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Best of Monterey County: 2012, 2011, 2010

 To vote in 2014, click here and vote before midnight February 16, 2014.

To be sure you include your bike-friendly favorites, look over this Quick Reference Guide for a list of more than 200 places, in 18 Monterey County cities, that give discounts on Thursdays to people who bike. Download here: HER Helmet Thursdays – Quick Reference Guide – as of 18 January 2014 – View PDF

(For more info, and subsequent guides, see the Listings/FAQs page.)

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Monterey County Weekly readers, and editors, voted these extra bike-friendly spots as among the Best of Monterey County for 2012. [For 2013 winners, click here.]

Besides being award-winners, the popular places listed here give discounts on Thursdays year-round to males and females who bike, or bike-and-ride, to their location.

HER Helmet Thursdays award winners are listed in the order in which they appear in the Weekly‘s March 15-21, 2012 Best of Monterey County issue.

Scroll down for more Bike Love winners too!

Readers’ Poll Winners 2012

HER Helmet Thursdays Participants

Readers awarded 37 top honors to the following extra bike-friendly spots (plus those in the Editor’s Picks, listed later in this post).

For all HER Helmet Thursdays spots, plus project FAQs, click here.

  1. Alternative Cafe:  Best Place to Read the Weekly [Update: Alternative Cafe, Seaside has closed.]
  2. Alternative Cafe:  Best Rock Venue
  3. Alternative Cafe:  Best Art Gallery
  4. Britannia Arms:  Best Place for Karaoke
  5. Knuckles Sports Bar:  Best Sports Bar
  6. Lalla Grill:  Best Martini
  7. Big Sur River Inn:  Best Bloody Mary
  8. Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar:  Best Drink with a View
  9. Cannery Row Brewing Company:  Best Selection of Beers
  10. Passionfish:  Best Selection of Wines by the Glass
  11. Passionfish:  Best Restaurant in Monterey County
  12. Passionfish:  Best Restaurant in Pacific Grove
  13. Passionfish:  Best Seafood Restaurant
  14. Passionfish:  Best Sustainable Restaurant
  15. Lallapalooza:  Best Singles Bar
  16. East Village Coffee Lounge:  Best Coffeehouse
  17. Hahn Winery:  Best Winery to Visit
  18. Cantinetta Luca:  Best Restaurant in Carmel
  19. Cafe Rustica:  Best Restaurant in Carmel Valley
  20. Kula Ranch Island Steakhouse:  Best Restaurant in Marina
  21. Gino’s Fine Italian:  Best Restaurant in Salinas
  22. Sweet Elena’s:  Best Restaurant in Sand City
  23. Fishwife:  Best Restaurant in Seaside
  24. Cal Stamenov:  Best Chef  (Cal is Chef for HER Helmet Thursdays spots Wickets and Wills Fargo)
  25. First Awakenings, Pacific Grove and First Awakenings, Salinas:    Best Breakfast
  26. Peppers MexiCali Cafe:  Best Mexican
  27. Michael’s Grill & Taqueria, Salinas:  Best Taqueria
  28. Fifi’s Bistro Cafe, Pacific Grove:  Best French
  29. Amir’s Kabob House:  Best Middle Eastern
  30. Mundaka:  Best Appetizers/Small Plates
  31. Henry’s BBQ:  Best Barbecue
  32. r.g. Burgers, Carmel and r.g. Burgers, Monterey:  Best Burger
  33. Abalonetti:  Best Calamari
  34. Bagel Bakery, Carmel:  Best Bagel
  35. MYO, Salinas; MYO, Cannery Row and MYO, Alvarado Street, Monterey:  Best Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt
  36. Spa on the Plaza:  Best Spa
  37. Eco Carmel:  Best Environmentally Friendly Business


Above: Lalla Grill, celebrated for 2012’s Best Martini, was a charter participant and one of the first 25 of hundreds of HER Helmet Thursdays spots.

Below: Special congratulations to Passionfish for their record-breaking win in five categories!

Editors’ Picks 2012

HER Helmet Thursdays Participants

The Weekly‘s editorial board presented some special awards, including to these extra bike-friendly spots.

  1. Museum of Monterey:  Best Institutional Rebirth
  2. Rio Grill‘s Stuffed Poblano Pepper:  Best Vegetarian Dish That Isn’t Asian or Indian
  3. Pierce Ranch Vineyards:  Best Wine Tasting Room to Rock Out In
  4. Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar:  Best Seashore Seats in the House
  5. Courtside Cafe at Chamisal Tennis and Fitness:  Best Active-Indulgent-Affordable Date

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Readers’ Poll Winners 2012:  Bike Love

Best Place to Bike/Mountain Bike

Fort Ord

(See Bike Maps and Other Tools for Finding Your Way and Where to Bike in Monterey County for more places to bike.)

Best Bike Store

Winning Wheels, 318 Grand Ave, Pacific Grove; 375-4322

(For additional Monterey County bike shops, click here.)

More Winners–2011 and 2010

See the 2011 and 2010 Best of Monterey County extra bike-friendly spots and other bike-love winners.

Not only can we bike to the best, on Thursdays, we save money too!

Archived info:

Help others find the very best HER Helmet Thursdays spots and other bike-friendly places by voting in the Monterey County Weekly’s 2013 Best of Monterey County Annual Readers Poll. Deadline is 2/18/13.

Conducted by the county’s verified largest circulation newspaper, the results provide a helpful year-round resources for visitors and locals.

  1.  Click here for the current HER Helmet Thursdays – Quick Reference Guide; then scroll down to see hundreds of bike-friendly spots!
  2.  Click here to go to the Weekly’s voting page (“” URL), and vote for your favorites. Think you don’ t have time? Once you’ve logged in to vote, you’ll read this message:You do not need to complete the ballot in one sitting….At the bottom of each page there is a button to Exit & Finish Later. Feel free to take a break and come back to where you left off. You need not answer every question for your votes to count, but you must vote for a minimum of one winner per page and a minimum of 25 for the entire survey.

Note:  On Feb 15, the Weekly extended the voting deadline from Feb 15 to Feb 18, giving more people a chance to vote through the weekend (and on Mon, Feb 18).

Watch upcoming issues of the Weekly to learn the 2013 winners!

This post was published on 6 February 2013. One or more changes last made to this post on 30 September 2014.

  1. Cath Tendler-Valencia says:

    Mari Lynch!!!!
    No doubt about it!!!!
    Bravo, Bravissimo!!!!

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