Monterey Fish House
We recently spent a few days on the Monterey Peninsula. We visited several wineries and tasting rooms and enjoyed delicious meals along the way. For many years we have wanted to dine at the Monterey Fish House. I asked the concierge at our hotel about the Fish House. She told us that it is a local’s hangout and whispered, “It’s my favorite restaurant.” We booked a 7 pm reservation.
The Monterey Fish House is legendary and has a following like no other Monterey restaurant. We met one character at the bar, who told us he had been to the Monterey Fish House for dinner every night for the last 13 years. He’s retired, lives alone and hates cooking but loves the Fish House. Not only do locals fancy this restaurant but so do travelers in the know. It is word-of-mouth that gets people to the Fish House. It is no where near the popular tourist areas. The Fish House is located in an industrial area off the beaten path. It looks fairly uninviting from the exterior. Once inside, it is a completely different story.
The place is jammed nightly. When I say jammed, I’m not exaggerating. There are folks waiting along the walls of the restaurant and even outside. The restaurant does take reservations but there is still often a wait. So what’s the attraction that brings crowds to the restaurant? It’s food, mostly fish that is terrific, fresh and served in large enough portions to satisfy even the big eater. There is more to it than food. It is a wonderful atmosphere of friendship and community of folks having a great time.
We waited about 20 minutes for our 7 pm seating. There is also a small bar, serving beer and wine only. To sit at the bar one must get on the bartender’s list for when a seat opens. We decided to have a glass of wine while we waited. The bartender handed me the wine list: “We don’t put the price of wines by glass on our wine list. Just take the price of the bottle and divide by four. Any wine on the list can be ordered by the glass.” That was a little worrisome but when we were served our wine, the glass looked to me like it was about one fourth of a bottle of wine.
Janelle had the Filet of Sole Dore and I had the seafood pasta. The servings were ample and very delicious. Even though the place was packed we were not rushed through our meal. Everyone there knows the drill about waiting, so everyone is patient and willing to wait for a seat and a great meal.
The Monterey Fish House is located on 2114 Del Monte Avenue in Monterey. It is open for dinner 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm each evening. They open for lunch on weekdays, 11:30 to 2 pm. They do not have a Website and that seems to go along with the allure of the restaurant. If you call, they may or may not answer the phone. (831) 373-4647