Old Fishermen’s Grotto: Awesome Clam Chowder in Monterey

While Cannery Row is the central area that people gravitate to in Monterey, the Old Fisherman’s Wharf is well worth the visit. It is mainly a collection of candy shops, restaurants, and bars, all with their own unique style and a few of which I often frequent. My favorite though has to be Fisherman’s Grotto. They have a marketplace if you are looking for a quick meal and a full sit down fancy restaurant if you are looking to have a nice relaxed lunch or dinner. This review is specifically for the sit down spot, but you can get the fantastic clam chowder at the market on the pier next to the restaurant as well. Here is all the info.


  • Cost: $20 – $25
  • Hours: 11 AM – 10 PM
  • Location: 39 Fishermans Wharf, Monterey, CA 93940

Getting There

Old Fisherman’s Grotto is located on Wharf 1 pier in Monterey. If you are driving towards Cannery Row on Del Monte Ave, you will see signs for it on the right and there is a large paid parking lot you can park in. From here you will walk along the water to the restaurant.

The Restaurant

About halfway down the pier, you will find the Old Fishermans Grotto on the left-hand side. I recommend checking in here first before exploring the rest of the pier as there may be a wait, especially if you want to sit near a window.

We waited for a window seat as we were there on a weekday for lunch and it wasn’t too busy. It was fun to sit and look out over the waves crashing and even the seals in the distance.

The menu is pretty extensive here, but there are a few standouts, mainly their unique take on clam chowder. Anything with fish should be good though since it is always fresh.

After ordering, a round of bread was served which was nice to have while waiting for the meal. Here is what we got:

Clambake chowder bread bowl – Decadent goodness, this dish is a fancy take on the traditional clam chowder bread bowl. Served with crab meat and shrimp on top then a slice of parmesan cheese, then the whole thing is baked in the oven. The clam chowder here is already fantastic, and this just takes it to the next level. The inside of the bread that they cut out is then grilled and turned into garlic bread that you can dip into the chowder. It’s crazy rich, but it’s fantastic and the cheese melts apart each time you pull the spoon out.

Seared Ahi -A huge piece of ahi cooked rare and rubbed with a sesame seed crust. Served with a teriyaki type sauce that’s sweet and goes well with the fish. They add jasmine rice to the side and top it with pineapple chutney, then add a scoop of seasonal veggies which included Brussels sprouts and colored carrots. The ahi is about 3 inches thick, and they still managed to cool it perfectly with that melt in your mouth middle. The teriyaki, ginger, and wasabi add a nice Asian style to the dish.

I was really impressed with Old Fishermans Grotto. It is one of those places that you would expect to be touristy since it is on the wharf, but it’s an excellent place for a meal. Even if you don’t have time to sit down, try the clam chowder, I loved it.  Let me know what you think in the comments.

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