Where to Eat Along the California Coast from Big Sur to Monterey

Pull over for the best eats along California's Central Coast.

Bixby Bridge at sunset along California's Highway 1 coastal highway, image
Take a break from the iconic scenery along California's Central Coast for a bite of the area's best offerings.
Zhukova Valentyna / Shutterstock

It’s tough to compete with the majestic coastline that wends its way from Monterey, California, south to Big Sur. But if you know where to look, you’ll find eateries all along the way with food and settings that fit right in with the stunning surroundings.

Draft beer in a can-shaped glass at Alvarado Street Brewery in Monterey

Alvarado Street Brewery's lineup includes the citraveza, a refreshing lager loaded with the tropical aromas of citra hops.

Garrick Ramirez

Monterey, California

Housed in a former movie theater, Alvarado Street Brewery trades Milk Duds for full-flavored beers such as the toasty Monterey Common, which pairs well with the harissa-marinated beef kebab and the disarmingly tasty kale salad.

Pacific Grove, California

These bold Mediterranean takes on familiar menu items somehow yield unusually soulful, wine-friendly dishes at Jeninni Kitchen + Wine Bar. The Brussels sprouts come spiked with chorizo and pickled raisins, lamb and feta fuel the burger, and shawarma spices infuse the pork buns.


Carmel, California

The meltingly tender octopus is reason enough to fall for the sunny Tuscan cuisine at La Balena, but don’t pass on the bruschetta topped with a cloud of Burrata or the game-changing coupling of chicken liver pâté and Gorgonzola cheese.

Roast beef sandwich on a bagel at Big Sur Roadhouse, image

Big Sur Roadhouse makes its own bagels for its roast beef sandwich with horseradish cream cheese.

Garrick Ramirez

Big Sur, California

House-made ingredients raise the bar on the new menu at sleek Big Sur Roadhouse. A roast beef sandwich comes on a wholesome, fresh-baked bagel served alongside sweet homemade pickles and light-as-air potato chips.

At Big Sur Bakery, lines form early for hearty baked goods and an encyclopedic tea selection best enjoyed in the sun-drenched garden overlooking the Santa Lucia Mountains.

Wisps of chimney smoke mingle with the morning mist at Deetjen’s Big Sur In where an impossibly cozy, wood-planked restaurant charms guests with crackling fireplaces and fluffy blueberry pancakes.

This article was first published in February 2015 and last updated in March 2022.