Sailboats skim across Monterey Bay under a sky dotted with gulls. This is the typical scene diners see at Wharf House Restaurant, whether they’re gazing out the dining-room windows or lounging on the rooftop deck. The coastal panorama perfectly complements the plates of prawns, crab, snapper, cod, and other freshly caught fish that ground the Wharf House's menu. Even breakfast is inspired by the sea: salmon scrambles, bay-shrimp omelets, and crab florentine help guests muster the energy to endure an afternoon of lounging on the beach. In addition to seafood dishes, the kitchen crafts filet mignon and grills chicken breast for hearty evening meals.
The dining room reflects the establishment’s penchant for the oceanic with life preservers, glass fishing floats wreathed in netting, and even an antique scuba-diving suit from the days before humans evolved their very own gills. In the summer, classic rock and blues artists entertain diners on the upstairs patio.
Situated atop the lapping waves of Monterey Bay, Paradise Beach Grille combines upscale island cuisine with stunning waterfront views of Soquel Creek and Capitola Beach. Local, seasonal vegetables abut flavorful entrees from Paradise’s menu, such as the sugar and spice salmon paired with champagne mustard burre blanc ($22) and the Haleakala lava flow prawns sauteed in pinot grigio ($26). An extensive wine list complements island-inspired taste notes, and Paradise’s on-the-water location and outdoor seating means you can watch the world float by on its spherical boogie board until a jellyfish swims too close or its fingerlakes start to prune.
If you read Louie’s story, you’ll note that his middle name is Martini and his ex-wives include Marilyn Monroe, Katharine Hepburn, and Elizabeth Taylor. You’ll also read about his modest childhood in Portofino, Italy, where he frequented the harbors, mingled with fishermen, and dreamed of serving fresh fish at his very own restaurant. This intersection of lightheartedness and a passion for seafood defines Louie Linguini’s—regardless of what’s fact and what’s fiction.
The restaurant occupies a second-story building with a patio that overlooks the blue expanse of Monterey Bay. Fresh seafood pops up in many of the menu's descriptions, no more so than on the restaurant’s signature cioppino, which is a dungeness-crab, clam, mussel, snapper, calamari, and shrimp stew served with a choice of whole crab legs or crabmeat. The kitchen also yields Italian eats such as 12-inch pizzas, spaghetti and housemade meatballs, and linguini with shrimp, artichokes, veggies, and garlicky cream sauce. Fueling each meal is a selection of wines, draft beers, and specialty martinis and mixed drinks.
Brothers Steven and Matthew Hardin opened the first Hawgs Seafood Bar in Campbell on December 13, 1996, dishing out fresh oysters on the half shell, steamed clams and mussels, and plates of lobster, paella, and grilled salmon. The restaurant takes its name from the brothers' childhood in Los Gatos, when Matt earned the nickname "Hogs Jaws" thanks to his speedy work at the dinner table and word-for-word quotations of speeches from Animal Farm. Today, the family celebrates the proud tradition of sharing special moments with loved ones while devouring everything in sight through a spread of ocean-fresh meals such as garlic-roasted shrimp and pan-seared scallops, all accented by frosty beers and an ample selection of wines.
Since 1984, Fontana’s has dished out heaping helpings of Italian fare fused with Californian and Mediterranean influences. This canola-championing eatery boasts dinner and lunch menus packed with from-scratch pasta and seafood dishes backed up by a steady stream of homemade desserts. Accent any meal with a suitable selection from the expansive wine list, which features homegrown California nectars along with Italian-born blends of grown-up grape juice. Diners can slurp spaghetti fountain-side on the luscious patio or discuss the cultural ramifications of the painting Dogs Playing Poker by the cozy light of a flickering fireplace in the elegant dining room.
Scott’s Seafood boasts a stunning dining room worthy of Neptune and his bridge posse, with long windows illuminating crisp, white tablecloths punctuated by glass vases and bright flowers. Daily delivered seafood fills a lavish dinner menu of maritime recipes including a deep-water prawn cocktail ($15.25), fresh Dungeness crab cakes ($15.25), and fried Pacific oysters in a spicy remoulade ($14.50). Heartier entrees include the filet mignon (served with a bell-pepper potato cake and mushroom ragout, $35.75), the mariner's dream grilled petrale sole dore with french fries and a lemon butter sauce ($23.50), and Australian lobster tail with Yukon gold potatoes (market price).