Choose Your Own Adventure in Monterey’s Cannery Row

There’s something about the sea air, and the sea itself, that provokes instant relaxation – and Monterey, California, has no shortage. Set on a brilliant coastline, Monterey’s Cannery Row offers a little bit of everything: history, science, waterfront lodging, fine food and wine.

Here are just some of the popular offerings and ideas to get you started.

Dining in Cannery Row

Lunch: Fish Hopper

The Fish Hopper is a lively Cannery Row destination with an amazing view of the water. I literally sat over the bay, enjoying an array of bites from their kitchen.

Decadent dishes include the local salmon and Monterey abalone. Photo Courtesy: Jennifer Boden

Dinner: The Whaling Station Steakhouse

The Whaling Station Steakhouse is a staple in Monterey, with guests splurging on prime rib, sesame-crusted ahi tuna or the Wave Street Cioppino.

The Whaling Station Steakhouse. Photo Courtesy: Jennifer Boden

Dessert: Ghirardelli Ice Cream with Seaside View 

If you’ve left room for dessert, which I always do, then head over to Ghirardelli Ice Cream for a delicious assortment of sundaes topped with rich Ghirardelli handmade hot fudge. The unique outdoor patio delivers a romantic view of Monterey Bay and the sandy shore, and Ghiradelli offers a full menu of soda fountain classics, such as real ice cream shakes, traditional malts and hot cocoas. 

Ghirardelli Chocolate
Delicious Ice Cream Sundaes at Ghirardelli Chocolate. Photo Courtesy: Ghirardelli Chocolate Company.

Where to Stay

The Monterey Plaza Hotel

If you were to create a dictionary definition of a “great view,” you’d probably include a picture from the Monterey Plaza Hotel.  Built almost directly over the bay, the Monterey Plaza is a stone’s throw from the aquarium and Cannery Row and a short drive from other regional attractions. 

Monterey Plaza Hotel Vista Blue Spa Sun Deck.
Monterey Plaza Hotel Vista Blue Spa Sun Deck. Photo Credit: Paul Dyer.

The hotel is both luxurious and practical and a fine place to kick back between excursions. There is a lot that makes the Monterey Plaza special, starting with the professionals who work there, many of whom have worked there for 10, 20, even 30 years. 

Monterey Plaza Hotel on the water. Photo Courtesy: Monterey Plaza Hotel.

The hotel is designed to take full advantage of its perfect location, providing views in all directions.

The rooms are incredibly comfy, particularly the suites, which feature wet bars, fireplaces, entertainment systems, expansive terraces and other amenities. 

Monterey Plaza Hotel Room. Photo Courtesy: Monterey Plaza Hotel.

The Monterey Plaza offers a variety of eating options, including the laid back Schooners, which is so close to the water you’ll feel like you’re on a boat. But don’t deprive yourself of a meal at the Coastal Kitchen.

Coastal Kitchen. Photo Courtesy Monterey Plaza Hotel.

Led by Executive Chef Michael Rotondo, Coastal Kitchen combines the wonderful view with a quiet setting and local seafood and produce. The seasonal menu can feature anything from seafood to short ribs.

Wood roasted local black cod. Photo Courtesy: Joseph Weaver

Sommelier Conrad Reddick can help you create the most delightful wine pairings, drawing on some of the world’s finest wines from California and around the world.

InterContinental The Clement Monterey 

Another favorite hotel is InterContinental The Clement Monterey, which offers gorgeous coastline views to satisfy anyone’s scenery needs and offers an oasis of tranquility in the midst of Cannery Row’s action and excitement.

Courtyard Sunrise. Photo Courtesy: InterContinental The Clement Monterey.

In addition to having an ideal location, their team is friendly and accommodating – always making me feel at home. 

InterContinental The Clement Monterey on the waterfront is on Cannery Row and just steps away Monterey Bay Aquarium. Photo Courtesy: InterContinental The Clement Monterey.

Dining at the C restaurant + bar

Located on the street level of the hotel, the C restaurant + bar is an ocean front eatery on Monterey Bay. Their restaurant showcases California coastal cuisine. Fine dining dishes include Alder Smoked Sonoma Duck Breast and Pacific Halibut with a white wine Caper Sauce.

the C restaurant + bar. Photo Courtesy: InterContinental The Clement Monterey.

Enjoy a waterfront dining experience on Monterey Bay with delicious food enhanced by ocean views. With floor-to-ceiling windows and an outdoor patio, the restaurant connects you with the beauty of Monterey Bay. 

Seafood dish at The C restaurant + bar. Photo Courtesy: InterContinental The Clement Monterey.
Seafood dish at The C restaurant + bar. Photo Courtesy: InterContinental The Clement Monterey.

The C restaurant + bar is also one of the best places to get a drink with a view – try their popular cocktail The InterContinental Drift featuring Don Julio Tequila and muddled kiwi.

Your Wintertime Visit Awaits 
The Monterey experience reaches far beyond the city limits. Monterey County—which encompasses Pebble Beach, Big Sur, Carmel-By-the-Sea, Salinas, and more – is all interconnected and provides a full and enriching experience. The Salinas Valley is a lively wine country producing some of the state’s best Pinot Noirs, and the agricultural landscapes of south Monterey County provide the freshest produce for dishes served on the peninsula. 

The city of Monterey is a great home base to stay and explore, and winter is an ideal time to go: the weather is still great; the golf courses, aquarium and wine rooms are all open; the crowds are relatively light and the rooms are less expensive.