Cici and I had a wonderful birthday yesterday. It was a gorgeous day here on the Monterey Bay. And Cici LOVED going out and about and meeting people. We did a few errands and she enjoyed putting on her floor show, showing off her very pink belly.
We had lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf downtown at Abalonetti’s, a lovely locals favorite seafood restaurant. There is a locals menu for $8.95 that includes an appetizer, entree and dessert. Their patio is pet friendly although the wharf is not technically. Managing partner Kevin Phillips says that it is in the works and that the rule against pooches is not being enforced.
The clam chowder was simply divine. Smooth, creamy and full of flavor. No spongy, pale and bitter clams. The difference is that all of the seafood here is freshly caught and cleaned in-house unlike other places on the wharf that ship their fish to China for processing and then bring it back. About 1,000 pounds of squid is cleaned each week at Abalonetti’s in a room behind the restaurant.
I also decided to try the calamari and fries (although not technically on the locals menu. Calmari steak is on the locals menu). There are a dozen or more different ways to eat calamari from garlic, Baha, spicy Buffalo to flash fried over eggplant, with Sicilian red sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese (called Marty’s special). Squidfest !
I had a totally satisfying ice cream sundae for dessert although I could have had cannaloni. I have had calamari that was rubbery and / or greasy. This calamari was fresh and delicious. The best calamari I’ve ever eaten. I let Cici try the squid but she was not a fan, she does NOT like seafood. The polka dot princess was given the choice of a burger or a chicken patty for her meal. I chose the chicken for her and it was served on top of a take home Abalonetti frisbee with a water bowl. She scarfed it up in record time (even for her) !
I checked out the neighbor’s salads which looked very fresh and inviting, house cocktails included various kinds of Margarita’s, and other offerings. The menu offers a diverse array of sandwiches, pizza, pasta and seafood. Some tempting and tasty looking highlights include fish and chips, battered in beer, Cioppino (seafood soup), Ahi tuna, smoked Salmon ravioli, crab and angel hair pasta. We will just have to go back again and again !
Much more than dogs being barely tolerated, Abalonetti’s is truly pooch friendly. Four paws up ! Kevin has a beagle himself. His beagle is ALL nose, sniffing along the dog path every day.
And the patio is private, cozy yet roomy and enclosed. Felt like we were in another world despite the hustle and bustle of the wharf. Sitting outside in the sunshine overlooking the water was relaxing and meditative. Another couple had two dogs on the patio, a Jack Russell terrier mix, six months old, named Angel and another small white dog. Cici of course, and the other dogs wanted to play. And Cici also wanted to chase the birds.
If you are a dog owner visiting Monterey (staying at the pet friendly Portola hotel, a hop, skip and a jump from the wharf) or are a local who wants to have a relaxing day with your pooch, go to Fisherman’s Wharf, take a whale watching tour for three hours (pooches may not be allowed on the boats, call first). Then have a great lunch or dinner (lunch is from 11 am to 4 pm, dinner is 4 pm to 9 pm, seven days a week ), bring the furry ones with you to Abalonetti’s. Tell them Cici sent you. Woof !
www.chrisswhalewatching.com Phone: 831-375-5951
www.gowhales.com Phone: 1-866-GOWHALES
www.montereywhalewatching.com Phone: 1-800-979-3370
www.randysfishingtrips.com Phone: 1-800-251-7440
Other temptations on the wharf include salt water taffy, gift shops, face painting, and cotton candy. Then you also have to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Carmel, Cannery Row, Pacific Grove and the Steinbeck museum. A perfect family destination. There are always events going on here year round.
Coming up soon:
Monterey County Fair, running from Wednesday, August 31, through Monday, September 5.
Cici probably would have jumped in the water to play…