The night before we had a light dinner after strolling around in the Cannery Row area. Although the food was fine, service was slow and prices, as expected, were a bit high for what we got. On our last night in Monterey, we strolled uphill just three or four blocks inland to Lighthouse Avenue. Things are less glitzy here, and we hoped the prices and ambience would be better, too.
The first restaurant we came to was the Loose Noodle Pasta House. The menu looked fine and the soft-lit interior seemed inviting. We intended to stroll farther and see what else was available, but noticing that the baby had fallen asleep in his stroller, decided to charge right in and enjoy a meal in peace and quiet.
Not surprisingly, given the name of the restaurant, virtually all dishes are pasta based. Prices hover around $10 per main course, to which a soup and salad may be added for $3. The lunch menu is cheaper and specials are available before 6pm. A special menu is available for children – for once, most of the items do not have French fries.
I ordered a baked chicken breast with fettuccini and a glass of Californian dry white wine while my wife had a salad. I particularly enjoyed the fresh herbs strewn over my food as well as the perfectly cooked chicken – not underdone and definitely not dry. My toddler has developed a distinct distaste for the pastas offered on the children’s menus in most restaurants – having tasted a few myself, I cannot blame her – and we ordered her a plate of cheese tortellini from the normal menu. As my wife had designs on the tortellini herself, we foolishly did not ask for a half portion, as the serving was humongous. We rounded off the meal with excellent cappuccino and tiramisu.
I do not know why I am often worried that my children will misbehave in decent restaurants. Except for my ruined previous birthday dinner, of which we have agreed not to speak anymore, they generally behave very well in public. We had already ordered coffee when a group of six spanning three generations wandered in. For some reason, the father found it necessary to remind the children in a booming voice to remember to use indoor voices. I do not know why he bothered – he was probably too scared to pick a fight with his mother-in-law. The children of around 6 years never got a word in edgeways, as the grandmother kept talking very loudly nonstop for the rest of the time we were in there. She did not even slow down to give them a chance to reply to her questions.
When in Monterey, even when not in the mood for pasta, I would recommend strolling the few blocks up hill to sample the fare available in the small restaurants on Lighthouse Avenue rather than opting for the very touristy and overpriced venues at the seafront.