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.
The aroma of freshly brewed Carmel Valley Coffee Roasting Company coffee wafts through Cannery Row Delicatessen, where staffers pair cappuccinos and drip coffees with breakfast burritos and french toast each morning. At lunch, hot salami and artichoke-melt sandwiches join Caesar salads, which bear housemade dressing, garlic croutons, and a laurel leaf crown.
Hawaiian art and vintage surf paraphernalia deck the walls of Hula's Island Grill And Tiki Room, adding to the restaurant's island ambience. In the kitchen, cooks draw on the flavors of the Pacific Rim to craft raw ahi poke, luau pork sandwiches, and spring rolls alongside burgers, steaks, and tacos. More than 30 types of rum wait behind the bar to be poured into a mai tai or dark and stormy.
The C restaurant + bar's executive chef Jerry Regester crafts a dinner menu that culls fresh, sustainable seafood and local, seasonal produce to craft sophisticated takes on classic American flavors. Steeped in a spicy Dungeness crab and saffron broth, the Monterey-style cioppino stews a sumptuous treasure chest of seafood ready to be unlocked by a discerning palate or an industrial welding torch ($25). The normally humble made-to-order clam chowder takes on justifiable airs with sweet-garlic crème fraîche, leeks, and fingerling potatoes ($12.50). Offering the charms of travel without the detailed digital embarrassment of a full-body scan, sparkling-wine flights from the new ($18) and old worlds ($23) shower the senses with shimmering bliss.
Crab Louie Bistro's dockside location on Monterey's Old Fisherman's Wharf is the ideal location for diners to enjoy feasts of grilled Pacific salmon, clam chowder, dungeness crab, and buttery white-wine shrimp scampi. Lovers of land-based fare can tuck into plates of grilled top-sirloin steak or zesty blackened-chicken linguini. Seafood fans can even breakfast on their favorite catches, including shrimp-and-mushroom omelets, or enjoy lunches of fish tacos with chipotle aioli. A separate children's menu includes kid-friendly seafood such as popcorn-shrimp plates along with classic go-to meals, including a grilled cheese. A litany of adult beverages complements surf-and-turf dinners with sips of cold beer and California wines.
From a cozy perch at a windowside table, diners can look out at a stunning maritime scene: sailboats coming into port at the marina, waves lapping at the dock, and seagulls wheeling dangerously close to the dragon responsible for the Technicolor flames of a glorious Pacific sunset.
In order to emulate the eco-friendly attitude of the LEED-certified Portola Hotel and Spa that surrounds it, Jack's Restaurant and Lounge regularly culls regional, sustainable ingredients for its contemporary takes on breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes. With the help of Chef Jason Giles' culinary imagination, Jack's adds innovative flavors to items such as naturally raised beef from Harris Ranch and seafood chosen in support of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program, which helps to prevent over-fishing of threatened and endangered ocean life. Small plates of baked scallops lounge on the half-shell, while waiters usher basil-crusted Pacific sole to tables on the heated patio surrounded by edible velvet ropes. Wines poured at the lounge highlight the vineyards and wineries of Monterey County, and fair-trade organic coffees and teas are sourced from Peerless Coffee Company, a Northern California staple for more than 86 years.