On any trip up Hwy 1 that takes us past Moss Landing, or even close, we are compelled to take a slight detour toward the beach and harbor, and stop in at Phil’s Fish Market to tank up on some local catch, and maybe a little local color.
Phil’s is a bit of a local haunt, but judging from the push-pin maps in the hallways, has seen visitors from all over the world. It truly is a fish market, with the catch laid out on ice, staring back at you, along with buckets of littlenecks and cherrystones, and tanks of live lobsters.
Inside you can sit at tables or bar stools between pictures of Phil’s champion Scotties, hand-written menus on the wall, the souvenir t-shirt case and a well-stocked bar. You can also sit ‘outside’ which is something of a long greenhouse with ceiling fans. You’ll enjoy the sunshine, but be glad it’s glass enclosed as it’s always much cooler along Monterey Bay than you expect, especially when the fog rolls in. (That can be anytime of the year. You’ve been warned.)
Each trip we’ll try something different, but for us the highlights have been the Cioppino in a Bowl, Snapper Tacos and a Salmon Sandwich on Sourdough. We’ve also started with another local catch, the Special Artichoke Salad. In the right time of year, you’ll drive past acres and acres of artichokes on the way north from Monterey. If you’ve never driven here before, be prepared to be astonished at the sheer scale of the agriculture. Rows and rows of things green that stretch to the horizon. And this is just the Salinas valley.
Once you’ve finished your meal, head out of the patio to the beach along the bay, or back to the streets for a look at sea lions lounging on the docks, sea-hardened trawlers and research vessels from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
So it’s a trip for seafood first, with the added benefit of fresh sea air, village atmosphere, and a walk along Monterey Bay and the Moss Landing harbor.
Kid Factor: + Harbour seals, fishing fleet, beach, kids menu items.
Photo Factor: + Fishing fleet, Harbour critters, bay beach.