This is Monterey's special occassion place and has been for, well, centuries (as the name suggests). Over the years, it served as the home of the town's most social socialite (her portrait hangs in one of the dining rooms); several mayors; and what was, for many years, the California Coast's most famous restaurant. The latter was called Gallatin's, its odd motto was "Between the hospital and the jail" and its VIP clientelle included Presidents Eisenhower and Truman, and such entertainment royalty as Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra.

No presidents have dined at Restaurant 1833—yet—but we're guessing that's because the eatery is still relatively young. (It was nominated as one of the Best New Restaurants in the United States by the James Beard Foundation in 2012.) The experience is certainly worthy of POTUS, from the handsome, chandelier–lit dining rooms with their cushy, all-white upholstered armchairs and polished wood floors, to the food which is, in a word, superlative. Chef Jason Franey is a master of the art of building flavors. He'll take a pork loin and up the ante by wrapping it in bacon and siding it not just with braised red cabbage but also cubes of tangy rhubarb off-set by creamy pureed cauliflower. If he's going to offer a fish crudo, he'll highlight its silky saltiness by pairing it with acerbic grapefruit and a thin slice of chili pepper for heat. Desserts are as opulent, especially the one that comes out of a steaming doctor's bag (commemorating the "black sheep" resident of this house—a fraud who came to town pretending to have a medical license and went on to kill many of his patients) and consists of half a dozen sweet treats from perfect peanut brittle to marshmallows covered in dark chocolate. The menu changes daily.

advertisement

If you can't wrangle a reservation know that the swank bar area takes walk ins and serves the full menu.