Cali Eats: Old Fisherman's Grotto
Date Visited: Lunch on Tuesday April 15, 2014
Company: Walk-in for 5
One of the most recommended stops people told me about for the drive along Hwy 1 in California was Monterey Bay. It's a small coastal city with tons of boats docked and a very popular pier, Fisherman's Warf. We parked by the Warf and decided to take a walk around and check out the views before grabbing lunch there. The day we went was pretty cloudy and a bit colder but there was still tons of people there. All the restaurants had displays of their seafood dishes outside and were giving out samples of clam chowder and yelling about their specials to compete with the other restaurants for patrons. It was kind of cool to get the first sample but literally every restaurant afterwards also had a sample, it was a bit unbelievable. Eventually we just picked a place to go into which happened to be Old Fisherman's Grotto which was a bit more of a up-scale place and even had a sign that no crying children were allowed.
There were tons of fresh seafood options, pastas, and meats alike. I ended up choosing one from the Daily Specials menu which had many variations of all their seafoods. I ordered the Seafood Combo because it had a variety of seafoods, and consisted of 1/2 Lobster Tail, Grilled Prawns, Glazed Salmon, Sweet Corn Risotto, and vegetables. While we waited, we got 2 types of bread to start one white and another sourdough.
The restaurant is very large with multiple rooms. We were seated in the one downstairs with a beautiful view over the Pacific ocean. The decor is very classy and chic, even upon entering you can tell it is a fancier restaurant compared to others on the pier. When our dishes came I thought the portion size was a bit small but expected I guess from this type of finer dining restaurant, beautiful presentation though.
I wasn't blown away from my meal but it was definitely good still. It was the first time I had Risotto and I really enjoyed the texture and flavour of it. It was like mushy, creamy rice and full of flavour. I thought that the Lobster tail was a bit hard and over-cooked, it was still easy to chew but grilled a bit too much. The Prawns were quite large and good. The Salmon filet was pretty small and I didn't think it was very fresh. There was a sweet sauce drizzled on half my plate which was extremely delicious paired with the salmon and vegetables.
Food: 2.5/5 - Overall not a bad plate but a few misses for the price I paid.
Decor: 3.5/5 - Beautiful view and classy decor.
Service: 3/5 - Very professional and decent wait time.
Willingness to go back: 1.5/5 - Would probably check out some other place on the pier unless we were looking for a fancy place to go to.