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Best Outdoor Dining in Monterey

Abalonetti Bar & Grill

One of Monterey’s original restaurants is located at 57 Fisherman’s Wharf (Lighthouse Ave.) This wharfside bar and grill offers good fish and seafood and there’s also chicken, steak, pizza and a mile-high meatloaf for the truly dogged landlubber. They’ve got the largest wind-protected patio on the wharf too. It’s cleaned in-house, a rare labor of love that results in flavorful dishes with fine texture. This Fisherman’s Wharf institution has been around for more than 60 years.

The Bench

This sleek restaurant with a casual vibe, eclectic menu and wallet-friendly prices is a boon to those traveling along the 17-Mile Drive. The view of the Carmel coastline gives diners a feast for the eyes. The Bench at The Lodge at Pebble Beach delivers an eclectic menu inspired by international styles and methods, using the innovative technique of wood roasting and open-flame cooking. Guests can also enjoy one-of-a-kind craft cocktails, as well as an array of draft beers and wines by the glass.

Cafe Rustica Restaurant

Café Rustica has been a locals’ favorite for years. Cafe Rustica is casual, warm and inviting. It’s a refuge from the outside world and share the Valley’s best kept secret. The tables are set for large groups and as early as six in the evening, guests start coming in to enjoy what is probably the best Petrale Sole, Hungarian Goulash, Fresh Salmon, Lamb Filets, pizza, and homemade soup ever served. There’s a touch of Alsacian dishes enhanced with Tuscan flavors.

The Restaurant at Ventana 

If you are lucky enough to pass through this part of the world on a coastal journey, allow time on your itinerary to stop at Ventana Big Sur. The restaurant has a beautiful bright wood interior, but if the weather holds, opt for a table on the veranda. You’ll never get tired of this panorama.