It’s easy to spend a bundle on lunch or dinner at the many upscale and excellent restaurants in Monterey, Carmel and Pacific Grove. Like this sampling of menu items from various places: sand dabs for $24, T-bone steak for $52, scallops for $26, lamb shanks for $28.
A less costly alternative is the Whole Enchilada in Moss Landing, a not-too-distant drive from Monterey on Highway 1, a.k.a. the Pacific Coast Highway. The friendly, family-operated Mexican restaurant opened in 1981, specializes in seafood and serves a surprisingly large array of dishes.
Though the well-decorated and tiled interior is comfy enough, the place to be is the rustic courtyard. Recently, we sampled fish tacos stuffed with halibut (instead of the usual rockfish or cod), luscious cheese enchiladas with housemade mole sauce, and rice and refried beans with actual flavor. The fresh-tasting guacamole was one of the best, and the salsa (served in a mini-carafe) packed just the right heat, and it wasn’t overloaded with onion.
The next time we have more time, we’ll order the Seven Seas cioppino, a melange of shrimp, clams, octopus, prawns, mussels and fish “in a spicy broth” (allow 30 minutes).
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Whole Enchilada is at 7904 California 1, Moss Landing; (831) 633-3038.
Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter @apierleonisacbe.