If you want to eat at the Wharf, you can’t do better than the Old Fisherman’s Grotto. The bow-tied waiters at this family-owned eatery have been serving up sourdough bread and seafood since 1950. This place even claims to have invented Monterey clam chowder (which tastes suspiciously like New England clam chowder, not that I’m complaining because it's so wonderfully creamy). The setting hasn’t changed much in all those years: tufted leather booths, regal-looking carpets, and big picture windows so you can watch the activity on the bay as you dine. The food though, is less old-fashioned. The well-seasoned crab cakes come with not only a classic tartar sauce, but also a garnish of melon and pineapple that’s a lovely contrast; most plates come sided with a happy pile of carmelized onion risotto and delicately sautéed bok choy. Of course, they don’t mess with the classics: Scallops get an expert sautée in butter and he Dungeness crab comes simply steamed —neither needs more than a squirt of lemon or a dip into the provided melted butter to make them perfect. For those with fish phobias, the Grotto does turf, too, with an assortment of steak, chicken, and pasta dishes. Be ready for a wait, though as this restaurant is a family tradition for many, meaning it is crowded night and day.
Old Fisherman's Grotto
39 Fisherman's Wharf
Our Rating Neighborhood On Fisherman's Wharf Hours Daily 11am—10pm Phone 831/375.4604 Prices Most mains $19—$25 though crab, lobster and prime meat entrees will run into the $40-range Cuisine Type Seafood Web site Old Fisherman's Grotto
Map39 Fisherman's Wharf Monterey
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.