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. They 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.
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.
When the Monterey County Herald's Sam Laage stopped by Dishes Bistro & Grill in September 2013, he said in a review that places such as Dishes prove that if you cook good food, have good service, and offer a comfortable atmosphere, people will come to you no matter where you are. Laage was perhaps most impressed by the Italian-style food at Dishes. He said the roasted medallions of pork tenderloin were "fork-tender but satisfyingly chewy" and called the oniony marmalade "inspired." One member of Laage's party was vegetarian and opted for one of the restaurant's vegetarian dishes, the ravioli al pesto, which Laage sampled and declared to have an "expertly balanced sauce."
Laage loved his food and the experience so much that he came back for a second visit. This time, he got to try the fresh blackened halibut and said "my mouth came alive with one taste." His final conclusion? "Do yourself a favor, check them out. GO!"
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.
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.