Portola Restaurant at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
This week we enjoyed another fine lunch at the Portola Restaurant, located in a wonderfully light, bay view room in the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We were down in the Monterey area to celebrate my mum's birthday, and mum chose the Portola Restaurant and a visit to see the new fresh water otter exhibit at the aquarium as the family adventure.
Here's photographs of the vegetarian plates. At the top, my appetizer of artichoke stuffed with mashed potato and a tangy tomato coulis. Underneath each artichoke was a tiny amount of smoked eggplant and the greenery is micro greens. I preferred the tomato version, which was simply much more flavorful than the potato version, but both were enjoyable. My only disappointment was that the eggplant was bitter, but easily avoided. I did have an awful headcold for this visit, so it could be my taste buds were a little off.
I should also mention that the restaurant serve the most wonderful orange cheesy flatbread in their breadbasket. It's quite spicy in flavor - cayenne I'm guessing, but I absolutely can't resist it this wonderful cracker!
For my main, I enjoyed another of their vegetarian sandwiches. Last time, you may remember, I had the lentil sandwich with chevre and licorice micro greens. This time, the sandwich had grilled portobello, red pepper, oven-roasted tomato, dandelion greens, Toma cheese, and basil aioli. It was very good, although I'd have preferred a less bitter green. It was my first taste of Toma cheese, a soft and creamy Italian cheese, buttery with a slight tanginess. I'll have to try this in a recipe of my own!
Although I was far too full to order dessert, a couple of folks saved room and look at these!
Mum ordered the chocolate painted florentine shell filled with coconut, mango, and kiwi sorbet.
And this strawberry and rhubarb tartlet was incredible!
If you're visiting the Monterey area, definitely don't miss a visit to the Aquarium and lunch at the Portola Restaurant (as the restaurant is in the Aquarium, it is only available to Aquarium visitors ).