Although everyone knows that pizza fresh from a restaurant's kitchen is far superior to its grocery-store cousins, sometimes families don't have time to eat out. That's why Marina's Take 'N' Bake Pizza offers its pies not only to go, but uncooked, so they can be baked and eaten whenever a meal is needed. Staff members quickly assemble pizzas from the customizable menu, layering crusts with either red, herb, or creamy garlic sauce topped with a choice of ingredients, such as pineapple, jalapeños, bacon, and salami. The menu also includes a few fan favorites, such as the meat-stuffed pizza and the creamy garlic and bacon. Marina's doesn't stop at providing pizza, though. It also serves up salads and cookie dough to make an entire meal, ready after only a few minutes in the oven.
Dishes Bistro & Grill showcases a Mediterranean-inspired menu. Sushi-grade cuts of fresh wild Pacific swordfish simmer in a sauce made from wine, fresh made sun-dried tomato, artichoke hearts, and capers while local caught Monterey Bay King Salmon and cuts of grass-fed filet mignon can be prepared au poivre or wrapped in a blanket of Italian prosciutto. Tender medallions of pan-seared or oven-roast pork tenderloin gently bathe in caramelized apple-onion sherry and pair with potato-fennel au gratin and caramelized carrots. The Angus Ribeye Steak is offered au poivre and is accompanied with freshly made homemade sauces. Individual-sized European-style gourmet pizzas such as chicken rosemary and hawaiian, are available as well as freshly-made salads and a variety of pastas.
Desserts range from housemade crème brûlée to tiramisu to many more. The full bar with local and international wines and beers round out each meal, which is served in an intimate bistro. Gluten-free and vegetarian dishes available.
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.
Meaning “food” in Italian, cibo is not the only thing Cibo Ristorante Italiano provides. Dinner guests can slide behind a white-clothed table and soak in the eatery's relaxing ambiance of sunflower-yellow walls and loft ceilings spangled with artwork of all mediums—sculptures, photography, paintings, hand-blown glass, and even the sound waves of jazz music. The restaurant’s musicians take the stage six nights per week during dinner service, serenading guests as they enjoy the menu’s selection of homemade pasta dishes, as well as crisp pizzas—topped with everything from housemade sausage and imported cheese to spicy short ribs and potatoes. The also serve an array of hearty Italian entrees, including roasted free-range chicken over creamy polenta and grilled jumbo prawns and sea scallops with roasted-pepper couscous. Cibo's servers can suggest one of their many Italian and Californian wines to pair with the meal, or guests can enjoy a small-batch scotch.
Though Straw Hat's menu is predominantly circular cuisine, diners can stave off the pizzapocalypse with a curtain-raiser of a dozen Mojave hot wings ($7.99) and equally savory views of 12 all-you-can-watch plasma TVs. Next, flip a dollar bill to decide whether to have Straw Hat's original California crust or a thicker, pan-ier DaPan pizza foundation and then build your own piescraper from the medium 12-inch ground up with any of 24 toppings and four sauces (one-topping or cheese, $12.99; each additional topping, $1.25). Experimental eaters can create a heretofore unheard of combo such as a barbecue bacon and pineapple pizza. For more ready-made and time-tested flavors, grab one of Straw Hat’s specialty Master Pizzas, such as the king-size 18-inch favorite, The Works (salami, ham, sausage, pepperoni, linguica, ground beef, mushrooms, olives, and bell peppers, $26.99).
Starting out at one spot in 1979, the Pizza factory has since expanded to five states, baking up their reputable pies in more than 110 locations. In the kitchen at each restaurant, cooks roll out their own pizza dough from scratch daily, topping it with 100% mozzarella cheese, premium meats, and fresh local vegetables. In addition to customizable pies, they build eight gourmet pizzas, such as the spinach and garlic, and the greek, which sports green bell peppers, red onions, black olives, and crumbled feta cheese. They also prepare calzones, pastas, and seven “awesome” sub sandwiches with oven-roasted rolls, slices of provolone cheese, and tiny periscopes.
Ristorante Barolo’s sconces and chandelier lighting illuminate Italian cuisine. The Bayview Hotel, originally constructed in the 1870s, elegantly ensconces this romantic restaurant, while other hotels offer romantic dining by placing candles on a vending machine and having a tux-clad waiter press the buttons and jiggle it when necessary. Various paintings adorn the walls surrounding Ristorante Barolo’s white tablecloths, on which housemade pastas and traditional Italian cuisine render the Victorian-styled architecture as redolent as it is resplendent. The dinner menu—refashioned after the restaurant received a facelift courtesy of reality television show Restaurant: Impossible —catalogs linguini with shrimp, calamari, clams, and mussels in a white-wine sauce, as well as chicken breasts stuffed with cheese, pesto, and prosciutto. Each night brings with it live entertainment—from a jazz group on Saturday evenings to classical guitar on Mondays and Wednesdays.