100 best bites before you die

Breakfast pizza at Big Sur Bakery

Breakfast pizza at Big Sur Bakery

True food lovers live with the nagging feeling that there is so much deliciousness in the world and so little time to taste it all. And now with the apocalyptic Mayan calendar on our minds, it seems there could be less time than we thought.

To provide inspiration for your own local food bucket list, I have joined master Yelper and Herald restaurant reviewer Raul Nava to put together a list of “The Top 100 Bites Before You Die.”

Our idea was to remain local, avoid duplication and try to cross all borders of ethnicity and cost. Now that we’ve narrowed it down a bit, get out there and eat, eat, eat. Throw caution (and much of your cash) to the wind and chew your way through the list. If the Mayans are right, you only have 11 months left!

Here are our lists, in no particular order:

Grub Hunter’s Top 50

  • The breakfast pizza at Big Sur Bakery in Big Sur
  • Pork ribs with mole at Cachagua General Store in Cachagua
  • Duck breast with squash chilaquiles, mole rojo and duck confit tamale, at Rio Grill in Carmel
  • Birria de chivo (goat) with housemade tortillas at Rosa’s La Villa Restaurante in Seaside
  • Moules frites at Bistro Moulin in Monterey
  • Pan-seared duck foie gras and apples with Calvados demi glace, at Andre’s Bouchee in Carmel
  • The BC Benedict at Brophy’s Tavern in Carmel
  • Cubano torta at La Tortuga Torteria in Seaside
  • Spicy tofu soup at Nak Won Korean BBQ in Marina
  • Seared ahi wontons with wasabi-ginger cream sauce at Hula’s in Monterey
  • House-smoked pork loin tonnato with grilled kale, 10-minute Glaum egg and tuna aioli at The C Restaurant in Monterey
  • Pumpkin ravioli with prosciutto and sage brode, toasted breadcrumbs and saba at Cantinetta Luca in Carmel
  • Soft shell crab tostada at Christopher’s in Carmel
  • Beef carpaccio with lemon olive oil and Parmesan at Will’s Fargo in Carmel Valley
  • Pulled pork pizza at Monterey Cookhouse
  • Foie gras and smoked duck terrine at Ventana Restaurant in Big Sur

    Pig plate at Montrio Bistro

    Pig plate at Montrio Bistro.

  • The pig plate at Montrio Bistro in Monterey
  • Abalone with grilled persimmon, parsnip and Burgundy truffle at Pacific’s Edge in Carmel
  • Braised rabbit soup at Wickets Bistro in Carmel Valley
  • Pho ga (chicken and rice noodle soup) at Noodle Bar in Seaside
  • Squid and eggs at Lou Lou’s in Monterey
  • Baked gorgonzola on curried greens and golden chutney at Passionfish in Pacific Grove
  • Dungeness crab eggs Benedict (and a bloody Mary) at Sandbar and Grill in Monterey
  • Crispy hen egg at Restaurant 1833 in Monterey

    Rusa with 40-minute egg at Mundaka.

  • Rusa (braised tuna, potatoes, peas, carrots,
40-minute egg) at Mundaka, Carmel
  • Marty’s Special (calamari and eggplant Parmagiana) at Abalonetti in Monterey
  • Sautéed frog legs in garlic-lemon butter at L’Escargot in Carmel
  • Couscous lamb shank Algerois semolina, lamb and vegetable stew, North African spices and harrisa at Fandango in Pacific Grove
  • Steak frites (flatiron steak with green peppercorn brandy sauce, and fries) at Fifi’s in Pacific Grove
  • Atlantic City sub on a crusy, sour Italian roll at Wild Thyme Deli in Marina

    Line-caught seabass, housemade potato gnocchi, fennel-tomato fondue and herb salad at Lodge Restaurant.

  • Line-caught seabass, housemade potato gnocchi, fennel-tomato fondue and herb salad at Lodge Restaurant, Carmel Valley Ranch
  • Whole Monterey Bay sardines with Sicilian salsa at The Whaling Station in Monterey
  • Calamari puffs at Sardine Factory in Monterey
  • Ambrosia burger at Nepenthe in Big Sur
  • Chicken fried steak at Holly’s Lighthouse Café in Pacific Grove
  • Carnitas burrito and a can of Tecate at Garcia’s Taqueria in Seaside
  • Wood-fired pizza with meyer lemon, prosciutto and arugula at Corkscrew Café in Carmel Valley
  • Kurt’s four-onion tart with grilled fennel and aged balsamic at Grasing’s in Carmel
  • Hobo stew at Little Napoli in Carmel
  • Prime Delmonico (bone-in, center-cut ribeye), cooked medium-rare, at The Tap Room in Pebble Beach
  • Pulpo ala marinera (octopus simmered in spicy ranchero sauce) at Mariscos Puerto Nuevo in Seaside.
  • Green eggs and ham at Carmel Belle in Carmel
  • Chicken curry at Crown and Anchor in Monterey
  • Crab-huitlacoche enchiladas with citrus-cilantro cream sauce at The Haute Enchilada in Moss Landing
  • Mediterranean steamers at Wild Plum Café in Monterey
  • Braised short ribs lasagna with spinach and goat cheese at TusCA Ristorante at Hyatt Regency in Monterey
  • Alaskan halibut with potato rösti, savoy spinach, pernod-poached oysters and Sevruga caviar at Sierra Mar in Big Sur
  • Palak paneer (spinach and farmers cheese) with garlic naan at Ambrosia India Bistro in Monterey
  • Pulpo confit with cherry tomatoes, garlic and potatoes at Esteban in Monterey
  • Grilled achiote prawns drizzled with herb oil over asparagus and butternut squash risotto at Tarpy’s in Monterey

Spinach gnocchi at Bistro Moulin.

Raul’s Top 50

  • Spinach gnocchi at Bistro Moulin in Monterey
  • Croquetas at Mundaka in Carmel
  • Pork tamales with guajillo salsa at Rosa’s La Villa Restaurante in Seaside
  • Burrata cheese and crostini at Cantinetta Luca in Carmel

    Burrata cheese at Cantinetta Luca.

  • Creamy polenta with truffled mushrooms, goat cheese, roasted tomato and a poached egg at Carmel Belle in Carmel
  • Prosciutto, butternut squash and sage pizza at Big Sur Bakery in Big Sur
  • Wood-fired eggs with kale-potato hash and housemade Nduja sausage at La Bicyclette in Carmel
  • Whole herb-roasted chicken at Le St. Tropez in Carmel
  • Rabbit five-ways at Cachagua General Store in Carmel Valley
  • BBQ pork banh mi at Banh Mi Bar in Marina
  • Oaxacan hot chocolate at Cafe Lumiere in Monterey
  • Spinach croissant at Parker-Lusseau in Monterey
  • Wood-fired eggs at La Bicyclette.

    Flammekueche pizza with diced prosciutto, onions, thyme and crème fraiche at Café Rustica in Carmel Valley

  • Sopa de lima chicken soup with limes and tortillas at Turtle Bay in Monterey/Seaside
  • Avocado smoothie at Noodle Bar in Seaside/Marina
  • Cold-pressed coffee at Acme Coffee Roasting in Seaside
  • Pork potstickers at Full Moon Mandarin Cuisine in Monterey
  • Dancing Ebi roll with shrimp tempura, cream cheese and cucumber at Sushi Heaven in Carmel
  • Clam chowder at The C Restaurant + Bar in Monterey
  • “Pollo in Carnicia” chicken stuffed with herbs, mushrooms and pancetta at il Vecchio in Pacific Grove
  • Dried chile and onion fries at Montrio Bistro in Monterey
  • Mandarin dry-fried chicken at The Orient in Seaside
  • Pumpkin doughnut muffin at Pastries & Petals in Carmel
  • Banana bread scone at Happy Girl Kitchen in Pacific Grove
  • Ricky Ricardo sandwich at Babaloo (mobile)
  • Lemon-horseradish roasted bone marrow at Restaurant 1833 in Monterey
  • Duck a l’orange at Fifi’s Bistro Café in Pacific Grove
  • “Mars Attacks” fried baby octopus at Crystal Fish in Monterey

    Fried baby octopus at Crystal Fish.

  • Crispy chicken sandwich with smoked bacon, avocado, leaf lettuce and Louisiana hot sauce at Point Pinos Grill in Pacific Grove
  • Beignets at Trailside Café in Monterey
  • Eggplant parmigiana at Joe Rombi’s La Piccola Casa
  • Dungeness crab eggs Benedict at From Scratch in Carmel
  • Pumpkin curry at Baan Thai in Seaside
  • Five-spice chicken dry noodle bowl at Chopstix in Seaside/Monterey
  • Apricot oatmeal cookie at Red House Cafe in Pacific Grove
  • Olive oil gelato at Salumeria Luca in Carmel
  • Garlic breadsticks at Gianni’s Pizza in Monterey
  • Seaweed salad at Hula’s in Monterey
  • Duck leg confit at Le Normandie in Pacific Grove
  • Oreo cupcake from Mrs. DeLish’s Cupcake Boutique in Monterey
  • French macarons at Patisserie Bechler in Pacific Grove
  • Artichoke tacos at Taqueria del Mar in Monterey
  • Bavarian-style sausages with caramelized and crispy onions at Carmel Food Company in Carmel
  • Tomato tart with rock shrimp and lobster butter at Estéban in Monterey
  • Triple truffle fries at the Cannery Row Brewing Co. in Monterey
  • Blackened chicken sandwich at Ferdi’s in Seaside
  • Chicken tikka masala naan burrito wrap from India Gourmet (mobile)
  • Grove cookie at Fournier Bakery Cafe in Pacific Grove
  • Caramelized apple crepes at Crepes of Brittany in Monterey
  • Falafel at Mr. Falafel (mobile)
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