Get reviews of Monterey County's best restaurants! Welcome to the inaugural edition of Tales from the Down-Low Diner! Each week, our diner will go on a clandestine mission to one of Monterey County's great restaurants, and report back.
It all started this morning. Rushed to get out the door on time, my outfit included an unfortunate I-wore-that-two-sizes-ago pair of pants and of course I didn’t have enough time to make myself a lunch. So at high noon, a friend and I sauntered down to Cannery Row and decided to give Louie Linguini’s a try.
The entrance to Louie Linguini's on Steinbeck Plaza at the foot of Prescott Street.
This spot is the kind of establishment that lets you know what they’re about right when you walk in. My friend, my pants and I were greeted by Louis Prima on the juke box, red checkered tablecloths and a respectable Chianti display.
The laid-back interior of Louie Linguini's.
But diners take note! This restaurant serves one particular thing that's unique to Monterey County: sweeping views of the Monterey Bay, complete with quaint sailboats, sea lions popping in and out of the picture perfect waves and panoramic vistas of the peninsula.
Louie Linguini's view of Monterey Bay. There are great tables on the balcony with unobstructed views. Sadly, the Down-Low Diner was in disguise and could not pull a "Do you know who I am?!?" to get a balcony table.
After being seated by a friendly server and taking in the views from our table, I noticed the menu contained my three favorite food groups: garlic, cheese and – of course – seafood. There was no way this dining experience would bode well for the pants. Aspirations to “just get a salad” went out the window as I opted for the fried prawns that looked too good to pass up when they arrived at the table next to ours. My friend ordered the pesto linguini. We lamented over not being able to explore the ample wine and beer list (alas, as responsible folks, we had to go back to work after lunch).
Would you drink on your lunch hour after meeting these guys in the entryway? We think not.
We enjoyed the fresh, hot sourdough brought to the table and gasped as the huge platters containing our lunch arrived. If Emeril was with us, this was “Bam!” worthy.
Next time, the Down-Low Diner will wear special expandable pants to accommodate all the tasty, tasty fried food on this plate.
A dozen prawns (as in, not shrimpy at all) were piled high on my plate and boy, were they tasty. The texture of these hefty shelfish was perfect. I love fried food, but there's fried and fried to within an inch of its life, and fortunately Louie Linguini's sticks with the tasty, perfectly done former. The breading was light and seasoned with plenty of cracked black pepper. The fries were predictably good. Overall I give the meal a thumbs up. Fried seafood and a killer view make a great lunchtime pairing.
Louie Linguini's outrageously garlicky pesto. It's tasty and — bonus! — will protect the diner from Dracula, Lestat, Edward Cullen and any other vampires she might encounter.
My friend’s pasta dish looked amazing, but was strictly for garlic lovers only. Louis Linguini does not skimp on the garlic. Or the portions.
Whether it’s an afternoon calorie splurge or casual night out for a seafood dinner that won’t break the bank, Louis Linguini’s is a good choice if you’re on Cannery Row.
Cannery Row and Prescott St.
831-648-8500Open Mondays 4pm–9pm, Tuesdays—Thursdays and Sundays 11:30am-9pm, Fridays and Saturdays 11:30am-10pm.