One food station down, 80 more to go!
Enter to win tickets to the Cooking for Solutions Gala May 17.
Did you know that our aquarists are always experimenting with new species to help introduce visitors to the wonders of our oceans? Right now staffer Wyatt Patry is working behind the scenes with these amazing leopard jellies (Acromitus flagellates)!
Introducing: Cindy’s Waterfront
Our restaurant has a brand-new name, look and farm-to-table menu from our award-winning culinary partner, Chef Cindy Pawlcyn, who has also transformed the menu and look of our self-serve cafe.
After eight months of work, the restaurant and cafe reopen on Saturday, April 27. The new restaurant, Cindy’s Waterfront, and the remodeled cafe and coffee bar will all feature Cindy’s inspired seasonal dishes and signature desserts. The beautifully redesigned space offers great food and takes full advantage of the spectacular ocean views.
“I am jumping with joy,” says Cindy, a James Beard Award-winning chef, cookbook author and creator of the legendary Mustards Grill in Napa Valley. “The new restaurant and cafe will showcase the delicious, seasonal, sustainable foods of this bountiful region through dishes that reflect my culinary roots. I am thrilled to share them with Aquarium visitors.”
With this extensive renovation, the dining experience will match the high-quality environment found throughout the Aquarium.
What’s on the menu?
Cindy and resident Executive Chef Jeff Rogers have crafted a menu featuring fresh interpretations of her well-loved seasonal California “comfort food”. Cindy’s globally inspired selections will highlight best-choice seafood dishes in keeping with our Seafood Watch guidelines.
Cindy’s Waterfront menu includes: Monterey Bay Calamari with Cindy’s curry vinaigrette; Grilled Line-Caught Albacore Sandwich with pickle ginger, wasabi and basil aioli; Hunan Grilled Chicken Salad with sesame noodles, chilies, peanut sauce; True Cod Soft Tacos with lime-cumin vinaigrette, tomatillo salsa; and Apricot and Sour Cherry Brioche Bread Pudding with caramel sauce and whipped cream.
Seasonal, local, sustainable
The kitchen will rely on local growers – and many organic growers – for their fresh ingredients. Dishes on the menu will change with the seasons.
Soups and starters prices range from $8 to $15; large plates and sandwiches $11 to $25; desserts $7 to $10. As with all three of her critically acclaimed Napa Valley restaurants – Mustards Grill, Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen and Cindy Pawlcyn’s Wood Grill and Wine Bar – the menu at Cindy’s Waterfront is ingredient-driven, sustainable and regionally focused.
The self-serve cafe has nearly doubled in size and offers new options including fresh-tossed salads, grilled-to-order hamburgers, brick-oven, from-scratch pizza and fresh organic coffees. New electronic menu displays will make it easier to choose among the daily changing specials. The entry to the cafe is much larger, and for the first time affords an ocean view from our exhibit galleries. We’ve completely rebuilt the kitchens, too, so our chefs have more space and new state-of-the-art equipment to showcase their culinary talents.
All about Cindy Pawlcyn
Cindy has been our culinary partner since 2010, and a restaurateur since she opened her iconic Mustards Grill 30 years ago. She’s earned a reputation over the past three decades as one of California’s most recognizable chefs. She has garnered a devoted following, national recognition and numerous awards. She’s twice been nominated for a Beard Award as Best California Chef, and was honored with a Beard Award for Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook, one of her five cookbooks.
She also has a strong personal connection to the Aquarium. She brought her mother for a visit in 1986, shortly after Cindy’s father passed away and when her mother was lost in grief.
“Somewhere between petting the rays and petting the sea cucumbers, she turned back into my mom,” Cindy recalls. “So it’s a very cherished place for me.”
In addition to the food, our full-service restaurant will offer carefully chosen wine selections from regional vintners and small-batch breweries, as well as fresh, creative cocktails. The coffee bar will feature organic coffee drinks, and a selection of house-made pastries.
The contemporary urban interiors by EHDD and Michael Guthrie & Company feature stunning views of water and wildlife through floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Monterey Bay. The walls feature artwork that reflects our commitment to local and sustainable ingredients.
Hours and reservations
Cindy’s Waterfront, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Cafe and the Coffee Bar are open exclusively to daytime Aquarium guests. Groups can reserve all or part of the Aquarium for private evening events.
Daytime hours will be: Cindy’s Waterfront, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Monterey Bay Aquarium Cafe, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Coffee Bar, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Like the food, the hours will change seasonally.)
For restaurant reservations, call (831) 648-4870. To book an evening event, call (831) 648-4928 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s something to look for on your next visit: pharaoh cuttlefish eggs! We always like it when animals reproduce on exhibit, as it’s a sign that we’ve created a healthy environment. Hope you’re having a great weekend!
Now that our sea otters have adjusted to their new home, we’re back on a regular feeding schedule! Watch at 10:30, 1:30 or 3:30 when you visit, or via our live web cam. Tell us what you see!
Entered our contest yet? This could be you May 17!
Did you know you can have a live Aquarium experience, no matter where you live? We’d love to know: What’s your favorite web cam?
It’s not too late! Help save sea otters when filing your California tax return!
What’s lime green with white racing stripes? We’ve added beautiful Taylor’s sea hares to the Wetlands Gallery. Romance is in the air for these tiny animals—look close when you visit and you’ll see egg masses!
(Steven Johnston photo)