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Recommendation for a Carmel Restaurant?

Can never seem to wander into any totally fabulous restaurants while in Carmel.
Have family visiting this week.
Any "must go to" suggestions?

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  1. Try :


    Get there early though. Very small restaurant that fills with locals early.


    2 Replies
    1. re: bbqman

      Is this a new restaurant (did it take over another) as I'm not familiar with it?

      1. re: Funwithfood

        It used to be La Boheme. Now it is owned by the same guy as Casanova's and the Corkscrew Cafe in the Valley. It think they serve only one entre choice each night, so best to check their site first.

    2. This should really be on the CA board but I'll repsond here until it's moved.

      We had an outstanding...I mean truly outstanding experience at Cantinetta Luca in the fall:


      I would recommend going with the staff's suggestions even if it were for things you would not normally order (don't miss the fresh pulled mozzerella if it's available).

      I would also advice to skip the sister restaurant that gets so much hype...Bouchee.

      1. There are definitely too many restaurants in downtown Carmel to wander in and score a great meal. The odds are against you. I'd say maybe 25 percent of the restaurants are good to great but the others are nothing to rave about.

        Have you tried Casanova? It has charm to spare and tasty but pricey food. It's great for lunch if you can get a seat in the interior patio area - feels like you're in Europe.

        5th Avenue & Mission
        Carmel, CA 93923
        (831) 625-0501

        Not in downtown proper but in Carmel is Mission Ranch. They have an amazing burger and a wonderful heated patio with views over the lagoon/farmland to the ocean. Gorgeous spot, Clint Eastwood's restaurant but WAY better than his old place, Hog's Breath.

        Mission Ranch
        26270 Dolores St
        Carmel, CA 93923
        (831) 624-3824

        I agree on Cantinetta Luca but FYI - if you have a large group it would be tough to walk in and score a table. Also, it's pretty boisterous atmo.

        1 Reply
        1. re: hungryinaz

          I would avoid Casanova as its charm is more than wiped by its price. Also the food has really gone downhill.

          Bouchee and Christophers have been good bets in the past, although Bouchee now has a new menu and chef (who worked at Lauberge and has good chops). Same owner as Luca.

        2. Staying in Carmel in September and want a nice restaurant for birthday dinner..prefer French but open to other ideas..

          1. My wife and I visit Carmel a few times each year, our favorite restaurants- The Village Corner, The Grill on Ocean Ave, Portabella, Flaherty's Seafood, and Anton& Michel.
            We don't like Grasings or Il Fornaio.

            1. If you are willing to drive about 15 minutes into Carmel Valley, Marius (at Bernardus Lodge) is a fantastic restaurant. It is also expensive but well worth it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: rappel75

                Unfortunately, we will be with two small kids...do they serve lunch??

              2. New restaurant in Carmel Plaza: Bistro Beaujolais.
                Amazing selection of Absinthe in the bar. great friendly service. We just planned on a drink and a snack. The three of us each had a delicious concoction featuring St George Absinthe. Plus smoked salmon on potato/latke like crisps. and escargot, that tasted just like mom used to make. I will definitely be retuning for a full meal soon.