701 Wave St., Monterey
A trip to the Sardine Factory is like visiting your gracious aunt and uncle who throw the classiest parties, make every guest feel special and serve great food. Known for its vast wine list, fresh seafood, private party rooms (including the stately wine cellar), and weekly lobster and prime rib nights, the place transcends generational appeal. Nearly everyone who has lived in these parts for more than a decade or two has a favorite memory about Monterey’s much beloved Sardine Factory, opened in 1968. She was built to last, with a high fun quotient and old-fashioned service. David Conley rocks on piano in the lounge Tuesday through Saturday. Wine Director Arvind Dutt and long-time legend/sommelier “Johnny” walk around helping diners sift through the list, which seems to be as thick as a Manhattan phone book. Don’t be intimidated by the verticals of hard-to-afford first growth Bordeaux, just be happy they have an extensive selection of half bottles.