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“Know Your Fish”

Monterey's Fish House
Ranked #10 of 310 Restaurants in Monterey
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Seafood
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Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner, After-hours, Reservations
Reviewed 10 April 2014

I know my Central Coast of California fish. I know the difference between "local sea bass" and black cod. These are two species of fish regularly found at local fish markets--usually right off the fishing boat. For the record, local fish is the foundation of my diet.

So when my husband and I decided on the Monterey Fish House for lunch, and read 'Local Sea Bass" on the menu (at a very pricey fee), he ordered it because it is one of our favorites. For those who don't know about this variety of sea bass, it is NOT Chilean Sea Bass (Patagonia Toothfish). It is bright white, flaky, and mild when cooked--much like halibut.

What arrived at our table was a dark colored, oily, and had to be cut with a steak-knife fish. This was so not local sea bass!! My bet is it was black cod--not my favorite kind of cod.

For the first time in nearly 30 years of dining out together, my husband declined his meal and sent his plate back after both of us cut into his fish and agreed, "This is not sea bass."

The server and GM were gracious and replaced his dish with another fish (which was ok, not fabulous).

This is the second time (from a different restaurant) that what was ordered was not what was served. It may not be the fault of the chef, the server, or whomever. The fact is, according to Oceana, one in three fish sold/served is mislabeled. In our case, we were served a relatively inexpensive cod mislabeled as a very expensive sea bass. I was shocked that this happened at a fish house that overlooks Monterey Bay in California.

Since this fish house is packed with customers, many out of area tourists, the likelihood is that most folks do not know the difference. This time, however, a couple of locals who do know the difference called it.

My recommendation--order the fish and chips.

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2  Thank Charmaine C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 March 2014

Heard great things about this place so having read the reviews I made a reservation for dinner at 6pm on Thursday night. We arrived at 5:45pm so was not surprised they could not get us in right away. What did bother me is that we did not get sat until 6:25pm. I watched table after table get sat (mostly 2 tops and a 5 top) before us...some without reservations. In one instance 2 side by side two-tops were sat within minutes of each other (and I was wondering why this was not made a 4 top for us). Additionally, the hostess told me at 6:10 our table would be read in "just a moment"...and we waited another 15 minutes.

Once sat, our waiter, the service and the food were all excellent. Our party had the crab ravioli, the cippino, the oak grilled salmon, and the artichoke/seafood linguini....all were superb. I would come back to this place but be wary about a reservation actually meaning anything.

Finally, for adults (we had one minor in our party), the bar counter was first come service and turned over quickly so if you do not have a large party and don't mind the counter this would be a quick in for you.

1  Thank wyrbender
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 2014

This restaurant is still a favorite but my best advice: make a reservation! They are popular and your wait time can be long. Great choices and preparation of fish. Very good waiter. Always worth a visit

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Thank Lynnchild
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2014

After walking Monterey and noting the many restaurants by the wharf, we asked locals and they recommended Monterey Fish House. We had fresh fish and enjoyed it very much. Drinks were reasonable in price. We recommend reservations as it is small and gets very busy, even to sit at the bar. Service was fast, almost too quick, but we still enjoyed the experience. Staff was very nice!

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Thank lori h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 March 2014 via mobile

Been here before & loved the food. Tried the smoked grill oysters.....I would say it is to die for. My husband does not like the texture of oysters, clams, mussels & squid but when he tried the smoked grill oysters he LOVED it. A little expensive but worth it. For sure call for reservations as its a small place & they fill up fast.

Thank Blancetts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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