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.
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.
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
Mission St & 7th Ave
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
L'Auberge Carmel, Monte Verde St & 7th Ave
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
May 10, 23 09:47 AM
Apr 26, 23 10:07 AM
Apr 25, 23 11:08 AM