Il Vecchio Monterey Bay Peninsula Italian Restaurant

We were tired and ready end our long day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium but before leaving we decided to find some dinner first. We didn’t want to head back to our hotel and be too lazy to go back out to find food. So Yunti and I jumped onto Yelp in search for dinner nearby. Our only criteria was that we did not want clam chowder or fried food; as most restaurants in the area seemed to serve (and we were happy to have already had some pretty good clam chowder earlier at Old Fishermans Wharf and at the Monterey Bay Aquarium)

Il Vecchio Restaurant
110 Central Ave
Pacific Grove, CA 93950

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We found Il Vecchio and walked 0.3miles (about 6-10 minutes) to dinner instead of eating at Cannery Row.

As we approached th restaurant their was a mural painting us the the direction of the front door. Makes it easier to find and hard to miss.

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Once through the somewhat boring front door, we entered into a little foyer area that looked into the dining. The reclaimed wood walls and bar areas made the restaurant modern-ish and warm and still very bright.

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They still managed to make things intimate for groups as with big window dividers inside which also keeps the restaurant nice and bright. And as most Italian restaurants are great for, it is easy to accomodate large groups and families.

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We were seated at a booth, and that was when I noticed the fun old (antique?) chairs on the walls. I was happy they didn’t fall since they are rather secured well into the walls. But I wonder how much dust has accumulated on these chairs on the walls. We are sitting directly under these chairs, and our food is kind of sitting right under them too…

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Anyways, enough about how the restaurant looks. We’re starving and need to start reading the menu.

The menu clearly states: “Our traditional recipes are from Rome, Umbria and Tuscany…fresh egg pasta are house-made everyday…” That’s all we needed to read to know we were going to have a good dinner.

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We ended up order a few different things and shared everything family style.

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And as we waited for our food, we speedily scarfed down the bread served to us before I can even remembered to take a picture. At least that revealed the restaurant name on the bread board. We got a second serving of bread to eat with the olive oil/vinegar, but of course I decided to just eat.

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We started with an Antipasti / Starter. Adriatico – marinated seafood: calamari, wild-caught shrimp, mussels, in a vinaigrette, arugula. 

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Seafood seems to be the thing to eat in Monterey. Especially after spending a day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Fish and seafood are still good to eat as long as we eat sustainable fish.

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With all of the fried food we’d been eating, I was most excited for some fresh vegetables.

I ordered a large entree salad. Salade el mare – sauteed salmon, shrimp and rock cod, calamari ceviche, olives, cucumber, tomato, lemon vinaigrette. 

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Yes, I know all I wanted was some fresh vegetable but a salad with fish sounds even better.

I put the dressing on the side (for my family) but I personally enjoy my salad with no dressing and simply flavored by the fresh vegetables and the sauce/flavor from the fish.

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Speaking of fish, we ordered a fish as a main dish. With several choices on the menu, we handed the menu to Dad.

Pesce pesto – wild rock cod, white wine, garlic pesto, fresh spinach, sautéed vegetables.

After seeing the wild rock cod  as the fish of choice in almost all of the seafood options on the menu at Il Vecchi, The wild rock cod is definitly a very delicious and fresh option.

I’m still so happy to be eating some fresh vegetables.

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And after that fish, we absolutely had to get some sort of pasta dish especially knowing that the pasta is made fresh daily.

Pasta connelloni ricotta e spinaci – house-made pasta, guanciale (pork), egg, pecorino, black pepper. 

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This simple dish, satisfied our craving for fresh pasta. Especially baked with the red sauce and topped with parmesan cheese.

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I think it’s a good day when I can’t resist dessert, and find something that I just absolutely want to eat.

It wasn’t on the dessert menu, but how can you resist a: ricotta cheese cake?

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I actually watched a gentleman take out a whole cheese cake, with my eyes wide (kind of hoping in my dreams that I would be served the whole ricotta cheese cake) he carefully cut a fresh slice for us.

This was a perfect dessert, not overly sweet (just right for an asian dessert palette), but nice and fluffy and creamy. You can definitely taste the ricotta cheese, but that flavor was actually quite refreshing.

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One really amazing thing we did remember to do was that we managed to take a picture with our food before eating. Do you ever do that? Take a group picture after you’ve finished eating? That’s when you have a great group picture with a messy table and empty plates in your foreground?


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