A Unique Approach To Calamari Plus House Speciality Cocktails
The most difficult decision to make when visiting Monterey Bay, California, is not whether to go to the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium (you will), to go wine tasting (a no brainer) or to walk along the water (a given).
It’s where to eat. And not just at which restaurant, but the location of the restaurant. Here, there’s lots of options.
You certainly can’t go wrong with Fisherman’s Wharf – after all, the places are on a pier right over the water – and when there, PubClub.com highly recommends Abalonetti Seafood.
Abalonetti is unique in that it puts a twist on the standard seafood menu. Its specialty is squid prepared like abalone, thus its name. It’s also one of three original restaurants on the Wharf, so it’s stood the test of time in competitive Monterey.
Another reason to go is for the cocktails! Sure, Monterey is a great wine area and it’s certainly featured here. In fact, Abalonetti serves its own labeled wines.
But it also has drinks, creative drinks. It’s Happy Hour margarita is just $2.50 but it’s made with mix so I opted for the Nectar Margarita w/blue agave nectar and fresh-squeezed lime juice, which came in tall glass for $7.95.
There’s also a Monterey Mai Tai, an orange sour martini, the Fog Chaser with tequila and the Wave Runner, a boat drink with rum which is something to consider, considering the restaurant overlooks the bay with a view of anchored sailboats.
They also have a strawberry and mango Piña Colada.
As far as the food, while it’s the squid that is the menu star – there are amost a dozen varieties and the calamari is often voted the best in Monterey – there are other quality you-can’t-go-wrong selections.
The pizzas come out of a wood-fired brick oven. The sand dabs are the best I’ve had in Monterey. This is a thinly-sliced fish unique to Monterey and you MUST try them.
The dinner is $17.95 but just ask and they can make it an appetizer without the sides. They are simply prepared with a light cream sauce that just explodes with flavor. And that makes you want to sit back and savor it.
Abalonetti is also known among locals and frequent visitors – and the restaurant has a lot of both on a regular bases – for its anti-pasta bar ($11.95 and $15.95.) And the prices, with this quality, well it’s incredibly inexpensive. Most dinners are in the mid- to upper-teens range. Pizzas are $14-16.
The bread is really good, too, Italian ciabatta baked on site. It comes out hot with an olive oil mixture.
The chowder is tasty, as well. And it better be here on the Wharf. It’s very creamy ($5.95 cup, $9.95 in a sourdough bowl).
All this in a location with views over Monterey Bay. It’s a total soothing experience, much more than dining, much more than just a nice meal with good drinks.
Most of the staff has been at Abalonetti for 20+ years. They know the food, they know the drinks and they know their customers. PubClub.com’s waiter was the friendly, smiling and knowledgeable Joe Sanchez.
Abalonetti Seafood Restaurant
Address: 47 Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey, CA
Phone: (831) 373-1851
Menu: Italian seafood. Prices $15-30
Drinks: Full bar with its own Monterey wine and special cocktails
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., 7 days a week