There are about 15 dining options in just a few blocks of Main Street in downtown Salinas, as well as breweries, coffee and more, making it an ultimate dining-out strip. In addition to lunch and dinner establishments, Main Street offers a wide early-morning breakfast selection, taquerias and something for night owls, too. At least four restaurants open at 7am daily, including the legendary and original First Awakenings (171 Main; 7am-2pm daily), in a much prettier setting and historic building compared to the location in Monterey. This classic breakfast spot serves omelets, pancakes and burgers. If in doubt, order raspberry coconut pancakes—they come schnitzelsized. Other early dining options on Main are Dudley’s Restaurant, aka Dudley Oldtown (258 Main; 7am-2pm), with daily quiches and the self-advertised best burgers in town; Portobello’s on Main (150 Main; 8am-2pm daily, Wednesday-Saturday open for dinner, closing at 8pm); and Gordon’s Café (343 Main, 9am-8:30pm, closed on Sundays). Portobello and Gordon’s specialize in sandwiches and salads, with Portobello offering such delicacies as a calamari steak sandwich or peanutty coleslaw. Beyond the American classics, Gordon’s adds additional Mexican fare. Both restaurants, just like 201 Main (201 Main; 4-10pm, until 1:30am Friday-Saturday), do catering, even though 201 Main is more of a dinner spot with many weekend specials and an all-you-can-eat “fiesta brunch” buffet every Sunday from 10am-3pm. For good, strong coffee roasted in-house and available before dawn, try beloved locals’ gathering spot Cherry Bean Coffee Roasting Company (332 Main; 5:30am5pm Monday-Friday; 7am on SaturdaySunday). Speaking of Mexican food, arguably the biggest catch in downtown Salinas is Villa Azteca (157 Main; 11am-4pm for lunch and 5:30-9pm for dinner), presenting modern Mexican food. Villa Azteca is closed on Mondays, but also offers Sunday brunch from 10am-4pm. Just a few steps from there, one can find a more traditional and less expensive approach to tacos, tortas and enchiladas: Mi Tierra (129 Main; 10am10pm daily) and breakfast-lunch-only Taqueria El Burrito King (8 Midtown Lan, 7am-2pm). For seafood lovers, Islas Marietas (330 Main; 11am-7pm) highlights a southern islander approach to Mexican cuisine. Speaking of seafood, MamiChelas (131 Main; noon-9pm Sunday, Tuesday24 The Best of Monterey Bay ® EAT + DRINK 2023-2024 Main Attraction What to eat from 7am to midnight, in the heart of downtown Salinas. By Agata Pope˛da Villa Azteca Go Downtown Daniel Dreifuss