Readers' Poll

restaurants man’s hand and local artichokes to the swordfish and salmon cooked on an oak grill, the menu screams honest food. Famously a simple eater himself, Steinbeck would have probably appreciated the straightforwardness of the Fish House as the majority of Weekly readers do. BEST STEAK HOUSE Whaling Station Steakhouse 763 Wave St., Monterey (831) 373-3778, Whaling Station serves only the finest aged prime beef—filet mignon, New York strip, prime rib, a giant porterhouse for two, even beef Wellington. They are experts when it comes to red meat, but they also serve great seafood and other dishes, along with classic cocktails. And they can make old school look new, tossing Caesar salad tableside. Doc had to travel to Alvarado Street for a steak. But if Steinbeck had waited a couple of decades to write, Doc would have just had to cross a couple of streets. BEST VIETNAMESE Noodle Bar 1944 Fremont Blvd., Seaside (831) 392-0210 215 Reservation Road, Marina (831) 384-6225, One of Steinbeck’s last pieces of published writing in his lifetime was written at the age of 64, when he traveled to Vietnam to cover the war. It was unfortunate that his introduction to a rich culture was in war and not through the food, which Noodle Bar does so well. What began as a hole-inthe-wall restaurant with first-comefirst-serve bar seating in Seaside with a no-fuss menu of pho and dry noodle bowls, has since expanded into a second Marina location with a spacious dining room. The menu is still built on ubiquitous Vietnamese comfort food, but has expanded to include sweet treats like fried bananas and over a dozen flavors of colorful bubble teas. BEST THAI Baan Thai 1760 Fremont Blvd., Seaside (831) 394-2996, Baan Thai translates to “House of Thai.” The name is fitting as this Seaside spot serves classic Thai dishes. A variety of curries like the popular panang and a decadent roasted duck curry deliver sweet, savory and spice all in one. If you’re looking for the perfect combination for your curry look no further than their pad Thai. Whether you’re dining in or it’s a takeout type of night, this place delivers all your Thai cravings, from a smiling team offering consistently excellent service. BEST TAQUERIA El Charrito 122 W. Market St., Salinas, (831) 424-9446 483 Calle Principal, Monterey, (831) 884-5143, The story of this beloved restaurant begins in another time and place—over 50 years ago in Michoacán, Mexico, where the Moncada family owned a grocery store and bakery. They immigrated to the U.S. in 1965, and in 1981 various family members chipped in to buy a modest grocery store. The crowds smelled and tasted their way to the Best Taqueria, and staff tried to keep up at the small hot food bar (and housemade tortillas in the back) as lines formed out the door. Then in 2015, they took out dusty grocery shelves to make more room for that snaking line. Still, demand grew and in 2022, came a second location in downtown Monterey to serve the masses. And the masses have spoken: They are full and they are happy. BEST MEXICAN BEST RESTAURANT - SALINAS villa Azteca 157 Main St., Salinas (831) 256-2669, Dining at this family-run gem is its own reward. Chef Susana Alvarez crafts deft, Michelin-worthy dishes that can transport you into an ethereal place. If Villa Azteca had been around in Steinbeck’s time, the restau90 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 Thank you for consistently voting us the best for 31 years! • Best Comfort Food • Best Family Restaurant • Best Desserts 1993-2021 Celebrating 43 years Rosine’s has established a reputation with satisfied customers who enjoy their house made soups, classic comfort food and award-winning desserts Open Daily 8am - 9pm 434 Alvarado St. Historic Monterey 831.375.1400 19922023 514 Lighthouse Avenue, Monterey • 649-3474 • Thank you for voting Crystal Fish as BEST JAPANESE/SUSHI RESTAURANT For 14 Years! 2010– 2023 Arigatou (Thank You) Under New Ownership crystal fish Open Mon-Thurs 11:30am-2pm - 5-9:30pm Open Fri: 11:30am-2pm - 5-10pm Open Sat: 12pm -10pm Open Sun: 12pm-9pm