The restaurants in Salinas have a lot to offer visitors as they serve cuisine from all around the world. Whether you are craving Italian, French, German, American, Chinese, Mexican, Thai, or anything in between, you will find incredible places to eat in Salinas.
The city has been given the nickname the Salad Bowl of The World thanks to all of the fresh produce that it brings to the world. Some of the major crops grown around Salinas include tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce, and spinach. But others are grown in the areas as well including celery, artichokes, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Long story short, fresh vegetables are not hard to find when you are eating in Salinas! You will be blown away by all of the options that you have in this lovely Monterey County city. With a population of more than 160,000, the city makes sure the residents (and visitors!) are well provided for when it comes to food options.
Let’s find out exactly what type of eateries a place called The Salad Bowl of The World has for us!
18 Best Restaurants In Salinas, California That You Will Love
You will find Gino’s on South Main Street in Salinas. They offer incredible Italian food alongside some American favorites. This welcoming (and charming!) restaurant has everything you could hope for in an Italian restaurant in the US.
You can start your meal with a charcuterie board, avocado toast, or a ruby red beet salad. Then, when it comes to pasta, you can indulge in one of their many flavor-packed offerings. There is a dreamy seafood lovers fettuccini, a Gilroy garlic shrimp Alfredo, and a linguini with clams for all of you seafoodies.
They also have meatballs, pizza, bruschetta, an olive dish, slow-cooked short ribs, butternut squash ravioli, and New York steak for those not interested in seafood dishes. The prices here are reasonable for the elegant dishes that they serve you and there are a lot of options for vegetarians, children, and those looking to order something to-go.
For anyone traveling with kids, stopping at an Italian place is always a good idea as there is almost always something that the little ones will eat. And Gino’s is no different, this rustic Italian restaurant is one of the most kid-friendly restaurants in Salinas.
Golden Star Restaurant
Are you craving some Chinese food in Salinas? Golden Star Restaurant is one of the best
restaurants in Salinas for those looking for a laid-back place to eat that has amazing food. You will find this chill restaurant on South Main Street just a block from Mission Park.
Visitors to Golden Star Restaurant leave with full bellies and a desire to return to this unassuming eatery in Salinas. The menu here is packed with everything you could want and more!
You will find chop suey, egg foo young, fried rice, soups, and more on the menu. They have a beef menu that includes Szechuan beed, oyster sauce beef, Mongolian beef, and beef and broccoli. There are also great appetizers like fried wontons, egg rolls, chicken wings, sesame balls, and pot stickers.
If you want a plethora of options in a relaxed atmosphere, Golden Star Restaurant is for you!
This list of restaurants in Salinas simply wouldn’t be complete without including Mi Terra.
This Mexican restaurant is a great place for lunch in Salinas. You will find Mi Terra on the beautiful and highly photographed Salinas Main Street where they are known for their multi-colored chips, incredible salsa, and fun vibe.
Mi Terra almost always has some sort of special going on making this a nice option for budget travelers and its perfect location makes it an easy choice if you find yourself wandering around Main Street on your travels.
This restaurant prides itself on using the freshest of ingredients so you know the food will be tasty and bursting with flavor. On the menu, you will find huevos can chorizo, chile colorado, fajitas de carne asada, and more alongside a selection of beers and cocktails.
Avatar Indian Grill
Stepping away from downtown Salinas a bit and moving onto Constitution Blvd, Avatar Indian Grill offer excellent vegan food in Salinas. Avatar has a lunch buffet on Monday through Friday and they also have a regular menu that you can enjoy in restaurant or for takeout.
The ambiance and interior of Avatar are laid back and make you feel at home. The food here keeps visitors coming back for more so it is well worth a visit while you are in Salinas. You will find tandoori chicken, chili garlic tofu, salmon kebab, and rosemary lamb at Avatar.
They also have a selection of naan flavors, samosas, and curry along with a generous vegetarian menu. When you visit Avatar, it won’t take you long to see why Avatar Indian Grill is one of the best restaurants in Salinas.
Salinas Pizza & Pints
If you are someone who has been looking for gluten-free food in Salinas, Salinas Pizza and Pints has a gluten-free option for you! This establishment has some of the best pizza in Salinas. This chill restaurant is great for a quick stop for lunch and for those visiting with children.
There’s a list of pizzas for you to choose from like the Hawaiian Cowboy which comes with bbq sauce, red sauce, chicken, ham, bacon, and pineapple, or the Valley which comes with white sauce, zucchini, mushrooms, red onions, broccoli, artichokes, spinach, and tomatoes.
If none of their pizzas sound appealing to you, you can build your own with their huge list of toppings that includes beef, salami, sausage, Canadian bacon, chorizo, anchovies, feta cheese, red onions, peppers, and more.
As if the mouthwatering food and beer selection wasn’t enough, this pizza place is also in a great location as far as getting dessert goes, making it one of the top restaurants in Salinas. Once you are done with your pizza, you can head down the road just a couple minutes and stop at Winchell’s Donut House and grab yourself a donut (or two) to go!
Mia Fusion Cuisine
Mia Fusion Cuisine is the place to be for Italian food in Salinas. Mia Fusion offers the perfect mix of American and Italian foods, placing it among the top restaurants in Salinas for traveling parties with mixed tastes. One of you want pasta and the rest of you want hamburgers? Head to Mia Fusion!
You can start a satisfying dinner here with Italian meatballs, Monterey calamari, sautéed mussels, or a bruschetta cheese board. For the main course, there is a selection of unique cheeseburgers like the Mia chicken burger and the mac & cheese burger.
For the healthy food enthusiasts, you can order a simple but flavorful chicken breast, salmon with corn on the cob and baked potato, or prawns served with vegetables. Of course, plates of pasta, grilled entrees, and fried food all make appearances on the menu as well.
You really can’t beat the selection at Mia Fusion Cuisine. Consider giving this Salinas restaurant a try during your visit!
Black Bear Diner
Ah, the American classic. When looking for food in Salinas, the Black Bear Diner knows how to satisfy. One of the top restaurants in Salinas, Black Bear Diner has incredible American comfort dishes served in a woodsy-themed dining room.
Breakfast in Salinas is made easy with a visit to Black Bear Menu as they have a breakfast menu a mile long for you to choose from. Egg combo plates, omelets, pancakes, French toast, and all the American classics can be found here.
The lunch and dinner menus are just as massive as the breakfast menu. They are filled with salads, sandwiches, steaks, ribs, fried food, homestyle dinner, and lighter options. There are always a few dinner deals for you there as well.
What Black Bear Diner is really famous for though, is their pies. Grandma’s famous blackberry cobbler, peach cobbler, chocolate cream pie, apple cobbler, banana cream pie, and more are served here. You can see the rows of pies that are available as soon as you walk into the dining room. Super enticing!
Monky Bowl offers vegetarian food in Salinas on North Main Street in the Santa Rita area. They have killer juices made from fresh fruit as well as smoothies. But what really makes Monky Bowl one of the top restaurants in Salinas? It is their smoothie bowls! They are the star of the show and definitely worth trying.
The smoothie bowls here come in a variety of flavors and have tons of different toppings. You can order a Tokyo bowl or perhaps the Hulk made with coconut, almond butter, and coconut is more your speed.
You will see the bowls separated into categories like Acai Bowls, Dragon Bowls, and Green Bowls. There are also roasted Mexican street corn, walking tacos, barra loka, crepes, and loaded waffles.
Salinas City BBQ
This homey restaurant that offers smoked meats and basic sides can be found on West Market Street and is the best place for bbq in Salinas. The relaxed cookout theme interior is super fun and adds to your experience while you are here. There’s also an outdoor seating area with picnic tables and string lights.
The vibe and the bbq put Salinas City Barbecue on the map as one of the best restaurants in Salinas. Visitors can enjoy a selection of bbq sandwiches like the tri-tip, bbq chicken, or the brisket. There are also basket meals that come with a meat, two sides, and bread.
If you are tired from a day of travel in Salinas and are just wanting to take something to go, you can grab a salad, a couple of sides, or just the brisket by itself. Oh! And they have an incredible cobbler for you there as well.
It’s time for more Mexican food in Salinas! Villa Azteca is among the most popular restaurants in Salinas. You can find this eatery in the heart of downtown Salinas near the Maya Cinema on Main Street. Their menu is fully loaded with mind-blowing dishes that you won’t want to miss while you are in Salinas.
Quesadillas de Jamaica, chile relleno, enfrijoladas, gorditas, carne asada fries, tofu al pastor bowls, apple & candied walnut salads, avocado toast, and crispy chilaquiles all grace the menu.
Of course, salsa served with multi-colored chips are there as well. And the drinks are a sight to behold as you can order flights of delicate cocktails with pretty and colorful toppings and garnishes. These dreamy and flavor-packed drinks will leave you wanting more (and not to mention they are totally Instagrammable too!)
Elli’s Great American Restaurant
South Main Street is made even more desirable with Elli’s Great American Restaurant on it. The name Elli’s comes from Ellis in Ellis Island. The promise of freedom, potential, and diversity that brought so many to America also brought a boat full of delicious recipes as well. Those recipes are honored here at Elli’s
If you are looking for a place to grab brunch in Salinas, Elli’s has you covered. You can try country-style omelets, eggs Benedict, Belgian waffles, Huevos Rancheros, and more. Later in the day, you can indulge in Asada fries, stuffed mushrooms, salads, soups, sticky Asian ribs, and flatbreads.
While Elli’s is slightly elevated in comparison to the many casual restaurants in town, it is still one of the best family-friendly restaurants in Salinas as it has super a variety of menu options that your kiddos are sure to find something that they like here.
Another one of the restaurants in Salinas that can be found on Main Street in town. Patria is the European restaurant in Salinas that serves Italian, French, and German dishes. Where else can you find Lasagna, rabbit, and schnitzel all on the same menu?
The vibes here are cozy and rustic, making this a great place for a date night in Salinas. A lovely bar, table cloth-covered tables, wine glasses, and unique decor make a super cool environment for you to dine in.
You can start your meal off at Patria with a glass of wine and an appetizer like the artisan bread, Monterey Bay calamari aioli, an assortment of gourmet cured meats, or perhaps the steamed mussels in tomato garlic broth.
Then, you can move on to something like the beet salad, Italian sausage and Black Forest ham pizza, the Butternut squash ravioli, or one of the popular farm plates. Some of the best farm plates are the half-roasted chicken, eggplant strata, lamb shank, beef goulash, and the Jaeger schnitzel.
Ginger Thai Kitchen
Restaurants in Salinas truly come in every size, shape, and flavor. At Ginger Thai Kitchen, you can have a relaxed dinner in Salinas with a menu of remarkable Thai cuisine. You can order incredible soups like the tofu vegetable soup or the won ton soup. The soups here are brought to your table in a large bucket that is simmering over a candle!
There are also great salads like the Laab Gai, soy duck, squid, and papaya salads. The variety is great as there are vegan, vegetarian, and meat options to suit everyones needs. Some of the classic entrees you can choose from include the sour pork ribs, chicken stew, basil duck, and the honey pork.
While you are here you can also get boba and Thai desserts like the sweet sticky rice and fresh mango. If you are visiting at lunchtime, you’re in luck as they run great lunch specials for visitors from 11-2:45 on weekdays. (excluding holidays)
Portobello’s On Main
When you ask around about the restaurants in Salinas, you are probably going to hear about Portobello’s On Main. This easygoing American restaurant is the ideal spot to grab breakfast in Salinas. They have an awesome full bar and a lovely little outdoor seating space where you can sit out on the street under one of their sunshades.
The salads here are out of this world with options like the turmeric cauliflower salad, wheat barley salad, and the Mediterranean pasta salad. The burgers are just as impressive with an avocado jack burger and a bacon swiss both on the menu. If you are vegan or vegetarian, they offer a beyond burger.
Of course, they wouldn’t be one of the best places to eat in Salinas if that was all they had to offer. You will also find soups, quiches, a huge breakfast menu that’s complete with frittatas and breakfast burritos, sandwiches, roasted eggplant, albacore tuna melt, French dip, bbq pork, and more.
BKM Healthy Foods
If you have been looking for restaurants in Salinas with a lot of health food options, BKM should be on your list of places to try for healthy food in Salinas. Located on Constitution Blvd, you can find veggie and fruit-packed options. As soon as you walk in you can see the stacks and rows of fresh produce in the lobby.”
Wraps, salads, smoothies, parfaits, and oatmeals. Oh my! Smoothies and acai bowls are also big here. You can grab a smoothie or a juice that is made from fresh greens, watermelon, mango, oranges, pineapple, and other produce.
If you find yourself in the area and you have already eaten, stopping in for a refreshing juice is a nice choice, especially during the summer months as there’s no better way to cool yourself down than with a cold and refreshing fruit juice made just the way you want it.
Do all of the best restaurants in Salinas congregate on Main Street? Not all of them, but Main Street sure is a good place to be if you are a foodie! Mangia on Main is a great place to visit if you are looking for Italian in Salinas. They specialize in southern Italian food, served in a brick-lined industrial-style dining room.
You can start your visit at Mangia’s with a calamari fritti that is served with shaved lemons, caper berries, and a nice Calabrese chili aioli, a bruschetta di nonna that comes with house ricotta, basil pesto, chili honey drizzle, and pistachio, or go for a simple rustic garlic bread.
Fresh salads, flavorful pastas, paninis with fries, and earth-shattering entrees like the pollo piccata and the salmone di casa are there for you to choose from as well. This regional Italian food in Salinas is something you don’t want to miss!
Khao San Thai Kitchen
Let’s relax a bit and visit a laid-back eatery that offers Thai food in Salinas. Khao San Thai Kitchen is among the top restaurants in Salinas offering Thai fare. You will find this restaurant on North Davis Road.
Don’t let the casual and unassuming appearance here make you skip over Khao San Thai. You will find egg rolls, spring rolls, soups, salads, and classic Thai entrees here. Whether you are coming in for something like Pad Thai and Pad Se Ew or something like Thai fried rice and Kao Pad Kee Mao, you can find loads of great Thai dishes here.
You will also see a few Chinese and Indian dishes being offered here as well. So sit back and enjoy the variety, freshness, and flavor that is offered at the Khao San Thai Kitchen in Salinas.
Steinbeck House Restaurant
As you may already know, Salinas is the home of the famous author John Steinbeck. You will find many places in town that are dedicated to his life like the National Steinbeck Center and the Steinbeck Lodge Motel. There is also the Steinbeck House Restaurant.
This restaurant on Central Avenue is one of the best places to eat in Salinas. They serve American fare in a stunning Queen Anne-style Victorian home that was the boyhood house of the famous John Steinbeck.
The history alone is enough to put this firmly on the list of top restaurants in Salinas, but the food here is incredible as well. You will be served delicious American classics on beautiful dishes and table settings while you are surrounded by period decorations and furniture. Eating here is a major California bucket list item!
The menu is graced with soup and salad options, vegetarian entrees, sandwiches, and hearty meals like prime rib or lighter fish dishes. One of the major stars of the show however if the dessert. Creme Brûlée, delicate pastries and tarts, and fresh fruit and cream are served here.
Salinas is a beautiful city that is full of life, overflowing with natural beauty, and home to some of the best things to do in central coast California! These incredible restaurants in Salinas are calling your name; will you answer? Which will you check out first?
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