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.
Koko's Cafe tantalizes taste buds with classic Mediterranean dishes from countries ranging from Greece to Turkey, served in a European-café-style atmosphere with Greek and Roman artwork and French, Italian, and Middle-Eastern music. Patrons can kick-start a partnered feast by dipping slivers of pita into hummus made from freshly smashed garbanzo beans and blended with tahini sauce. After a tasty warm-up, culinary caverns can embrace the slices of chicken, beef, or lamb mixed with hewed veggies and homemade tzatziki sauce found snug inside a warm gyro. As they hydrate their throats with sips of bubbly soda or calming water, diners can nibble on turkish delight, a confection so named for its ability to hypnotize turkeys.
In high school, Tammy Hunziker was asked to describe the perfect man for a class assignment. Her answer—a gingerbread man—had little impact on her future personal life, but everything to do with her future career. Nowadays, Hunziker still bakes batches of gingerbread cookies, alongside oatmeal cookies, snickerdoodles, and meringues at her specialty bakery, Room for Dessert. Some cookies are frosted to resemble smiling faces, and others depict tasseled mortarboards, wedding dresses, and jack-o’-lanterns wondering if they’ll ever grow up to be a pie. An array of frosted cakes and cupcakes complement the cookies in flavors such as brown sugar, lemon, and dark chocolate.
Chef Bhupender Singh embraces centuries of Indian culinary traditions when penning recipes for Ambrosia India Bistro’s menu, filling the pages with dishes from the northern and southern extremes of the subcontinent. Although his cooks can adjust the heat by tailoring the number of fiery chili peppers they add and plate-sized sweaters they knit, Chef Singh ensures that ginger, turmeric, and cilantro still lend their distinctive flavors to the entrees. Lamb kebabs roast inside a clay tandoor oven and chicken simmers in aromatic curry sauces, but the chefs also commit to preparing a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian dishes, including slow-cooked yellow lentils and sautéed cottage cheese with onions and bell peppers.
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.
Aromas of home-cooked Mexican fare waft through the air at Lopez Restaurante Y Cantina. In the dining room, servers shuttle platters of cheesy enchiladas sidekicked with heaps of beans and rice, as well as tacos crammed with carnitas, chicken, and beef or prepared al pastor style. Throughout the meal, barkeeps churn out frothy margaritas, sudsy beers, and texturally ambiguous wines.
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.