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Food and Wine

Food and Wine

From its five-star restaurants to its award-winning wines, Monterey County is a gourmet food lovers' paradise. With the seafood bounty of the Monterey Bay, a cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables from the Salinas Valley, and the fine wines produced throughout the region, local chefs can create a meal you won't soon forget.

You might celebrate your anniversary with a romantic dinner for two in one of our charm-filled restaurants in Carmel, or bring the whole family to Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf for casual dining with a waterside view. An eclectic mix of ethnic cuisine is also available for the adventurous visitor. Try one of our many Thai or Pacific Rim restaurants, or Mexican taquerias. (Of course, if it's a good old-fashioned hamburger you crave, you can get that, too.) And don't forget to save room for dessert!

No visit to Monterey County would be complete without a trip to one of our many award-winning wineries. Galante Vineyards are just a few of the wine labels you might recognize. With a whopping 40 tasting rooms to choose from, we guarantee you will be back again and again. Cheers!

Seen from the air, Monterey County seems a patchwork of sprightly greens and rich browns: thousands of intensively farmed acres. Few nights here see frost, except on the hillsides where cattle graze; even the hot, sunny inland valley is often tempered with fog on summer days. This moderate year-round climate allows our farmers to grow virtually any crop successfully, with tender lettuce, luscious strawberries and the prickly artichoke our best-known produce.

What's In Season?
There's scarcely a day in the year when the motorist rolling through Monterey County won't see a lush field of sprouting, blooming, ready-to-harvest... err, whatever.

Until you pick up a guide to common farmyard plants, here's a quick seasonal guide to which crops peak when—but as they say in Monterey's farmer's market, "Around here, we can grow strawberries 13 months a year."

January broccoli, leeks
February Brussels sprouts
March green onions
April artichokes, cauliflower
May artichokes
June strawberries
July romaine, leaf lettuces
August spinach, fennel
September iceberg lettuce
October broccoli, celery
November Brussels sprouts, iceberg lettuce
December fennel

Special Valentines Values

News & Events
A Squid by Any Other Name...
...Seems to make diners less squeamish than seeing 'squid' on a menu. Many cultures consume the cuttlefish: in France it is calmar, in Spain calamar, kalamaria in Greece, lula in Portugal, and youyu in China. Coincidentally, these same ethnic groups happily settled in Monterey, renowned for its seafood fisheries.

In its Italian guise as calamari, this local speciality is hard to beat, hence the Calamari Fest, May 16. Whether you sample a breaded and sauteed calamari steak or nibble tender rings deep-fried and served in a basket with fries, squid is worth a try. Call 831-649-6544 for details.

What's Green and Prickly?
It looks like the kind of plant that might get off its stem at night and wander about deserted streets... but the artichoke has a tender heart and wears a dozen delicious disguises. Discover it at the Castroville Artichoke Festival, May 15-16. In addition to tasty treats, enjoy the Agro-Art competition, live music including hot mariachi bands, and a show-and-shine hot rod display.

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