Marina is home to iconic sandy beaches, CSU Monterey Bay and the mountain biking mecca that is Fort Ord National Monument, but did you know it's also a locals' haven for great food at great prices? Slightly off of Highway One lays the City of Marina where you are guaranteed to find an eatery to suit any palate.

Being the glutton that I am I attempted to try a handful of establishments, for research purposes of course. Below are just a few of the many choices in the area varying from Chinese, Italian to Vietnamese; for a full list of Marina restaurants click here.

Salt Wood Kitchen & Oysterette

3295 Dunes Dr., Marina, CA 93933

Get a feel for Monterey's local food scene at Salt Wood Kitchen & Oysterette located in the Sanctuary Beach Resort. Here you can dine on raw, cured and wood-fired prepared dishes ranging from fresh sea urchin, red abalone, osso buco to chicharones.

Salt Wood Kitchen & Oysterette Restaurant

Ho-Wah Chinese Restaurant

3116 Del Monte Blvd., Marina, CA 93933

Authentic Chinese food is hard to come by which is why Ho-Wah is such a gem! Ho-Wah's Hong Kong native owners know exactly what makes their food addicting with winning combinations of fresh local ingredients and absolutely no MSG.

Some of my favorite items included the orange chicken, spicy green beans and salt n' pepper fish. The spicy green beans with Szechuan shrimp particular hits the nail on the head encapsulating a spicy kick, sweet spike, and crunch all in one bite.

Dine in their family-friendly atmosphere or order for takeout! Either way it will be hard to save any leftovers.

Noodle Bar

215 Reservation Rd., Marina, CA 93933

Don't let the name fool you, the Noodle Bar has much more than noodles! This Vietnamese hot spot is chocked full of favorites like pho, spring rolls, steamed pork buns and boba teas.

The first thing I noticed at Noodle Bar was their wide array of boba teas ranging from avocado, mocha, green tea to pina colada. This time I ventured out of my norm and tried the taro flavor and it certainly won't be the last! It had just the right amount of sweetness and the boba pearls were refreshing as always.

Cheesecake Dreamations

265 Reservation Rd, Marina, CA 93933

What is a food tour without dessert? Cheesecake Dreamations is one of Marina's newest and hottest tenants offering exactly what the name implies, lots of various types of cheesecake! You can pre-order online and create your concoction or stop by their friendly storefront where you will have some tough decisions to make.

Praline, taro, Oreo and Key Lime are just a few of the many tempting flavors in almost bite size mini options, and they are just $2 a piece!

I immediately gravitated towards the Caramel Pecan treat. The consistency and texture was spot on and their cozy lounge area made it easy to savor every morsel! Cheesecake Dreamations was the perfect slice of heaven to end an epic food tour through Marina.