After a fun morning completing the 17-Mile Drive, we headed a very short distance north to Monterey for lunch.
It was a beautiful and sunny day as well as a holiday so I shouldn’t have been surprised by all the traffic and people, but it was nuts! We drove around for a while looking for parking and eventually found a 90-minute street parking spot several blocks from the water. It was perfect for our purposes, which were to get a glimpse of Cannery Row and grab some lunch.
According to the Cannery Row website:
Cannery Row’s story began long before canneries lined the famous street. The history of the Row is a fascinating tale, from Native American, Asian and European settlement, through the boom and bust of the whaling and sardine industries, to restoration and re-development. Past and present influence the architecture, cuisine and attractions as Cannery Row continues to celebrate the unshakable spirit on which it was founded.
While I was able to squeeze in reading Big Sur by Jack Kerouac before our trip, I didn’t get to fit in Cannery Row by John Steinbeck so some of the history of this area was lost on me. I do plan to read it soon so I can learn more about the canning industry in this area, which started in 1927 when the American Tin Cannery was constructed.
Today shops, restaurants, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium have made their homes in some of the old cannery buildings along the waterfront. The strip reminded us of Myrtle Beach or Niagara Falls—kitchy. Bubba Gump Shrimp and Ripley’s Believe It or Not-esque. Probably great family fun, but not our scene.
I was craving a fish sandwich for some reason so we perused a couple of menus until we found that offering. We waited in line for several minutes—along with a pile of other people—and when it became clear that the service left quite a bit to be desired, we opted to find another place.
While we were waiting, Brian looked up seafood restaurants in the area and came across positive reviews for Sea Harvest Restaurant & Fish Market, which was only a few blocks away. The time was ticking on our 90-minute parking spot so we headed up the hill in search of lunch.
This spot was AMAZING—we could tell from the moment we walked in to find the place packed but efficiently moving people through, both at their walk-up counter as well as in the small dining area.
We walked past glassed in displays of fresh seafood and live lobster tanks on our way to our seats, where we were quickly helped. I ordered my fish sandwich, and Brian ordered a squid sandwich, which we didn’t recall seeing on a menu before.
The service was great, our sandwiches and fries were delicious, and the atmosphere was fun and approachable. This is not a fancy place—it’s pretty unassuming from the outside, and I probably would have walked right by if we hadn’t been looking for it—but it’s a great place.
I’d highly recommend it if you’re in Monterey and looking for fresh seafood for lunch. It was the highlight of my time in Monterey, and hopefully next time we visit–a little more informed about the area–we can pop back in for another meal. Bon appetite!