We have the right to gloat: it's almost always outdoor weather in Monterey County. As a result, we have the best selection around of places to dine al fresco. But amidst all of this bounty, some patios, decks and gardens truly stand out. To drop some veranda knowledge, here's our list of the prettiest, most sociable, and some downright stunning places to eat and drink in the great outdoors.
Montrio Bistro, Monterey
One of the newest patios to hit Monterey’s dining scene belongs to local favorite Montrio Bistro. Their new parklet patio looks like something straight from the Champs de Elyse with its snazzy cast-iron design, romantic lamp posts and overflowing flower baskets. Their daily happy hour is the perfect accompaniment with a selection of discounted drinks and small bites from 4:30pm-6:30pm.
The Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach
The fire-pits at The Inn at Spanish Bay are hard to beat. Not only does the bar serve up world-class cocktails but the views of The Links at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach's coastline, and the Pacific Ocean are merely unparalleled. If you happen to find yourself here near sunset you will be in for a special treat as the famed bagpiper makes his rounds.
the C restaurant + bar at the InterContinental the Clement Monterey, Monterey
Tucked along lively Cannery Row is the C restaurant at the Intercontinental the Clement Monterey showcasing some of the best views of the Monterey Bay. Simply enjoy one (or two) of their specialty drinks while admiring the seascape, and if you’re lucky, you may even see a raft of otters frolicking in the bay.
Anton & Michel, Carmel-by-the-Sea
From its exterior, one would have no idea of Anton & Michel’s gem of a patio, just past the main dining room. The restaurant’s Fountain Courtyard is a secluded escape from the hustle and bustle in the heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea. The outdoor oasis is complete with a soothing water fountain, decorative fire-pit and hanging party lights which set the tone for a relaxing evening.
Jeninni Kitchen + Wine Bar, Pacific Grove
The sidewalk sanctuary at Jeninni Kitchen + Wine Bar is top-notch with its cozy cast-iron tables and lush greenery. Choose a tempting libation from their plentiful wine list and pair it with a charcuterie dish while people watching on Lighthouse Avenue.
Vesuvio Risorante, Carmel-by-the-Sea
The rooftop bar at Vesuvio in Carmel-by-the-Sea is the place to be and be seen. On any given night you will find a mix of individuals and groups relaxing on the cozy divan seating and basking under the enchanting, twinkling party lights. If one of their specialty cocktails or homemade limoncello doesn’t keep you warm, then the outdoor heaters, fire-pits and heated seats sure will!
Tarpy's, Del Rey Oaks
Conveniently located in Monterey's "sunbelt," Tarpy's Roadhouse is often a sunny sanctuary for locals. Here you will you find a hefty dose of Vitamin D, a divine happy hour and specialty crafted cocktails.
201 Main, Salinas
In the heart of downtown Salinas lays new food and drink complex, 201 Main. Their 3,000 square foot outdoor Tuscan Piazza is the perfect place to a grab a cocktail. The courtyard is complete with four roaring fire- pits, big screen TVs, patio-heated tables and a 17-foot rainforest marble fire-lit water feature.
Nepenthe, Big Sur
Last but certainly not least, Nepenthe is a crowd favorite for those looking to revel in the majesty of Big Sur. Most seating at this iconic Highway 1 destination is outdoors with every seat in the house overlooking Big Sur's rocky coastline and the Pacific Ocean. Come for a glass of local wine or their famous ambrosia burger, be sure to bring your camera!