Passionfish (Pacific Grove)

The Carmel/Monterey area has a lot of restaurants but many of them turn out to be mediocre touristy places. One of the exceptions for us was always Passionfish in Pacific Grove which is well known for their excellent cooking of sustainably fish as well as a great and affordable wine list. We haven’t been to Passionfish for 10+ years but this visit was as good as we remembered them. We heard that there will be a change in ownership but all FOH and BOH will stay - so let’s hope that Passionfish will continue to be a special restaurant

Sea scallop, caper-raisin-walnut relish, artichoke risotto cake

Nancy’s buttery buttermilk biscuits

Dungeness crab salad, avocado, spicy ginger vinaigrette, braised fennel

Alaskan halibut, bacon chowder, anise relish

Rainbow trout, sweet potato-wild rice saute, cardamom syrup

Maple-banana bread pudding, bourbon caramel, banana ice cream

Yuzu panna cotta, strawberry coulis, lemongrass meringue


Oh my, sad to hear there will be an ownership change at Passionfish. However, both Wild Fish and Spotted Duck (both also in PacGrove), are equally good.

If you are a foie gras lover, Spotted Duck’s duck liver mousse is swoonworthy!! Wild Fish is not as creative or upscale as Passionfish, but they specialize in seafood (the owners had the Wild Fish restaurant in the Mendocino area before opening up in PG) and it’s a casual, welcoming space. Spotted Duck is more upscale, similar to Passionfish in ambiance and creativity, but smaller and with better service.

Do note that due to the architectural eccentricity of the space, the restrooms at Spotted Duck are up a half-flight of stairs, so NOT disabled access unless they have made some changes since I was there a year ago.