Readers' Poll

specialty foods famously lays claim to the best bagels in all of America, if not the entire world. But if The Bagel Bakery were around back in Steinbeck’s day, perhaps he may have never needed to make the journey east in the first place. Weekly readers seem to concur, their votes landing the beloved local chain back on this list yet again. Whether you simply desire a sesame bagel with cream cheese, or opt to dive deep into its menu of breakfast and deli sandwiches, there’s no beating the Bakery. BEST OMELETTE From Scratch 3626 The Barnyard, Carmel (831) 625-2448, fromscratchrestaurant. com Before you even order the wonderfully fluffy eggs here, you’ll feel at home. The staff in this cozy, inviting space are friendly and chatty. So are the fellow customers—everyone here is just happy to be digging into perfectly cooked omelettes (and other breakfast treats). These towering portions are packed with veggies and meat, and it’s all fresh—no limp, soggy bell peppers or onions. Hence the name, From Scratch—it is real food, made with love and served with love. You might hear a diner at the next table over ask, “Is this real maple syrup?” The answer, of course, is yes. BEST HUEVOS RANCHEROS The Grill at Point Pinos 79 Asilomar Blvd., Pacific Grove (831) 375-1313, It’s easy to imagine Curly’s wife preparing huevos rancheros before a long day. It’s a simple but satisfying dish, perfect for ranch hands. But the huevos rancheros at The Grill at Point Pinos are more of an indulgence than a rustic and ready breakfast. The dish starts with fried eggs that steep in a prickly salsa, which is then ladled over black beans and country potatoes, with a dusting of queso fresco. Oh, there’s more. But what makes it stand out is the addition of chorizo and avocado, one tugging your palate towards the flame, the other offering cool, calm reassurance. It is, like Of Mice and Men, a masterpiece. BEST SALADS Salad Shoppe 1138 S. Main St., Salinas (831) 422-9600, Less than a mile from Steinbeck’s boyhood school, you can now find the best salad in Monterey County. Aptly named Salad Shoppe, the South Salinas mainstay continues to set the standard when it comes to salad bars. With over 60 fresh ingredients available on a do-it-yourself buffet, it’s no wonder that Salad Shoppe has occupied the same space since 1986. With a bustling lunch crowd and steady stream of online orders, this hub of fresh and healthy greens is a Steinbeck Country favorite in the heart of the Salad Bowl of the World. BEST BISCUITS & GRAVY BEST FRIED CHICKEN The Butter House 1760 Fremont Blvd., Seaside (831) 394-2887, Winning in these categories is like winning the heart of the American South…and everywhere else where people crave homestyle comfort. If the Weekly had a pimento cheese category, it would be the trifecta. No matter: You can’t go wrong with cream gravy over a fat biscuit. Nor can you resist the crackle of a golden-brown crust over juicy white meat. Here’s where it gets better. Not only does The Butter House serve a remarkable chicken sandwich, they also prepare—get this—a chicken biscuit. That’s right, their fried chicken between biscuit halves! That is the trifecta. BEST DELI SANDWICH Compagno's Market & Deli 2000 Prescott Ave., Monterey (831) 375-5987 Oh, could Lee Chong have learned from these guys. The Heavenly Flower grocery didn’t have a deli, and thus no lines forming indoors and out. Yes, for the first-timer there’s a process to learn at Compagno’s. However, once you get it down, you are privy to weighty, satisfying sandwiches on bread sturdy enough to hold them together. Order their favorites or build 106 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 1-4s 4.6” x 4.94” For the 10th Year in a Row! ‘21 ‘19 ‘18 ‘17 ‘16 ‘15 ‘14 ‘13 Wharf #2 • Monterey 372-0581 ‘20 ’22 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’18 ’17 ’19 ’20 ’21 ’23 ’22 ’21 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 For the 11th Year in a Row! GOOD MORNING! Start your day with The BEST BREAKFAST in Monterey County! 2006– 2023 ’21 Thank you for your vote! EGG-CETERA Open Daily 11am-2pm for Breakfast & Lunch Indoor & Outdoor Dining and Take-Out available Consistently great food and great service. 171 Main Street, Oldtown Salinas • 784-1125 • 300 David Avenue • Monterey • 372-1125 BEST HUEVOS RANCHEROS BEST OMELETTE ’22