10 Best Cafes You Must Try In Monterey, California

cafes in monterey
| 5 min read

With the brunch culture firmly in place and here to stay, which are some cafes in Monterey, California worth the effort in waking up early for? Here at Trip101, we take cafe-hopping very seriously and have come up with three requisites for a worthy cafe. First, it must have delicious and unique food or drink items. Second, it must not break the bank and leave us surviving on bread crusts for the rest of the month. Third, it must have at least one Instagrammable point because, can we say it happened if there are no pictures? Read on for our list of the best cafes you must try in Monterey, California, that meet our criteria.

1. Aloha Coffee & Cafe

Happy Easter

Posted by Aloha Coffee And Cafe on Friday, 30 March 2018

Aloha Coffee & Cafe is inspired by feel-good Hawaiian vibes that translate to the menu items here, which can be described as modern island health food. Aloha Coffee & Cafe has a great variety of fruit-based smoothies with exciting names such as Waikiki Sunset and Manoa Green, which bring to mind images of chilling on an exotic beach. Also popular are their acai (say ah-sah-EE) bowls that are filled with generous lashings of blended acai berry and topped with a bouquet of fresh fruits plus crunchy granola.

Aloha Coffee & Cafe

Address: 1098 Del Monte Avenue, Monterey CA 93940, USA

Website: Aloha Coffee & Cafe

Opening hours: 7am - 5pm (daily)

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2. Cafe Lumiere

New on the menu: lentil tartine - beluga lentils, crème fraîche, poached egg, pickled onion, fresh herbs #lumiereallday

Posted by Cafe Lumiere on Monday, 12 December 2016

Cafe Lumiere is one of the establishments in Monterey, California, at the forefront of a plant-forward, minimal protein dining scene. The effort that goes into sourcing and whipping up dishes that are farm-to-table shines through in the cafe’s menu. The only hard decision to make here is what to get, from tartines to grain bowls, sandwiches, salads, and soups. In line with the cafe’s philosophy of locality and seasonality, the menu at Cafe Lumiere rotates fairly regularly and they also serve pastry and lunch specials of the day.

Cafe Lumiere

Address: 365 Calle Principal, Monterey, CA 93940, USA

Website: Cafe Lumiere

Opening hours: 7am - 10pm (daily)

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3. Bright Coffee

Lovely Kuma Coffee spro & pour over! Thanks for the hot tip Chris Baca!

Posted by Anne Cooper on Saturday, 1 September 2018

Duck under the adorable striped awning and enter a cafe that takes its coffee very seriously. Bright Coffee is a cafe-slash-lifestyle boutique that carries the famed Kuma coffee beans from Seattle and freshly-baked pastries from their sister cafe, Cafe Lumiere, in-store. What distinguishes Bright Coffee is their list of add-ins for their drinks. These range from house-made vanilla bean syrup, butter chocolate, spiced chocolate, coconut sugar, and local honey in addition to organic nut mylks that are synonymous with Californian coffee culture. Try each add-in on its own or a combination to customize your drink.

Bright Coffee

Address: 281 Lighthouse Avenue, Monterey, CA 93940, USA

Website: Bright Coffee

Opening hours: 7am - 5pm (daily)

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4. ALTA Bakery & Cafe

ALTA Bakery & Cafe is somewhere you can sit from dawn to dusk and not even come close to trying everything on their delicious-sounding menu. Not content with just offering fresh bakes and coffee, co-owner and chef Ben Spungin has pushed himself and the ALTA team to prepare, from scratch, the natural flavors and syrups that go into the coffees and other drinks here. Inventive sweets such as miso-glazed doughnuts, carrot cake cookies, and fruit and ricotta-stuffed croissants are displayed proudly in ALTA Bakery & Cafe’s glass-topped counter that almost spans the length of the cafe.

ALTA Bakery & Cafe

Address: 502 Munras Ave Monterey, CA 93940, USA

Website: ALTA Bakery & Cafe

Opening hours: 7am - 4pm (daily)

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5. Water and Leaves

Posted by Water and Leaves on Sunday, 6 March 2016

The menu at Water and Leaves focuses on organic and sustainable food sourced locally, where possible. A great example of their philosophy is in the several local kinds of honey stocked in-store, which are great for a sweet memory of Monterey. If you are torn, grab a friendly waitstaff who will explain each honey’s origins and flavor notes. Sampling is also possible as the honey is stored in large glass dispensers, somewhat like a honey fountain!

Water and Leaves

Address: 95 Fishermans Wharf, Monterey, CA 93940, USA

Website: Water and Leaves

Opening hours: Mon: 10am - 3pm; Wed: 10am - 4pm; Thu: 10am - 9pm; Fri: 8.30am - 5pm; Sat: 8:30am - 7pm; Sun: 8.30am - 6pm (closed on Tue)

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6. Peet's Coffee

Where will you be enjoying your cup of Peet's over the long weekend? #CoffeeFirst

Posted by Peet's Coffee on Friday, 17 February 2017

Visit Peet’s Coffee for their coffees and stay for one of their hot sandwiches. Select from a wide range of vegetarian and protein sandwiches that can be enjoyed in their large and airy cafe or taken away. Food and drinks at Peet’s Coffee range from 4 to 12 USD on average, making it a relatively affordable experience for a quick and light meal.

Peet's Coffee

Address: 560 Munras Suite 10, Monterey, CA 93940, USA

Website: Peet’s Coffee

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 5am - 9pm; Sat: 5.30am - 9pm; Sun: 5.30am - 8pm

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7. East Village Coffee Lounge

Love this shot by @huy_nguyen1023 Fall is in the air! #boo #halloween #fall Croissants & Coffee to bring in the...

Posted by East Village Coffee Lounge on Monday, 26 October 2015

East Village Coffee Lounge is one place that might become a favorite night haunt as well. If the cafe’s name has not clued you in yet, East Village Coffee Lounge is a little quirky, a little Bohemian (read: the “East Village” in its name) and serves up a small but interesting range of local craft beers and wines in addition to organic coffees that are roasted by a Californian coffee roaster. Open mic nights, live music, and poetry slams are a regular feature at the cafe throughout the week and East Village Coffee Lounge’s carefully prepared artisanal drinks can be enjoyed all day.

East Village Coffee Lounge

Address: 498 Washington Street, Monterey, CA 93940, USA

Website: East Village Coffee Lounge

Opening hours: Mon: 6am - 6pm; Tue & Thu: 6am - 6pm; Wed & Fri: 6am - 10pm; Sat: 7am - 10pm; Sun: 7am - 8pm

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8. Parker-Lusseau Pastries

Posted by Sunshine Shoghig Shahinian on Friday, 30 March 2018

Parker-Lusseau Pastries is a spot you should visit earlier in the day. This is because everything is so coveted that only a limited selection of pastries is left by closing time. This cafe is known locally to have the best pastries outside of France and the amount of care and detail that goes into each product is evident. For first-timers, give the quintessential plain croissant a try. Perfectly laminated layers of burnished pastry flake delicately with each bite and the insides of the croissants are tender and buttery. To up the ante, try the ham and gruyere cheese croissant on your next visit (or directly after your first croissant) and ask for it to be warmed. The fresh berry tarts crowned with seasonal soft fruits are also a life-changing experience; a rich crust encases a mild cream and is heightened by the glazed fruits piled generously on top.

Parker-Lusseau Pastries

Address: 539 Hartnell Street, Monterey, CA 93940, USA

Website: Parker-Lusseau Pastries

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 7am - 5.30pm; Sat: 7.30am - 4pm (closed on Sun)

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9. Crêpes of Brittany

Ham & Egg in a Savory Organic Buchwheat Crepe

Posted by Crêpes of Brittany on Saturday, 30 June 2012

Crêpes of Brittany is a cafe in Monterey that brings an authentic taste of France to town. They serve savory and sweet crepes that will cater to all tastebuds. The cafe’s crepes are thin, in the style of traditional Brittany crepes, and they are cooked-to-order. Choose from a selection of eight variations of dessert crepes, with Apple Cinnamon Caramel being a popular choice for its tender fruit simmered in golden caramel. The savory crepes also make for a hearty meal. The thin buckwheat pancakes provide a nutty contrast to the savory ingredients that can be added - these range from smoked Wild Pacific salmon, to brie, ham, egg, and even caramelized onions!

Crêpes of Brittany

Address: 211 Alvarado Street, Monterey, CA 93940, USA

Website: Crêpes of Brittany

Opening hours: 7.30am - 4pm (daily)

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10. Studio Cafe

Happy summer solstice!!! We are soaking up this beautiful morning, celebrating our new summer hours! Starting today...

Posted by Studio Cafe on Monday, 20 June 2016

Studio Cafe is an oasis of calm in Monterey, California. Guided by principles of wellness and self-care, the cafe stocks a huge range of loose leaf and herbal teas, Acme coffee, vegan bakes, and locally sourced food. It is also a one-stop centre for workshops and retreats that will help you find inner peace. The cafe’s owners are proud of their tea collection and will happily brew a tall cup. Understandably so, as Studio Cafe’s menu includes unique teas like Coconut Cocoa Pu-erh and Cinnamon Fig.

Studio Cafe

Address: 774 Wave Street, Monterey, CA 93940, USA

Website: Studio Cafe

Opening hours: 11am - 5pm (daily)

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Recharge at a cafe in Monterey, California

Fishermans' Wharf in Monterey, California
Source: Pixabay

Whether you are in Monterey, California, for a weekend or a longer vacation, you can be sure that this bayside town has no shortage of amazing cafes. This being California, these cafes cater to a variety of dietary preferences so you will never go hungry. From this list of the best cafes you have to try in Monterey, let us know which is your favorite in the comments below. Try as many as you (and your tummy) can.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Joyce is someone who currently combines the two great loves of her life by writing about travel and food. She is always on the lookout for new eateries to fall in love with and share about (albeit...Read more

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