10 GREAT FOODIE FROLICS

Monterey County is a foodie paradise with a bounty of local agriculture, viticulture and sustainable seafood. Visitors can explore this Mecca via fork and knife, and also tour farm and field to experience the roots (literally) of Monterey County's epicurean delights. From acclaimed restaurants to haute events, farm stands to agricultural tours, foodies can sink their teeth into Monterey County in a variety of ways. View a map of our list here

1. Sierra Mar Restaurant, Big Sur

Dine where the views are as delicious as the food. The award winning Sierra Mar Restaurant at the luxurious Post Ranch Inn sports breathtaking vistas of the Big Sur coastline that have earned it the number one ranking for decor in a Zagat Survey. The stunning scenery perfectly complements the ever-changing four-course prix-fixe menu and extensive wine list. It's no surprise that it's been featured on Food Network's America's Best and received the Forbes Travel Guide 4-Star Award two years in a row!

2. Passionfish, Pacific Grove

Passionfish combines sustainable and organic food with a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence-winning wine list. Chef Ted Walter and his wife Cindy prove that "sustainable" and "scrumptious" can be synonymous. The couple have made it their mission to educate and advocate for sustainable seafood - and after dining here, you'll want to evangelize, too. As if that weren't alluring enough, their award-winning wine list is especially notable for its shockingly reasonable prices; most wines are priced at retail.

3. Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival, Pebble Beach

The Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival puts the "epic" in epicurean. Over the course of four days, over 70 star chefs and 250 wineries offer lunches, dinners, wine tastings and cooking demonstrations in every corner of Pebble Beach Resorts. In the past years, the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival has made a splash as one of the top foodie events in the country! Mark those calendars for the spring event to experience a top notch food and wine event in a top drawer location.

4. Carmel Food Tour, Carmel-by-the-Sea

Indulge in the many foodie offerings in Carmel-by-the-Sea in just 3 hours on a Carmel Food Tour. Culinary connoisseurs guide visitors through Carmel's quaint quarters on a 1.5 mile stroll with cultural and historic tidbits and various food samplings at local restaurants along the way. The tour also stops at two local wine tasting rooms and a confection shop to round-out the afternoon.

5. Ag Venture Tours, Salinas Valley and Carmel Valley

Get to the source of what makes Monterey County a culinary hot spot with Ag Venture Tours. Specializing in wine tasting and agricultural education tours, this is a great way to get up close and personal with the area's bounty. The knowledgeable guides, with backgrounds in both the agriculture and wine industries, will give you the inside scoop on the area's bounty. Cruise "California's Salad Bowl" from the organic gardens of Earthbound Farms to Castroville's exotic-looking artichoke fields to cherished vineyards of Carmel Valley and Salinas Valley.

6. GourmetFest, Carmel-by-the-Sea

Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest is a four day foodie extravaganza held in March featuring an exclusive roster of Relais & Châteaux Chefs and wine estates. Events include cooking demos, wine tastings, off-site tours combined with exciting lunches, world-class wine dinners, caviar lunch, rarities dinner, champagne tastings and a closing seafood grill.

7. Lucia Restaurant, Carmel Valley

Nestled in beautiful hills of Carmel Valley is the luxury resort and spa, Bernardus Lodge. Nestled in Bernardus is the Lucia Restaurant (formerly Marinus), a culinary haven for locals and visitors alike. Just say "oui!" to acclaimed chef Cal Stamenov's distinct Cal-French cuisine focused on local produce and seafood. How local is it? Many of the dishes are graced by herbs and vegetables that have traveled just a few yards from the chef's on-site garden to the diner's plate, via a quick stop in the kitchen for a simple but ambrosial preparation.

8. Farmers' Markets, Throughout Monterey County

The Salinas Valley is known as "California's Salad Bowl" and is fittingly home to many farmers' markets of varying sizes and specialties. There's one on almost every day of the week, and no matter where you are, there's a farmers' market near you. See our Monterey County farmers market schedule for more information. Several of these markets have both fresh produce and food booths from local chefs and restaurants serving up Monterey County's finest specialties. The largest is the Tuesday market in downtown Monterey, which during most months runs the entire length of the neighborhood's main drag, Alvarado Street.

9. The Farm, Salinas

The Farm is designed to tell the story of contemporary farming amidst the majestic surroundings of the lush Salinas countryside. Tour, taste and discover the connection between Monterey County's haute dining scene and nearby farmland. With an amazing produce stand featuring items picked that day and fun, informative farm tours, education can truly be delicious.

10. Pacific's Edge, Carmel Highlands

If the sumptuous menu at Pacific's Edge doesn't take your breath away, its spectacular views of the ocean and rugged coastline surely will. This glass-walled restaurant located at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands serves the bounty of Monterey County's seasonal offerings and was rated one of the Top 100 Restaurants in the United States by Zagat and one of the Top 10 Restaurants With a View by USA Today.

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