Where to Eat in Carmel

Pacific Coast Highway Travel's guide to where to eat in Carmel with Italian, French, Mexican and American places, from inexpensive to Michelin-star fine dining.

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Deciding where to eat in Carmel is always part of the fun of our visits there. The town may be compact but it offers a wide choice of eating options, with cuisines from all over the world. They also use much of the fresh California produce on the town's doorstep... and from the ocean.

We've been to Carmel many times and always want to try somewhere different, and we haven't had a bad meal yet. That's true whether it's cheap bar food or fancy fine dining. Here are just some of our favorite Carmel eating places, in alphabetical order.

Best Guide to Carmel and Monterey

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Where to Eat in Carmel

Anton & Michel

Sample plate at Anton and Michel restaurant in CarmelA Sample Plate at Anton and Michel

This fine dining restaurant opened in 1980 and has been winning awards ever since, both for its wine list and its creative Californian cuisine. As well as their stylishly rustic interior, they also have an enclosed outdoor patio with a fire pit and heaters for those chilly days and nights.

Expect elaborate dishes like maple leaf duck breast with a sauce made from sundried cherries, along with grilled asparagus, roasted peppers, and a sweet potato mash.
Mission St & 7th Ave
(831) 624-2406
antonandmichel.com

Aubergine

Exquisite presentation at Aubergine restaurant in CarmelPerfect Presentation at Aubergine

Aubergine is a sophisticated Michelin-starred restaurant that you'll find in the luxury boutique L'Auberge Carmel. They only offer one multi-course tasting menu with pairings from their award-wining wine list. It's not cheap, definitely a special occasion place, but the food from acclaimed chef Justin Cogley makes it worth the splurge.
L'Auberge Carmel, Monte Verde St & 7th Ave
(831) 624-8578
auberginecarmel.com

La Bicyclette

Interior of La Bicyclette restaurant in CarmelLa Bicyclette

As you can probably guess from the name, La Bicyclette is inspired by French bistro cooking, but using a farm-to-table approach with ingredients from Monterey County. All their food is prepared fresh every day and the menu changes weekly depending on what's in season.

Amazingly, they do all the cooking on a six-burner stove and in a wood-fired oven. We definitely recommend the pizzas!
Dolores St & 7th Ave
(831) 622-9899
labicycletterestaurant.com

Cultura Comida y Bebida

Colorful plate of Mexican food at Cultura Comida y Bebida in CarmelA Colorful Dish at Cultura Comida y Bebida

Cultura Comida y Bebida is a lively and fun Mexican restaurant which serves authentic family-style dishes that are inspired by Oaxaca. The menu has many familiar Mexican dishes, like tacos, but some surprises too, such as yam enchiladas. You can get New York steak but it'll be cooked Oaxaca-style, and their Mezcal Maria cocktail is amazing!
Dolores St & 5th Ave
(831) 250-7005
culturacarmel.com

Grasing’s Restaurant

Grasing's Restaurant in CarmelGrasing's Restaurant in Carmel

Grasing's serves what it calls Coastal Cuisine, so expect lots of fresh fish, but carnivores won't go away disappointed. They offer a range of steaks and sauces, alongside ribs, chicken steaks, and pork chops.

For seventeen years in a row their wine list has been chosen by Wine Spectator as one of the best in the world, with plenty on offer by the glass, and a blend of California and international wines.
Mission St & 6th Ave
(831) 624-6562
grasings.com

Little Napoli

The courtyard of the Little Napoli restaurant in CarmelThe Courtyard of Little Napoli

Little Napoli has been in business since 1990, and has built a very solid reputation for its Southern Italian cuisine. It's located in a Spanish Mission-style building that dates from 1923, and the atmosphere is as lively as you'd expect from any Italian place.

The menu is also pretty much what you'd expect - pastas, pizzas, chicken piccata, gnocchi, risotto, that kind of thing - but always wonderfully tasty.
Dolores St & Ocean Ave
(831) 626-6335
chefpepe.com

Patisserie Boissiere

Patisseries at Patisserie Boissiere in CarmelPatisseries at Patisserie Boissiere

This patisserie was founded in 1960 by Elaine and Pierre Boissiere, who came originally from Orleans in France. It's been providing Carmel with French-style indulgent pastries (baked fresh every day) and other foods ever since.

They offer traditional French dishes like onion soup, baked brie, beef bourguignon, and a wine list that combines France with California, and a few Italian wines (the current owner was born near Naples).
San Carlos St & Ocean Ave
(831) 624-5008
patisserieboissiere.com

Rio Grill

Steak at the Rio Grill in CarmelSteak at the Rio Grill in Carmel

The Rio Grill has been in business since 1983, so is clearly doing something right. Although it calls itself a grill, it offers much more than the average grill. Dishes range from Monterey Bay calamari to Spanish paella to Italian risotto, and their Quesadilla of the Day.
Crossroads Shopping Village, Rio Rd & Hwy One
(831) 625-5436
riogrill.com

Other Carmel pages

  • Where to Stay in Carmel include reviews of the Mission Ranch, Sea View Inn, The Cypress Inn, Lamp Lighter Inn and Vagabond's House Inn.

    Where to Stay in Carmel

    Where to Stay in Carmel include reviews of the Mission Ranch, Sea View Inn, The Cypress Inn, Lamp Lighter Inn and Vagabond's House Inn.

  • This Carmel dog-friendly hotel, the historic Cypress Inn, is co-owned by movie legend Doris Day and offers luxury lodgings for travelers in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

    Carmel Dog-Friendly Hotel

    This Carmel dog-friendly hotel, the historic Cypress Inn, is co-owned by movie legend Doris Day and offers luxury lodgings for travelers in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

  •  Pacific Coast Highway Travel takes the 17-Mile Drive from Carmel to Pacific Grove and Monterey, stopping to see the Lone Cypress and beautiful coastline views.

    The 17-Mile Drive between Carmel, Pacific Grove, and Monterey

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel takes the 17-Mile Drive from Carmel to Pacific Grove and Monterey, stopping to see the Lone Cypress and beautiful coastline views.

  • If you want a Carmel-by-the-Sea Inn that is close to the ocean then the Lamp Lighter Inn is as near as you can get if staying downtown.

    Carmel-by-the-Sea Inn

    If you want a Carmel-by-the-Sea Inn that is close to the ocean then the Lamp Lighter Inn is as near as you can get if staying downtown.

  • Pacific Coast Highway Travel picks the best time to visit Carmel, with a monthly summary of the weather, plus hotel prices, to help plan a visit.

    Best Time to Visit Carmel

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel picks the best time to visit Carmel, with a monthly summary of the weather, plus hotel prices, to help plan a visit.

  • Carmel on the Monterey coast is known for artists and celebrity residents, but there's also a mission, beaches, historic houses, and abundant wildlife.

    Carmel-by-the-Sea on the Pacific Coast Highway in California

    Carmel on the Monterey coast is known for artists and celebrity residents, but there's also a mission, beaches, historic houses, and abundant wildlife.

  • The best things to do in Carmel include visiting Carmel Mission, enjoying the beaches, Point Lobos State Reserve, 17-Mile Drive, and Tor House.

    Best Things to Do in Carmel

    The best things to do in Carmel include visiting Carmel Mission, enjoying the beaches, Point Lobos State Reserve, 17-Mile Drive, and Tor House.

  • A walk around the Point Lobos State Reserve near Monterey and Carmel provides lots of photo opportunities, especially of the Harbor Seal Birthing Area.

    Point Lobos State Reserve near Carmel and Monterey, with photos

    A walk around the Point Lobos State Reserve near Monterey and Carmel provides lots of photo opportunities, especially of the Harbor Seal Birthing Area.

  •  Historic and romantic Vagabond's House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Carmel is a great place to stay with free wine and cheese and generous breakfast.

    Vagabond's House Inn

    Historic and romantic Vagabond's House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Carmel is a great place to stay with free wine and cheese and generous breakfast.



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