Address: 444 Alvarado Street
When it comes to Pubs, I got game. I mean, I dined in the
OLDEST Pub in the U.K. (it’s in York, built in the 1600’s). So when we
approached the Britannia Arms on Alvarado St. in Monterey , I was looking
forward to seeing what The Brit would bring. I have walked by The Britannia
Arms many times, I was looking forward to seeing that they had to offer.
I Love the British Culture. The comedy, their TV (Love ‘Top
Gear’ on BBC), Movies and loved the time I spent in London. It’s one of my
favorite places in the world. One thing
the Brits are not known for is great tasting food. Mmm, this one was going to interesting.
We met the owner Paul (who is from the UK, authentic accent
and all) and I was instantly connected to the UK again. We started talking about
Football (we call it Soccer in the U.S. WARNING, DON’T WEAR A MANCHESTER UNITED
JERSEY WHILE @ The Britannia Arms, YOU MAY WALK OUT WITH A LIMP!), familiar
places and great conversation.
The décor is spot on – The Britannia Arms feels like a trip
back in time, with the exception of the flatscreens all over the wall to show
the Football Games (both American and British) and the large screen used for
events and Karaoke on select nights.
My conversation turned to food with Paul. I was a little
nervous about trying a “British Burger”, since British food has a reputation
for being , well, bland. Paul laughed and told me “Not to worry mate. We got
Paul then insisted
that we have a Lager to go along with the Burger. At the Brit, they are big on
Beer / Burger pairings. They got it down. Right. “A Stella Artois will do you
fine then” as Paul orders the drinks. Beer pairings for Burgers? Yes, they take
it seriously here at the Britannia Arms. Things
were looking up.
It was then, not one, but THREE Brit Burgers appeared. All with
a ½ Pound of CHARBROILED grilled corn-fed beef. We were then informed that you
build it how you want it – no matter how you like it, they will make. The three
versions included, the Southwest, Mushroom / Guacamole and The Bacon Cheese
As you may know, Charbroiling brings out the flavor in a
unique way. Yes I said it, Charbroiling at a British Pub? You bet.
I choose to save the Guacamole for last, since I am not a
big fan of the Guac. So I dove into the Bacon Cheese Burger adorned with Red
tomatoes and green crisp lettuce. All my “bland British food fears” were set
aside as I relished the Charbroiled taste of this half pound delight. All the
flavor is there, that wasn’t when I visited the UK. I didn’t even notice I didn’t
place any condiments on it. The Brit Burger didn’t need it and probably would
have been insulted if I did.
Next was the Southwest, tasty as the first, with a hint of
American Southwest flavor. The Guacamole Burger was sitting in the “que” (that
means waiting next in line in the UK) for it’s turn. I told Paul that I am not
a fan of guacamole. He stated confidently in his thick accent with a laugh, “You
might be after this.”
I am not one to be told, so I was further in my resolve to continue
to my non-love affair with the Guacamole Burger. Just never have been a fan. So
came the time. The Guacamole Burger waited with its mushrooms nesting in the
guacamole sauce. Well, it’s now or never. I grabbed it and took what could have
been a fatal bite (I mean here I am,
cheering on Manchester United to a Chelsea Fan, about to eat his food - what am
I, nuts?) As I took it in, I waited for that Guac bitter, “veggie” type
taste. To my surprise, THAT never happened. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised
by the “Bite” the guac had. It was a
great combination of full flavor with a pepper tinge to it. “What you think
mate?” Paul asked. “A bit of a bit to it?”
I was fully surprised. I ACTUALLY LIKE A GUACAMOLE BURGER!
It was spectacular! Paul then let me in on the secret – “a bit of pepper in the
guacamole”. I never tought I would say this about a Guac Burger, but here we go
- this one is highly recommended.
With our meal about done, I asked Paul the question on your
behalf – “If I were in a hurry for lunch, how soon could I get in and back to
work?” He stated confidently “A Half hour – easy.” Nice. Great food, great
atmosphere, great conversation and a great 30 minute escape from work? I will
And, all this week, the Britannia Arms being a true British
Pub, are showing the UEFA 2012 Championship Games ALL THIS Week.
If you are in Monterey, and looking for something different
and you may even be in a hurry, you have to check out the Britannia Arms. Just
don’t wear your Manchester Jersey…
The Brit Mushroom Guacamole Burger!