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.
Powered by local, organic ingredients and fresh-caught, never-farmed-or-frozen fish and seafood, Flaherty's has been a bastion of sustainability since opening more than 35 years ago. Like the world's slowest traffic light, the menu changes seasonally to reap the most bountiful swimmers and flourishing vegetables. Yet the quality remains the same throughout the year, mostly because the same chef has been preparing Flaherty's dishes since the restaurant's founding, decorating plates with West-Coast oysters, Dungeness crab, and Pacific ahi tuna. While diners troll the tastes of the deep blue, they can sip a bloody mary peppered with chipotle sauce and topped with a prawn or a margarita oyster shooter, served in chilled Patron Silver and fresh lime juice.
Led by Kate Hardy and Madalynna Aliotti, the staff of Harmony Body Kinetics works to help guests feel stronger and more flexible through Pilates and Gyrotonic classes. They lead students through intense classes, helping them perfect the postures while also learning how to apply the moves to everyday life.
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.