to customize a seasonal tasting menu. If you’re craving a view, reserve at Post Ranch Inn's famous Sierra Mar Restaurant. Tables command a breathtaking view of the Big Sur coastline, and the exquisite four-course prix-fixe menu showcases Monterey County’s most authentic tastes.
Pick up a Carmel Wine Walk-by-the-Sea Passport to track your tastings through this quaint town located amid one of California’s largest wine-producing regions.
Day 3: To Market — And Sea
Don't let the epic ocean views at Carmel Highland's California Market Restaurant distract you: This menu is full of fresh seafood and seasonal produce. Reserve a table on the redwood deck and order the Californian Benedict, topped with tender artichokes from nearby Castroville, the “Artichoke Capital of the World.”
You can find a farmers’ market almost daily in Monterey County. Take a mid-morning stroll through any of these markets to shop for locally grown produce and chat with locals and farmers.
Cap your culinary adventure with a visit to Moss Landing, a community situated right on Monterey Bay with a quaint fishing-village vibe. As such, the seafood is superb (and sustainable). For lunch, hit the Haute Enchilada for the catch of the day crusted with pistachio nuts.
The dramatic Big Sur coastline is one of Monterey County's most photographed sites.