The Delectable Dozen
Once again, another year has gone by and our local restaurants have created much for which many of us are thankful.
Each year at this time, I list the dozen or so restaurants, reviewed in the past year, which stand out for me as being above the rest of the pack.
This process of picking personal favorites obviously suffers from a subjective bias, but, if nothing else, my list provides a focus for other people to pick over and critique, as a way of identify8ing their own preferences.
Over the course of the year, I have written reviews of 50 or so restaurants and eaten at more than 100 others. My ever-growing waistline provides ample evidence of ever-widening experience and I am convinced that the overall level of cuisine in our area remains excellent and, if anything, continues to get better.
Still, for me, when it comes to the total restaurant experience, the front-runners this year area s follows:
- A.J. Spurs (Marina)
- Café Rustica (Carmel Valley)
- Chez Felix (Carmel)
- Hullaballoo (Salinas)
- Passionfish (Pacific Grove)
- Peppoli (Pebble Beach). You may have thought that our area had enough Italian restaurants, but Peppoli—a newcomer this year—is really different. For starters, it represents a marriage between an American five-star resort (The Inn at Spanish Bay) and Italy’s foremost winemaker, Marchesi Piero Antinori, whose family has been in the wine business for 26 generations, since 1385. the wine list is unmatched in this country for strength in the Super-Tuscan category and the wine-friendly food is quite good as well. The menu features earthy Tuscan country cuisine, with plenty of rustic choices you are unlikely to encounter elsewhere on this continent: potato gnocchi with braised duck in Sangiovese sauce, tripe braised with garlic in white whine, papparadelle pasta with wild boar, and osso buco simmered in Chiainti.
- Red House Café (Pacific Grove)
- Rio Grill (Carmel)
- Stillwater Grill (Pebble Beach)
- Stokes Adobe (Monterey)
Martin Meursault, a pen name, is a local dining enthusiast. He invites your coimments and suggestions in care of Table Talk, GO!, The Herald, P.O. Box 271, Monterey 93942.