Readers' Poll

restaurants BEST RESTAURANT - SAND CITY Sweet Elena's 465 Olympia Ave., Sand City (831) 393-2063, When hunger strikes in Sand City, there is no better place to dine than Sweet Elena’s. Steinbeck would have loved this place, because he detested the “assembly line” nature of food production—and Sweet Elena’s is anything but. From hot foccaccia slices and classic baguette sandwiches, to fresh salads and savory soups, they have something to satisfy your daily desires. If the wrath of your hunger still persists after dining, they have grab-andgo baked goods (and also the Best Pie in Monterey County) that you can continue to enjoy post-departure. Sweet Elena’s is perfect for a workday lunch, or when you want to treat yourself to something sweet. BEST RESTAURANT - SEASIDE Maligne 600 Broadway Ave., Seaside (831) 601-1302, When Maligne opened in spring of 2022, after months of anticipation, it was hard to get a seat in the place. But then, after the hype died down, the bustle diminished. But it wasn’t on account of the food—it’s been outstanding from the get-go. Earlier this year, chef and founder Klaus Georis shut down the restaurant for a few weeks to reimagine the menu into a fine dining option suited to residents of Seaside as an everyday destination— and to people anywhere looking for exquisite cooking. Don’t miss the fries. One more note: The restaurant has no sign, and is housed in a concrete building that resembles a structure frequented by Mack and the boys. BEST RESTAURANT - SOUTH COUNTY The Cork & Plough 200 Broadway, King City (831) 386-9491, If there is anything that could bring East of Eden’s Trask brothers back together, it would start with a meal at King City’s Cork & Plough. A staple of South County for nearly a decade, Cork & Plough continues to churn out diverse menu offerings that the plough pushers can appreciate, along with an array of sides (try the ratatouille) and specials along with housemade sodas, beers, wines and spirits. Beyond the menu, it’s also the welcoming vibe and sense that this is a neighborhood gathering place that keep people returning. BEST CHEF Tim Wood Woody's at the Airport 200 Fred Kane Drive, #201, Monterey (831) 373-1232, Steinbeck was a champion of California’s abundance, and according to readers, so is Tim Wood, although his preferred medium is food rather than pen and paper. Although eating at an airport is usually a subpar affair, Wood—who has trained in Michelinstarred kitchens and high-end resorts— is an anomaly in the best way possible. As one does when located in the Salad Bowl of the World, he does his best to source his ingredients close to home, utilizing greens from Swank Farms, famous Baker’s Bacon, and Harris Ranch steaks. Even this year’s Best Chicken Wings (see Specialty Foods) are coated in local honey. Like a great American novel, a great meal by Tim Wood is a labor of love, appreciated by airport travelers and also by locals. 100 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 We Are Very Thankful To Be Voted Best Poke By the readers of Monterey County Weekly We are a small, locally owned family business, and we use only the best ingredients which keeps our customers coming back again and again. Come dine with us! Open Daily 11am-7:30pm 266 Reservation Road, Suite S, Marina • 831.384.7898 X [ /pokehouse831 ’20 ’21 ’22 ’23