2 Restaurant Gems on the Monterey Pacific Grove Penisula

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If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area or go there on business or pleasure, you’re bound to drive down the coast, whether you’re heading to the infamous Big Sur, driving down to Los Angeles or just want a long weekend away on the peninsula along the coast south of Santa Cruz, which serves gems like Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel-by-the-Sea.  Located a stone’s throw from the more well-known Monterey is Pacific Grove, a ten or fifteen minute drive away.

Photo credit: Beach House.

Tucked in a grove, it’s a lovely place to reflect, meditate, take a walk and finally have dinner. If you’re off on a romantic getaway or just love serenity and stunning views, then the Beach House at Lover’s Point is your spot. Steak lovers can head into directly into Monterey and check out Whaling Station Steakhouse. We review both of them from our recent visit in November below. Be prepared to be hungry after seeing our oh so luscious food photos.

Beach House at Lover’s Point

When you drive up to the Beach House at Lover’s Point, you’re immediately struck by its view of the ocean in all directions. It’s hard to find a bad seat in the house given the wide open windows on three sides however be sure to request a table front row center and if possible, try to book a slightly earlier dinner so you can catch sunset as well. There’s a bar area where you can hang around while waiting for your table or to have drinks afterwards and boasts a panoramic view of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Appetizer options are varied from the oh so fresh and healthy Seared Yellowfin Tuna below, which they serve with a sweet chili glaze, wasabai-honey mustard and fermented asparagus to a Chilled Artichoke with tomato remoulade mayo!

They also offer several salads, from traditional caesar (you can also get this as a side with any of their entrees) to a classic Beach House salad with dried cranberries, apples and goat cheese to a Wild Organic Arugula salad with beets and gorgonzola crumbles. Note the below is that very same salad but we went with goat cheese instead. On top? Fresh toasted hazelnuts of course.

Then, there’s their Charred Brussels Sprouts which they make a little differently. Chef Matthew Farmer and his team toss them with locally made Chorizo (yes, really) and a lot of it, and then bring in roasted butternut squash, garlic confit, arugula (my fave) and some shaved parmesan. It all seemed to work somehow – a great choice if you want a more hearty appetizer on a cold evening. Pair it with any of their glasses by the wine — perhaps a Pinot Noir for starters.

I went for their Charbroiled Pork Chop as a main, which they traditionally serve with crispy marble potatoes, apple-cranberry sauce (oh so yum!), bacon-creamed spinach and a hard cider glaze. Because I tend to avoid heavy carbs, I substituted the taters with fresh sauteed green beans and it was a perfect combo! Other veggie sides include fresh spinach and glazed carrots or for the Italians out there, classed Broccolini.

Below is their Roast Half Chicken with almond-cranberry wild rice pilaf, green beans, butternut squash and sage-leek gravy.  For the traditionalists among you, try their Bacon-wrapped meatloaf with yukon gold potatoes, glazed carrots, sauteed mushrooms, green beans, and crispy fried onions – YUM, right? You can also get a Ribeye Steak sandwich and if you have kids in tow, they offer an American Bacon cheeseburger or Scampi and Fries. There’s also a Scallops Pot Pie with peas, carrots, mushrooms and cipollini onions.

Fish lovers will appreciate their Grilled King Salmon Filet with asparagus, glazed carrots, smashed yukon gold potatoes, and roasted lemon in a dill cream sauce, which we loved. (below).

They also offer a Crab Stuffed Petrale sole with watercress in a citrus beurre blanc sauce and Hazelnut-crusted dabs with charred brussels sprouts, pumpkin gnocchi, cipollini onions, beurre blanc and prepared with a balsamic glaze and arugula pesto. This one is delish but perhaps not for those on a diet. Then again, if you’re on a diet, you’re probably not reading this review. Meat lovers will love their Grilled Filet Mignon with broccolini in a port reduction with horseradish cream and bearnaise butter.

Chocolate lovers will love their chocolate pot de dreme (aka chocolate pudding) or their Mud Pie (both pictured below), which they make with chocolate ganache and toasted almonds. I hadn’t had mud pie in years so it was a treat albeit very decadent.

The mud pie…..

Southerners will love the fact that there’s key lime pie on the menu, except they don’t serve it in the traditional way — it’s in a glass instead but still with the classic graham cracker crust. There’s also a Blue Ribbon Cheesecake with a sour cream vanilla top, ice cream cake and a luscious Grand Marnier Creme Brulee. Oh so scrumptious!


Beach House at Lover’s Point

620 Ocean View Boulevard

Pacific Grove, CA 93950


Whaling Station Steakhouse

Steak lovers, head to Whaling Station Steakhouse when you next head to the northern California coast. Located in Monterey California, this gem of a steakhouse sources their steaks from smaller packers in Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa and all of their meat dishes are served with bacon-spiked spinach, garlic-mashed potatoes and fried onions. You can add your own sauce if you’d like: Bearnaise, Green Peppercorn or Roquefort Butter. For the prime rib fans among you, they offer a slow-roasted prime rib that has been roasted for eight hours, which they serve with Yorkshire pudding, roast beef jus and horseradish cream.

One unique thing about this steakhouse is that they show the cuts in advance and explain where they’ve been sourced and how they’re prepared.

From Sirloin Chateau USDA Prime (center cut), Beef Wellington baked in a puff pastry with truffled red wine sauce and a Petit or full Filet Mignon to a New York Steak, a Rib Eye, a Cowboy Rib Steak (with bone-in), or a Porterhouse for two, you have plenty of options. They also offer Rack of Lamb, Short Ribs, and a Filet Mignon with an Australian Lobster tail — in fact, you can add a half-pound Australian lobster tail to any entree if you wish.

On the night we were there, they offered a special dry aged ribeye as a special so it’s not typically on the menu — it was so tender and delicious, served with garlic mash and fried onions. They’re open, more than most, to substitution so if you’re not a carb fan, you can substitute those taters for veggies like we did.

Abel, our adorable and incredibly gracious waiter, albeit Mexican by birth, touts that pasta is his favorite since he spent his early days in the states living with an Italian family. With a big authentic grin, he reminisced about his early days in the states and how his family today is all in the restaurant history, most of them on the culinary side of the house, not in the dining room. It’s clear why he is outward facing and not in the kitchen — his charming outgoing personality is a win with customers — his warmth made my evening.

We went for the deep fried calamari and fresh oysters on the half shell to start.

The oysters are from the Pacific Coast, not east or Canada, so were on the small to medium side, but oh so fresh and delish! You can also get Oysters Rockefeller if you’re a fan — they serve them in the traditional style with spinach, bacon and Pernod, topped with decadent hollandaise sauce.

If you want to keep it light, they offer plenty of salads, from classic tossed greens and Caesar to Warm Burrata and Wild Arugula with oranges and pistachios to an Italian Caprese with basil and aged balsamic vinegar (displayed below). I can honestly say that there’s never been a Caprese salad I didn’t fall in love with and Whaling Station chefs didn’t disappoint. The preparation was beautiful as well – bravo! If you go with caesar salad for the table, they bring the Romaine out to the table and toss it in front of you, which is a lovely treat.

If you’re a fried food fan and are yawning over the salads, then they have prime rib egg rolls with caramelized onions, Escargot with garlic cognac-parsley butter (nearly opted for that one), short rib raviolis, all house-made with herbed butter sauce in a red wine reduction or Pancetta-wrapped sea scallops with a roasted corn puree. There’s also crab cakes wtih a roasted shallot-tomato salad and hollandaise sauce and one of my favorites — Carpaccio which they serve with extra-virgin olive oil, capers and garlic toast. YUM!!

Italian lovers will appreciate the Steamed Artichoke on the appetizer menu, but instead of garlic, lemon and olive oil, they serve it with tomato remoulade and mayo. Want something a little richer, then try one of those home-made raviolis or their to-die-for Gnocchi with gorgonzola cream sauce.

Anthony went for the dry aged ribeye and I went for their Wild Pacific King salmon since I had started the evening with a lovely buttery Chardonnay from Sonoma. Here, they serve it with faro pilaf, wild mushrooms, bacon and swiss chard in an herb beurre blanc sauce. Seafood lovers will be thrilled to know they have a Sesame-crusted Ahi Tuna with sauteed julienne zucchini and yellow squash on the menu as well as a Dungeness Crab Risotto with meyer lemon zest and fresh mint. In November, they also offered a Wave Street Cioppino which came in a rich tomato broth and included fish, prawns, clams and mussels and a Wild Abalone, which they panko-dust and pan-fry.

Inside, it is somewhat formal with dark red tablecloths on every table and a classic bar as you enter, but the walls and decor have Italian infusion with a little French culture and fun colors thrown in to warm the ambiance.

 They are proud enough of their desserts to display all of their offerings on a side table as you enter the dining room. Whether you’re a creme brulee or fruit fan or love your cheesecake or dark chocolate cake (theirs is flourless btw), they’ve got you covered.

Cappuccino with that creme brulee anyone?

Oh so decadent, oh so beautiful, oh so scrumptious!!

Their cheesecake and flourless chocolate cake served with fresh raspberries and strawberries.

This one had me at hello and was a perfect way to end a late fall evening in Monterey.


Whaling Station Steakhouse

763 Wave Street

Monterey CA 





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