Readers' Poll

restaurants John Steinbeck lived in Pacific Grove for a spell, and he enjoyed it. But his attitude toward the city itself was hardly enthusiastic. In Sweet Thursday he explained that P.G. “sprang full blown from the iron heart of a psycho-ideo-legal religion.” And while there are certainly fans of psycho-ideo-legal religions, they clearly weren’t his thing. What’s this have to do with the Best Restaurant At A Golf Course? Well, if The Grill at Point Pinos was around back then, Steinbeck’s attitude would be much improved. Great dishes from a skilled kitchen (try everything; worth it), views from inside and out, a fantastic brunch, a bar that ranks with the best—it’s Sweet Thursday (and all the other days) indeed. BEST RESTAURANT FOR TAKE OUT Michael's Grill & Taqueria 1126 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove (831) 647-8654, 265 Reservation Road, Marina, (831) 884-2568 321 Main St., Salinas, (831) 754-8917 One way to enjoy the day exploring the places John Steinbeck describes in his books, including Carmel Valley, Salinas and Cannery Row, is to dine on Mexican food with Texan and Cajun influences. The best for this endeavor—which doesn’t offer a tortilla flat, but does have crunchy tostadas and quesadillas—is Michael’s Taqueria, a family-owned business. It’s the perfect place for take-out options however hungry you are, from tacos and burritos to salads and fajitas, available at three different spots around the county. BEST APPETIZERS/SMALL PLATES BEST RESTAURANT FOR GLUTEN-FREE BEST SERVER - DANIEL NILAND Hula's Island Grill 622 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey (831) 655-4852, One word: Sweep. Steinbeck was no stranger to accolades, having earned a Presidential Medal of Freedom, Pulitzer, Nobel Prize for Literature and a National Book Award. Something around New Monterey just inspires champions, we guess. Readers rightly favor the daily Hula’s Happy Hour schedule and small plates as the best. And they’re tough to beat: They have a daily happy hour (and a half) from 4-5:30pm where tiki drinks and wine by the glass are $8, except on Tiki Tuesdays when that deal runs all night long. The value also extends into the small plates, or “pupus,” which are inspired by the flavors of some vaguely tropical islands. If three prizes aren’t enough, Hula’s longtime friendly face and astute head server, Daniel Niland, snagged Best Server. That’s a winning team. BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT Monterey's Fish House 2114 Del Monte Ave., Monterey (831) 373-4647, Nothing is very fussy about Monterey’s Fish House. The most complicated thing on the menu nowadays is the curry snapper. But seafood in Monterey County is served best when the produce and fish are allowed to shine, which is exactly what the Fish House does best. From the freshly shucked oysters as big as a grown 88 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 1-2h 9.38” x 4.94” Everyone Loves Butter! 831-394-2887 1760 Fremont Blvd. B-1 Seaside Visit our website to add your party to our wait-list f y P American Classics with Flair OPEN 6AM - 2PM BREAKFAST AND LUNCH THANK YOU FOR VOTING US BEST BISCUITS & GRAVY BEST FRIED CHICKEN Try it with waffles, fresh fruit, and butter! ’23